WELLINGTON–A motion for a mandatory mask ordinance in public places in the city of Wellington died for lack of a second motion to pass it during a special Wellington City Council meeting, last Sunday afternoon. Council member Joe Soria made the motion that the ordinance be passed.

"I’ll be damned if I’m going to say no to this," Soria said. "It’s not about rights. It’s about slowing it down."

Other council members, while encouraging the wearing of masks, did not want to want to make it a mandate.

"I highly recommend wearing masks, but again it’s your personal choice," council member Robert Hamilton said toward the end of the meeting.

Council member Guy Leitch said he understood the need for masks but as a citizen of the U.S.A. he said it should still be a matter of choice.

No council member seconded Soria’s motion and it was not voted on.

"The motion dies for lack of a second," Mayor Jim Valentine said. "God help us all."

Just prior to Soria’s motion, Mayor Jim Valentine had asked the council to pass it, saying when he signed on as a city council member in 2007, it was to ensure the "health, safety and welfare" of the community.

"That’s what we’re here for, to protect this community and you’re not going to do it by letting things slide," Valentine said. "I’m going to ask this council, in the name of God, pass this ordinance. In the name of God, do your duty."

Council member Jennifer Heersche said she had been struggling over the issue for the past couple of days.

"I’m absolutely all for people protecting themselves, wearing the masks to protect themselves and the people surrounding them," Heersche said. "As for mandating something, I just don’t feel that’s legally a right we can take away."

The proposed mask ordinance, which would have been in effect until modified by the governing body by repeal or extension, was to be reviewed no later than Aug. 18.