â€¢ The Commission approved and signed the accounts payable in the amount of $ 57,364.42.
â€¢ Presidential Commissioner Bill Lant and Eastern Commissioner Jamey Cope met at the Public Defender’s Office in Carthage to discuss additional office space for public defenders. Also in attendance were three commissioners from Newton County and an associate commissioner from Jasper County.
The Public Defender’s Office is asking for more office space which it says is needed to accommodate a lawyer and office and investigative staff. McDonald, Jasper and Newton counties agree to provide office space for staff traveling to each county, but disagree with the office space requested to accommodate all staff in one location. This request would increase McDonald County’s contribution amount by 350% per year. No motion was tabled nor a vote requested.
â€¢ The commissioners held a conference call with Eric Kratzberg of McBride, Lock & Associates, to discuss the county’s financial audit.
â€¢ The Commission met with members of the McDonald County School Board and Health Department, as well as the prosecutor. The main reason for the meeting was to discuss the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education quarantine guidelines, Option 4, Test to Stay.
Option 4 would allow students who are in close contact with a covid-positive student or teacher to stay in school as long as they are tested at least three times in seven days and before each extracurricular activity. Students must also wear their mask at all times in school buildings and during extracurricular activities. If a parent or guardian does not want a child to be tested or to wear a mask at school and the child has been in close contact with a covid-positive person, there is an option to keep the child at home during the quarantine period.
Prosecutor Maleia Cheney said the McDonald County Health Department was following CDC guidelines and would continue to do so to ensure the safety of teachers, children and their families. Those in attendance wanted to know why the McDonald County Health Department was stricter than the Newton County and Jasper County Health Services.
It was explained as misinformation. Jasper County Health Department officials made their recommendations based on CDC guidelines, but Joplin schools have chosen to go against those recommendations. Newton County Health Department officials did not follow CDC guidelines.
Paige Behm, director of the McDonald County Health Department, said the department would agree with Option 4 if positive covid cases in each individual school remained at a positivity rate of 1% or less. . The 1% is the total census of an individual school building in the district, not 1% of the entire district, to determine when option 4 is available.
By the time a McDonald County school surpasses the 1% rate, the Department of Health would no longer recommend having Option 4 until the school again achieves a positivity rate below 1% .
Those in attendance were McDonald County Schools Superintendent Mark Stanton; Deputy Superintendents Joy Hardridge and Will Gordon; McDonald County School Board members Josh Banta, Chris Smith and Bobby Parish; McDonald County Health Department Registered Nurse Erin Pagel; Paige Behm, director of the McDonald County Health Department; and McDonald County prosecution attorney Maleia Cheney.
â€¢ Commissioners attended a one-day meeting of regional county commissioners in Bolivar.
â€¢ Nate Ledgerwood of Tri-State Trucking met with the Commission to finalize the documents for the rental of three Mack dump trucks for the Highways and Bridges Department. This is a two-year lease with the option to purchase or return the trucks after two years. The Commission unanimously voted on March 31 to lease three new Mack dump trucks after the 2019 lease ends in October 2021.
â€¢ Jessica Cole, Human Resources Manager, briefed Commissioners on the work time accumulated by the Sheriff’s Department during the 2020 and 2021 pandemics. Western Commissioner Rick Lett offered to pay for presentation time in using ARPA funds. Motion carried unanimously.
â€¢ Chett Daniel, Director of Research and Innovation at Crowder College, met with the commission to brief on the broadband effort that Crowder is working on. There will be a reunion at Crowder College on December 2, spanning the entire day.
â€¢ The Commission approved and signed the accounts payable in the amount of $ 508,014.50.
â€¢ The marshals drove the following roads for inspection: Goodin Hollow Road, Mill Creek Road, Pendergraft Road, Brush Creek Road, Cyclone Road and Hickory Road.