An apparent loophole in the state’s law covering smoking restrictions is being targeted by Louisa County officials.
During a discussion on vaping and E-cigarettes with the board of supervisors on Tuesday, Louisa County Human Resources Consultant Paul Greufe said the county’s current policy, which prohibits smoking on county premises or in county vehicles, does not specifically cover vapor products.
Greufe said the county’s policy actually cites the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act to identify the products that are restricted on county premises and that piece of legislation does not include vapor products.
That information surprised supervisor chair Brad Quigley.
“I can’t believe it’s not in state law,” he said.
County auditor Sandi Sturgell suggested current research indicates the products are harmful and urged the board to add them to the county policy.
After learning the projects pose a potential health hazard, supervisor Randy Griffin agreed.
“It’s okay with me to add it. I don’t want someone doing something in a confined space that can hurt someone else,” he said.
After Quigley and supervisor Chris Ball agreed, the supervisors directed Greufe to review the county’s policy and look at revising it to include the vapor products.
Greufe indicated he would begin work on the policy and report back later to the supervisors.
Greufe and the supervisors also discussed reviewing the county’s internet policy and a proposed revamp of its vacation policy for new employees.
Quigley said the internet policy review should focus on updating the county policy to ensure it covers new applications or other developments.
“I’ll review it and see if it can be tightened up,” Greufe said.
The vacation issue actually is an extension of an earlier discussion by the Louisa County Board of Health (BOH). Earlier this year, Louisa County Public Health (LCPH) Administrator Roxanne Smith had reported difficulty recruiting applicants for an open home health aide position.
After the BOH agreed to raise the beginning salary of the aide to $19 during a special May 24 meeting, Smith reported applications increased. However, the question of the county’s vacation policy, which currently requires an employee to work for one year before receiving one week of vacation, soon surfaced.
Smith proposed new employees be credited with the week of vacation upon being hired and that proposal won the support of other department heads during a recent meeting, Greufe said.
The supervisors approved the new policy effective July 1 and directed Greufe to review county records to determine how many other new hires had been made in the past six months.
Those individuals may also be added under the new policy. Greufe said he would also follow up with representative of the unions representing county sheriff and secondary roads employees to resolve any collective bargaining issues that may relate to the new policy.
In other action, the supervisors:
• Approved a $17,163 retirement payout for accrued vacation, comp time and sick leave for conservation board operations supervisor Jeff Snyder; and a $4,263 resignation payout for treasurer’s office staffer Tammy Malone;
• Approved the Louisa County Comprehensive Plan 2040;
• Approved a one-time 3 percent stipend, as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 pay, for union and non-union, non-elected county employees who work at least 30 hours a week;
• Met with county engineer Adam Shutt for his weekly secondary roads department update.
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