March 18, 2013

'Go home quick' rule wins preliminary OK

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County workers who have an emergency situation at home or elsewhere could soon get a ride there.

The County Board of Supervisors Human Services Committee unanimously gave preliminary approval recently to allow the County Transportation Department’s CHAMP bus system to ferry employees home or to hospitals, schools or day-care centers in the event of an emergency.

But some supervisors, like David Blades (R-Lewis), wondered what would constitute an emergency.

“I haven’t defined an emergency,” County Transportation Director Nancy Dougal said. “We could take that up.”

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said he believes workers will not misuse the privilege.

“I don’t see abuse of it. I think it’s a good thing to offer. I don’t want people to feel they’re stranded because of an emergency situation.”

It could be a family emergency, Douglas said, or any number of situations.

Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) said it would be a valuable service for county employees.

“You’re creating a peace-of-mind benefit for all employees,” Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey (D-Minerva) said.

The absence would have to be approved by the worker’s supervisor, anyway, Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said.

“The department head has to make that decision,” he said. “They are county employees, and it (a CHAMP bus) is a county vehicle.”

The authorization will get another preliminary vote at the county Ways and Means meeting on March 25 and a final vote at the board’s April 1 meeting.

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