Search Entire Site

Sign up here for the Code Red Emergency Warning System for Bourbon County

March 23, 2020 9:00 am – Special Meeting – COVID 19

The Bourbon County Commissioners met in open session via phone with Lynne Oharah, Jeff Fischer, Justin Meeks, William Wallis, Shane Walker, Tammy Helm and Kendell Mason.

The Commissioners met to re-evaluate when to open the Courthouse up and to have an executive session regarding a non-elected personnel.

Lynne made a motion to open the meeting, Jeff seconded and the motion passed.

Yesterday evening the commission met in an emergency meeting to discuss the first confirmed COVID case in Bourbon County. Shortly thereafter,the Public Health Department issued a statement restricting business activities to reduce the spread of this virus. In addition to Bourbon County, Crawford and Linn Counties are under a “Lockdown” much like KC metropolitan area.

Justin Meeks said there is one confirmed case of COVID 19 in Bourbon County, on 3/22/2020 the Commissioners held a special meeting via phone to adopt the COVID 19 Public Health Emergency Resolution; Justin said this was done to assist in Federal and State funding. Justin said that we do not have an active COVID 19 case in the Courthouse.

The SEK Multi County Health Department issued an order on 3/22/2020 at 8:00 pm to restrict or prohibit business activities for all non-essential businesses and made recommendations for essential businesses to follow. This order limits the businesses contact with individuals.
Lynne read the following:

Lynne read the following:
State courts on emergency operations until further order

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court today issued Administrative Order 2020-PR-016 directing all district and appellate courts to cease all but emergency operations until further order.

The only exception is jury trials that are currently under way. They may proceed to conclusion, but no other criminal or civil jury trials will be scheduled until further order.

The Supreme Court anticipates the order to remain in effect for at least two weeks, at which time it will be reevaluated.

“This is an extraordinary measure to match the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “We have a duty to protect the people who come into our courthouses and courtrooms, as well as our employees and judges. This action allows courts to fulfill core functions while reducing in-person contact.”

Emergency operations are outlined in the Administrative Order, and generally include:
• determining probable cause for persons arrested without a warrant;
• first appearances;
• bond hearings;
• warrants for adults and juveniles;
• juvenile detention hearings;
• care and treatment emergency orders;
• protection from abuse and protection from stalking temporary orders;
• child in need of care hearings and orders;
• considering petitions to waive notice for abortions by minors;
• commitment of sexually violent predators; and
• isolation and quarantine hearings and orders.
Referenced in the Administrative Order is 2020 House Substitute for Senate Bill 102. On its publication, the court’s Administrative Order will have the effect of suspending until further order all statutes of limitations and statutory time standards or deadlines that apply to conducting or processing judicial proceedings.

During the effective dates of the order, no action will be dismissed for lack of prosecution.

People who have business with a court are urged to try completing that business online, by phone, or by mail. If that’s not possible, the person can call the court for direction. A limited number of staff will be available to answer questions.

Chief judges of district courts are charged with identifying essential personnel—both judges and employees—needed to fulfill emergency operations.

The Administrative Order also applies to appellate courts, including the Supreme Court. Emergency operations for the appellate courts include:
• Appeals, motions, or original actions arising from the emergency operations of the district court;
• Any other appeal, motion, or original action requiring expeditious resolution.
“It is through our collective action that we will slow COVID-19’s spread,” Luckert said. “The courts will continue to serve the people of Kansas, but in a way that protects all of us.”

Lynne read the following from KCAMP (our liability insurance provider): Commissioner, to reinforce what I told you on the phone, counsel has advised that government employees, officials and volunteers are immune from liability when working pursuant to a declared disaster emergency (“disaster” includes “the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe … injury or loss of life … resulting from any natural … cause, including… epidemics, contagious or infectious disease”). Except the immunity does not apply in the instance of “willful misconduct, gross negligence or bad faith” relating to precautionary measures.
To avoid “willful misconduct, gross negligence or bad faith,” those engaging in the activities should be free of symptoms (including fever) and engage in all appropriate precautionary measures (covering coughs/sneezes, disinfecting, handwashing, personal protective equipment, social distancing, etc.).
I will be drafting a communication to all members based on this information. Thanks for leading the charge!

Nick Ruhl joined in the conference call.

Lynne stated they have been discussing how to protect the employees and the public. Lynne stated it was his opinion to follow the SEK Health Departments’ declaration and close the Courthouse to the public for the next two weeks. Jeff made a motion to keep the Courthouse closed through 4/5/2020, Nick seconded and all approved. Lynne made a motion to continue the current pay process for the next two weeks, Jeff seconded and all approved. The Courthouse will be closed to both the public and non-essential employees through 4/5/2020. At this time, the employees who are not required to work will be off with pay and will not have to use sick or vacation time. At this time, the essential employees who have to work will be paid double time for time worked. Lynne asked that there not be any overtime during this pandemic. Jeff questioned if people were quarantined due to the Corona Virus would sick days apply; both Lynne and Nick didn’t think so. The County is trying to protect the employees as well as the public. The courts will be operating on an emergency bases, CNC and other cases deemed an emergency by the courts.

Jeff made a motion to cancel the next two Commission meetings (3/24 & 3/31) and if needed they will schedule an emergency meeting, Nick seconded and all approved.

Lynne made a motion to allow Shane to move forward with modifications needed to change how the offices will work with the public once the Courthouse opens back up to the public, Jeff seconded and all approved.

Lynne made a motion to go into a 30 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Shane Walker, William Wallis and Justin Meeks). No action was taken.

Jeff made a motion to give Lynne permission to talk to the County Attorney, Jacqie Spradling for matters concerning her job function, Nick seconded and all approved.

Lynne made a motion that William Wallis be allowed to talk to the department heads and elected officials about a letter from KCAMP, Jeff seconded and all approved.

Jeff made a motion to give Shane Walker the authority to discuss with the department heads the facility restraints regarding the COVID 19 virus, Nick seconded and all approved.

Lynne said this is a very serious time and they are taking steps to protect the public and employees and said they hope everyone stays safe and follows the Public Health Office guidelines.

Jeff said they have been looking at different models regarding protecting people from the Corona Virus; he felt a lockdown was the solution to help prevent the spread of the virus. He said the data suggests that one infected person will infect four more. He said with effective measures, including a lockdown, will help prevent or slow down the spread of this virus.

Jeff made a motion to adjourn, Nick seconded and all approved.

(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman
(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner
(ss) Nick Ruhl, Commissioner
Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk
April 14, 2020, Approved Date