The Town of Parker is attempting to provide all essential services as best as they can while also protecting Town employees during the current pandemic. That was the message of a Town Council work session held Tuesday, Jan. 12.
To this end, the Town Council will be going back to holding meetings online on Zoom. This was originally begun back in March, when much of the state was closed down by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The Council meetings were later reopened to the public on a limited basis, with face masks and social distancing mandatory.
Given how quickly the number of cases have grown in recent months, Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer said they will be holding meetings on Zoom.
For more information about these meetings, call Town Clerk Amy Putnam at 928-669-9265.
The purpose of the Jan. 12 work session was to allow department heads to describe their contingency plans and the chain-of-command in case that department head or their employees test positive for the virus.
Mayor Karen Bonds said some departments were short-staffed, and she’d heard concerns from residents about whether town services would be provided.
Wedemeyer said the front window at Town Hall would be open for receiving magistrate court and water payments. However, the rest of Town Hall would be closed. She said the staff would still be on hand to answer any phone calls from residents and others.
Senior Center Director Darla Tilley said the center was closing for congregate meals and activities, but they would still provide meals on a drive-through basis, and they would still be providing meals for homebound seniors.
Public Works Director Steve Ziegler said five of the department’s 13 employees have tested positive for the virus. All have gone through quarantine and are back at work. If he or the Public Works Supervisor test positive, one will handle the other’s duties until the other returns from quarantine. If both test positive, the Fleet Maintenance Supervisor will be in charge.
In a memo to the Council, Police Chief Mike Bailey said they’d had one employee test positive for the coronavirus. This employee is in quarantine, and his symptoms are not severe. Five employees have had direct contact with someone in their households who has been tested positive for the virus. Two employees have household members who have active coronavirus cases.
Bailey said these employees are allowed to continue working under the guidelines of the La Paz County Health Department as they are deemed essential employees and they are not showing any symptoms. All employees are required to wear face coverings while inside any town building or in close proximity to anyone.
The chain-of-command in the police department is as follows: Chief Michael Bailey, Lt. Jonny Ferris, Sgt. Mike Thompson and Senior Officer William Lucas.
Community Development Director Nora Yackley said fees can be paid at the front window, and they can also take in license and permit applications and plans. If two or more people in the department are out, other agencies can pick up their duties, including the police department for code enforcement and the public works department for the cemetery.
Yackley said plan reviews can be done remotely. The Town has a Memorandum of Understanding with La Paz County for plan reviews and inspections if they are needed.
Library Director Tracy McConnell said they wanted to implement an e-mail pick-up service for their patrons. If someone wants a book or other library materials, they could e-mail the library and ask if it’s available. The staff could locate the book or materials asked for and call the patron to let him or her know they can come pick up the books or materials. The staff would deliver the items to the patron in the parking lot.
Wedemeyer acknowledged it’s tough to provide services at this time. She said she wanted town residents to know they will provide services as best as they are able to.
“No one knows a fool-proof answer to all this,” she said.
The phone number for Town Hall is 928-669-9265.