Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and city manager Steve Powers sit in on a video call to discuss how to hold virtual city council meetings on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

EDITOR'S NOTE: One impact of the global pandemic is that key public leaders now have to execute their duties in new ways - without the customary face-to-face group meetings, without the usual travel. Salem Reporter today launches a series to chronicle this historic shift, arranging behind-the-scenes access (yet socially distancing) to document this change. Photographer Amanda Loman shadowed Mayor Chuck Bennett in the first of our series. - Les Zaitz, editor.

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett sat in his office Thursday morning, running over his lines using an IPad as a teleprompter. He was preparing to give an address to the city that would air on YouTube for the Salem residents staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19.

He fiddled with his mask, opting to take it off so viewers could hear what he was saying.

“I’m taking off my mask because it’s easier to talk,” Bennett told the camera.

Behind the scenes, a Salem Police Department employee filmed while Angie Hendrick, also with the police department, directed.

The taping was the only sign of life in a nearly deserted city hall, as many city employees are working from home or have adapted to new roles in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Later, Bennett would practice using a virtual meeting software that the city plans to use for the next city council meeting on April 27.

The mayor’s days have become more siloed, as government leaders across Salem adapt to days filled with virtual meetings and emptier buildings. - Saphara Harrell

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett waits for the start of a video call to discuss how to hold virtual city council meetings on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and City Manager Steve Powers participate in a video call to discuss how to hold virtual city council meetings on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett puts on a face mask made by a neighbor on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett takes a moment in his office to record a note in between meetings on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett talks with city manager on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett meets with City Manager Steve Powers on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett meets with City Manager Steve Powers on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett meets with City Manager Steve Powers on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett meets with City Manager Steve Powers on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett sits in his office at the Salem City Hall on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett talks with Salem Police senior officer Mark Jantz and Angie Hedrick, community and media relations manager, while setting up to record a public address on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett talks with Salem Police senior officer Mark Jantz while setting up to record a public address on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Police senior officer Mark Jantz helps Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett set up his microphone prior to taping a public address at Salem City Hall on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett films a video acceptance for a literacy award on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett crosses Trade Street on his way to get a cup of coffee on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett walks back in to Salem City Hall after taking a walk to try and grab a cup of coffee on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Suggestions on who we should shadow? Contact Salem Reporter: [email protected]

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