May 3, 2021 – West Bend, WI – There’s an interesting item on the West Bend Common Council agenda for Monday night, May 3, 2021.
The council will vote on a “Face Covering Policy for City Buildings.” The policy targets “visitors that enter a city building.” The new policy would run through August 31, 2021.
If you haven’t been to City Hall lately there are plexiglass windows from the counter to the ceiling between staff and visitors at every office from the city clerk to city assessor to parks to building inspection and city engineer.
Public bathrooms are not open to the public at City Hall.
Cleaning staff is always visible wiping down surfaces and staff wear masks which is currently recommended for visitors.
The county seat, Washington County Courthouse, is also located in the City of West Bend.
At the Washington County Courthouse there is no mask mandate for staff or visitors. There are plexiglass panels in place at the clerk’s office and highway department, county treasurer, etc. There are counter to ceiling windows in place at the Washington County Sheriff’s department, but it has been that way for years.
Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann said, “This is strictly a policy decision from Washington County and it shows the difference on how the county runs its operation and how the city runs and what their priorities are and who they are serving.”
Schoemann said the county is very focused on the people.
“People have made it abundantly clear that they can make decisions for themselves and take personal responsibility for those decisions and exercise individual liberty,” Schoemann said. “I encourage all our staff to be courteous and do likewise if someone comes to their counter with a mask. We feel people can make adult decision and the city will make its decision.
Asked how another government building located within the city limits can affect visitors differently once they walk in. “We certainly operate out own building and I have a clear difference of opinion on how it should be run and that’s why we run it differently at the county,” Schoemann said.
District 3 alderman Brett Berquist has fielded a number of phone calls about tonight’s vote. “I will listen to hear what the rationale is and then make a decision accordingly,” said Berquist.
The update from Dist. 6 alderwoman Tracy Ahrens was posted on her social media today.
There are 8 seated aldermen. If there is a tie vote, the mayor breaks the tie.