Massac County State’s Attorney Josh Stratemeyer took the opportunity during Tuesday morning’s Massac County Commissioners meeting to address Gov. JB Pritker’s emergency rule handed down last week regarding the enforcement of penalizing businesses with Class A Misdemeanors. The rule aligns with the executive order Stratemeyer released a statement about last week. These businesses include establishments that serve food, bars, gyms, health clubs, cosmetology services and barber and beauty shops.

The rule references Sec. 8.1 of the Illinois Department of Public Health Act which states:

Whoever violates or refuses to obey any rule or regulation of the Department of Public Health shall be deemed guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. The Director of Public Health shall institute prosecutions and proceedings for violation of the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Public Health, provided that he may designate a local board of health or local health officer to institute prosecutions or proceedings for violation of those rules and regulations adopted by the Department. Each State’s Attorney shall prosecute all persons in his county violating or refusing to obey the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Health. All fines or judgments collected or received shall be paid to the County Treasurer of the county in which prosecution is conducted.

“It’s up to the department of public to enforce this rule. It’s not up to the sheriff’s department. It’s not up to the local police department. They can designate a local health department to enforce this rule so it could be up to Southern Seven to enforce this rule. So I read into this that Southern Seven could issue essentially citations to businesses that violate this rule, but it is up to the state’s attorney’s office to prosecute those Class A Misdemeanors that are written by the department of public health,” said Stratemeyer.

“I don’t know how the local health department is going to handle this. If they are going to start writing citations or not. They might. My intention is if someone opens up a business, I would not prosecute somebody for doing so. It’s going to be my position on that,” he continued.

As of press time, the Planet had not heard back from the Southern Seven Health Department as to whether or not they would be enforcing the citations with local businesses that choose to open.

A Joint Committee on Administrative Rules planned to meet on Wednesday in Springfield. There are 12 legislators on the bipartisan committee, and there must be 8 yes votes to overturn the rule. As of press time Wednesday afternoon, the committee had not voted.

“As the county board chairman we support the statements State’s Attorney Josh Stratemeyer and Sheriff Chad Kaylor gave last week. I believe Gov. Pritzker has made this pandemic in to a political issue. In Massac County, since the pandemic has started we have had six positive cases and all six cases have recovered. In rural counties like Massac, I believe it’s time to start getting things opened back up,” said Commissioner Jayson Farmer.

The board heard two proposals via phone conference for internet and telephone service for the county’s 37-line phone system. First was Comcast, which quoted $1,416 per month telephone, internet, television and fax lines with four internet circuits. There would be no maintenance fee, and phones would be replaced at no charge if they were damaged accidentally. The service would require an $1,150 installation and licensing fee, and a trainer could be provided for one day for $750 to train all employees on the phones and how they work. Online training is also offered.

Second, the commissioners heard from Mayer Networks, which quoted $1,216 for telephone service only and no internet or fax lines. The phones would be voice over internet protocol phones, and the county would need dependable internet service. James Mayer, the owner of the company, recommends using a Ring Central app to send faxes via email. The Mayer proposal would have no maintenance charges, no installation charges and free training on the phone system.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a contract with Gentry Construction to complete the remodel in the small courtroom, court reporter room and judge’s chamber in the amount of $9,575 with Commissioner Jerel Childers voting no.

• Approved a preliminary engineering agreement with Chastain & Associates in the amount of $42,780 for surveying work on a bridge project on Country Club Road.

• Agreed to move forward with a quote from Reed Electric, Heating and Air in the amount of $6,295 for maintenance work on the industrial freezer at the detention center.

• Held a closed session with Stratemeyer and Kaylor to discuss personnel and pending litigation.

• And, heard from Emergency Management Services Director Brian Horn that all six cases of COVID-19 in Massac County have recovered from the virus.

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