City council adopts protest-related legislation


By Jennifer Woods - jwoods@aimmediamidwest.com



At Wednesday’s Washington Court House City Council meeting, the resolution recognizing local events in relation to the death of George Floyd was adopted.

As previously reported, the city introduced this legislation as a recognition of local and national protesting taking place following the death of Floyd, as well as a local prayer vigil that had been held.

On June 2, a peaceful protest was held at the Fayette County Courthouse. It was one of many to be held throughout the country after Floyd died on May 25 following an extended time-frame with a Minneapolis police offer’s knee on his neck.

As previously reported, the legislation explains that the city council:

-conveys thanks to all persons that have participated in prayer vigils and protests, concerning the death of George Floyd that have been peaceful exercises seeking hope and healing.

-expresses pride in the WPD (Washington Police Department). They are people upon whom we place a burden. In times when we find it hard to see goodness in others, their burden is increased.

-reminds everyone that all people, regardless of faith or lack of faith or race, have within them a spark of divinity, a creative force of dignity.

-asks all to again walk with our friends with whom we may disagree in peace. In torment may we find hope that justifies suffering.

-resolves that this resolution shall take effect at the earliest date permitted by law.

To learn and read more about this legislation, please see the previously published article “City responds to protests,” which can be found at www.recordherald.com/news/53642/city-responds-to-protests.

The following information was submitted to the Record-Herald by council member Caleb Johnson as a Letter to the Editor:

“I was proud to propose the previous resolution against hate speech after Nazi swastikas were spray-painted in the park last year, and I am proud to stand against racism once again with my fellow council members.

“Understandably, many people across the nation took to the streets in protest after watching George Floyd die in police custody. Washington Court House is far removed from Minneapolis; however, people gathered peacefully to show their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of any great society, and city council stands in support of peaceful protest where people exercise that right.

“At the same time, City Council desires that our police department know of our continued appreciation for the hard work they do in a time where many call for police departments to be dissolved entirely. We are lucky in Washington Court House to have a police department that has a zero-tolerance attitude toward police misconduct.

“Thus, our resolution supports both the peaceful protest that occurred downtown and our police department. I’m proud of the resolution and my colleagues for supporting it.”

During the city council meeting, Johnson thanked City Manager Joe Denen for the work that went into the resolution and provided some of his personal thoughts toward the situation of what happened to Floyd.

New legislation was also heard during the meeting as nine resolutions were placed on first reading.

The first time a resolution is seen and approved by council it is placed on a first reading and the second time on a second reading. Adoption of resolutions can occur once they have been placed on the second reading.

The first resolution, if passed, would allow a lease to be extended past its current end date of Dec. 31. The lease is between the city and The American Red Cross for 225 E. Market St. If passed, the new lease expiration date will be Dec. 31 of 2022.

According to Denen, the space the American Red Cross leases is a small office space at the fire department.

“We’re happy to have them there,” said Denen.

A second resolution, if passed, would allow the necessary documentation for requesting funding in relation to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). A portion of the funding will be going to the county and, according to Denen, once this resolution is adopted by city council, paperwork must then be filed with the county and state to move forward with requesting the city’s portion.

Three of the resolutions, if passed, would reappoint Dan Leaverton, Donald Moore and Tami Bath to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. Their terms would conclude on Dec. 31 of 2024.

Four of the resolutions, if passed, would allow the reappointment of Keith Eckles and Kirk Wilson to both the City Planning Commission and the Historic District Review Board.

Washington Court House City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. They are located in the second floor council chambers of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main Street. Currently, attendance is being limited due to the pandemic and meetings are being held at 9 a.m. Meetings will be streamed live on the YouTube channel “City of Washington Court House, Ohio” at www.youtube.com/channel/UCRwMxUBn8XIQTjnSvFaGDgA.

Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.

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By Jennifer Woods

jwoods@aimmediamidwest.com