During its April 14 meeting, the Saline County Board of Commissioners met for the second time via teleconference. During the meeting, the board:

• approved the adoption of a cash in-lieu program as an option for county government employees who receive their health insurance through somewhere other than NIRMA to be eligible for 50% of their medical coverage. This program is brought forward every year, as it must be renewed by July 1.

• discussed three main points of an employee handbook addendum including the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, which according to its website, “requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.”

 Another point of discussion was advancing sick leave for employees who have none accrued to use in case of exposure or diagnosis of the coronavirus. The final possible addendum commissioners discussed was establishing which county employees can work from home and which cannot. County treasurer Deb Spanyers, deputy assessor Sharon Jelinek, deputy county clerk Anita Bartels, district court clerk Amber Mulberry and Saline County Sheriff Alan Moore were present for the discussion. The board and other elected officials talked about what each department would need in order to work remotely, or if it was even possible for some departments. The board agreed various logistics would need to be worked out before the policy is approved and was tabled until its April 28 meeting.

• Saline and Jefferson County Emergency Manager John McKee gave a brief update on COVID-19 in the county. The county’s first case was confirmed the evening of April 14, although at the time of the meeting, there was none.

McKee said he has been working with medical and long-term facilities to provide employees with personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves. McKee said facilities can now request supplies online if desired.

He has also been in contact with Smithfield Foods in Crete to see how they are operating under the circumstances and view the precautions they are taking, following a plant shutdown in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Finally, McKee shared with the board that both the Crete Area Medical Center and Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center have created spaces to hold people if an outbreak were to occur within Gage or Saline counties.

• approved two resolutions, one to transfer $1,170 from the general fund to juvenile services aid and one to transfer $7,500 to the wellness fund, also from the general fund.

• approved a change order from Van Kirk Brothers Contractors for a culvert project in Friend.

• approved a right-of-way request for Kenneth McMillan to bore electrical wires underneath his road on County Road 2400.

• approved entering a county bridge match program with the state for an upcoming box culvert project.

• approved a ROW request from Windstream Nebraska LLC to provide telecommunication services to a new customer in the county.

• went into closed session at 11:30 a.m. to discusses burial assistance matters and interview applicants for the county clerk position. After closed session, the board approved a burial request of $1,300.

The next Saline County Board of Commissioners meeting will be via teleconference April 28 at 9:30 a.m. It is open to the public for comment. Dial 571-317-3116 and enter access code 498211581# to join.

 hope@sewardindependent.com

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