GV’s Bullock wants the city to be ready to resist mask mandates

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENT REPORTER

Dave Bullock is in his third term on the GV city council and running for a fourth term this November.

As the study session preceding the regular Greenwood Village City Council meeting was ending on August 2, Councilmember Dave Bullock asked, “Are we going to have a discussion if Tri-County Health (TCHD) and/or the state starts mandating masks?…My belief is that…we don’t just fall in line. There is significant medical evidence that this is a political issue, it’s not a medical issue. I would ask that we put it on a study group discussion as to whether we as a city are going to comply with any mask mandates.” 

Mayor Lantz responded that in a recent meeting, Dr. John Douglas, executive director of TCHD, said that, “the intention of TCHD is to go along with CDC’s ( U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) instructions that certain groups in certain places wear masks.” The mayor added, “It was not his intention or his belief that there would be a mask mandate…and he didn’t believe that people would follow it.”

Bullock replied, “We’ve seen in the last year and a half how quickly these things have changed. Whatever this council decides…we need to have a discussion on it because I don’t think we should just fall in line with any state or any health division mandates when there is significant—and I’m not talking about wild stuff on the internet, I’m talking about very credible doctors that are saying this is political, it’s not medical.”

When Councilmember Anne Ingebretsen suggested that GV “monitor what’s going on and we don’t discuss it until it becomes an issue,” Bullock wanted to know, “What happens if a mandate comes between council meetings? These decisions have to be made in 24 hours…I think that there is significant precedent over the last year that…government agencies and state agencies have changed on a dime. I think it is better for us to be prepared so that we are not scrambling trying to figure out what to do.”

Mayor Pro Tem Kerber chimed in, “One of the things we can do is figure out what authority we have. I don’t think we have any authority over masks,” to which Bullock responded, “There are cities that are choosing to ignore the mask mandate.” Kerber pointed out that, “the CDC doesn’t have any legal authority over us, but TCHD does.” He continued, “I don’t think we have any type of governmental authority to enforce or agree with it.” Bullock pointed to the fact that in 2020, Douglas County commissioners chose to opt out of directives issued by TCHD, so he believed that the GV council should be discussing the issue of mask mandates because, he reiterated, “There’s significant credible medical evidence that these (mask) mandates are political, they are not medical. They are not supported by medical science.”

When fellow GV district one councilmember Jerry Presley suggested that GV “wait until TCHD makes something that we can react to,” Bullock asked, “What if we have 24 hours to react? Do we have an emergency council meeting to figure out what authority we would have to ignore or not ignore a mandate?” 

Mayor Lantz and several other council members turned to Assistant City Attorney Shannon Chambers Nelson, who was present at the study session. She informed them that orders issued by TCHD last year included an opportunity for counties (e.g., Douglas or Arapahoe) to opt out, “rather than just a city.”

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