How the County Determines Operational Status in Inclement Weather
Cannon County often receives questions about how decisions are made regarding the status of its operations during and following inclement weather, such as a heavy snowfall. This page explains how the decision is made and the types of information that are considered by Cannon County Government.
How Cannon County Government Determines Operational Status in Inclement Weather
The County Executive makes a decision regarding operational status as early as 5 AM, Monday through Friday. The County Executive relies on the latest information available regarding the forecast and importantly, the condition of county facilities, which must allow for parking and safe access by the public and employees to the government facilities.
What Factors are Considered When Determining the County’s Operational Status?
The County Executive understands that decisions regarding the government’s operational status may not be optimal for each member of our community and for each county employee. Decisions regarding the county government’s operational status are also focused on the facilities that the county operates and the circumstances under which county employees report to work. While other organizations may decide to align their operational status to the county’s status, there is no statutory or regulatory requirement to do so. The county government operational status is a broad-based determination. Individual employee circumstances may differ broadly, and so county policies allow for employees to make individual decisions with the approval of their departments’ management. Regarding the county’s operational status, the County Executive weighs a wide range of information to make the best overall decision possible. A few factors include:
- Safety and Roads: The safety of county employees and the community is the primary concern when determining the operational status of the county government. The County Executive considers whether primary and secondary roads are generally safe to traverse. Only Cannon County Road conditions are considered. When the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) reports roads to be in “moderate” condition, for example, it is important to note that while all roads may not be clear of snow, driving is considered generally safe as long as drivers are taking the necessary precautions, such as driving at appropriate speeds for existing road conditions. The County Executive understands that some employees may not feel safe driving on days when we experience inclement weather. Because road conditions in neighborhoods may vary widely across the county, employees must ultimately determine whether it is safe for them to drive. Employees should consult their supervisors when local conditions impact an employee’s personal decision regarding driving on days the county is open.
- Condition of County Facilities: One of the key factors in determining the county government’s operational status is the condition of county facilities, and our employees’ ability to open facilities to serve the public. Our maintenance department plays a vital role in clearing sidewalks and parking lots at county facilities; but sometimes there is not enough time to clear snow by the time facilities are scheduled to open or snow is falling faster than it can be cleared. The County Executive also consults with our maintenance department for information about the readiness of facilities, which includes access to facilities by clear pathways and whether minimum staffing levels are available to open facilities. In addition, as stated above, the road conditions reported by TDOT are as compelling a factor as the condition of our facilities.
Understanding the County’s Status
Changes to the county’s operational status are published on the county’s website. Typically, when there is no change to the county’s operational status, the county is open and operating normally, notifications will not be made.
The county has two basic types of operational status:
- Open: The county is open and operating normally.
- Closed: Cannon County Government is closed; therefore, employees do not report to work (employees who staff essential 24-hour county operations and other essential services must work as scheduled).
The County Executive is fully aware that decisions regarding the county’s operational status reach beyond county employees. While many organizations located in Cannon County consider the county’s operational status in determining their own status, Cannon County Government’s operational status is independent made solely for county facilities and the circumstances under which county employees report to work to serve the community. No regulations require any non-county entity to follow the county’s operational status. It is impractical for the conditions of non-county facilities to be factored into the decision regarding the county’s operational status; therefore, non-county employees should learn about their organizations’ inclement weather policies from their employers.
Greg Mitchell, County Executive
110 S. Tatum St. Suite 201
Woodbury, TN 37190