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Town of Johnstown, 2020 year in review Volume I

The COVID-19 was the mid-year kickoff. In early spring, the state of New York enacted rules that shutdown majority of the private sector for business allowing only essential employees to retain working unless working from home or in a safe environment. Thousands were laid off or furloughed. As the pandemic continued local communities reduced staffing and there was question upon why and how.

In discussion with the supervisor, I questioned why our essential employees and non-essential employees statuses changed and who were essential vs non-essential. The town does not have a VPN which limits working from home. Plus the town is more of a hands-on atmosphere and each municipality is different. The response given by the supervisor was along the lines; we did what the county told us to do. Addionally, the board requested written documentation of rules and procedures to protect our employees and the public.

To this day, nothing was produced or distributed to the board. Taking a step back, the town is not the county and the town is not run by the county, or is it?

The daily staffing in the town is approximately 18-20 employees cut between the highway department and town hall where the gathering of 10 or less would have been met. The town was properly distanced by its offices along with the number of employees which is at or below the group gather size while staying distant.

The highway department primarily works outside and qualifies as essential employees along with many others that were listed (animal shelters, accounting, transportation infrastructure, sanitation, garages, etc.).

Here’s the bottom line, the failure to read the Center for Disease Control guidelines, understand the New York state or national mandates while limiting discussion with the town board proves that the town of Johnstown is not being run by its elected officials or that it’s just ghost board that collects checks. There were alternatives the town could have enacted upon maintaining a safe working environment that complied with the essential and non-essential workforce.

TIMOTHY RIZZO

Councilman

Johntown

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