SPECIAL BOARD MEETING—
Chairman Jean Bishop’s coronavirus-related emergency declaration for Mohave County on Wednesday was ratified by her colleagues during Friday’s special meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Public health and safety motivated social distancing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were a key consideration of the many matters addressed during what was the Board’s third meeting over five days.
Supervisors approved a recommendation to close county library facilities to the public effective immediately for at least 60 days. Library staff will remain at work, performing what functions they can and fines for returning materials late are temporarily suspended.
Department of Public Health Director Denise Burley expressed her view that it is highly likely that someone from Mohave County will be infected with the virus. She said the virus is all around northwest Arizona and that, as of Friday afternoon, Mohave and La Paz were the only Arizona counties that did not yet have a confirmed or presumptive positive case.
Supervisor Buster Johnson’s motion to hold regular board meetings once rather than twice each month was approved, for at least 60 days. Regular board meetings will be held in Kingman only, and will not be rotated to Lake Havasu and Bullhead City for the time being.
Supervisors Hildy Angius and Gary Watson strongly opposed Johnson’s wish to temporarily suspend the Call to the Public portions of board meetings. It was decided that citizens who would ordinarily speak into a common microphone during a Call to the Public must instead do so in writing.
Citizen statements that will likely be read by Board Clerk Ginny Anderson must be submitted to the county in writing by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the Board meeting.
The Board failed to address deputy county attorney Ryan Esplin’s point that citizens also have the right to speak to the Board during any public hearings it might conduct. He said their use of the same microphone for that purpose triggers the same concern that applied to the Call to the Public.
Following the meeting, Esplin confirmed that the Board did not clarify how citizens would be able to participate in public hearing agenda items. He said he was uncertain if or how that will be addressed before the next regular board meeting on April 6.
Tedious discussion of an addition to the county personnel policy occurred during the first 47 minutes of Friday’s meeting. It was decided that the policy additions will only be in effect when either the CDC or Director of Public Health for Mohave County declaring a pandemic
Approval of the item gives Directors the ability to send employees home when sick. It also provides county administrators some flexibility for employees with respect to sick time, paid time off and child care issues stemming from public school closures.
The Board agreed to suspend special use permits for mass gatherings at County Parks facilities for 60 days. It was noted four such events, two of them at Davis Camp in Bullhead City had already been canceled or postponed.