Human Resources Department addresses Covid-19 issues

Clay County Human Resources Director Darren Brooke presents Covid-19 recommendations to the county board.

Karen Newman 

The Clay County Personnel Issues Committee (PIC), represented by Human Resources Director Darren Brooke, recommended and received approval for three proposals related to Covid-19 and county employees at the March 23 Clay County Commission meeting.

As he confirmed that the new government center, located at 3510 12th Avenue South in Moorhead, will be operational on March 29, Brooke said, “PIC’s recommendation would be to allow the public into the lobby areas. We would still require masks and social distancing but there’s enough area in the lobby to accommodate quite a few people… if we put some chairs in there. People aren’t going to be there a long time…they’re probably going to be in and out pretty quickly.”  He concluded, “The recommendation is that the new government center is open to the public on the 29th, so they can come into the lobby area and have government services provided to them.”

Commissioner Jenny Mongeau concurred saying, “I agree.  I think it needs to be open to the public.  The reason that we paid for it with CARES Act dollars was to do just that, make sure business as normal went on.” The facility will house the Clay County Assessor, Recorder, Auditor, Treasurer, Planning & Zoning, GIS, Human Resources, and Central Administration offices.   

The commission approved the PIC Committee’s recommendation to extend Covid-19 sick leave availability for county employees to April 30, 2021. After that policy extension will be considered on a monthly basis. The policy, granting up to 80 hours of Covid-19 sick leave for quarantine or isolation, was funded by federal dollars through December 2020.  The Clay County Commissioners previously extended the program through March. To date in 2020-2021, 258 county employees utilized the policy.  Currently, 20 individuals are isolated or quarantined. Commission Chair Kevin Campbell who also attends PIC meetings provided further information, “Once the vaccine is readily available to all of our county employees, this program should be suspended. That’s the message that our PIC committee was sending.”

The PIC Committee requested that the county board continue the employment of seven variable-hour employees who do Covid-19 contact tracing to June 30, 2021 or until the funding runs out. Brooke said, “Originally they came out of CARES funding but then the state put some money forth to pay for their wages. That grant runs out in June.”  To date, 1666 total hours have been worked since June 2020. As the commission approved this request, Kevin Campbell concluded, “They are still needed.”

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