Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, March 11, 2020

This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Mayor Koomar's office prepares official minutes.

Present: Mayors Koomar (Bay Village), Cooney (Fairview Park), George (Lakewood), Kennedy (North Olmsted), Bobst (Rocky River), and Renee Mahoney, WCOG Fiscal Officer.

Guests: BV Fire Chief Chris Lyons; Ron Barlow, Westshore Central Dispatch Center ("Westcom"); Bay Village Human Resources Director Jennifer Demaline.

The meeting was held at Bay Village City Hall, Mayor Koomar presiding. It was called to order at 9:30 a.m. 

New Business

The meeting began with a discussion of recent CDC communications regarding the coronavirus and their dissemination and implementation. CDC defines a mass meeting as more than 50 people for more than two hours at a time, and asks local government officials to consider the purpose of a meeting and whether the population involved is vulnerable when making decisions about closing events at facilities like schools or senior residences. The mayors speculated that the protocols about closing events and facilities to prevent disease transmission would continue until sometime around Easter.

Bay Village Fire Chief Lyons described cleaning protocols in municipal buildings, and Mayor Bobst announced that Rocky River has contracted for several portable disinfectant machines from a supplier in Toledo. The machines are carried in a backpack and disperse a fine mist of disinfectant that attaches to surfaces and will be effective for several weeks. She will make more information about it available to the other municipalities. 

Chief Lyons and Mr. Barlow from Westcom explained Bay Village’s new alarm monitoring system which involves monitoring directly by Westcom. It required the installation of new software at the Westcom Dispatch Center and Bay Village will be the first city to test the system. If it works as well as anticipated it will be made available to the other municipalities. The prior system involved monitoring by a third-party contractor which charged monthly fees. The new system should be more efficient and more effective.  Chief Lyons estimates annual cost savings of $13,000 to $15,000 and faster response time for both police and fire. The system only covers municipality owned property.

Chief Lyons explained the coronavirus protocols applicable when responding to an emergency. The dispatcher questions the affected individual on symptoms, vulnerability and recent travel, and if there is reason to suspect infectious disease the response team has appropriate protective gear such as gowns, face shields, respirators and surgical masks. The first responders will bring the patient to a hospital wearing a surgical mask. Whether the patient will be tested for the coronavirus will be up to the hospital, but only 1,000 test kits have been sent to the whole state of Ohio to date and they are sufficient for only 300 to 400 patients so the hospital is unlikely to have government-provided test kits. However, the hospitals are obtaining test kits from private companies.

At the end of the meeting Mayor Bobst commended Mr. Barlow for his lead in directing communications in connection with the recent apartment building fire on Hilliard. The fire was very intense – so hot that it jumped the highway – and it required the support and coordination of many departments and services including heat-seeking drones. Thanks to the extraordinary dedication and hard work of the first responders the fire was suppressed and the structures on either side of the apartment building were saved. Mayor Bobst said it showed how important Westcom is to our communities.

Commission Reports

County Planning Commission: Mayor Bobst reported that Executive Director Shawn Leininger submitted a list of the large number of diverse projects the Planning Commission is working on, including LEED analysis, the 2020 census, the Urban Tree Canopy initiative and more. She will send the list to the other mayors. She reminded them that Diane Bickett at the Solid Waste District offers technical assistance with regard to recycling issues and costs.

Cuyahoga County Mayors and Managers Association: The annual trip to Columbus is scheduled for the same day as the May WCOG meeting, and a tentative decision was made to cancel the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:30 a.m.

The next WCOG meeting will be Wednesday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m. in Bay Village City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.

Susan Murnane, LWV Greater Cleveland, Bay Village Chapter

historian, legal historian, former tax lawyer, author of Bankruptcy in an Industrial Society: The History of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Akron University Press, 2014)

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:41 AM, 03.17.2020