What do you do when an unelected health board refuses to listen to the public? If you’re in Sanders County, Montana, you show up to their public meeting, and speak your mind.
That’s what happened in July 13 of this year, but according to dozens of residents who recently aired their grievances to the county commissioners a month later, and pointed out that stopping citizens from giving comment was a violation of Montana Code. In other words, it was illegal. To be specific, it’s in violation of Title 50 of the Montana legal code.
The guidebook for the Montana Boards of Public Health offers a graphic for how unelected health boards such function (see below).
Notice the topic circle says “civic groups.” To the left is “Neighborhood orgs.” Shoved to the lower-left of the center is “Faith institutions.” In other words, all of these groups – and the individual citizens they represent – are supposed to be heard and listened to.
According to the Sanders County Ledger, local residents made a formal complaint to county commissioners on July 15 that they had not been listened to.
According to the Ledger…
“Please take this information to heart,” Kandel said Tuesday. “We called for patriots to show up. We have valid, legitimate concerns. The purpose of this meeting is to get our complaints heard.”
David Wonder asked if the board of health members broke state law, and if so, why haven’t they been held accountable. Sheriff Tom Rummel responded that he would have to talk to the county attorney and see if the issue would be pursued.
The quotation above refers to Stacy Ledger, who appears to lead (or be one of the leaders) of the concerned citizens.
Montana Daily Gazette posted a helpful FAQ article in July of 2020, explaining how health boards work in Montana. They are unelected, and instead appointed, by county commissioners. Although the county commissioners (who are elected) serve our county health boards, they are often in the minority and unable to out rule the majority of their appointees. There is no requirement that health boards have any health training, and it’s estimated that roughly 75% of health board members in Montana have no medical training.
As explained in the article above, Code 50-2.104 requires the county boards to consist of all county commissioners and at least two individuals appointed by county commissioners. Additionally, there must be five members minimum and they are required to have three-year staggered terms. County health boards with 1st Class or 2nd Class cities have representatives of those cities (at least one) on the merged health board.
Health Officers, appointed by health boards, do not have to have medical degrees. The two worst and most draconian health officers in Montana, Matt Kelley of Gallatin County (who has since gone to work for a Montana non-profit funded by Johnson & Johnson to promote forced vaccinations) and Drenda Niemann of Lewis & Clark County, neither have degrees in health.
Karen Morey, the public health director of Sanders County and who lives in Columbia Falls, is a Registered Nurse.
Kandel accurately told the Commissioners, “Masks don’t stop viruses. Pushing them on our children is absurd.” According to the Ledger, “other residents expressed concerns over the CDC and the federal government.”
The commissioners responded by stating that even Governor Ginaforte has endorsed masks and vaccines, despite signing bills forbidding their mandatory use. The commissioners seemed to argue that using public resources to pay for mask and vaccine propaganda was appropriate, so long as no one was being forced.
[Editor’s Note: To read more about the meeting, check out the article from the Sanders County Ledger. Unlike most legacy press outlets, the Sanders County Ledger – like the Montana Daily Gazette – is actually owned and operated by Montanans and from within the state]