GREEN RIVER — After much discussion, the Sweetwater County Commissioners unanimously approved COVID-19 guidance for its employees to follow on Tuesday.
Human Resources Director Garry McLean said the new guidelines will help the county address growing concerns with COVID-19 issues. They’re meant to give all employees a better idea of what to expect should they be exposed to COVID-19 or if they test positive.
McLean said dealing with COVID-19 cases has been difficult for the county because situations differ among departments. Road and Bridge employees exposed to the virus may not be in the same situation as an office employee surrounded by more people because they often work alone and outdoors.
McClean said the guidance will help Human Resources track time off more efficiently for each department.
Clerk of District Court DonnaLee Bobak encouraged the commissioners to use the plan as county officials met after receiving the guidance and wanted to ask the commissioners to allow for more discussion on this before taking action.
Bobak said she’d rather see these guidelines become practice rather than policy. She said with COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention change guidelines regularly, and it’s easier to change guidelines than policy.
The County’s Guidance is below:
“This seems to be a good start even though there are concerns,” Commissioner Roy Lloyd said.
Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld said she feels the county is already behind on this and should have already had some guidelines in place. She was against waiting another two weeks to make a decision on the proposed guidance.
Schoenfeld said the county needs to have some guidance in place knowing that they can continue working on it. She said if the other elected officials had concerns about it, they should have presented the commission with their concerns prior to the meeting.
“I think it is a big liability if we don’t have something like this in place,” Schoenfeld said.
Chairman Randy Wendling agreed with the other commissioners on needing something in place now and pointed out that this document is a “living document” and it will be changed as needed.
Sweetwater County Deputy Attorney John DeLeon said the commission should adopt the recommendations as guidelines instead of policy. That will allow the county more leeway to adjust the guidance to apply to different circumstances within various departments. DeLeon said after the county works with the current guidance for a week or two it will have a better idea of where changes need to be made.
DeLeon said if the recommendations were adopted as a policy, then the guidance would have to be implemented in every situation. After considering all of the issues, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the recommendations as guidance.
The Commission approved a resolution changing the Tuesday, November 2, meeting to Wednesday, November 3, at 8:30 a.m. The change was recommended due to the election taking place.