Joanna Dodder Nellans
Yavapai County supervisors agreed to a new countywide policy Monday that bans e-cigarettes in county buildings and vehicles.
They also agreed to a new Human Resources Department proposal to require all employee disciplinary action appeal hearings to be open to the public.
A new state law requires such hearings to be public if they relate to certain law enforcement positions, a county Human Resources memo explains. So HR is proposing a single policy that would make all such hearings open. Currently, county hearings to appeal disciplinary actions are automatically closed to the public unless employees ask for them to be public.
The county didn’t get any employee comments about the HR policy changes relating to appeal hearings and e-cigarettes, HR Director Wendy Ross said.
Supervisor Rowle Simmons cited a Sunday New York Times article about how China manufactures 90 percent of the world’s e-cigarettes, aka electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers and electronic nicotine delivery systems.
The article states that the industry has little oversight, and studies have found tin particles and other metals in e-cigarette vapors that appear to come from the “solder joints” of e-cigarettes.
Supervisor Jack Smith said any kind of smoking in county vehicles could reduce their sale value.
“For me, there’s a zero tolerance on it,” Smith said.
The HR department will continue to work on revisions to a third policy after hearing employee comments, Ross said. A draft would ban the use of electronic equipment while county employees are driving, but it would allow them to use hands-free cell phones.
Ross said she’ll probably bring that draft policy to the supervisors in January.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• Supervisor Chip Davis asked his fellow supervisors to vote against his proposal to donate $4,500 of his district’s park fund money to the City of Sedona to build a wildlife viewing platform at the Sedona Wetlands Preserve, where the city processes and cleans wastewater.
Davis explained that voters apparently don’t want non-essential services since the majority voted in November against doubling the county’s jail sales tax to build a new jail in Prescott.
“I’m going to take the first step and ask that we not honor that” request for $4,500, Davis said. “The citizens have spoken and nothing is sacred.”
• The supervisors approved using the remaining $30,463 in the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee fund to collect hydrologic data in the Verde Valley.
Most of the remaining money, $27,500, was contributed by municipalities in the Verde Valley.
The committee hasn’t met since the summer, shortly after most of the supervisors said they wanted to dissolve the 15-year-old group. They stopped paying dues and also stopped paying for the committee’s long-time coordinator position.
It was the only organization that brought the county and all its municipalities and tribes together to discuss common issues.
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