The Plympton Board of Selectmen held their Thursday, March 26 meeting remotely using a conference phone line that members of the public could also call into.
Chair of the Board of Health Arthur Morin and Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy were also on the line. Dennehy told the Board that she has been having conference calls several days a week with department heads and others to discuss Plympton’s contingency plan for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dennehy said that the town would be receiving some supplemental guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they would be passing along.
The Plympton Fire and Police departments are doing their best to minimize exposure. They have designated just one ambulance to be used should a dispatcher get a sense that the call could involve potential exposure to COVID-19.
First responders will be put up in hotels should they need to be quarantined, particularly if they have vulnerable family members at home. Additionally, the ambulances are being fogged and there are plans to also fog the police cruisers and library. The fire station is being utilized to house several much-needed programs such as meals on wheels and the free and reduced school lunch program.
As part of the contingency plan, the Board of Health suggested making sure that there is more than one person with access to each of the passwords needed for various town departments. A backup would be assigned for each password holder. “It just seems like with everything being so uncertain and the numbers that are projected to come out with positive cases, I don’t think its realistic to think that none of us will be impacted in some way,” Dennehy explained.
Despite many municipalities canceling and postponing their town elections and town meetings, Dennehy said she was not ready to go that route. “I still don’t think that we’re in a spot where we necessarily want to pursue that at this time. It might be optimistic but I’m hoping that maybe things will be somewhat back to normal by that point and that we’re able to go on as planned. Obviously, we’ll be ready if we’re mandated to change those dates and I think we’ll get a better handle on it as the weeks go forward,” Dennehy told the Board.
Dennehy said that she has continued to meet with the finance committee and town accountant Barbara Gomez to work on the budget. She also told the Board that warrant articles are still being sent in at this time.
Selectman John Traynor had a number of suggestions for making sure that members of the community were taken care of during this crisis. Traynor proposed a petty cash fund that could be utilized by the fire department to buy supplies, etc. for residents who find themselves in trouble. Dennehy as well as Selectmen Christine Joy and Mark Russo were all on board with Trainor saying he would be glad to donate to such a fund. Dennehy said she would speak to Gomez about getting such an account set up. Traynor also suggested making well-being calls to residents. The possibility of robocalls with pertinent information regarding what to do if feeling ill was also discussed.
Morin commended Dennehy for her work during this crisis, saying, “Over the past fifty years, I’ve worked with a lot of professionals and I will tell you that this town is extremely lucky to have a professional like Liz Dennehy. She does just an amazing, amazing job.” Russo also jumped in, saying, “I think our emergency management team… are just doing amazing work… I absolutely feel comfortable that we are in good hands, the citizens are, and we all are. So, thank you.”