St Marys council meets by video chat, speaks to residents

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St. Marys City Council held a called meeting by video chat earlier tonight to approve a pandemic policy among other agenda items and spoke to the public about the situation.

All of the council members, the mayor, city clerk, city manager and city attorney individually called into a meeting that was live streamed on YouTube and will be shared later on the city’s website.

“I just appreciate the willing spirit of everybody to try to pull us through this,” council member Linda Williams said at the end of the hourlong meeting. “I see kindness and volunteerism and bravery all around and I want to thank the citizens of St. Marys and Camden County for doing so well.”

Other council members echoed her comments, thanking staff for finding a way to hold the meeting.

“We’ve been through tough times in the past,” councilman Jim Gant said. “This may be the toughest time that we’ve ever experienced here but we’ll pull together. We’ll get through it. We always do. We just have to keep a positive outlook and move forward.”

“Thank you and everybody stay safe,” councilman Jim Goodman added.

Interim city manager Robby Horton also thanked staff for stepping up and “doing what they need to do” and said administrative and planning staff will be available to speak with residents as requested. 

“We’re evaluating situations on a daily basis,” Horton said. “… (We’re) just taking some measures to be able to hold out as long as we possibly can to be able to provide full service to the best of our ability.”

The new pandemic policy lays out specific steps and guidelines to follow during a pandemic to protect employees and ensure the city continues operating.

“This gives us a little bit of ability to help our employees and clear some things up,” Horton said.

The policy explains the circumstances under which employees who may have a contagious illness are not to report to work or may be sent home. Employees will be required to take paid leave and may be allowed to work from home or another off site location while recuperating. Each employee will need to be released by a health care provider before returning to work.

“It’s fairly consistent to what’s being developed across the state,” Mayor John Morrissey said.

Council also decided to move the quarterly town hall and master plan update to May 7. The meeting had been set for April 2 and may yet be rescheduled again if it cannot be held in person.

In other business, council approved exchanging a leased copier, accepting grants from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and contracting with Green Line Rates to perform billing audits on utility accounts. Green Line Rates will receive half of the savings and work with the utility provider to implement rate changes if the company finds opportunities for savings.

Council also went into an executive session for about 20 minutes to discuss personnel.

The meeting can be watched here