A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Much of Covington City Hall operating from home, public safety employees still on the job

NKyTribune staff

Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St. resembled a “ghost town” Monday as the City ordered all “non-essential” employees to work from home – but any resulting delays in service would not affect public safety responses, leaders said.

City Hall resembled a ghost town Monday as most employees were told to work from home for the time being because of the coronavirus pandemic (provided photo).

“We want to assure our residents and businesses that our police officers, firefighters, and EMTs remain on the job, protecting the safety of this city,” Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said. “When you call, they will respond.”

The “work from home” policy was put in place to protect staff from the spread of the highly contagious strain of coronavirus that causes the potentially fatal disease COVID-19. As a way to slow down the pandemic, both the private and public sectors have sought to reduce face-to-face contact in response to recommendations and mandates from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Most of those employees sent home from City Hall today were so-called “office” workers in areas like economic development, human resources, finance, and solid waste and recycling, City Manager David Johnston said.

Most were able to forward office phones to cell phones and use laptops (and in some cases bringing home their desktops) to do work, he said.

“However, we ask residents to be patient as no doubt much of the business of City Hall will be slower than normal,” he said.

The City previously closed the building to the public and canceled almost all meetings of City-appointed boards, committees, and task forces.

Again, however, Johnston emphasized that public safety response would not be affected. The City was making every effort to put into place policies and protective equipment to keep its First Responders safe and healthy, he said.

Similarly, the Public Works Department continues to maintain parks and streets, although it switched to “A” and “B” shifts to limit the contact among workers.

Reminder: No public attendance at Board of  Commissioners meeting tonight

A meeting of the Covington Board of Commissioners will be convened at 6 p.m., tonight at the Commission Chambers, City Hall, 20 West Pike Street. Among the items under consideration are various municipal orders, including consideration of an ordinance prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts with a minor, and other items.

Per KRS 61.826, this meeting may be a video teleconference meeting. One or more members of the Board of Commissioners may participate via Skype or a similar video teleconferencing system.

The primary location will be in the City of Covington Commission Chambers.

Per KY Attorney General Opinion 20-05, public attendance will not be permitted at this meeting because, due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, it is not feasible for the City to provide a central physical location for public viewing.

The meeting will be broadcast on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website and at this link.

The City of Covington has set up a webpage outlining City announcements and actions related to COVID-19, HERE.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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