Commission operations continue as ‘essential’

By Kelsey Kimbler -

PREBLE COUNTY — Following Governor Mike DeWine’s “Stay at Home” order he issued last Sunday night, the Preble County Commissioners discussed operations on Monday, March 23.

Ultimately, the board decided “nothing had really changed” and they would continue operations as discussed the week prior.

“We are essential services — we’re the government. Do we want to try to limit our hours just allow the public in for our meetings and have all the departments make appointments? It sounds like most departments are pretty much closed,” Commission President Denise Robertson said.

Commissioner Rodney Creech added, “Nothing has really changed because of this order for us. It comes down to us making the same decisions we were making last week.”

“I look at it at this point as, we’ve got someone at the door. To my knowledge, I asked them, they turned away one person last week who had a 99.1 degree fever. That is one thing I would ask, [that] they keep track of how many people they do turn away. That may help us make a decision in the future. So far, what I’ve seen out here, everybody seems to be pretty good with it and we still have to give the people a right to get their business done,” Commissioner Chris Day said.

Robertson said, nothing in the new order seems to change the decisions they had previously made.

“I guess we’ll continue as is. Each department — we’ve told them already — they are allowed to do what they want. We do have a letter that is out on our website [that details office closures],” Robertson said.

She added, they will need to update the letter to add additional offices that were not included on the original.

Commissioner Creech asked if they should also document which offices the public is visiting, but Commission Clerk Kim Keller responded, the security guard is already asking that question to visitors.

Keller added, they are taking names of everyone who visits the courthouse, on the “off chance” there is a case in the courthouse it is easier to notify those who many have been in contact with that individual.

Day asked if they should suspend most of the business they are doing until the two weeks are over. Keller asked if they would be interested in only having one meeting a week instead.

“Isn’t next week supposed to be the last week of it?” Commissioner Robertson asked.

Keller responded, it is this week, next week, and then they will “reconsider.”

Commissioner Day suggested to leave it at two meetings a week, as they can always cancel a meeting if they do not have any business for that day. He was interested in limiting appointments with departments and outside agencies.

Keller agreed to let departments know to send their reports and the commissioners will let them know if they need to meet in person to discuss anything.

Later in the meeting, Robertson asked if they should call a meeting with departments to let them know there will be “no change.” However, Creech suggested to send an email to notify them, in order to limit face-to-face interaction. The commissioners informed Keller to send an email informing offices and departments that the courthouse will continue to operate as they previously determined.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH