Outagamie County: Changes in county services

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Updated with information from district attorney's office on March 24, 2020

As provided to Action 2 News

Today marks one week since Outagamie County closed non-essential offices, making it one of the first counties to do so in the lead up to Governor Evers’ emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 virus.

Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson emphasized the value of an early response to first reports of the corona virus:

“We acted early, and we are well-positioned to weather the COVID-19 storm, be it three weeks, three months or the balance of the year,” he noted. “We are blessed with top-notch department heads and workforce second to none who rose to the challenge to ensure key services will continue to be provided.”

Staff at the downtown campus (criminal justice, health and human services and administration) have been reduced by about 75 percent, except for the jail. The solid waste and recycling facilities (Little Chute) are fully staffed and operational, as is Brewster Village (Grand Chute), Sheriff (Appleton) and the airport (Greenville). The highway department is partially staffed, but all employees are on standby to respond to winter weather events.

In addition to county-run departments, state-operated departments—courts and district attorney—will operate on a truncated schedule. The courts will not conduct civil or criminal jury trials but will adhere to a three-day-per-week schedule of hearings.

The District Attorney’s Office will remain staffed and will continue to conduct all necessary court operations and hearings pursuant to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s guidance. Attorneys and staff are also available to answer calls and emails from law enforcement, attorneys, victims and citizens during regular business hours. Any documents that need to be dropped off for the District Attorney’s Office can be left with deputies at the front desk of the Outagamie Government Center located at 320 S. Walnut Street, Appleton, Wisconsin.

Presiding Judge Carrie Schneider echoed Nelson’s focus on timeliness:

“Like the rest of the county, we responded early to the COVID-19 threat and worked to close certain operations and offices in tandem with county offices,” she said. “I am grateful to the help and cooperation of the judges and district attorney in this challenging time.”

In addition to essential services, a number of departments are partially or fully operational via remote operations, at home or in an otherwise safe environment. Those departments include but are not limited to Financial Services, Treasurer, Corporation Counsel, Human Resources and Land Development Services.

The public is encouraged to avoid the downtown campus except for emergency or scheduled visits. Crucial business notwithstanding, those manifesting illness will be escorted from the complex. The County Administrative Building (the old courthouse) will be closed to the public beginning March 24.