Commissioners enact county emergency measures in response to COVID-19 precautions

By: 
Paul Garrod - news4garrod@vineyardpress.biz

    PAW PAW - With the coronavirus situation rapidly changing, the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday developed an Emergency Response to COVID-19.
    Commissioners approved a recommendation from Van Buren County Administrator John Faul that closed county offices to the public on Wednesday, March 18, and will continue to April 5. Offices will re-open on April 6, unless the Emergency Order is extended.
    Faul in a recommendation to the board, said, “Because of recent developments, even as of this morning, I believe our best option is limited to closing to the public and providing essential services with essential staff. As instructed, I gave the courts, elected officials and department heads the opportunity to give me feedback before I gave my final recommendation to the board.”
    Faul’s recommendation that was approved by Commissioners also  included:
    •Only designated essential staff will be directed to report as directed by the courts, elected officials and department heads;
    •Staff previously scheduled for PTO will be charged accordingly unless cancelled by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18.
    •All staff will be paid as if they were at work because they will be expected to be available if needed. “We do not want to economically punish people for these emergency actions that force them not to come into the office, “ Fall said. To emphasize, all staff must be available to work if requested. Remote working will be allowed on a case by case basis through supervisors;
    •Non-essential travel and meetings should be cancelled during this time.
    Faul said in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, “This decision was not made lightly....Today, after careful deliberation the decision was made to close county offices and courts to the public for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of our citizens, visitors, and employees and their families.”
    Essential staff will be reporting to ensure required public services continue. The public is encouraged to contact the appropriate Office or Court via phone, e-mail or the United States Postal Service.
    For general information, refer to the County website at: www.vbco.org, call (269) 657-8200 ext. 5101 or e-mail admin@vbco.org.
    For specific departments, see below:
    •7th District Court - 7dc@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5102.
    •Administration Office and Board of Commissioners -  Admin@vbco.org, (269) 657- 8200 ext. 5101.
    •Circuit Court - 36circuitcourt@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 2340.
    •County Clerk -  clerk@vbco.org, (269) 657-8218 option 6.
    •Drain Commissioner - parmanj@vbco.org, (269) 657- 8200 ext. 5109.
    •Friend of the Court - foc@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 1501.
    •Juvenile Court - juvenilem@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5110.
    •Land Management - thart@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5501.
    •MSU Extension - msue.vanburen@county.msu.edu.
    •Probate Court - probate@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5103.
    •Prosecutors Office - ProsecutorStaff@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5104.
    •Public Defender - publicdefender@allegancounty.org, (269) 686-4720.
    •Public Transit - TransitStaff@vbco.org, (269) 427-7921.
    •Register of Deeds -ROD@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5105.
    •Sheriff - SheriffSupportStaff@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5514.
    •Specialty Court - specialtycourts@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 2478
    •State Probation - vanlopikl@michigan.gov, (269) 657-8200 ext. 2244.
    •Treasurer - TreasurerStaff@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 5108.
    •Veterans Services - krausek@vbco.org, (269) 657-8200 ext. 1612.
    To learn more about COVID-19, visit the Van Buren Cass District Health Department website at www.vbcassdhd.org, Michigan.gov/coronavirus or cdc.gov/coronavirus.

•••

    After collaboration with Van Buren County officials, Chief Judge Kathleen M. Brickley has ordered all Van Buren County Courts closed to the public through April 5.
    Absent further updates, normal court operations will resume Monday, April 6, at 8:30 a.m.
    “While our buildings will be closed, the court will be available to address all essential and emergency matters as described in our emergency operations plan which can be found on our website at www.vbco.org/courts.asp,” said  Frank Hardester, Van Buren County Trial Court Administrator.
    All inquiries about emergency services may be directed to Hardester.

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Paw Paw, MI 49079
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