►VIDEO: Disaster Declaration Approved by Marion County; Jimp Asks for Emergency Mgmt. Plan and ‘Shelter in Place’ Order

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 11:51 a.m. CDT

Jimplecute News Editor

Marion County Commissioners met Monday in a Special Meeting.

JEFFERSON – Marion County commissioners unanimously renewed the county disaster declaration issued last week by County Judge Leward LaFleur without discussion at a special called meeting Monday.

During the public comment portion of the meeting Jimp Publisher Mica Wilhite sought answers to questions concerning the COVID-19 crisis.

Watch Marion County Commissioners Special Meeting Monday (5:16)

Below is a transcript of Wilhite’s remarks to Commissioners Monday morning.

“Good morning. First, Judge LaFleur I would like to tell you, as you know, the Jimp constantly receives comments about current events in Marion County constantly but even more these days than before. We have heard this weekend that you are articulate and giving correct information to Marion County and our readers appreciate that very much.

“As you recall from Friday, the Jimp asked the county for a copy of the current Emergency Management Plan using a TPIA request. We are told from both county and city employees that there is one copy of the plan and it resides with you and Emergency Management Coordinator David Capps. We received a copy of the 2004 plan from the city Friday.  When will Marion County make the current version of the plan public for taxpayers to review?

“The Plan includes an Emergency Operations Center. When will the Center be activated and where will it be located?  If the plan is not being followed at this time, why was it activated in the disaster declaration? [Paragraph 7 says, ‘WHEREAS, this Declaration activates Marion County’s Emergency Management Plan; and …’]

“Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has issued a ‘Shelter In Place’ order after reviewing data that showed sheltering in place is the only way to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. With several local businesses and individuals failing to embrace the spirit of Gov. Abbott’s order to avoid contact and groups of 10, is a ‘Shelter in Place’ order for Marion County needed?  

“As you know, even though Marion County does not have a confirmed case of the disease, 211 is telling callers that they cannot be tested unless they are experiencing: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, persistent chest pain, bluish lips or face or confusion.”

Wilhite continued with additional remarks regarding risk management and noted if the county is wrong on this issue, some Marion County residents could die.

Commissioner Pct. 4 Charlie Treadwell made a motion to approve the declaration. Commissioner Pct. 2 Joe McKnight seconded the motion. All four commissioners voted in favor of the declaration.

Commissioner Pct. 1 J.R. Ashley made a motion to adjourn that was seconded by McKnight. LaFleur adjourned the meeting.

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