FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn hosted a remote work session April 13, calling council members and city officials to a virtual table.
Clerk of Council Julie Taylor still called roll, just after Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller officially called the meeting to order. The meeting took place via Webex, and was posted on the city’s Facebook page. Each speaker was highlighted on the screen, and participants were also able to share what was on their screen, such as showing a PowerPoint presentation.
“We may need a little grace as we work through these very trying times and different operating procedures,” Keller said before the minutes of the March 9 work session was approved by council.
City Manager Rob Anderson turned the meeting over to highlight the city’s first responders — including the police, fire and public works departments.
Fairborn Fire Chief Dave Reichert explained that he is in regular contact with multiple city and county entities to help track the pandemic.
“We’re really trying to track trends and data as we move through this, so staying in touch with other [Greene County fire] chiefs, we may see things start to happen quicker — maybe things are happening somewhere else before they’re happening in Fairborn,” Reichert said, adding that he has held a number of telecommunication conferences with Fairborn firefighters/paramedics.
Fairborn Police Chief Terry Bennington, who was promoted to the position just days before the pandemic shifted city operations, highlighted that some operational changes have occurred and personal protective equipment and protecting local officers has been a priority.
Fairborn dispatchers have been trained to ask questions regarding exposure and symptoms when individuals call for assistance.
Karen Hawkins, director of the Fairborn Public Works, highlighted that some changes have occurred within the department. The street department, Hawkins said, has responded to some fallen tree incidents since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, but the street department and garage has been divided into two groups in which employees split their working hours.
The water and sewer department has been split three ways in which one group would be on call for a period of time, followed by the other two groups. Employees have also limited home visits when addressing issues.
“We have had multiple water main breaks, we have had several major storms, we’ve had some beaver activity that had to be addressed — all of these things are responded to by the group that’s on call,” Hawkins said.
Anderson highlighted that parks, development services, as well as the engineering departments are still responding and inspecting items to keep projects in motion. Fairborn Finance Director Randy Groves explained city finances during the work session as well.
City council members still had the opportunity to offer parting comments as the virtual work session came to an end.
“We’re certainly in some trying times with different operation procedures now, and I want to reiterate my appreciation for our first responders who are out there on a daily basis,” Mayor Keller said. ” … Our department heads and our city employees all do a fantastic job. There was a tremendous effort by our IT staff getting us moved to work from home and be able to teleconference and take care of business.”
“I know there’s challenges out there, and we’re still going to be some challenges, but I have full confidence in our city manager and department heads that we’ll meet those and continue city business,” Keller added.
A virtual council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 20.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.