A summary of the county’s state address in 2021
Board chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien spoke about events of the past year and hopes for the future
CLARK COUNTY – The COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers and the Charter Review Board were all important in the virtual County State 2021 address given by Clark County Council Chairman Eileen Quiring O’Brien, Tuesday night.
“This past year has been very difficult for our community,” Quiring O’Brien said via video recorded by Clark / Vancouver Television. “The pandemic has caused hardship for residents and local businesses. Our neighbors lost their jobs, they struggled to teach their kids with online formats, and the kids also struggled not to have in-person classes. Some members of our community have lost loved ones to this virus. Our community has been tested and tried over the past year, but the Clark County community is resilient. “
As the first order of business, the president presented Stephen Abramson, president of the Clark County Council of Neighborhood Associations (NACCC) for the Clark County Outstanding Employee Award for 2020.
Abramson explained that the award is usually given to an employee who does their job well away from the public eye and therefore deserves recognition. This year, however, the chosen person is well known to many in the community: Clark County Director of Public Health Dr. Alan Melnick.
“During the 2019 measles outbreak, his department devoted almost 13,000 person-hours to contact tracing and other tasks related to managing the outbreak,” said Abramson. “The scale of the current pandemic of course overshadows what Dr. Melnick’s department faced in 2019. Almost 19,000 cases of COVID and 236 deaths have been identified in Clark County. I would ask everyone to join me in thanking Dr Melnick and his excellent team for providing services that inform, educate and protect our employees and help maintain the quality of life that makes Clark County such a wonderful place to be. live.
Melnick expressed great gratitude for the recognition, but was quick and eager to recognize the group effort of the entire public health team. Other illnesses and illnesses are not taking a break in the community just because of COVID-19, he said, and many staff members have had to focus on the pandemic and their normal duties.
“It’s a privilege to work in a community like this with the amazing partners we have in our healthcare organizations, community organizations [and] schools, ”Melnick said. “It has been a total effort throughout the community. I also want to basically thank our Clark County Council and our Board of Health for all the support they have provided throughout this effort.
Quiring O’Brien also spoke to the countless people who have made efforts to help those affected by COVID-19 over the past 12 months. The President thanked all first responders and frontline medical workers for bearing the brunt of the pandemic.
She also thanked Melnick and his team for diligently researching contracts and interviewing thousands of people each week, as well as for $ 700,000 to families and those in need during quarantine.
Clark County Community Services was also part of the mix, with praise for Vanessa Gaston and her team who provided quarantine shelter for those who were not housed with nine months of service to 270 people.
They have also provided over $ 8 million in housing assistance to over 1,700 households and provided over $ 1 million in grants and loans to over 220 businesses owned by low-income people, people of color. , women and veterans, said Quiring O’Brien.
The president also thanked the entire county staff and volunteers for adapting quickly to the big changes caused by the pandemic, such as the fully online meetings.
The Commission on Aging has been highlighted in this regard, as it has shifted its 2020 agenda from focusing on community engagement and advocacy to examining the effects of COVID-19 on Clark County seniors. , including access to food and supplies, housing issues and the impacts of isolation.
“It’s an example of how overcoming adversity leads to innovation,” said Quiring O’Brien. “I grew up in Clark County and know that volunteers are the backbone of this community. Clark County relies on volunteers to review and provide advice on many government processes. Members of our advisory boards and commissions spend countless hours studying and revising documents, meeting and meeting the public, and then presenting their recommendations and advice to county leaders. “
The Charter Review Commission was also a key group mentioned, with around 15 members who continue to meet remotely. The newly elected body is responsible for making important recommendations to council and residents for additions and changes to the charter; which is a kind of constitution for the county.
Quiring O’Brien also thanked County Manager Kathleen Otto for her work in helping to stabilize the county budget at the start of the pandemic, when uncertainty over sales tax and other revenues was high. Thanks to the hiring freeze, the elimination of non-essential expenses and the suspension of some general fund projects, this has been accomplished above expectations, she said.
“If I had to sum up this county address in one word right now, it would be resilient,” she said in conclusion. “We will come out of this pandemic and having personally faced adversity in the past, I believe we will be stronger because of it.”
To watch the full county state address, click on the YouTube video linked below.