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2020-3-23 Emerg Minutes

For a printable version of the March 23, 2020 Emerg Meeting Minutes (which includes all content as listed below), click here.

March 23, 2020

The Board of County Commissioners of Creek County (BOCC) met in Emergency Session on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 11:00 a.m., date and time duly posted.

Item #1: Meeting was called to order at 11:00 a.m. by Chairman, Newt Stephens Jr. Roll Call Stephens present, Warner present, and Whitehouse present. Bret Bowling, Andrew Goforth, Assistant District Attorney, Max Cook, District Attorney, JaNell Enlow, Assessor, Marie Stephens, Deputy Assessor, Covey Murray Emergency Management, Jana Thomas, Purchasing Agent, Lou Martin, Jr., Interim City Mayor, Suzanne Shirey, Sapulpa Chamber, Carla Stinnett, Attorney, Judges Golden, Hake, Hammers and Farris, Sean Downes, Attorney, Amanada Vanorsdol, Court Clerk, Wendy Murray, Planner, Ashley Drake, Planner Dana Logsdon, Deputy Commissioner, Don Engle, Treasurer, Gloria Ware, Deputy Treasurer, Deanna Engle, Resident, Jonathan Kieffer, Fairgrounds, Pete Sellers, Sapulpa Interim Police Chief, and David Taylor.

Item #2: Statement of compliance with open meetings act-Chairman.

Item #3: DISCUSSION ONLY on process and procedures dealing with COVID-19. Stephens stated that he has had discussion about concerns, comments and what are we going to do with our COVID-19 procedures. I want to know how everyone feels, what your input on what we should do is. Warner stated we need to address the buildings. Stephens stated I think that we should close the complex down from the public what are the feeling of everyone else. Enlow also recommended that we close to the public, let's think about our employees. We still have a lot of foot traffic and I cannot keep that separation within my office, I have tried. This will not come as a surprise to the general public and it may become a normal process for a while. I have already implemented steps within my office to offer services electronically and am trying to continue to come up with ways to do so. The Attorney General just from today's conference urges everyone to begin to implement a process and try and conduct business without the public present. I think we need to work together help each other out during this time.  Judge Golden spoke briefly about the core services that have to be offered under the constitution, we have already implemented a process and are only hearing limited situations. We are offering emergency situations, upon review of emergency by appointments to the offices to address issues. We would like to reduce the amount of hours of services being offered. Kelly Hake and others have already started video access or the ability to conduct issues through Skype during this time. We are able to provide services through the jail with a video link that has been established. Judge Hake spoke about the judicial order and what dockets are currently suspended.  We are here to assist with emergency dealings for civil order and assist the Sheriff with the Jail. Judge Woolery, Hammers and Farris have all had hearings electronically and have been successful. We are thinking of working with reduced staff and hours, this would minimize the impact of having a person man the temperature and health screening in the Courthouse. Stephens the reduced hours concerns me, as we are public servants to the people. I think it is important to continue with regular business hours to assist the public. The general public we need to give them the ability to handle their business by appointments. We have meeting issues that we need to discuss and how do we allow the public to still attend them. Maybe we implement no general public until midnight on Sunday, to allow the public to attend our meeting on Monday. There was discussion of the Elected Official letting people off during this time with pay or alternating employees. We just need to document what hours are not worked on a separate piece of paper and turn into the County Clerk's Office to keep on file. Johnny Brock asked if an Elected Official can shut down their office or is that a decision of the County Commissioners. Stephens stated that offices very in what statutes they must follow. Mortazavi agreed that we should close the building down to the general public and have access by appointment only. I do think we need to address a drop box of some sort to the public. Don Engle, Treasurer offered the drive-thru bank to any of the offices that would like to utilize it for drop off services for the public. We will have someone out there taking tax payments and can call each office when someone is going to leave an item. Judge Golden also stated that there are electronic filing options and the Court Clerk is setup to take credit card payments. Amanda Vanorsdol, Court Clerk stated that her office is following the CDC recommendations and are working half-staff each day. Judge Farris stated we need to lead the way keeping the public safe, work together and find ways to become innovative and still provide essential services to the public. We are still public servants and I never want to overlook that. Stephens stated we are going to take this on week by week bases and we all know things are changing all the time. A lot of this is going to be by trial and error, Enlow stated. Enlow agreed with Stephens. There was more discussion of how each office wants to work their staff; also clarification of restricted access to the general public was discussed with Sean Downes and Carla Stinnett.

