GREAT FALLS — At Tuesday morning’s Cascade County Commission meeting, commissioners voted to adopt a Memorandum of Understanding which grants them interim authority over the Cascade City-County Health Department.
The move came in response to a pair of bills passed by the Montana legislature, HB 121 and HB 257, that require a designated governing body to oversee a health department, with the ability to overrule some decisions by a local health board.
The Health Department and the Board of Health previously had authority to issue health-related rules during a health emergency, such as mask mandates or capacity limits.
The city and the county met several times to discuss operation of the health department going forward, and the decision was made to grant the Cascade County Commission the temporary authority.
Both city and county commissions agreed to establish a working group comprised of a County Commissioner, a County staff person, two City Commissioners, a City staff person, and other staff members as deemed appropriate.
The working group will convene as soon as and as regularly as possible to develop recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners and the City Commission for the creation of a new agreement regarding the joint operation of the health department.