Charting A Course to Restore Local Government Operations
As we look ahead to re-opening Pennsylvania during a protracted fight against the coronavirus, local governments should implement a strategic plan designed to optimize safe and efficient public services while protecting the health of municipal employees. This effort requires a careful balancing of individual liberty and privacy rights with the government’s need for personal health information to provide a safe workplace.
Since the Governor’s Declaration of Emergency, we have been subject to information overload that has made personnel management a nightmare. In order to streamline the process, it is advisable that municipal policymakers adopt a comprehensive plan that incorporates procedures on how to direct and communicate with employees while observing infectious disease guidelines.
The strategic plan should address the following:
Care of Property:
The municipality should implement procedures recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local county departments of health, which are narrowly tailored to the needs of the particular workforce;
Protection of Employee Rights:
Employees’ rights pursuant to federal and state law that pertain to job protection, confidentiality, disabilities and discrimination must be clearly defined and protected, as violations will lead to unnecessary workplace disputes and costly litigation.
The plan should also include a workable checklist that is maintained by the municipal manager and or department heads who are tasked with ensuring compliance. In turn, compliance should be reported to the governing body on a frequent basis.
Since the law during this emergency will continue to change, the plan will evolve, but will continue to serve as the centralized document that sets forth all pertinent procedures during the course of the pandemic.
The attorneys at Siana Law continue to counsel their municipal clients on implementing their strategic plans that include preparation of necessary amendments to personnel policies. Should your municipality require consultation, our attorneys stand ready to assist.
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