Governor Edwards is leading during COVID-19, but he can’t do it all

Governor John Bel Edwards is to be commended for taking charge of the Coronavirus response in the state. He is working tirelessly to make sure that the state’s army of state and local leaders are armed with the resources they need to guide others.

Locally, our officials are echoing the governor’s efforts, but either unable or unwilling to provide the guidance need from the local level.

Panic is avoided when the public understands what is happening to them, why and how they should respond. Our local leadership in this area could stand some improvement.

The official leaders of Ouachita Parish are the elected leaders of Monroe, West Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Sterlington, Calhoun, and Richwood. All of them should meet digitally on a daily basis to given correct information about procedures to follow, our current status and response updates.

Elected officials should reflect a unified response during times of crisis. At best, most of our communities are making separate rules that differ if we cross a boundary.

Our Responder community of firefighters, police, health care providers and professionals need to have coordinated responses and shared resources.

For example, during a crisis, the public should not be told that firefighters will not respond to medical calls. Coordinating resources, equipment and personnel during a crisis eases public concerns.

Our business leaders including the Chamber of Commerce of Monroe and West Monroe should be kept abreast on policies and procedures and they should keep their constituency updated. Business leaders should receive community specific guidance about practices and safety procedures that will be followed by all businesses. For example, during a crisis, a hair store should not offer incentives that will attract unsafe crowds. The guidance comes from the business community itself.

The city’s two school boards and libraries need a coordinated approach and shared resources to insure that students are instructed during and after a crisis. Closed schools inadvertently impact the poor who do not always have access to digital programs. Between the public and private Boards, working together, the education community should be able to implement a crisis education plan when it’s necessary.

The city’s religious, and charitable organizations should be kept updated with information and guidance about how to continue their missions in crisis situations. For example, shared resource centers could help smaller churches connect with their members. Plans to care for the homeless, shut-ins and the indigent during crisis situations using shared resources could be developed. Pastors could receive guidance about conducting funerals and worships during extended crisis periods.

Obviously, there are more areas.

What’s unique about Governor Edward’s response is that he has organized the state to keep a constant flow of information from the state level as far as he can reach. Daily, he conducts conference calls with friends and foes, Republicans and Democrats; even with the President of the United States.

Locally, we have much to be done. There are still areas in which we do not work with each other, even in a crisis.

Those who are elected to lead us are obligated to step up in times of crisis. Their failure to do so could result in hardship and frustrations for hundreds more than necessary if we all worked together.