Maricopa County Supervisors to hear COVID-19 update

Residents can attend March 25 public meeting online from home

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Maricopa County leaders will hold their first remote public meeting Wednesday, inviting residents to attend while safely maintaining social distance.

During the meeting, officials from the Maricopa County Public Health Office will provide a report to the supervisors regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

With an agenda comprised of more than five dozen action items, the regularly scheduled panel’s formal meeting will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Supervisors’ Auditorium, 205 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix – though due to concerns over the ongoing public health crisis, the meeting will be closed to the public.

Supervisor Steve Chucri, who represents District 2, explained how county residents can still participate in the public meeting in press release published early Tuesday.

“Following CDC guidelines and Governor Ducey's Executive Order 2020-09 regarding the recommendation to limit social gatherings, the Board of Supervisors' Auditorium will be closed. The public can view the board meetings online, starting on Wednesday, March 25,” Mr. Chucri stated.

According to the release, several options are available for those who wish to attend Wednesday's meeting from home, including:

  • Visiting maricopa.gov/324 to access the live feed.
  • Visiting GotoWebinar.com and enter webinar ID: 817-430-739.
  • Listening in by telephone: Dial 1 (562) 247-8422; when prompted, enter audio access code 779-355-681, then # at the prompt for the PIN.

Online meetings will not be active until just prior to the meeting; future webinar meeting IDs and access codes will change with each subsequent meeting.

Additional information or instructions – including up-to-date access codes – will be provided at the Clerk of the Board’s website, www.Maricopa.Gov/324.

County residents can submit comments by emailing Agenda.Comments@Maricopa.Gov or calling 602-506-3766.

The board’s proceedings will also be streamed live for free at their YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/maricopacountyaz.

Videos are typically archived at the site up to five days following each meeting.

Employee leave policies

The supervisors will consider an action to rescind previously approved policy exceptions to comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, amended by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 18.

Effective April 2, the following exceptions would be adopted to the Maricopa County Employee Leave and Teleworking Policies.

To comply with the Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, exceptions would:

  • Authorize up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for those employees who’ve been with the county for at least 30 days and can’t work or telework because their school-age children forced to stay home.
  • The first 10 days of leave will be unpaid (unless employees use existing paid time off benefits); after they, qualified employees are eligible for up to 10 work weeks of their regular pay up to a maximum total benefit of $10,000.

Employees unable to work or telework would be eligible for up to two weeks (80 hours) of emergency sick leave if they are subject to government quarantine or self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.

This would also apply to those experiencing virus symptoms – such as fever, cough, upper respiratory distress, shortness of breath – who are seeking medical diagnosis.

County employees missing work to care for individuals under similar circumstances will also be eligible for emergency paid leave; but this is limited to a maximum of $2,000 benefit.

Some other exceptions include:

  • Employees can choose to take leave without pay while leaving their currently accrued sick leave and vacation time intact.
  • Those authorized to telework from home can watch their dependent children while doing so.
  • Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms is required to stay home until at least 72 after those symptoms clear.

The policy exceptions would apply to all county employees, elected offices and appointed departments, as well as employees of the Flood Control District of Maricopa County and the Maricopa County Library District.

Conservation efforts

In another action, the supervisors will consider empowering Chairman Clint Hickman to execute a memorandum of understanding with the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and other groups to help protect the state’s population of bald eagles.

If approved, the MOU continues a conservation partnership established in 2007 aimed at enhancing breeding efforts and increase the number of bald eagles

Other signatories to the Conservation of the Bald Eagle agreement include: Arizona Public Service; U.S. Bureau of Land Management (Arizona); Bureau of Reclamation (Lower Colorado Region, Phoenix Area Office); 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base (Department of Defense); National Park Service (Intermountain Region); Salt River Project; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (South Pacific Division); U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Southwest Region); and the U.S. Forest Service (Southwestern Region), among others.

According to the Forest Service, there are currently 47 known breeding areas for bald eagles across the state.

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