Wyoming County Commissioners turned their public work session Thursday into a public meeting to ratify a list of directives it had sent out the day before regarding severe restrictions on the conduct of county business in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
On Friday it adopted an even more strict policy with a directive from Commissioners Rick Wilbur, Tom Henry and Ernie King shutting down the county courthouse, activity in the Robinson building and Hollowcrest at 4 p.m. and through Friday, April 3.
The county’s 911 center and the correctional facility remain open during the 2-week period with all unionized employees who are working on site to be paid at a rate of time and a half for hours worked. The commissioners noted, “This is not required by the collective bargaining agreements in place but has been approved by the county commissioners since 24/7 operation employees are required to be on duty.”
During Thursday’s meeting the commissioners ratified a 3-page directive, then began to modify it as the meeting unfolded, when Commissioner Wilbur said payments for the jail inmates for commissary privileges could only be paid through money orders, which was accepted as an amendment.
He expected many more amendments would follow.
The commissioners on Thursday, also spoke to the notion that because of the coronavirus crisis and concerns for all Wyoming County employees’ health, its future commissioners meeting would be live audio-streamed so the press could listen in, but that protocol had not been worked out, solicitor Paul Litwin said.
County Clerk Bill Gaylord said the goal was to have the equipment up and running by its then next meeting, then set for Thursday, March 25.
However, the commissioners now will not be meeting until after April 3.
The directive noted that all “emergency judicial hearings, magistrate hearings and other critical functions will be handled with limited staffing with levels to be decided by department managers.”
It also noted, “All employees will be paid for the next two weeks through April 3 at their regular rate as they are paid now.”
The directive concluded: “Please do everything you can to stay safe so we can all ride this crisis out safely together. This will be re-evaluated on April 3 and a decision will be made on what we will be doing, going into the future.”