Richland county commissioners

Richland County commissioners Tony Vero and Marilyn John meet on Tuesday morning. 

MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners Tuesday approved a remote work agreement as local officials continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the wake of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday issuing a "stay at home" order for non-essential employees, commissioners drafted and approved an agreement that covers departments under their control, about 150 employees.

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Commissioners said most of the county's work cannot be done remotely so this order would only affect a maximum of about 10 percent of those employees.

Among other things, the agreement dictates:

-- employees must still comply with all county and departmental rules, regulations, policies and cirectives.

-- employees using leave during a time they are working remotely must comply with all standard policies and procedures and obtain prior approval from their supervisor.

-- employees are responsible for accurately reporting hours worked.

-- employees must maintain and submit a work log to their supervisor no less than every week, unless otherwise directed.

-- the county has the right to conduct onsite visits of a remote worker's work site during regularly scheduled work hours. Advance notice is not required for the visits.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners:

-- discussed a pending opinion from the Ohio Attorney General regarding how local government can comply with the state's public meetings law during the coronavirus outbreak. Commissioners said they have been told, as of now, that all public meetings must be done in person and open to the public. Mansfield City Council met March 18 in a meeting closed to the public that the city live-streamed on its Facebook page. Commissioners discussed the potential of reducing its meetings to once per week.

-- explained there is no need for the county to declare a state of emergency since the county is statutorily covered under DeWine's statewide emergency declaration. The cities of Mansfield and Shelby did declare a state of emergency last week, but they are charter cities which follow their own home rules.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"