Commissioners to consider lifting restrictions at courthouse
By Ken Childers
The Okfuskee County Board of County Commissioners will consider lifting some of the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the county courthouse during its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for June 15.
On May 26, the board signed a resolution to reopen the courthouse, which had been closed to the public since March 19. Per the resolution, courthouse access is limited to one entrance only and all visitors must wear a mask (or face covering) and complete a COVID-19 screening, which includes a temperature check.
A discussion to lift restrictions, particularly the mask requirement, was initiated by Eric Swinford, Okfuskee County Election Board Secretary. Swinford voiced concerns about having restrictions in place during early voting in the June 30 primary election, which is scheduled for June 25, 26 and 27 at the courthouse.
“I don’t feel like we should put restrictions on citizens who are exercising their right to vote,” Swinford told the board during the public appearance portion of the regular meeting held Monday, June 8. “I’d like to see an item on the next agenda to lift the mask requirement.”
Although restrictions for entering the courthouse itself could be lifted, courtroom restrictions would remain in place. Per an order from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, anyone entering a courtroom must wear a mask as well as gloves and only 10 people – the defendant, judge, attorneys and court personnel – are allowed in the courtroom at one time. Those with a scheduled court appearance must wait in their vehicle until they receive notice that their case has been called.
Also during Monday’s meeting, the board approved officer’s monthly reports for May 2020 and the county clerk’s monthly financial reports from December 2019 though May 2020. In addition, a transfer of $25,000 from the commissioners’ maintenance and operation fund to the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s personal services fund was approved. A request from Sheriff Jim Rasmussen for the funds was approved on June 1.
Other actions taken by the board on Monday included the approval of the allocation of the alcoholic beverage tax in the amount of $11,136.35, approval of an Okfuskee County application for temporary appropriations totaling $1,996,166 for FY2020-212 and approval of blanket purchase orders totaling $21,500 for gravel. Claims for items purchased were also approved.
Acting as the Okfuskee County Justice Authority, the board approved minutes of the previous meeting held May 11 and accepted the county treasurer’s sub ledger as of June 1, which showed a balance of $438,074.84.
The commissioners typically meet each Monday at 9 a.m. on the first floor of the courthouse. All board meetings are open to the public, subject to the COVID-19 restrictions that are currently in place.