There were notable comments made during this week’s commissioner meeting.

First: Corporation Counsel Doug Van Essen noted he is looking to retire, and will be transitioning over the next year. He recommends the Board replace him with an “apolitical” attorney.

“It is now time for me to transition.”

-Doug Van Essen, Corporation Counsel

His comments are around 2:03:00 in the video, as well as a few comments early into the meeting. Van Essen seemed to leave the door open for working part time for the county in the future.

Mr. Van Essen’s retirement is a wonderful opportunity for Ottawa County, which needs legal counsel that will prioritize:

Governing with the least force and least authority required, allowing citizens maximum opportunity to make their own decisions for their families, businesses, employees, churches, and schools. (Contract with Ottawa)

During Ottawa County’s pandemic response, Mr. Van Essen helped Ottawa County threaten citizens with fines, imprisonment, closure, and deprivation of Constitutionally-protected rights.

Second: Roger Bergman confirmed he is stepping down as Chair of the Board of Commissioners, but will finish his current term as a commissioner. He hat-tipped a recommendation for Fenske to replace himself as chair. Mr. Bergman’s comments are at 2:22:00 in the video.

Third: Commissioner Matt Fenske spoke during the meeting and gave outgoing Chair Bergman a glowing “thank-you-for-your-stellar-service” message, highlighting his handling of Covid-19 and immigration.

Fenske stated back in August 2021 that he would do “everything in his power” to get rid of the mask mandate from the health department. Yet to date, Mr. Fenske has not taken action or spoken publicly against the health director, who abused her power, ignored people’s individual rights, and threatened fines and imprisonment for disobeying her rules.

If Mr. Fenske believes Chair Bergman’s handling of the loss of constitutional freedoms and stifling of community voices is worthy of praise, Ottawa County may be no better off if he becomes the next Chair.

If he becomes chair, will his first agenda item be firing the health director and holding her accountable for unilaterally creating mandates to control the daily lives of 300,000 people?

Last week, Judge Hulsing stated in court:

“Can a local health officer abuse his or her authority? Absolutely! What can be done? County board hired her, county board can fire her.”

– Hon. Jon Hulsing (December 6, 2021)

Ottawa County needs leaders who will prioritize individual responsibility, self-determination, and limited government in their decision-making.

This transition is an opportunity for the Commissioners to demonstrate respect for The People and the Constitution. They should fire the health director for her egregious overreach and departure from American values.

Ottawa Impact wrote the Contract with Ottawa as a standard so we can hold elected leaders accountable. How will the Ottawa County Commissioners measure up?

To see the status of the Ottawa Impact PAC match challenge, click here.