Veterans Buildings Questions and Answers
What if I want to get into my office/storage area?
As always, designated VSO (Veterans Services Organization) officers must notify the County (Michael Orme at 707-292-7104, or call General Services at 707-565-2550) ahead of the desired entry time. Entry and office/storage activity must take place during regular building hours of operation (8am – 5pm, M-F) or by special arrangement (contact Michael Orme at 707-292-7104, or call General Services at 707-565-2550) For the Santa Rosa building, please contact Stephanie Goodwin at 707-568-4311.
Can VSO officers access their offices/storage areas at any time?
No. The buildings have been and continue to be used for emergency response, homelessness response, and other activities, and as such, sensitive or hazardous material such as vaccines or virus tests could be on-site. Building Access must first be cleared by Michael Orme at least 24 hours in advance of arrival for the safety and security of all.
What if I just want to come in and make care packages for soldiers or leave supplies for our activities?
Any use of the building other than to gain access to the office/storage area for picking up or dropping off items as described previously, would require a rental reservation through the Booking & Reservations office at 707-565-2158 or Kara.Mack@sonoma-county.org.
What is a Site Specific Plan? Do all VSOs have to have one?
Please see the Health Department Guidelines for meetings and gatherings Blueprint for a Safer Economy. If the VSO business meeting you are planning is very small (less than 3 separate households), your business meeting may fall within the County Building’s Appendix A guidelines. Your reservationist will be able to guide you when you make your request.
I heard that vaccinated people don't have to wear a mask indoors. Is that true in the Veterans buildings?
No. Although there has been a lot of conflicting information in the news regarding mask-wearing and other safety protocols, Sonoma County facilities must adhere to the most current CalOSHA and County Health Department mandates, which have not changed. We have no visibility regarding this, nor are there current plans to develop any such protocols for Veterans buildings at this time. As a public entity, we are obligated to follow all safety protocols in the service of our community.
What happens after June 15, 2021? Do all the rules go away?
We have no visibility regarding this, but as a public entity, we are obligated to follow all safety protocols in the service of our community, and have no plans to remove all restrictions on June 15, 2021. However, we are heartened by positive news regarding California’s decreasing COVID-19 rates, and look forward to adjusting any procedures if and/or when changes in regulations and protocols are approved for our County.
Can I eat and/or drink while in the Veterans Buildings?
The guidelines for this are constantly changing, please review the current guidelines from the California Department of Public Health here.
With all of the Veterans Buildings closed since before the 20/21 Fiscal Year, why has there been expenses in Employee Salaries & Benefits?
The Veterans Budget includes employee salary and benefits for staff that support the Veterans Buildings. Permanent staff were not laid off when the buildings were closed. Instead, consistent with CA Government Code, County employees were reassigned to Disaster Service Work (DSW) in response to the COVID emergencies. As with all DSWs who are deployed in emergencies, salaries and benefits continue to be paid by whatever departments/divisions they normally belong to. Note that 97% of all General Services staff respond to County disasters and emergencies.
What are included in the following expenses Office Expenses, Telecommunications Usage, and Wireless Services?
Office Expenses include charges for internet connectivity, Wi-Fi service, phone lines, and typical office expenses like pens and paper. Telecommunications Expenses are internal County charges for the County telephone lines. Wireless Expenses are for County owned mobile devices that staff use to communicate.
Why is there activity in the Revenue category for the buildings while they have been closed?
While the buildings have been closed to normal events and activities, there have been emergency uses that have taken place which have brought in revenue. Additionally, as the buildings have remained closed we have had to refund deposits to customers that made their reservation before the buildings were closed by the Health Department.
Were the Veterans Buildings switched to Sonoma Clean Power Evergreen?
Yes, this action was a policy change directed by the Board of Supervisors in 2019 and applies to all of the County’s electricity accounts not just to the Veterans Buildings. The Board received information on the cost premium to obtain “clean energy” from Sonoma Clean Power and was aware of the budget impacts. Climate Action and Resiliency, as well as Resilient Infrastructure are two of the five Strategic Pillars supporting the Board of Supervisor’s 5-Year Strategic Plan. Further information regarding this can be found here: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Board-of-Supervisors/Strategic-Plan/
The Board of Supervisors’ first began discussing switching the County to Sonoma Clean Power’s (SCP) Evergreen product during the County’s Climate Workshop in 2019. The official vote happened during the 2019-20 budget hearings, on June 12, 2019. You can review a video of these hearings at this link:
Discussion of the topic begins at approximately 5:20:37 and is the vote is verified at 5:33:21. The budget itself was then passed on 6/14/2019 (there was no discussion about this item during that time).
When did the switch to Sonoma Clean Power Evergreen happen?
The accounts for the Veterans Buildings were switched during the September 2019 billing.