Lincoln County Health Board Members Illegally Disregard and Silence Public

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The following Op-Ed was submitted by Catherine Kahle of Lincoln County

Since the summer of 2020, I have made an effort to be civically involved with the Lincoln County Health Board because I was concerned, along with many others, about so much government control from these un-elected health “authorities.”

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This has not been an easy task for us in Lincoln County. We have been interrupted, muted, and humiliated during health board meetings. Health board members refuse to answer our questions or address our concerns. They are fixated on discussing and promoting the COVID-19 treatment shots, but any other treatments are taboo to discuss.

Besides promoting Big Pharma, not answering questions, and silencing the public, Lincoln County health board member Jim Seifert came up with the outrageous suggestion of “grading” the businesses in Lincoln County, which received plenty of negative responses from the public back in December 2020.

Such said “Grading Tactics” would be implemented including; A’s for those who masked fully within a business, washed hands, and social distanced, A- for those who did so but at perhaps 75% and so on. Seifert planned to model this method in a somewhat similar manner to the way restaurants are “graded” due to sanitation standards within certain establishments (particularly restaurants) which are implemented by the Health Department.

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Sadly, Seifert isn’t the only unethical scammer.

Recently, Health Board Chairwoman Jan Ivers excluded a nominated candidate from a Health Board vote of that person for appointment to the Health Board.

Ivers excluded residents of Lincoln County in March at the last minute when she didn’t allow some of the residents to attend remotely. The instructions on the county’s health board website said one couldn’t attend their meeting if one couldn’t or wouldn’t wear a mask and would have to use Zoom to participate; however, the chairwoman didn’t make provision for that to happen, essentially creating a closed meeting for many in the county.

I wrote my public comment for that particular meeting and submitted it to Ivers to be read aloud during the meeting, as I was assured that it would be. To my amazement and disgust, Ivers ignored my input and did not read my comment at all. Because the health board was not following Open Meeting Law and they could so easily silence me, I didn’t even bother to attend the next meeting, which was on April 13. I did request, however, that my comment be attached to the Health Board minutes.

During April’s meeting, as the minutes were being approved, Seifert decided to publically humiliate me by proclaiming my input was full of “falsehoods,” and he “wouldn’t give me credibility.” He didn’t provide one reason for the personal attack, but it was obvious that he didn’t appreciate the fact that my comment was being attached. Apparently, he wants my comment so reduced as to delete it altogether.

(Listen to Seifert slander Kahle from 6 to 7 minute mark below)

For Audio File Click Here

Much to my dismay, nobody on the Lincoln County Health Board who is supposed to be in a position to serve the public defended my Constitutional rights or followed Parliamentary Procedure to call a point of order on Seifert’s outburst.

Also, I have reason to believe that Seifert’s appointment by the Mayor of the city of Troy in November of 2020 to the Lincoln County Health Board wasn’t even legal because the City Council didn’t approve that vote. It’s way over the line when a health board member can publically humiliate a resident in the manner that Seifert did, libeling her in public.

To me, it is obvious that the Lincoln County Health Board doesn’t take public comment seriously. The Health Board reduces the comments so much that they don’t resemble what we intend to say, nor do they show the seriousness of our concerns. During the December 9, 2020 meeting, Seifert suggested that the minutes be “abbreviated” even more. A three-minute public comment is reduced to two sentences that don’t accurately relate to what we are addressing.

At the same time, the county group, Team 56, had 17 sentences in those same minutes to describe their propaganda, such as COVID-19 posters, stickers, and slogans including “spread kindness, not COVID.” It’s an attempt to degrade the purpose of public comment and silence citizens’ voices while eliminating our concerns, especially when it doesn’t fit the agenda of those in leadership positions on the Lincoln County Health Board.

For Jim Siefert Audio Click Here

I, and many others, do not believe the board members give the public the same level of respect that they demand from them. For example, they mute and interrupt meeting attendees while at the same time demanding that the public not interrupt them. Who would feel comfortable meeting and addressing Health Board members who would attack you when you’re not even there to defend yourself or mute you while you’re talking? If they are allowed to continue in this manner, then nobody will want to participate in their government, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

All along, the Lincoln County Commissioners have been reluctant to solve the issues with this Health Board, claiming, “There’s nothing we can do.”

Now that HB121 is Montana law, the Commissioners must do something to solve the many problems with this Health Board and protect citizens and their Constitutional rights.

The question is: will they?




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