standing Letters

Are emergency announcements from the Department of Health valid if they dont follow the proper protocol required to make that announcement?

It’s a valid question to ask after Judge Jeffrey Lanphear ruled that the Rhode Island Department of Health failed to properly announce its finding of imminent peril in his upholding mask mandate briefing where he stated:

“To promulgate an emergency rule, such as the mask mandate, an agency must file a record of its finding of imminent peril on the secretary of state’s website as well as its own, according to the ruling. But the Department has not indicated — and this court has been unable to locate — where that statement may be found on the DOH’s own website,” Lanphear said. In fact, he said, the text of the emergency rule could not be found on the Health Department site at all, thus it failed to comply with requirements, he said in the Providence Journal.

Organizational protocol, bylaws and the Robert’s Rules of Order are the necessary steps for a group, organization or governing body to conduct business. If they don’t follow these guidelines, they are just some people hanging together talking about stuff and not conducting official business.

What converts these people hanging out together talking about stuff into public organizations and governing bodies conducting business with our tax dollars are these protocols, bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order. These measures create the credibility of public trust which is essential within a republic. Without them, there would be chaos and corruption.

It’s within these procedures that produce the ever-important minutes of meetings so citizens and future members of an organization or governing body have a point of reference when conducting business. It’s why Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha, who in my opinion is one of the top AGs in the country, sued Westerly, Woonsocket and Narragansett for violating these procedures — he recognizes their importance to the trust and transparency a government must have to its citizens. Because a government simply cannot exist without the trust and consent of its citizens.

With that said, it would be more than fair to ask if the Rhode Island Department of Health failed to follow proper protocol when announcing their findings of imminent peril. Does that imminent peril even exist? If they lied to the governor about their findings of imminent peril and he goes on to write an executive order based on the false and misleading information they provided him, does their findings of imminent peril exist all of sudden exist after the executive order is signed? Even worse, if the media goes on to write countless stories on this executive order based on false information, does it all of a sudden exist?

If a student pulls a fire alarm so he or she doesn’t have to take a test, does that mean there was ever a fire?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Justin Mazzarese


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