Juneau’s City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau’s City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

City urges governor to promote teleworking, safety at state offices

Assembly is also looking at initiatives to support local businesses

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly sent a letter to the Governor Mike Dunleavy on Friday urging him to take more proactive steps in reducing COVID-19 risk for state employees.

“We voted to respectfully request that the governor institute policies and procedures to minimize the transmission of coronavirus in state office buildings,” said Assembly member Greg Smith in a phone interview Friday.

Smith praised Dunleavy’s actions in establishing protocols to prevent transmission of the coronavirus at businesses or travel, but said that the same steps had not been put in place for state workers. At least one confirmed case in Juneau had contact with a state office building.

“The message coming from the governor’s office has not been very accommodating,” said Assembly member Carole Triem in a phone interview Friday.

Many state employees were still working in the office unnecessarily, Triem said, doing jobs that could easily be performed remotely. The letter encourages Dunleavy to promote less contact, more teleworking, and better protocols to protect state workers and their communities.

The Assembly is also working to ease some of the economic damage done by the twin trauma of quarantine closing businesses and a truncated tourist season. Triem, along with Assembly member Wade Bryson and Mayor Beth Weldon are working together to pioneer multiple initiatives.

“We’re working on a small business relief loan program. We’ll probably introduce this on Tuesday,” Triem said. “The advantage we have at the local government level is that we can move really fast.”

The loans would be available to businesses with fewer than 25 employees and would likely be available in amounts from $25,000 to $50,000, Triem said, though that may be subject to change before the program is greenlit. The loans would be zero-interest, zero-collateral loans, and would come from the budget reserve fund.

“We’d be giving them cash right now so they can cover the payroll and bills. The details aren’t final and we’ll be discussing it in the assembly,” Triem said. “Sign a piece of a paper, and we’ll give you some money to stop the bleeding.”

Triem also said the Assembly was looking at options for rental assistance, working through an existing organization, and pushing back the due date for sales taxes.

“We hear you, and we feel for you, but help is on the way,” Smith said. “We’re going to look at all the options, see where’s the biggest need.”

The Assembly will view these options at the meeting Tuesday.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a foreign vessel in the Bering Sea, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across the guided missile cruiser from the People's Republic of China, officials said Monday, Sept. 26.  (U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via AP)
Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

This wasn’t the first time Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters.

An Alaska judge has ruled that a state lawmaker affiliated with the Oath Keepers, Rep. David Eastman, shown in this February 2022 photo, may stay on the general election ballot in November even though he's likely ineligible to hold public office  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge ordered delaying certifying the result of the race until a trial scheduled for December.

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo / Peggy Fagerstrom)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

ANCHORAGE — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in… Continue reading

Sniffen indicted on sexual abuse counts

Sniffen will be arraigned Monday.

In this undated file photo the Trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station north of Fairbanks, Alaska is shown. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Oil price drop endangers plan to fund Alaska schools a year early

If oil prices fall, amount is automatically reduced to an amount the state can afford. At

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau Police Department announces technology and reporting updates

Emergeny services and direct reporting will not be interrupted

The hoverfly can perceive electrical fields around the edges of the petals, the big white stigma, and the stamens. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Electric flowers and platform plants

You cannot see it, it’s electric.

Most Read