By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Yamhill County approves temporary leave policy

It took four hours of debate and repeated pleas from Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin, but county commissioners on Monday made two key decisions regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

They added an emergency paid administrative leave policy for those employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by their doctors, even if they have not been tested. They also decided against enacting an emergency declaration.

Manfrin took no position on the emergency declaration issue, other than to tell commissioners her department is stressed and working overtime now, and will likely need help soon.

However, she asked commissioners several times not to require employees who have been told by their doctors to stay home to also receive a directive from Public Health. She also asked them not to require testing for the virus, if the employees’ doctors have made a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms. Testing availability remains limited, she said.

The debate concerned a new policy commissioners approved Monday that would create two weeks of paid administrative leave for those who have either been diagnosed with the virus, or are caring for family members who have.

Commissioner Casey Kulla requested the county broaden the new leave policy, noting currently it doesn’t appear to apply to any county employees.

He was overruled by commissioners Rick Olson and Mary Starrett, who argued employees who need to stay home to care for their children, or want to self-isolate because they or a family member is high risk, can use the time they have available for sick leave and vacation.

Employees low on paid time off, they said, can seek donations of extra time through a county sharing program that County Administrator Ken Huffer said is being expanded to allow for that use.

Kulla also urged the county to enact a declaration of emergency now, but was again overruled by his colleagues. Both Olson and Starrett said they fear causing public panic with such a declaration, and noted one can be declared at the board’s meeting on Thursday, should it become necessary.

Olson said he was comfortable with waiting, after learning that “in a true emergency,” the county can call special meetings without the otherwise-legally-required 24-hour notice.

Starrett said the county should gather information about how many county departments are having to modify day-to-day operations in response to the pandemic.

Commissioners also discussed their meeting schedule, and decided to scale back from two to one meeting per week. Huffer said the county does not currently have the ability to live-stream meetings. They are audiotaped, but not videotaped. Audiotapes are made available on the county’s website, www.co.yamhill.or.us.

 

Comments

David S. Wall

Post 1

"Kulla also urged the county to enact a declaration of emergency now, but was again overruled by his colleagues. Both Olson and Starrett said they fear causing public panic with such a declaration, and noted one can be declared at the board’s meeting on Thursday, should it become necessary.

Olson said he was comfortable with waiting, after learning that “in a true emergency,” the county can call special meetings without the otherwise-legally-required 24-hour notice."

Good job to Commissioner Kulla.

Let us see if there really is an emergency:

Sixteen states have activated their state national guards, the San Francisco Bay area is shut down, New York is teetering on a complete shut down; the Secretary of the Treasury wants to act like former Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang and give Americans $1000 dollars; the President wants to stimulate the economy with a Trillion dollars we do not have, putting us in debt to $24 Trillion dollars; Schools are using school buses, employees, gas to deliver prepared foods to students and their families (at taxpayer expense); Governor Brown shuttered all restaurants, bars and so did the Governor of Washington...does any of the aforementioned count towards an "emergency?"

What happens when the money runs out? Anarchy? Vigilantism?

It is time to bring back "Victory Gardens" and protect to agricultural lands from commercial and residential development.

It is time to have Vendor-No Fee-Farmer's and Flea Markets at the Fairgrounds.

It's time for many changes to help one another.

David S. Wall

David S. Wall

POST 2

"Starrett said the county should gather information about how many county departments are having to modify day-to-day operations in response to the pandemic."

The County Administrator (a position of questionable utility) should have already made an assessment of his Department's service capabilities in the face of the pandemic and provided the information to the Commissioners.

"Commissioners also discussed their meeting schedule, and decided to scale back from two to one meeting per week. Huffer said the county does not currently have the ability to live-stream meetings. They are audiotaped, but not videotaped. Audiotapes are made available on the county’s website, www.co.yamhill.or.us."

The quality of the "audio taped" meetings is less than substandard. The County Attorney appears to routinely speak in a low voice and or not into the microphone at all.

Improvement must be made to the public recordings of the Board of Commissioner's meetings.

Should "audiotaped" be "audio taped?"

David S. Wall

David S. Wall

POST 3

"Commissioners also discussed their meeting schedule, and decided to scale back from two to one meeting per week."

Now this statement is down-right precious. What a unique way to get out of work.

Where it is reasonable the Commissioner's conference room, in the dilapidated "White House," is cramped and has very poor ventilation (attendees can attest to the poor ventilation when one of the Commissioners "breaks-wind"), expiration from the "other end" can easily spew micro-droplets all over everyone; necessitating an "emergency" not to have the "Informal Meeting" in the conference room due to spreading the plague.

Now due to scheduling requirements in the Court House, the Commissioners may have to schedule a "second meeting time at night." This is going to be of great value to the citizens (who still have to work during the day) to attend BOC meetings at night...

...Or, a change in venue is needed to keep the BOC working during daylight hours.

David S. Wall

M. Isaac

In the above post should Court House be Courthouse?

Lulu

Well, it's tough to whip up a Victory Garden overnight.

OregonBorn

Wow David.

You have a lot of time on your hands.

Congratulations.