EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The sudden rise in Covid cases is causing a workplace showdown in Dona Ana County.

County officials say that Sheriff Kim Stewart does not have the authority to allow her non-essential employees to work from home. Stewart counters by saying this decision is for the benefit for everyone.

Sheriff Stewart said Wednesday that the rise in cases is an ongoing issue that she doesn’t to risk her staff’s health. Before she requested to have her non-essential staff work from home, herself and her command had previously decided that they were going allow them to stay home until at least January 1st.

However, the county did not agree with them, stating that if those employees are home during work hours, they would be docked administrative pay as they are not in person. Stewart countered this statement saying that the time at home is not for leisure, but they are on the clock.

“Does that mean they’re vacationing, when they’re not here, they all have computers, we have VPN. and by the way we actually have an IT system that when I log on or when you log on, we know you’re on, we know you’re working.”

dona ana county Sheriff Kim Stewart

The sheriff said that the officials don’t understand the damage they and the county could face if they continue to work in person with the virus spreading.

“If this community spread hit our support staff this would all stop because there would no one processing court cases there would be no one uploading video there would be no one responding to your impress I cannot endure community spread,” Stewart added.

Stewart and her command plan to meet January 6th to discuss the Covid numbers for a possible earlier reopening.

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