Are you satisfied with the role local elected officials have played protecting and educating the public about the Coronavirus? What more would you like to see done on the local level?
The Mayor took the lead role in making policy decisions in response to the Coronavirus, but in between these decisions there was little communication about developing events and responses. Councilmembers were, and remain, largely silent. I’ve heard several reasons for this silence such as the County health department is ‘taking the lead’ on the pandemic and it’s complicated and lengthy to formulate a council response. I think that those reasons do not relieve our city elected officials of their individual responsibility to explain to the people what’s going on. Many in Flagstaff have been frustrated with, and disappointed in, the lack of effective communication, and when information is not provided, misinformation fills the vacuum. The City could have done several things such as having people sign up on the city website for a weekly Coronavirus update from the Mayor and Council. The county has an Emergency Management system with contact information that could be used. There definitely are other strategies that the Mayor and Council could have used to more effectively communicate with the public. As Mayor, communicating more effectively will be one of my top priorities.
Coconino County is the lead concerning health issues, for they are in charge of the health district and they collect revenues from our property taxes for operations of the health district. In my opinion the County fell short in its obligations. I’ve made calls for the city to have it’s own health expert, for we have struggled to receive COVID guidance from the County.
There will always be more to accomplish to protect and educate our community not just from Covid-19, but in general. Jurisdictional authority of the AZ State Health Department has hampered county and local response. I supported the informational section on our City website regarding Covid. I attend weekly Covid-19 update meetings with Northern Arizona Healthcare and the County Health Department and share on FB with our community. We have been tasked with improving communication with our community at the city and will continue to do better for those we serve.
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