Minooka village president granted emergency powers during coronavirus pandemic
The Minooka Village Board of Trustees has extended emergency powers to Village President Patrick Brennan during the coronavirus pandemic.
During a March 18 emergency meeting, Minooka officials decided village board action was necessary.
Village Administrator Dan Duffy said the extended powers afforded by state statute allow the village president to perform a variety of functions, including enter into emergency contracts for services, spend over $20,000 to $30,000 and seek help from other communities by forming intergovernmental agreements.
“It gives authority to make major decisions basically as it relates to COVID-19,” he said.
The emergency powers extended to Brennan allow him to make decisions on matters that are normally addressed by the village board, officials said. The village board will be required to ratify any actions taken by the village president at a later date.
Duffy said it’s difficult to pinpoint how the village president’s extended powers are limited, but members of the village board are entrusting that he will do what’s best for the village.
“Quite often when it’s weather-related, disease-related or an act of God or something along those lines, you don’t have the typical time to do what the state requires to post a 48-hour notice to meet, to make a decision and then go from there,” he said. “Usually in emergency situations, you want decisions either made now or within a few hours.”
Duffy said trustees made the right decision, given the state of the emergency both locally and nationally.
“We wanted to get on it right away,” he said. “We had a meeting so we could pass this ordinance just in case something were to happen and us not be caught without any kind of ability to make decisions.”
The village has taken a number of precautionary steps to mitigate risk for the potential spread of the coronavirus.
Duffy said the village has been following the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Public access to village hall, the police department, public works facility and other municipal buildings have been restricted.
Duffy wanted to be clear that village services remain available to residents and community members.
“We’re open for business,” he said. “We’re taking phone calls. We encourage people, if they have complaints, to email them to us or phone them in. There’s really no need to come into contact, unless it’s obviously criminal action. Then, officers are out there out and about for your protection.”
The village president’s emergency powers are anticipated to expire at the village board’s April 28 meeting.