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Employees voice issues with county smoking ban

By Staff | Dec 28, 2012

County employees voiced their issues on a ban on smoking on county grounds at the Pierce County Commission meeting on Dec. 18.

Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center Administrator Mary Richard, Chief of Security Joey Cotton and correctional officer Chuck Teigen asked the commission to reconsider the ban instituted earlier this month.

Teigen said it could potentially be a security issue if employees need to walk or drive off county property to smoke.

“In order for them to go off the property they have to go to the middle of the road out on the street,” Commission chair Mike Christensen said. “If something would happen, it would take them longer to get back in the facility. They asked if they can smoke in their cars.”

Christesen said a few of the commissioners have very strong opinions about the smoking issue. When the commission voted 4-1 to ban smoking on county grounds earlier this month, only Rick Larson voted against, saying he thought the recently instituted statewide measure was enough.

Christensen also said he asked county emergency manager Kelsey Siegler to meet with the commission in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., to talk about the county’s response to any potential incident.

In other county business, acting sheriff Josh Siegler met with the commission to give a monthly update.

Siegler has been in place for about the last three months after Sheriff Matt Lunde went on medical leave.

Lunde is expected to return by the middle of January and Siegler thanked the board for allowing him to serve during the period of Lunde’s leave.

Christensen said he has received some inquiries about the county shop which is for sale. The commission put the building and surrounding land up for sale with the intention of possibly building near the HACTC when that facility expands.

Christensen said any sale of the shop would have to be an enticing offer that could offset a great portion of the cost of rebuilding the shop.

He said paying off the remainder owed on the HACTC is still on schedule for Jan. 15, saving the county tens of thousands of dollars interest.

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