Commissioners approve emergency declaration

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY — The Meigs County Commissioners approved a Declaration of Emergency related to COVID-19 (coronavirus) during Thursday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

The meeting was moved from the commissioner’s office to the Common Pleas Courtroom to allow for attendees to spread out and practice social distancing.

The Declaration of Emergency read as follows:

Whereas, the area known as Meigs County, Ohio and all Townships and Municipalities contained therein, and those residents withing those communities are, because of technical or natural causes, facing eminent threat to their general safety by the Novel Coronavirus-19.

Whereas, all citizens are called upon and directed to comply with appropriate emergency measures and to cooperate with public officials and disaster relief forces in their execution of emergency operation plans and to comply with the lawful directions of properly identified public officers; and to curtail any unnecessary travel, into the affected areas; and

Now, therefore be it resolved, we the Board of Meigs County Commissioners, hereby declare that a state of emergency exists in Meigs County and hereby invoke and declare in full force in effect in Meigs County, statutes and ordinances applicable to this emergency by the government of United States, the State of Ohio and the County of Meigs for the exercising of all necessary authority for the protection of lives and property of the people of Meigs County and restoration of local government with minimum interruption.

All operating forces will direct their communication and request for assistance and operations directly to the Emergency Operations Center.

The declaration was drafted along with Meigs County Emergency Management Agency Director Jamie Jones.

President of the Meigs County Commissioners Randy Smith explained that the County Commissioners Association of Ohio advised that the counties did not likely have to take the step in order to be able to draw down funds, but that it was better to proceed with the declaration in case it is in fact necessary.

Smith added that the declaration does not limit the rights of county residents or override the requirements of their employers. The declaration simply allows the county to receive assistance and reimbursement from the state and federal level should it become necessary.

In addition to the declaration, the commissioners approved a resolution asking that all offices reduce staff in the office due to COVID-19.

The commissioners encouraged “all departments and office holders to reduce their staff to a minimum of 1/3 (if possible) in a manner consistent with a fair schedule to meet public need while also limiting the potential spread of this virus.”

“Employees will be compensated as normal with no sick leave or vacation penalties during scheduled time off work, however in the event that an employee becomes ill or schedules a vacation during the modified scheduling period then sick leave and vacation time may apply according to policy and the elected official/department head in charge of that employee,” read the action approved by the commissioners.

“While the courthouse will remain open to staff, public access will be limited only to individuals who are deemed necessary by the officeholder they need to conduct business with. The public is encouraged to contact the office that you need to conduct business with before coming to the courthouse,” concluded the resolution.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.