Leaders Are Focused on Their Citizens. We Know Because We Asked

by Jenna Cohen, on June 5, 2020 at 8:26 AM

Nearly three months ago, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused the vast majority of the United States to close and enter a state of widespread lockdown. During this time, the economy entered a state of limbo, and left an anxious public wondering if and when life would return to “normal.”

This June, much of the country will slowly begin to reopen, with key decisions regarding public health and safety falling on the shoulders of civil leaders. We asked local governments large and small to share their plans for recovery. The replies we received demonstrated leaders’ overwhelming pride in their citizens, confidence in their community’s ability to recover, and encouraged the celebration of everyday joys and triumphs as the nation enters this new phase. Read on for their words of encouragement and advice.

I feel truly blessed to work and live in this community. As we go through the various parts and pieces this pandemic caused, I can't help but be surprised by the people living here. For a population of 3,475 people we have had very little disruption in our day to day routines. The DPW has kept the town clean and functioning and our PSO's are keeping everyone safe. From an economic standpoint, nearly everyone has continued to pay their utility bills on time so our revenue funds have stayed stable through this. I sincerely believe that this community has developed a sense of pride in not letting this epidemic damage their spirits. From day one the residents walk the town, ride their bikes and enjoy the little pleasures that the COVID-19 cannot take away.
Dan Hansford
City Manager
Essexville, Michigan 

Do not panic.
Think first.
Know your stakeholders.
Know your exit strategy.
Collaborate and educate not dictate.
Complete transparency.
Endless communication and recognition of community successes.
The right combination of competent execution and humility.
Leaders make themselves vulnerable.
Trust the innovative and communal spirit of individual Americans as they exercise the free market to put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear-view mirror.
John Moss
VA Council Member
City of Virginia Beach, Virginia
As our agency continues to work through these unprecedented times, we have found value in documenting our successes and shortcomings along the way. We created a COVID-19 response manual which we modify monthly in order to utilize as a blueprint in the event of a second wave.
As many States, including our own begin to execute their plans for a safe re-opening, we have found it important to note that absolutely nothing has changed from when the stay at home orders were activated. There is still no cure, nor is there a vaccine for COVID-19. With this being said our administration has made it a priority to reiterate the message to our staff to not fall into complacency. We continue to utilize personal protective equipment, practice social distancing, and sanitize often.
One of the key elements that we have to consider as first responders, is continuity of services to our community. As stay at home orders are lifted, the risk of contamination to our first responder community becomes greater. In anticipation of this possibility, we implemented contingency plans early to include modified 12-hour schedules for maximum efficiency, to include a stand by schedule of staff that can fill in should they be needed. We have continued to utilize this plan and it has proven to be successful, as our agency was recently impacted by COVID-19. This plan allowed us to navigate through losing some of our essential personnel for an extended period of time, without impacting our service to our community.
We must work together with our Federal, State, and Local counterparts, utilizing effective communication and critical thinking skills as we continue to navigate through uncharted territory.
Jonathan Flores
Chief of Police
Alton, Texas
Assistance to local businesses. Share information on business recovery through our Workforce Development and Main Street organization.
Adhering to and enforcing social distancing and masking guidelines and updates throughout our Town. Publicizing state updates and grant information on our Facebook page and Town website - townofhancock.org.
Joseph Gilbert
Town Manager
Hancock, Maryland

We are reimbursing lease and mortgage payments through our TIF funds and Business Districts. If a business has already received some help through other state or federal programs, they are still eligible, but it is a smaller amount than the full 100% of eligible costs per the application.
Kyle Buchanan
Finance and Insurance Commissioner
Chenoa City, Illinois


At this point it's still a wait game of seeing what the revenue impact has been. We have started applying for any available grants.
Marcus Christianson
Police Chief
Greenville, Alabama

First and foremost is the overall respect for lives and the livelihoods of our residents in directing our mitigation and recovery efforts. We are promoting the healthy condition of our county and the significant capacity of volunteer first responders. Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 are basically zero and the capacity is essentially unused.

We have more than 6,600 acres of open park for uncrowded enjoyment. Marketing plans to promote tourism are in the making for strategic publishing. Marketing plans are kept quiet due to the very competitive market we expect for tourism. We consistently remind the Governor that we have established a healthy county that deserves to be opened while we respect the safety of all citizens. This awareness allowed construction to be released from suspension.

PA was one of the two states national that did not allow construction. The county government's share of Hotel Tax is now being dedicated to promoting Tourism and AgriTourism. Our communities are dedicated to making sure food banks are adequately supplies. Local banks and our Economic Development Corp. are heavily engaged in getting financial help to businesses. The county has funneled housing assistance funds (held in reserve) to our Housing Authority to help families struggling with lack of finances to meet their housing needs.

This summary should provide an idea of what is happening in Adams County while we prepare for primary elections.
James Martin
County Commissioner
Adams County, Pennsylvania 


Our Plan in Sunset Beach is taking slow steps to protect our Citizens and our Economy and hopefully through Common Sense our Town will be one that has taken the safest steps to get thru this unforeseen time our World faces.
Shannon Phillips
Mayor of Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach, North Carolina


I will strongly advise our Towns People to support ALL Local Businesses. Our Town will need Everyone working together.
Jerry Lucia
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania 


We need to help our Citizens and Businesses reopen and at the same time watch for any break outs of the COVID-19 among our Citizens. We can manage both. We have to have the Healthy working so we can support the most vulnerable in our Community. Let's plan what happens today, so tomorrow don't just happen.
Myron Yoder
Commissioner Chairman
Polk County, North Carolina

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