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Floyd County will follow federal rules, current policies for employee absences

Floyd County will follow federal rules, current policies for employee absences
Masons with Zach Moyle Masonry of Clermont continue work on the elevator shaft that will be part of the new Floyd County law enforcement center and courthouse update project. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson,

Floyd County supervisors continued a discussion at their regular meeting Tuesday morning regarding county employee policies in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The board ended up by approving a statement that the county would follow the federal guidelines for expanded paid sick leave for employees affected by the novel coronavirus, but for other sickness absences the existing time-off policy would remain in place.

Supervisors had discussed extending sick leave days or other provisions, but made no changes.

Supervisor Chairman Roy Schwickerath said he met with county department heads Monday afternoon and expressed the board’s sentiment that “we want to keep people working.”

“One of the things I heard out of that was they are at some point looking for direction from us, in how to function,” he said. “They’re working through things like how to have employees work from home, how to work alternate work schedules, how to maintain that social distancing.”

Supervisor Linda Tjaden said, “I look at that as every department head is responsible for figuring that out. … It’s up to the department heads to keep business going, and making sure that our employees are staying busy. Like we said yesterday, there’s plenty other things to do.”

Supervisor Doug Kamm said, “They’re able to work from home as long as our IT director says security is maintained for Floyd County.”

Schwickerath said, “I think everybody understands those things that have to be done. They understand we have to maintain security, we have to have ways to verify what your employees are doing a little bit. But it is up to each department to figure that out.”

Also at the meeting Tuesday, which was held by telephone conference call to maintain social distancing recommendations, the board heard from Brett Cruze, project manager with the Samuels Group, the county’s construction manager, that the law enforcement center project is currently proceeding as planned.

“In the construction industry there’s people that are … getting concerned with procurement of materials, if there’s any manufacturers shut down or news about projects being brought in late or waiting on things,” Cruze said.

“Everything’s moving ahead the way it should. I’ve reached out to some higher level manufacturers and distributors and they’re still running strong,” he said. “At this point in time, we’re not foreseeing any effect on schedule or procurement of materials for the project.”

Cruze added, “But obviously, just like everything else going on with this COVID-19, we take it day by day.”
Cruze said the Master Builders of Iowa and the Associated General Contractors of America had sent a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds, making the point that if shelter-in-place was ordered that many construction projects should be considered essential services.

“Especially something like a law enforcement center,” he said.

“Their letter to the governor was stating we’re keeping social distancing, we’re making sure we not having a group of 15 concrete guys in one spot within 3 feet of each other working on stuff. Everything we’re doing is open air,” he said.

“We’re keeping moving and trying to be as safe as possible, following the governor’s orders and the CDC and keep moving on this thing, day by day,” Cruze said.

Also at the meeting:

• The board held a public hearing on the proposed final plat for the RK’s Subdivision at 2648 195th Street. There were no public comments, and the board approved the plat and waived the second and third readings. Raymond Holzer is dividing a piece of property into seven lots to be sold for residential construction.

• The board accepted a bid of $12.159 per ton for 99,950 tons of crushed rock to be applied to county roads this year. The total price is $1.215 million and the single bidder was Bruening Rock Products of Decorah.

• County Engineer Dusten Rolando said his department employees would mostly be individually running road graders on the county roads this spring, so that would take care of social distancing.

“As long as it’s not raining we’ll be out blading, which is what we’d be doing in the spring, anyway,” he said.

• The board approved a change order on the law enforcement center project that will save $10,392 by substituting PVC plastic pipe instead of steel pipe for parts of the LEC and courthouse fire sprinkler system where appropriate.

• The board approved the application for the building permit for the law enforcement center and courthouse update project, to the city of Charles City for $20,000. An initial building permit had been for the groundwork and footings, and this permit will be for the above-ground part of the project, said County Auditor Gloria Carr.