Jesse Gooch, Niagara County Legislator and Chairman of the Community Services Committee, indicated that lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis could help Niagara County function more efficiently in the future.
Currently, he also heads the ‘ReThink’ portion of Niagara County’s newly instilled program to restart county businesses and operations.
Gooch stated, “What rethink is about is looking at some of these innovations and saying: Yes.”
Changes the Niagara County Legislator referenced as possible permanent fixtures:
- For the County Clerk, a proposed continuation of being able to process pistol permits outside of the office.
- For Social Services, a proposed continuation of intake interviews over the phone.
- For legal proceedings, a proposed continuation of video conferencing with judges, district attorneys, and defendants.
- A general increase of employees telecommunicating from home. This could help reduce the office footprint if employees rotated from home schedules to in-office schedules.
Atop of this, Gooch made clear, “What we don’t want to do is go back to the same ways of doing things in the past. We want to see what we’ve learned and try to move forward.”
Legislator Gooch acknowledged much of this is contingent upon legislative action from the state level to make these temporary changes into permanent mainstays.
Citing recent decisions in Albany, Gooch said, “The Governor has talked about not losing the gains we’ve made in remote medicine and education, it only makes sense we would flow from this to other areas as well.