Waterloo, Iowa March 18, 2020
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Black Hawk, in the State of Iowa, met at the Courthouse in Waterloo, County Seat of said County, at eleven thirty o’clock (11:30) a.m., pursuant to law, to the rules of said Board, and to adjournment. The meeting was called to order and on roll call there were present: Linda Laylin, Tom Little, Dan Trelka, and Chris Schwartz, Chair.
Absent: Craig White.
Unless otherwise noted, all actions were approved unanimously, White absent.
Little attended by telephone.
Moved by Laylin, seconded by Trelka that the AGENDA be received and place on file with the County Auditor as approved. Motion carried.
WORK SESSION
The Board of Supervisors discussed County preparedness for Covid-19. Schwartz said he felt the courthouse should be closed and the county should declare an emergency. Clerk of Court Arnell Ernst said that the court system has to be open for some services, and she would provide a list so that courthouse visitors could be screened. County Attorney Brian Williams said that his office also had to be open for certain services, but that he was reducing staff at the office to two attorneys and two non-attorneys. He said one courtroom would be open. Schwartz said each county department should make its own assessment of what staff is essential, and he wanted to keep as many workers home for the next two weeks as possible with no break in pay. Trelka agreed.
Human Resources Director Debi Bunger said that she needed to know the different scenarios in different offices, and that it will be tough to maintain consistency.
Trelka moved the following resolution seconded by Little.
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors orders that the Black Hawk County Courthouse and Veterans Affairs Office are closed until further notice effective immediately with the exception of essential court functions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors directs county department heads and elected officials to determine which of their employees will be considered situationally essential for current duties and which employees are not, and that non-essential employees will receive paid administrative leave for two weeks effective immediately for the time that they are not considered essential.
County Auditor Grant Veeder asked if courthouse visitors will be screened for COVID-19 exposure and checked for fever. Schwartz said that he would favor that if it there are sufficient health professionals at more critical locations. Bunger said that that would normally not be allowed under Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standards, but that the standards make an exception if a pandemic is widespread. Schwartz asked Assistant County Attorney Peter Burk to check on the legality of the proposal and said it would be discussed at the Board’s March 19 meeting.
AYES: Laylin, Little, Trelka, Schwartz.
NAYS: None.
ABSENT: White. Resolution adopted.
Bunger asked if the Board intended for the county to pay the cost of testing county employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Trelka said he thought it should.
Trelka moved the following resolution seconded by Laylin.
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that Black Hawk County pay the county employee co-pay amount for any COVID-19 testing.
AYES: Laylin, Little, Trelka, Schwartz.
NAYS: None.
ABSENT: White. Resolution adopted.
Trelka moved the following resolution seconded by Laylin.
WHEREAS a resident of Black Hawk County has tested positive for COVID-19, and
WHEREAS Black Hawk County is in imminent threat of or has suffered from the effects of a COVID-19 pandemic, and this has occurred on March 17, 2020, and
WHEREAS this is causing damage to public and private property, disruption of utilities, with an adverse effect on commerce, local government and public health and safety, therefore
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors declares a state of emergency authorized under Iowa State Statute and will execute the expenditure of emergency funds from all available sources, and may invoke mutual aid agreements and may request assistance from the State of Iowa.
AYES: Laylin, Little, Trelka, Schwartz.
NAYS: None.
ABSENT: White. Resolution adopted.
Burk said that given assemblages of people are discouraged, some future meetings may best be held electronically, but that the Board must be careful to have the Board room open to the public so people have the opportunity to hear the meeting.
On motion and vote the meeting adjourned.
Chris Schwartz, Chair, Board of Supervisors
Grant Veeder, County Auditor