The city of Worthington has recalibrated its management style during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The city temporarily has switched over to the incident-command system, or ICS, a standard in emergency management for public agencies that establishes an organizational structure to effectively and efficiently respond to an incident, said Anne Brown, a spokesperson for the city.
The ICS consists of incident command and six sections, which are operations, planning, logistics, finance and administration, public information and community liaison.
"I think the incident-command system is working well," Brown said. "Everyone's concentrating and focused on their roles in the structure. We are connected. The entire operation is working to ensure the safety of the community."
Each section has its own rules; for example, information-technology director Gene Oliver has set up online council meetings, giving employees the tools they need to work from home and making sure the system keeps working, Brown said.
"It's not a new system," said City Manager Matt Greeson, the leader in the ICS framework. "Many of our staff receive National Incident Management System training, which is a common framework for emergency-incident management at the federal, state and local ICS government levels."
Greeson said first responders have used the ICS for structure fires or larger police responses.
"We instituted it for COVID-19, and it has helped ensure that we have had a well-coordinated response," he said. "We have numerous examples where employees are working on cross-departmental teams, lending their skills to COVID-19 response outside their normal, day- to-day roles."
The state has ordered all schools and many businesses to stay closed until at least May 1.
"We do not expect that we will immediately return to normal city operations after a specific date," Greeson said. "It is my expectation that the lifting of different restrictions by the state of Ohio will eventually be staggered, and public-health guidance (will be) evolving based on how effective our efforts have been to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"Some summer activities have been canceled by community partners, like the Green on the Green and the Worthington Arts Festival, and others postponed."
Worthington leaders have been posting frequent updates on the city's website at worthington.org.
"We are in full support of Ohio's public-health measures and are making every effort to promote social distancing," Greeson said. "As a result, many of our buildings are closed or not accessible to the public.
"But it is important for everyone to know that we are here for them, if the need arises."