July 16, 2020
July 16, 2020
Commissioners Scott Blain and Bill Bullock, and Administrative Officer Angela Newell were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance
8:40 Gordon Sirrine joined the meeting (teleconference).
Bullock moved to accept the Justice Court End of Period Disbursement for June 30, 2020; Blain seconded; motion carried.
9:00 Drug and Alcohol testing policy. Bullock moved to approve the Carbon County Alcohol and Controlled Substance Policy; Blain seconded; discussion regarding policy effective date; it will be immediately effective for new employees and a 60-day period before it is effective for existing employees; motion carried.
Bullock moved to approve Commissioners’ minutes for July 7th and 9th, 2020; Blain seconded; motion carried.
9:30 City of Red Lodge Mayor Bill Larson. Discussion regarding Governor’s Directive mandating face coverings. 9:35 Carbon County News reporter Eleanor Guerrero joined (teleconference). Discussion of street closures for Harley Rodeo weekend; Larson noted some side streets and Broadway will be closed to better accommodate social distancing. Additional porta toilets have also been rented for public use to keep business bathrooms from being overwhelmed. Discussion regarding Red Lodge Police Department; some residents are pushing the national trend to defund the department. Discussed airport water and sewer issues and goals for the airport going forward; the Airport Board will have its own section in the County Capital Improvement Plan.
10:00 County Attorney Alex Nixon joined (teleconference) for his regular appointment. Discussion regarding the Governor’s masking Directive; Nixon plans to enlist the assistance of peace officers for compliance with a focus on education; he would like to balance compliance with the Directive while limiting the burden to the courts with a high volume of criminal cases. It was noted the Directive is enforceable only against businesses and other persons who are responsible for indoor spaces open to the public, or sponsors of organized outdoor activities as defined in this Directive. Blain expressed concerns about peace officer time allotment for education and enforcement with limited personnel. Discussion about dispatch protocols to limit the need for Officer response.
Bullock noted currently 12 active cases in Carbon County, with a total of 49 in quarantine, and 1 active hospitalization. Nixon will develop an enforcement plan with Sheriff and Chiefs.
10:20 Red Lodge Airport Manager Jim Chittick met with Commissioners to discuss inventory reporting protocols.
10:24 Sirrine and Guerrero departed the meeting.
10:30 Bullock moved to approve the Lease Agreement with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division; Blain seconded; motion carried.
11:00 Department Head meeting regarding the County’s implementation of the Governor’s COVID-19 Mandatory Face Covering Directive attended by: Justice of the Peace Kevin Nichols, Treasurer Lori Lynde, Clerk and Recorder Christine Stovall, Sheriff Josh McQuillan, Undersheriff Jeff Schmalz; via teleconference were County Attorney Alex Nixon, Clerk of Court Rochelle Loyning, Weed District Coordinator Brian Ostwald, Extension Agent Nikki Bailey, and Commissioners’ Secretary Barbara Daniel. Bullock reviewed exceptions in the Directive. Discussion about closing offices to public again except by appointment; Stovall noted her office was able to function well with the building closed. Discussed conflicts between members of the public regarding enforcing masks; Department Heads do not want to put employees in a position to have those confrontations or to have to spend the time enforcing mask wearing. Nixon noted he has discussed the directive with law enforcement; he believes they are all on same page and will require officers to wear face coverings in areas open to the public. Discussion regarding the Motor Vehicle Examiner; will have to address with MVD. 11:10 DES Coord. / Fire Warden Tom Kohley joined and Loyning joined in person. Discussion regarding glass barriers and use of the Admin Building drive thru; consensus that it would not be acceptable to the public to close offices again. Discussion regarding continuity of government 11:20 Nixon joined the meeting in person. Discussion about best practices; employees will be expected to wear masks in all publicly accessible areas when the public is present and while interacting with public when there is not a barrier separating them, or when interacting with other employees when social distancing is not possible. Nixon encourage mask wearing when interfacing with public from behind the glass. Commissioners confirmed they do not expect employees to enforce mask wearing; they may ask those coming in to comply. Loyning suggested sign noting masks required in public areas; Newell will provide signage so it is uniform across all buildings. Discussion regarding continuity of government and ensuring social distancing between staff to limit exposure and potential for department wide quarantines.
McQuillan asked what happens if there is pushback from employees; noncompliance while on duty will be considered insubordination. Bailey noted for the County Fair next week, they will enforce social distancing and encourage mask wearing at all outdoor events; indoor events will require all attendees to wear masks. 11:40 Scott Miller joined the meeting. Kohley has masks for employees (supplied by State Disaster and Emercency Services) and Newell will order masks for offices to provide to the public.