Some sections of Guilford County government – just as in the private sector – have basically shut down due to the coronavirus situation. However, many of the local government’s services are essential, so the county has had to make some major adjustments to keep things going.
That was evident at a Guilford County staff meeting on Tuesday morning, April 7, where county commissioners and administrative staff practiced what they preached. They held the small meeting in a very large conference room in the downtown Greensboro BB&T building, and they were all sitting a good distance apart. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the agenda for the county’s planned Thursday, April 16 meeting – which may or may not take place.
The Board of Commissioners cancelled the board’s first planned April meeting and, when Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips was asked whether the April 16 meeting would actually be held, Phillips said the same thing he always does these days in response to questions of that sort.
“We’re taking it day by day,” he said.
Whether that meeting takes place or not, the business of the county continues to be conducted under trying conditions. For instance, the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services – which contains the social services department – is as busy as ever right now. Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing said at the meeting that one challenge faced by social services workers is creating space between themselves in what was previously a fairly tight workspace.
Guilford County Board of Elections Director said recently that, though the elections offices are closed to the public, the department still has a lot of work to do and much of that can be done through the mail or over the phone.
Phillips said at the April 7 agenda meeting that he’d been extremely impressed with the way county staff has continued to function during the pandemic.
“We’ve done a really good job across the board staying focused,” Phillips said of county government, adding that the focus these days was on the health and safety of the citizens. “If you want to see what it looks like for your mettle to be tested, we’re seeing it right here and it’s been impressive.”
The chairman said that, unfortunately, citizens don’t always get the benefit of seeing behind the scenes how hard staff works, however, the commissioners get to see it.
“I am really, really proud to be a part of this organization,” Phillips told staff.
He said that’s been true since he was elected years ago but the staff’s reaction during the crisis has really driven that point home for him.