Health Board members speak out about video narrated by Mayor Jacobs

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KNOXVILLE, (Tenn.) — There were some tense and heated moments at the Knox County Board of Health meeting on Wednesday.

Some members called out county mayor Glenn Jacobs for a video he narrated, saying they felt threatened by it.

This comes amid ongoing discussions about the Health Board‘s power and calls to limit it.

Knox County Board of Health member Dr. Maria Hurt played the video. She said it was released one day after Jacobs told community members not to voice their frustrations at the Health Board.

“I believe it’s inappropriate. It’s dangerous. It only reinforces the emails, the mails, the phone calls that we and the Board of Health get,” Dr. Hurt said.

“It disturbed me. It disheartened me. It hurt,” said Dr. Patrick O’Brien.

Other board members also voiced their concerns, and in response, Mayor Jacobs apologized several times and explained his reasoning.

“My intention with that video was not to put anyone in harm’s way, it was not to threaten anyone. And I am sorry if it came across like that. As I have said multiple times and I said it in that video, the point was to try to get people to talk, speak out, to show up at meetings,” he said.

Chairman Dr. Jack Gotcher also brought up a Knox County Commission resolution on the table, proposing a limit on the Board of Health’s power. It’s the first time we’ve heard the board address it as a group.

Dr. O’Brien volunteered to speak on their behalf at the commission’s next meeting. Mayor Jacobs said he would stand with him.

County Commission is set to discuss and vote on the resolution next week. It was moved to Monday’s meeting without recommendation.

View the full ‘Freedom Forward’ video, played during the public meeting, below:

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