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Williamsville will take Erie County to court over mask mandate fine

'We are seeking our day in court,' Village of Williamsville Deputy Mayor David Sherman said.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Newly appointed Village of Williamsville Deputy Mayor David Sherman said the village is seeking its day in court over a $300 fine issued by the Erie County Department of Health.

"We have to set up our camp and say this is our position, come and get us," Sherman told 2 On Your Side.

The violation stemmed from a January 10 Village of Williamsville board meeting held at Village Hall.

According to the stipulation, an Erie County Department of Health Investigating Public Health Sanitarian went to the board meeting and witnessed "willful violation" of the mask mandate.

2 On Your Side asked Sherman if people were in fact not wearing masks during that public board meeting.

"That is correct, there were people not wearing masks," he said.  

Sherman said the majority of the village board feels the mask mandate is an infringement and overreach of county government and plan to challenge the stipulation in court.

"We feel that we should be afforded the right of due process under the law, and if we pay that $300 and walk away, we have no due process," Sherman said. "The rights of the accused are being ignored, so we are seeking our day in court."

While Williamsville is believed to be the first municipality cited by the Erie County Department of Health, there are others in Western New York who have taken a similar stance including the Town of Marilla and Grand Island.

"This is something that is going to have a ripple effect throughout the county; we just happen to be at the head of the line," Sherman said.

"We've had multiple incidents that have occurred in the Village of Williamsville where not only the village mayor but others were not wearing a mask," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said during Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing.

Poloncarz said the mask mandate is necessary due to the Omicron variant spreading in Western New York.

A special Village of Williamsville board meeting will take place on Thursday at 6 p.m. to appoint an outside counsel to handle this legal matter.

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