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April 2, 2013

'Emergency ride home' policy passes

ELIZABETHTOWN — Whether Essex County employees would get a ride home to deal with emergencies was still controversial as it came up for a final vote Monday.

The new policy would be available to workers who use public transit or carpooling; it passed 14 to 1, with three members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors absent.

Supervisor Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro) voted against the resolution, and Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) and Supervisors Roby Politi (R-North Elba) and Sharon Boisen (I-Essex) had been excused to attend other functions.

Some county lawmakers had questioned the proposed change in previous meetings, and some still expressed misgivings.

Hatch reiterated Monday that a new policy wasn’t needed and that an employee’s co-workers could be relied upon to take him or her home in case of a personal emergency.

“When I was at the Board of Elections, someone had an emergency, (and) we just took them home,” Hatch said. “It doesn’t make sense. This is just creating a problem.”

Hatch is a former county Democratic election commissioner.

NOT BY BUS

Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) supported the ride-home measure but said it needed clarification.

“There should be some specific language added in the policy manual as to who makes that call (to take someone home),” he said.

Scozzafava said some of his constituents believe a county CHAMP system bus would be used, and that is incorrect.

“They think we’re using a 20-passenger bus to take them home,” he said.

It will be the worker’s department head who makes the call, Supervisor Margaret Bartley (D-Elizabethtown) said.

She agreed the board needed to strike down the bus rumor.

“They are not going to be taken home in a bus,” Bartley said. “We’re not firing up a bus.”

The policy is intended to give county workers reassurance that they are not stranded at the county seat if something happens to their family, she said.

“What if the school calls and says, ‘Your child has a broken leg.’ We have to find a way to get that employee home.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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