/ Letters / Local government fails to protect the public

Local government fails to protect the public

June 05, 2020

To the Editor:

The Oneida County Board’s Public Safety Committee has failed in its duty to protect public health and safety. 

By voting to approve a permit for the Hodag Country Fest, supervisors Timmons, Ives, Fisher and Kelly recklessly chose to disregard the professional guidance of the county health officer, as well as guidance from Wisconsin’s DHS, the WEDC, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and virtually all public health organizations. Only supervisor Fried, distinguished himself by voting against this large gathering in the midst of a global pandemic.

While members of the safety committee cannot be experts on all subjects, they must exercise good judgement while acting as public servants. This means availing themselves of professional opinion when public health is at risk,  and weighing that opinion against economic impacts.

While in general, private businesses should be able to make their own decisions, however, when it comes to  health and safety, government has a role in protecting the public. Would you want to eat in restaurants that do not meet standards determined by safety regulations and inspections? Would you want to fly on airplanes that do not meet FAA licensing and certification requirements? Would you like to be treated by unlicensed doctors and nurses? Of course not, it falls to government to protect us, the Oneida County Public Safety Committee failed in that role, and consequently, put us all at risk.

The preamble of the Wisconsin Constitution calls for our government to “promote the general welfare,” this is a basic role; it’s our elected officials’ duty.

If you are concerned about the committee’s actions, please consider contacting the supervisors directly. Their email addresses  and phone numbers are available on the Oneida County website. Also, please consider copying chairman Hintz and the other supervisors with your thoughts. 

Rick Plonsky




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