A Miramar city commissioner who was facing an ousting for attending meetings virtually due to COVID-19 will remain on the commission.
There was a resolution on the agenda at Monday night's meeting to relieve Winston Barnes from his commission office — but the commissioner who sponsored the item decided to withdraw it during the discussion.
Miramar's city commission resumed in-person meetings last year. Barnes, 73, had been attending virtually due to concerns about the virus.
Barnes attended Monday's meeting in person.
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The Miramar City Commission resumed in person meetings last year. Now, one commissioner who’s been attending virtually due to COVID may be ousted by his fellow commissioners who say he must show up in person.
73-year-old Winston Barnes could lose his seat on Monday if his peers pass a resolution on the city agenda that says he broke the rules by not attending commission meetings in person.
Mr. Barnes has been attending remotely since last year due to COVID concerns.
“If I am on virtually I’m allowed to not only listen but also debate and allowed to vote, Barnes said. “That is attendance in this new world we live in.”
He pointed out some colleagues have been exposed to the virus.
“If a number of commissioners have tested positive or have been exposed, I would think it’s a reason to not attend those meetings,” he said.
But an attorney for the city told the Sun-Sentinel it would be ‘illogical’ to think someone could attend remotely indefinitely.
“Nobody was sitting around thinking they didn’t have to come back,” the attorney said.
Mr. Barnes says it’s all political because he didn't back a certain candidate in the hotly contested race for the 20th congressional district.
“If there was a real reason why this was not brought up a year ago, why was it brought up after the election?”
NBC 6 has reached out to other officials with the city including the attorney and have not heard back.
Barnes says if he is ousted his attorney will file an injunction- which ultimately would cost taxpayers. The vote is scheduled for Monday.