March 18, 2020

Commissioners address COVID-19 pandemic

BATAVIA, OH (March 18, 2020) – The Board of Commissioners today declared a State of Emergency in Clermont County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The action came in a room reconfigured to achieve social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. Those who had business to conduct with the board waited in a conference room with a video feed and came into the session individually to speak.

“Extraordinary times require extraordinary action,” said David Painter, president of the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioners Ed Humphrey and Claire Corcoran concurred.

The emergency declaration, along with a previous resolution delegating disaster functions in event of an absence of a quorum of the Board, spells out succession of leadership and the authority of the County Administrator in an emergency. It exempts from the competitive bidding process purchases related to the emergency that are greater than $50,000 but less than $100,000, so long as no fewer than three informal estimates are obtained.

The County Administrator is authorized to “take those actions that are necessary and appropriate, including the delegation of administrative and departmental functions among responsible staff to assure proper implementation in exercising this authority,” the resolution states. The County Administrator also will “report to the Board of Commissioners on any actions taken pursuant to this resolution.”

In the absence of a quorum of the County Commissioners, authority is designated to the County Administrator. In the absence of the County Administrator, the President of the Board may delegate to the Assistant County Administrator or Budget Director.

The resolution also activates the Clermont County Emergency Operations Center for the duration of the emergency in order to coordinate response efforts.

Pam Haverkos, the county’s Emergency Management Agency director, said the declaration would allow the county to obtain state funds in the future if needed.

In addition to the emergency declaration, the Commissioners suspended Monday meetings (except March 23) into the future as well as suspended public participation.

“Through the leadership of Clermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, we’re collaborating with first responders, hospitals, the business community and others to navigate these challenging times,” Painter said. “Our goal is to protect the health of our employees and those they serve. We seek to slow the spread of this highly contagious disease, while continuing to carry forth the essential operations of government.”

###

Full statement by Commissioner Painter:

Extraordinary times require extraordinary actions. I commend each and every one of you for the steps you have taken during this challenging time. 

It’s inspiring to see people coming together and following the advice of health experts so we don’t overwhelm our health system. People are practicing “social distancing,” as recommended by the experts, so they don’t get infected by this highly contagious disease and pass it on to the elderly and those with chronic health conditions. You’re checking on each other and supporting each other. You’re doing what it takes. You’ve taken steps to protect the public and our employees. I see resilient and innovative people rallying and doing their best at a challenging time. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clermont County government has made a number of changes in delivery of services. Some of the actions include closing waiting rooms, delaying court hearings, providing services online and getting payments via drop boxes and mail. 

We are in constant contact with our department heads and elected officials and will provide updates as they become available. 

We’re continually updating the list, available at www.clermontcountyohio.gov. The list includes specifics about what waiting rooms are closed and alternative ways of doing business with Clermont County government. You’ll see a number of online opportunities for applying for services and new ways to mail or drop off documents. 

These moves were taken in response to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, the Ohio Department of Health and our own Clermont County Public Health. 

Through the leadership of Clermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, we’re collaborating with first responders, hospitals, the business community and others to navigate these challenging times. 

Our goal is to protect the health of our employees and those they serve. We seek to slow the spread of this highly contagious disease, while continuing to carry forth the essential operations of government. 

If history concludes that we have defaulted to a position of increased safety that wasn’t warranted, we can live with that. 

One thing we can’t live with is knowing that we didn’t act when we had the chance and that lack of action resulted in you or your family being hurt.  This is a difficult for everyone.  Please be patient and understand that everyone here at Clermont County has your safety at heart even when some decisions might make life difficult for a short duration. 

If you can, limit your social distance from others, protect your children, wash your hands, keep your hands below your face when possible, and help others that need your help.  

Together we have weathered storms, droughts, floods, tornadoes, power losses, and we will rise to this challenge and overcome.  

We are Clermont County.  May God bless you and your families.