Pursuant to the Common Council’s approval of emergency executive authority last night and based on their feedback, I am putting into place the following in our work together so that we can preserve employee and public health and vital public services:
• City Hall is now closed to the public. The Library, Senior Center, Tourism and Municipal Operations Center are all closed to the public, and the golf course has not yet opened operations. Appropriate signage should be on display at all public entrances. Employees will be working in these facilities, but they are not open to the public for the foreseeable future. We will work to accommodate building and other development permits as best we can utilizing electronic or mail-in payments. All work-related travel outside of Middleton must be discontinued, except for public safety officers, unless approved by employee’s supervisor and me.
• All non-essential committee meetings are still cancelled through April 5 and possibly beyond. If a staff member believes a meeting is essential, please clear it with me first, and we’ll explore an electronic format (we have a Zoom monthly membership). For only the Common Council and Plan Commission, a staff member will be present and the door open to the public to listen and/or watch the dialogue in the meeting room. The Council Chambers is best for this format, but Conference Room B could also be used by use of a mobile camera for other essential meetings. We will need to work around the early voting work over the next 3 weeks.
• The Council approved an emergency declaration last night that enables us to set up electronic meetings as mentioned above. Our videographer is able to live-stream meetings on the City’s You Tube channel, and they are willing to cover more meetings so that we can maintain public access to the city’s democratic actions. For other meetings that I determine with the staff to be essential, I can schedule the same if our videographer is available. Since all other committees are advisory to the Council which makes final decisions, those meetings can be conducted by live-streaming coupled with Zoom or another technology without in-person public access.
• All in-person city staff meetings are cancelled for the foreseeable future. However, Zoom technology may allow for remote access meetings. Small 2-5 in-person meetings may also continue if absolutely necessary, but in all cases, you must practice social distancing (at least 6 feet of separation).
Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but it’s critical that we continue to pull together to survive this emergency intact. I recently found this wise advice from Rebecca Ryan, and I’m passing it on to you:
HOW TO PROVIDE PERSPECTIVE
Remind people that:
• We've been through hard things before; we will get through this
• You're not alone; we're in this together
• Humans are amazing, resilient, and creative. When humankind has been on its back leg, it figures out a way forward
• Although news and information is changing quickly, we don't have to track all of it, all the time. We also need to get our work done, be a good partner/spouse/sibling/parent/coworker/etc. We can check the news 4-5 times per day instead of 30-50 times each day
HOW TO PROVIDE CONTROL
Remind people of the things they can control, which will help them and others:
• Hand-washing and social distancing. People must keep themselves safe so that they can keep others safe.
• Their mental health: it's okay to laugh and keep a light heart. Last night, my wife and I hosted a small gathering to watch the movie Maiden. We tapped elbows and toes to say Hello to our guests, we made a game of hand-washing, and we all cheered for a movie about the indomitable human spirit.
• Being kindhearted and compassionate towards others. David Brooks reflected on a week's worth of reading about the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 650,000 people. Brooks said that after the epidemic, people were ashamed of how they'd treated others during the outbreak. We can make a different choice.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, REAL LEADERS SHOW UP.
I believe in you. I believe in us. It's game time.
Rebecca (and Mike)
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