(Tuesday - January 12, 2021) - Dickinson County's Deputy Emergency Service Director, Pete Schlitt, (pictured above) appeared via Zoom before the County Board of Commissioners on Monday, explaining why he requested that the Board again adopt a declaration of Covid-19 emergency.

Schlitt told the Board, "I'd like to quickly bring up a couple of reasons why we're doing this, and some of the issues that I've seen on social media. This will just take a minute or two."

"There's three reasons why we should move this forward. Reason one is: We had a local state of emergency back in March. We allowed it to expire in June and then we reissued under the new Department of Health and Human Services order, but because we have a new board, even though most of the board members are there, you're technically a new board, and you need to reauthorize. That's reason one reason to that allows county resources to be used if needed to assist any effective service agency within the county for personnel equipment and logistics issues."

Schlitt went on to say, "But here's the big one: Under the current Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order, no public utility or public works personnel are classified as essential by the State. That has huge ramifications. What happens if it snows and powerlines go down? So the County emergency declaration allows the County through the road commission and the emergency services director to designate those workers as essential. That essential designation will cover the cities, townships, and road condition personnel for any kind of weather issues or whatever. This gives the governmental units within the county flexibility when needing their resources. If right now have a big weather event or something like that, People can say well I'm sorry I'm not an essential service worker. So we ended up changing that over the weekend."

Schlitt concluded his remarks saying, "And I've heard a lot of people being tired that you know they're locked down and businesses are closed and I understand that. But the county does not have the authority or has ever had the authority to lock anybody down. I just wanted to summarize those statements, and I fully support moving this forward. We have a Winter, still a long way to go here If we don't have a central work, we're in trouble."

As has become his practice, Schlitt took advantage of the opportunity to slam internet and social media news outlets, saying, "I've heard that on some of the social media sites several people are not happy, because of the local state of emergency. If anyone has questions, I would tell him: Give me a phone call. Same thing with any kind of public official; if you got a question on this type of stuff call on me. But please remember that social media and some news sites (in this case an obvious reference to DCNews) have been and continue to be used by individuals who have either a self serving agenda to create controversy or to gain financially."

Mr. Schlitt was apparently unaware that DCNews coverage of this issue involved a verbatim account of his request to the County Board of Commissioners, without comment or editorialization.


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