From the Chair & Director: Update for the Full Commission, 4/27/2020

At its meeting on Tuesday, April 14th the Executive Board asked that we provide you with an update on WRC operations. The remote meeting was held via Zoom, minutes are posted to the WRC website as usual, and a recording is available upon request.

No Full Commission Meeting in April

  • We will not have a Full Commission meeting in April. At its May meeting, the Executive Board will discuss the timing of the next full commission meeting in light of the most current information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • WRC Committees will continue to be convened at the discretion of the committee chair. Please communicate with your chair or staff if you have a matter you’d like to bring to the committee, or if you have thoughts about meeting. We recognize that while this is a shared experience, we are all experiencing it differently.
  • We encourage all Commissioners to follow the WRC via Facebook. Go to https://www.facebook.com/windhamregional/. In addition to providing information related to the pandemic, last week Jeff published a weeklong series of guides to hiking in the region for parents and students during spring break. Lisa continues to put out pedestrian counters on trails during this period. Use of trails is high.

All Staff Are Working Remotely and WRC Finances Are Stable

  • WRC offices remain closed and will remain so until the Governor lifts the order for those who are able to work from home to do so. In person meetings of the Commission will similarly be suspended until we are directed by the Governor that it is safe to do so.
  • Staff continue to work from home, and work in all programmatic areas and on all projects continues. Workplans have been modified to reflect current social distancing limitations to public engagement and outreach.
  • At the present time the WRC budget has not been directly impacted by the pandemic. We will know more about our budgetary outlook once the legislature passes, and the Governor signs, a budget. Inessa continues to modernize our financial management system and has completed FY2019 audit responses.
  • We recognize that towns are in different places when it comes to business and other activities they are able to perform. We are making a point of meeting towns where they’re at in our outreach to them. John has been assisting towns with open meeting law and other processes.
  • The Windham Regional Broadband Project remains on schedule. We are now including the recently-formed Deerfield Valley Communications Union District (CUD) on the project team as that CUD will likely serve as the CUD for the region as a whole. Please contact Sue for details.

WRC Is Providing COVID Emergency Response Support at the State and Regional Levels

  • Jeff and Alyssa are providing support to the State Emergency Operations Center as unit leaders. They perform this function via remote means rather than reporting to Waterbury.
  • The WRC continues to maintain COVID-19 resource pages for towns and the public. We are maintaining a comprehensive resource guide for individuals that is accessed through our homepage. Please contact Margo with any questions or information.
  • Alyssa continues to organize weekly/bi-weekly check-in calls between local Vermont Emergency Management, Department of Health, and Agency of Human Services staff and Selectboard chairs and emergency management directors.
  • Regional commissions as a group are communicating with state agencies, the Vermont legislature, and the federal delegation about our role in ongoing pandemic response and community and economic recovery. Our role as the essential link between local, state and federal government will be particularly important for years to come as our regions and the state respond to the pandemic’s aftermath.

We will continue to keep Commissioners apprised of WRC’s work status, finances and services to our towns. Please don’t hesitate to contact staff or Executive Board members with any questions or issues you might have. 

     Gabby Ciuffreda, Chair
     Windham Regional Commission 
Chris Campany, Executive Director
Windham Regional Commission

 

Last Updated: 17 August 2020
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