Crawford County Courthouse building reopened to the public with restrictions
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Crawford County Courthouse building opened back up to the public for reduced hours and with employees working less hours as the community starts its comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners, through a virtual meeting held on Wednesday, June 10, approved plans to open up the county building.
The courthouse building was reopened to the public on Monday, June 15. The hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Crawford County Administrator Paul Compo, in a memo to county officials and employees, said The State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has been promoting a program called Work Share.
The main purpose of the program is to eliminate layoffs and allow employers to bring back employees at a reduction of hours until the need for additional hours is warranted.
Compo said that the Circuit Court is not expected to resume jury trials until August. He said the Family Court and District Court will do some in-person hearings in July.
“Until they ramp up, I don’t know if we’re going to need everybody here as much as we normally do,” Compo said.
Two labor unions, representing courthouse employees, agreed to the program.
The revised work schedule includes all court employees.
The housing clerk and veterans clerk will work two days a week. The chief register of deeds, deputy clerk, the two equalization clerks, housing director, and part-time secretary in the sheriff’s office will work three days a week.
The chief deputy treasurer and victims advocate will work four days a week.
The confidential secretary for the prosecutor’s office will work three and a half days a week, while the confidential secretary for the sheriff’s office will work four and a half days a week.
The legal secretary, maintenence director, building director, building clerk, animal control officer, court administrator, and county administrator will work four and a half days a week.
Through July 25, those employees will be eligible for the $600 weekly payment though the federal Cares Act.
“They will make more money than they would working their normal schedule,” Compo said. “Additionally, the days they are not working will provide budget relief.”
The undersheriff, jail administrator, and detective at the sheriff’s office are not part of the program.
Compo said most employees have been successful in getting unemployment benefits while some have had a few glitches.
“We still have two people who have not received anything, and we just had four or five that have been cut off because of fraud investigation which is the state’s new initiative,” Compo said.
The hours will be maintained through July 31. Employees working those hours will receive a 30-minute unpaid lunch.
Compo said that revenue losses due to the pandemic are projected to be between $230,000 to $250,000.
Expenses are down $30,000 and having employees work reduced work hours will help.
“That could change either way moving forward and we will evaluate it every time we close a month out,” Compo said.
Employees will continue to self-monitor their health, symptoms, and temperatures before coming to work. If symptoms or temperature exist, employees must stay at home and call their supervisors.
Employees will continue to wash and or sanitize their hands upon entering and leaving the building. If employees are in their work area alone, or if they have a protected barrier in for their service counter, employees are not required to wear a mask. However, if they leave their common area, employees are expected to wear a mask.
All patrons should be in a mask or they will not be permitted into the building. People who are not permitted in the building for whatever reason or are uncomfortable entering due to the pandemic must be permitted to conduct their businesses remotely with whatever accommodations that are needed.
Pens, which are needed for patrons to use, will be kept in a white basket. Once used, they will be placed in a red basket. Employees will be required to disinfect pens in the red basket prior to leaving for the day.
Employees will regularly disinfect their work area and shared equipment at least twice a day. The county will attempt to order necessary supplies, but will reimburse employees for cleaning materials if they would like to bring their own.
The county will be limiting the number of people in offices based upon spacing requirements. In most offices, there would be no more than one additional person aside from the employee. Courtrooms are limited to 10 people total. The clerk and the treasurer’s vault will be limited to three people total.
The benches have been removed from the lobby and chairs were put out to adhere to proper social distancing.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners will hold its next regular meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 25, via Zoom, an audio and video computer application.
The county board hopes to continue to hold its monthly committee meetings at 5:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, if the board can continue to hold virtual meetings.