Dodge County Closes Drivers' License and Passport Services
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At a special meeting March 17, the Dodge County Commissioners discussed the necessity of stopping the drivers’ license and passports services provided by the county.

The commissioners’ concern revolved around protecting employees who work in that office from the virus causing COVID 19 as much as possible.

Two things have caused a big increase in the number of people using the services in recent weeks.

State law now requires Real ID to travel as of October so many people are applying to get that ID card.

Secondly, Olmsted County just stopped offering these services in order to protect their employees.

After lengthy discussion, the commissioners authorized Chair Rhonda Toquam to make the decision whether or not to stop the services after she met with all county department heads later in the day.

At that meeting, it was decided for the safety of employees, those services would not be offered after March 17 until at least April 6.

Other services in the Government Services Building are still available. Members of the public are encouraged to use the website or call for information before they come to the building, in case their business can be handled remotely.

This will help keep contact with others to a minimum during this crisis.

Since both national and Minnesota states of emergency have been declared, “a unique scenario has been created,” commented one of the commissioners; “one in which we are narrowly focused. We want to continue to offer essential services, but we must protect our employees.”

The commissioners also agreed to changes in the personnel policy that allow employees to use paid sick leave before it is earned in certain circumstances and to use short term disability leave in other cases. Employees that must care for their school-age children at home since schools are closed are being helped on an individual basis to have the necessary equipment to work from home.

By Greta Becay