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Posted on: July 1, 2020

Commissioners' Corner (Issue 188)

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Since March, things have not been “normal”, and it doesn’t look like things will be “normal” again. As outlined in Commissioner Nowicki’s Commissioners’ Corner in the May/June Newsletter, the District took actions to keep our employees and our customers safe (see www.lakehaven.org). We expect to keep most of these practices in place in the months to come. 

The District is moving forward with plans to bring most of our employees back to work. Currently, as I write this in mid-June, we have about 90% of our people back on the job, with 75% of them working on site and the rest working remote from home. Our treatment plant and field operations staff are working on a rotating basis so that we can have a “strategic reserve” of personnel in case of a resurgence of the virus that is predicted in the summer or fall. 

We also are working on plans that will allow limited face to face interaction with our customers following guidelines from the Governor and the Health Department. We hope to be able to resume in-person Board meetings soon. All of these things will take place with proper social distancing, masks and enhanced sanitations protocols. We also recognize that some people will face economic challenges for some time to come, so we are working on ways to address that. 

Following government regulations and by direction of the Board of Commissioners, the District established a supplemental leave bank to cushion the economic impact for our employees during the shutdown. One employee donated unused sick leave to help with the supplemental pay for other employees. I’d like to thank that person for their generosity. Overall, our staff has stayed healthy. One employee and his wife were hospitalized after a non work exposure to the virus. Both of them recovered and that employee is now back to work.

I learned two things from Lakehaven’s participation in the Greater Federal Way Emergency Management Oversite Committee which shares information with regional jurisdictions: Federal Way Schools have been distributing breakfast and lunch meals to students since schools have been closed. The last figure I heard was over half a million meals served, and undoubtedly the number will be much higher when you read this. South King Fire & Rescue (SKFR) responded to the lack of medical gowns (PPE) by designing and making them out of TYVEK, which is used as a house wrap in new construction. As word spread, they received requests regionally, nationally and internationally on how to make the gowns. Recently, Lowes started supplying medical grade TYVEK to SKFR, who contracted with the women’s prison in Purdy to make the needed gowns. My thanks to everyone involved in these efforts to keep our children fed and our first responders safe. 

I’d like to assure you that your tap water quality remains as high as ever and that your sewer service continues to function normally. Lastly, I’d like to thank all of Lakehaven’s employees for the outstanding job they have done to keep each other and the public safe, and to continue to keep your water and sewer service functioning. 

Please stay safe and healthy.

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