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Preckwinkle issues executive orders related to COVID-19 limiting official meetings and staff travel

Citing “an abundance of caution,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued two executive orders on Thursday, March 12, related to the current covid-19 virus pandemic and county operations.

The orders affect committee and subcommittee meetings by the Board of Commissioners and most, if not all, official travel by county employees.

“As we continue to follow the advice of our medical experts and collaborate with local, state and national public health partners, we also must look to minimize the opportunity for the virus to spread via the kinds of social interactions that take place during the course of regular business,” Preckwinkle said.

“Our decisions are informed by the best information, science and data available to us right now,” Preckwinkle said. “We urge all of our residents to continue to follow the guidance from the  County, State and federal health agencies, and to take practical steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

One executive order addresses upcoming scheduled meetings of County Board members and County-affiliated boards and commissions. The order:

  • Cancels meetings of various boards, commissions and advisory boards created by County ordinance or resolution to the extent possible during the remainder of March and in April. If cancellation is not feasible, meeting agendas should be limited to matters that require immediate action.
  • All committees and subcommittees of the County Board except for the Board’s Finance Committee will be cancelled for the month of March.
  • The March 16 special meeting of the Board shall be limited to matters that require immediate action by the Commissioners.
  • The Board’s March 25 consent calendar meeting will be cancelled.
  • Both the March 25 meeting of the Finance Committee and March 26 County Board meetings shall be limited to the matters that require immediate approval or, in the case of the Board meeting, referral to committee.

The order also states that members of the public who choose to physically attend the board meeting or provide testimony at meetings in March and April will be given that opportunity. However, capacity within the board chambers will be restricted and two conference rooms in the County building with a video feed will be utilized.

The second order states that all work-related travel by county employees for conferences, continuing education, seminars and lobbying activities that occur outside of the county will be cancelled and prohibited through May 1, unless such travel is deemed essential by the employee’s department head, bureau chief or by the controlling elected or agency official.

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