Tuesday night, an ordinance before the Pierce County Council that would have granted authority to the county Executive to issue notice of intent to terminate the joint agreement forming the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, failed on a tied 3-3 vote.
An ordinance needs four affirmative votes to pass.
At the start of the meeting Council Chairman Doug Richardson introduced an amendment to the proposed ordinance in response to a Dec. 14, 2020 order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee. The governor’s proclamation prohibits dissolution of city-county run health departments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendment passed in a 4-2 vote.
The amendment stipulated the Executive could not provide notice of the intent to leave the joint agreement until the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency expired in Pierce County. It also directed the Executive to develop draft legislation recommending improvements to the organization and provision of public health services within the county by Dec. 31, 2021.