Commissioners hold emergency meeting to protect employees

Dawn Rye | Writer

On Sunday, March 15 at 1 p.m. the Turner County commissioners held an emergency meeting regarding the next time with the COVID-19 virus. A motion was made to close the courthouse to the public and the commissioners will reconvene to make a further decision to protect the employees.

Highway Superintendent Kent Austin said he spoke with the Lincoln County Highway Superintendent that Lincoln would host a meeting to discuss the options of employees. He noted South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) employees would be off for seven days unless there is a reason to call them in.

Turner County Sheriff Steven Luke said all deputies would be using gloves at all times when coming in contact with anyone. He explained they are going to limit interaction with nonessential threats and trying to limit contact with the public and using the necessary precautions like washing hands.

Commissioner Mick Miller asked if there is still a jury selection?

State Attorney Katelynn Hoffman said she has been checking with the judge who has not made a decision. She explained the Clerk of Courts already summoned in a selection of individuals. Hoffman noted they are expecting 50 jurors and one panel on Monday, March 30. She noted her office does have the ability to work remotely an option.

Chairman Lyle VanHove asked Hoffman how does she describe nonessential?

Hoffman said Lynette Almond is a state employee and she can stay home, however, the Clerk of Courts James Walker is essential but is at the most risk due to past health issues.

Commissioner Tony Ciampa said in his opinion the courthouse front doors and place a sign on the door and under the discretion of the department wants the allow that individual in. He noted that employees still have the opportunity to come to work but not have to worry about being exposed to the public.

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