“Non-essential county operations are closing today. If you have county business or county appointments you are advised to call the county department before leaving home. Most county offices are now closed. A significant winter storm or hazardous winter weather is occurring, imminent, or likely, and is a threat to life and property. The CAO (county administrative officer) and chair of the board have declared the snow day which permits county employees to head home for safety reasons.”
After reading that message on Plumas County’s website last Thursday, it’s clear the management of this newspaper owes its employees an apology. We certainly didn’t mean to put their lives and property in danger by not declaring our own “snow day” and sending them home.
In fact, we’ll take it a step further: On behalf of all the other employers in Plumas County — the mills, the grocery stores, the gas stations, mom and pop businesses, banks, restaurants, repair shops, trash haulers, insurance agencies and so on — who didn’t, or couldn’t, let their employees have the day off, we’ll be a little presumptuous here and offer their employees apologies as well. Clearly, none of us thought we were putting our employees or their property in harm’s way by having them work.
We don’t consider the services our employees provide the community as “non-essential.” Obviously, if that were the case we wouldn’t need them. Which begs the question: why, in these times, is the county employing “non-essential” services at all? Haven’t all “non-essential” employees been laid off by now? We heard from a number of private businesses and citizens that felt affronted by the county’s snow day for “non-essential” employees. Businesses long ago shed any non-essential workers.
Now, we don’t blame the county employees for taking the day off; they did what they were told by the county administrative officer and board chairperson.
In defense of those of us callous enough to keep our workers working, we simply saw last Thursday as just another winter’s day in picturesque Plumas County — where it has been known to snow (and burn and flood)!
So, to all of you “essential” employees who weathered the storm, thanks for doing your job and helping us keep our doors open.