The Langlade County Board of Supervisors adopted a declaration of a state of emergency for the county at the conclusion of its March session on Tuesday.
The declaration puts in place a structure of authority for the next 60 days, with the board unable to meet due to the state directives regarding size of gatherings. The document was created by Corporation Counsel Robin Stowe with direction from the Wisconsin Counties Association.
After some discussion regarding the impact on committee meetings, the flow of information for board members during the emergency period, and an amendment to require a three-fourths vote for passage, the declaration was adopted by a unanimous 19-0 margin.
The declaration explains its purpose as “necessary to make all possible resources and means available to the County in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents from the threat posed by the continued spread of Covid-19.
“The rules of the Langlade County Board are temporarily suspended and the Unified Command shall be delegated the general authority to order whatever is necessary and expedient for the health, safety, protection, and welfare of persons and property.”
That Unified Command consists of the county board chairman, county manager, public health officer, and head of emergency management. Part of the Unified Command’s objective is to implement and enforce recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
County Manager Dennis Clark explained the purpose of the declaration.
“This may be the last time the county board is together for up to 60 days, per the latest State direction,” Clark said. “The Wisconsin County Association has been very helpful in providing guidance during this unchartered area of managing during the expected duration. This emergency is different in the potential impacts and length of the duration.”
Clark went on to further explain the process of crafting the declaration and the structure of the Unified Command.
“The declaration of a state of emergency for Langlade County places a number of decisions in the hands of the Unified Command,” Clark said. “The Unified Command was organized on Monday and has been in communication with the members by electronic means to research and address the directives being received to reduce the transmission of the virus and how to handle transacting business.
“It is expected that the situation will become more difficult to manage over the next 45 days. We are proud of the understanding we are receiving from the community, staff and the county board itself in addressing the current situation as we try to provide services and protect everyone as best as possible.”