March 25 Message from Board Chair Carter and County Manger O'Connor

Colleagues –

Earlier this afternoon, Governor Walz enacted a new executive order to further reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our state. Beginning Friday at 11:59 p.m., the "stay at home" order goes into effect. You may recall that my video message on Monday morning previewed the likelihood of an executive order later this week. Here’s a summary of the most relevant portion that relates specifically to our work as government service providers:

For Minnesota’s local governments, the order defines essential services that must be continued by county and city employees and contractors around the state. In addition to 24/7 emergency operations such as law enforcement, 911 centers, chemical and mental health services, and child protection, these essential services include: 

  • Elections administration.
  • Housing and homeless services.
  • Social (Human) Services.
  • Operations to preserve financial systems.

In addition to the essential services outlined above, the order sets out a way for local governments to define priority services that are integral to our community - these services are critical to meeting the needs of individuals and families, particularly during this unprecedented emergency and period of increased social isolation. Local governments are required to define those priority services, and our board of commissioners will be calling an emergency session next Tuesday to take declarative action.

The following message from Chair of the Board Toni Carter should provide clarity for you as a Ramsey County employee as we head into the second half of this week and next week’s board meeting.

Thanks for all you are doing to support our communities and one another during this trying time.  – Ryan

Greetings -

On behalf of the board of commissioners, I would first like to dearly thank you for the incredible work you have been undertaking during this extremely challenging time. Our communities need you - and you have risen to the occasion in ways big and small again and again these past weeks to serve in a residents-first and equity-focused manner.

I hope you’ve had a chance to watch the video of yesterday’s (March 24) board meeting to hear the gratefulness and heartfelt praise shared by individual commissioners for you and your hard work.

Following today’s order from Governor Walz, we are extremely well-prepared to continue providing services in Ramsey County while keeping our residents and employees safe. The new service model we put in place on Monday was designed to align with the possibility of such an order, and we have been in contact with the Governor’s office to ensure we are in alignment with his vision for how to both protect and serve our community during this time of need.

On Tuesday, the board will take action in an emergency session to provide clarity to all employees and the community. The action will clarify that our redesigned services model will continue as announced and implemented this week. The action will be titled,  “Declaration of Essential and Priority Services” and it will maintain the service plans that have provided safe access to Ramsey County’s services in a variety of new and innovative ways. Please see “Accessing County Services” at for more details about each county service and how it is being provided.

Our organization has been a model throughout this pandemic and that’s due to your strength, flexibility, ingenuity, and above all, your spirit to serve our residents while being there for one another. The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners could not be more proud to be a part of this Ramsey County family and to serve alongside you as we rise to the challenges in front of us.

Thank you so much –

Toni Carter
Chair, Ramsey County Board of Commissioners