Johnston County Commissioners Approve Changes During Emergency Meeting In Response To COVID-19

County Manager Issues Statement To Residents

SMITHFIELD – The Johnston County Board of Commissioners held an Emergency Meeting tonight (Tuesday) and approved several changes at the recommendation of Johnston County Manager Rick Hester.

Commissioners received an update from Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Emergency Services Director Kevin Hubbard, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell and 911 Director Jason Barbour on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and response efforts.  So far, there have been two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Johnston County but that number is expected to increase as testing for COVID-19 becomes more widely available.

Commissioners unanimously approved four measures this evening:

• The board authorized the County Manager to allow for flexible work schedules for county employees on an as needed basis for day-to-day operations.

• The board approved restrictions on county employee travel.

• The board approved a motion giving the County Manager flexibility with the personnel policy, including but not limited to, the use of different types of leave, if needed during the COVID-19 period.

• Commissioners temporarily suspended water cutoffs by the Johnston County Public Utilities Department until April 13th, 2020 and authorized the County Manager to extend that date if necessary.

Statement from County Manager to County Residents
“With our President and Governor asking all of us to do our part to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19, we’re requesting that Johnston County residents use our vast array of online services and information, instead of coming in-person to county facilities if possible,” Mr. Hester said during the special called emergency meeting.  “Our website has ways to pay online, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, emails to reach all of our departments and we’ve set up a hotline to take all of your COVID-19 questions: 919-989-5400.”

“Our dedicated staff are continuing to work for you and coming up with new ways for you to conveniently conduct business without physically having to go into government buildings.  We’re also daily updating our social media and sharing new information and resources for our residents,” Hester said.