I love to share with young people all the reasons they may wish to consider a career in local government. At the top of the list is that your career will matter, that you will have the opportunity to have a positive impact on peoples’ daily lives. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has brought this into sharp focus for me and I want to share with all of you how your local government is responding.

Our public safety team is on the front line of keeping our community as safe as possible. While we have been able to shift most staff from every other department to working remotely, our dispatchers, police officers, and firefighter/EMTs just can’t work from home. They are coming in, taking every possible precaution to protect themselves and the people they are serving, and providing our community with the same excellent service and care they always do. Each morning, the fire and police chiefs, the deputy fire chief leading EMS operations, the town manager, and town and school senior staff hold a virtual meeting to get updates on where things stand. We hear about our current levels of PPE, how we will meet public safety staffing requirements, an update from Maine CDC, and any other topics relevant to that day. This daily communication ensures that if we need to make a change in protocols or if there is important information to get out to residents we can do so in a timely and efficient manner.

Our IT staff has been working non-stop to provide students with the technology they need to make at home learning successful, to connect town and school staff with the technology and know-how needed to keep services running smoothly as people work remotely, and to bring our public meetings to the public online through Zoom and YouTube. The IT Department is not inclined to grab the spotlight but it is important that people know that without their expertise, patience, and work ethic we would have no way to continue to do the work you all count on us to do.

Assessing is processing exemption forms and conducting onsite visits to keep our assessing records up to date and accurate. Community Services has been working to keep people safe while outside in our parks and beaches and has been checking in on our senior residents by phone. Our Finance Department is making sure that our bills are paid. Human Resources is keeping our staff paid and informed and figuring out how to care for our first responders’ kiddos now that schools and daycare centers are closed. Planning and Code Enforcement has figured out how to keep accepting permit applications and are still conducting inspections. Public Works is keeping vehicles repaired and ready to clear the streets of snow if any more comes. SEDCO has started a new Facebook page called Business Update Scarborough so you can easily find out which businesses are still able to provide services.

Town staff has also been meeting by phone and online with our local nonprofit service providers to work on a coordinated response to community needs. Project GRACE has stepped forward again as a true partner and innovator in our community by starting the website www.scarboroughhelps.weebly.org. This site allows people to let us know what they need as well as to share their willingness to help others. We have also been working with the Southern Maine Agency on Aging to have town staff assist with meal delivery to seniors. The Scarborough Public Library has been part of these conversations and has been generous with their ideas and willingness to help with outreach efforts. Please stay tuned through our website, Facebook page, and electronic newsletter to learn more about this work as we go forward.

Our municipal buildings will be closed to the public through April 12, but please know that your government is still on the job and working hard to keep you informed and to maintain the high level of service you have come to expect from us. Thank you for your patience as we adjust to new ways of doing business. When this is over we look forward to serving you in person again. Until then, stay home if you can, keep washing your hands, and look out for one another (from 6 feet away).

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