MASSENA — Village trustees have approved the village’s Public Employer Health Emergency Plan, which details what actions would be taken in the event of another health-related pandemic like COVID-19.
“It’s a plan on how the village will move forward to handle another health-related pandemic,” Village Administrator Monique Chatland said.
The 13-page plan was developed with input from department heads, Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees AFL-C10, Massena Permanent Firefighters International Association of Firefighters, Inc. Local 2220, as well as the United Public Service Employees Union (Massena Police Protective Association).
She said the plan covers several areas, including essential services and titles, personal protective equipment, remote work, and documentation of work hours and locations for all employees.
“Remote work and staggered work shifts are large aspects of this plan. It’s separated out with essential functions, essential positions and essential titles and the justification for each of those, as well as how each location would handle it should they be affected by a pandemic as well,” Ms. Chatland said.
Essential functions are defined as functions that enable an organization to maintain the safety of employees, contractors and constituency; provide vital services; provide services that are required by law; sustain quality operations; and “uphold the core values of the Village of Massena.”
For example, water and wastewater treatment plants are essential to ensure a supply of clean drinking water without interruption, and to ensure treatment of about 7 million gallons of sanitary wastewater per day and up to 3.5 million gallons per day of storm water. Essential positions include the plant superintendent, chief wastewater treatment plan operator and wastewater treatment plant operators on rotating/staggered shifts.
Essential positions at the Massena Police Department include chief, lieutenant, senior patrol sergeant, patrol sergeants, investigators, patrol officers and dispatchers. The patrol sergeants, investigators, patrol officers and dispatchers would work rotating/staggered shifts.
Other essential departments include the Massena Volunteer Fire Department, Department of Public Works, village treasurer and deputy village treasurer, Joint Recreation Commission and office staff, including the village administrator/clerk, senior account clerk, account clerk and accounts payable clerk.
The mayor, someone designated by the mayor or a successor to the mayor holds the authority to execute and direct implementation of the plan. Implementation, monitoring of operations and adjustments to the plan implementation can be supported by additional personnel at the discretion of the mayor.
“This is just a small section of our entire emergency management plan. Nothing that we had in that plan previously addressed pandemics, obviously. This is another great tool and asset to utilize moving forward,” Ms. Chatland said.
Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire addressed the current pandemic during last week’s meeting.
“It is critical for us to still continue staying socially distant if possible and wear our masks. That being said, the numbers are looking very encouraging. Many municipalities are reopening their offices. They have been closed to walk-in traffic. We intend to follow suit this coming Monday. We still encourage anyone that can to conduct business by phone or email, but we will have normal operations in the village offices starting Monday. Should the numbers start to swing back, we obviously will reconsider and change accordingly,” he said.