March 17, 2020 – The governor has implemented changes in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 that directly impact many of our municipal clients, including villages, towns, and cities. Below is an outline of those changes that we feel most directly and significantly impact municipalities.
- Any March village elections are postponed to April 28, 2020.
- Local governments with their own local police departments or emergency services must provide surgical masks to their police officers and emergency responders.
- The governor has asked that local governments identify places within their municipalities that can easily be converted to medical facilities.
- All local governments have been called upon to reduce their workforce by at least 50% and to allow nonessential employees to stay at home. We suggest allowing nonessential employees to work remotely from home and, to the extent practicable, enacting staggered shifts for essential employees, including office staff, Highway Department, or Department of Public Works employees.
- The governor has suspended laws and regulations relating to emergency procurement to the extent necessary to purchase equipment, services, supplies, or materials without following the standard procurement procedures.
- The governor has suspended Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, thus permitting any public body to meet and take such actions authorized by law without permitting public/in-person access to meetings and authorizing such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or other similar service. The public must have the ability to view and listen to such proceedings and the meetings must be recorded and later transcribed.
Hopefully, with these changes, local governments can continue serving their constituents seamlessly and with as little disruption in services as possible. If we can be of any assistance please feel free to contact Scott Middleton at any time at (631) 738-9100, ext. 302, or firstname.lastname@example.org.