Dodge County Board To Consider Changes To COVID Emergency Powers

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee recommended Monday to make a few modifications to the county’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. In March, the County Board adopted the resolution that streamlines the process to acquire state aid as well as expedites the use of resources to protect the public from the impact and spread of the coronavirus. The resolution also states that the board chairman has the ability to order (quote) “whatever is necessary” for the health, safety and protection of the citizens of Dodge County during the emergency. Usually, purchases go to committee before going to the county board for final approval.

Supervisor Jeff Schmitt wanted more clarification to the chair’s emergency power, saying that state statutes allow local governments to call emergency meetings to discuss purchases. He says he does not want to abolish the emergency declaration which could have an impact on procuring CARES Act funding, but instead modify its language to only defer purchasing when legal posting of a meeting cannot be met.

Schmitt says the change would allow for better representation to the constituents of Dodge County by having their representatives be a part of the process. He did note that there has been no issues over purchasing under the emergency declaration to date.

Supervisor Kira Sheahan-Malloy says it is time to change the wording of the resolution because after seven months there have been several examples that the county is able to conduct business as close to usual as possible.

Supervisor Dave Frohling made a motion to modify the emergency declaration to be in effect for CARES Act funding only and to move back to standard purchasing and meeting requirements, which was approved. The matter will go to the full county board for a vote next week.