PREBLE COUNTY — Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Preble County Commissioners have suspended non-essential meetings during their twice weekly meeting.
Department heads have been asked to submit their reports via email instead of in-person. During their meeting on Wednesday, March 25, commissioners reviewed both the Job and Family Services and EMA Report.
Emergency Management Agency (EMA)
According to Director Dave Anderson’s report, COVID-19 Pandemic response is taking a large amount of time. There are sometimes daily calls from CDC, State EMA, and ODH with vital information for situational awareness. The office has also been working with Preble County Public Health (PCPH) with the opening of the Department Operations Center (DOC). EMA has been helping collect and distribute PPE to first responders and health care professionals.
In other business:
•EMA’s new server has all hardware in and working. EMA is still waiting on DTGi to schedule a time to finish configuring the system.
•LEPC Tire 2 forms are coming in and completed as time permits.
•All schools are scheduled for Shelter in Place presentation dependent on COVID-19.
•LEPC is working on annual exercise with the contractor recently sent the contract.
•CERT members are on standby in case they are needed.
Job and Family Services
Commission President Denise Robertson read the following letter from Director Becky Sorrell, “February was a fairly typical month in both Children Services and JFS, however that is certainly not going to be the case for March!
“As you know, the staff are working a split shift, working from home on the days they are not in the office. This reduces the number of contacts in the office, while allowing the agency to continue business as usual with the least disruption to our clients and our staff. Serving our clients is our number one priority, and this includes keeping both clients and staff safe during this emergency.
“The agency receives new applications for public assistance on an average of 8 applications per day or 255.8 per month. On [March 24], we received 21 new applications for public assistance, and we expect that this is just the tip of the ice burg. Working more than double their applications may put the agency in a place that will require overtime for some staff to accomplish serving the customers. I have not had an opportunity to track the number of incoming phone calls since we closed the lobby, but we have received non-stop calls regarding unemployment applications. While we are not the unemployment agency, the staff have been able to answer many questions that customers are asking regarding applying and the application process.
“I could not be prouder of the staff at Preble County Job and Family Services. In spite of their concerns regarding the Coronavirus, they continue to do the good work they are entrusted to do. They are ensuring that children and the elderly are safe from abuse and neglect by completing face to face investigations with proper safety equipment, they are working to not only determine eligibility for the Preble County citizens, but also assisting with other counties through our shared services system. Child Support is continuing to ensure that children receive the money owed them and they are fielding many calls from those affected by the lay offs regarding supporting their children. Staff have volunteered to do work outside of their job descriptions if it means helping the people we are here to serve. You should be very proud of your staff who show up and do more than is required of them to serve the citizens of this county while the state continues to be in a state of emergency.”
After reading, Robertson said, “I couldn’t agree more. I am very happy with our staff who are dedicated to their jobs.”