Item #4: Motion was made by Stephens and seconded by Warner to restrict all access to employees only and all other by appointment only effective immediately for the Courthouse Complex, Election Board and OSU Extension Office, excluding all Regular Meetings, Special Meetings, and Emergency Meetings, as necessary until 8:30 a.m. on March 30, 2020. There were several attempts to make motion that lead to being stricken. The emphasis on protecting our employees was agreed on by the majority of people present. There was discussion on documentation of employees and a process of how to handle an employee that may have been affected by the COVID-19 virus with new laws that were implemented. There was discussion with Sean Downes and the wording of other motions stating closed to the general public. Closed gives a false statement, you need to be good Stuarts of the taxpayers and informing your audience, we all need to be on the same page and work together. Cook asked if Downes was suggesting that closed be changed to restricted access subject to appointments. We just need to clear on what is received by the people. People are starving for information, we need to be clear so they we can help them begin to process what is being stated. There was continued discussion of what services have to be offered statutorily. There was discussion of upcoming meetings and how they may be handled, I think we are getting a little ahead of ourselves and just need to take this one step at a time. Judge Hake asked if the Courthouse could have slightly different hours than the complex, Stephens stated I just don't see that as an option, what you choose to do as far as appointments is on you. There was discussion of trying to be fiscally reasonable and not have someone staffed from 8-5 to take temperatures and ask health questions. Stephens stated that cost is very minimal. There was discussion of the effects of closing the building would impact Main Street renting the ballroom. Warner stated not only do we have employees looking at us to see what guidance we are going to give, but we also have cities within county looking at us well. I think we need to support the CDC guidelines and ask that they follow the rules in place, like social distancing, etc. Stephens stated I am not a fan of making a decision for the people and violating their constitutional rights. I will not ever violate anyone's constitutional rights ever. Deanna Engle, local business owner stated that the franchise business are controlling their business, I ask that for small business owners you let the citizens of Creek County make that decision themselves. If they choose to go out or stay home is their choice and I don't think we should tell them what they can do. There was continued discussion with Don Engle on the compensation of employees during this time, if we choose to go half-staff, do we then compensate the employees full pay. Stephens and all others stated yes, it is not the choice of the employee we are making that decision. Again, it is up to each Elected Official within their office on how they want to handle it. There was discussion of how Fedex and UPS, etc. will deliver packages, we will just have a sign with phone numbers to each office for them to contact. There was discussion of what building, offices are County owned or mandated by following county implantations.  Jana Thomas, Purchasing Agent stated she spoke with the Health Department this morning and they have already implemented by appointment only and not allowing more than ten people in at a time. The Fairgrounds was discussed, if you guys still want to have meetings and things you can. You can open up the dining hall and spread everyone out. This implementation does not include the Fairgrounds Stephens stated. Vote as follows: Stephens - Aye, Warner - Aye, Whitehouse - Aye. Warner stated now we need to address the guidelines. Motion was made by Warner and seconded by Whitehouse that the Board strongly recommends that all persons and business follow the latest CDC guidelines concerning the COVID-19 viruses. Vote as follows: Stephens - No, Warner - Aye, Whitehouse - Aye.

Public Comment: NONE

Adjournment: Motion was made by Stephens and seconded by Whitehouse at 12:15 adjourn. Vote as follows: Stephens - Aye, Warner - Aye, Whitehouse - Aye.