ANCRAM–Official town workplaces like the Highway Department and the Town Hall are not known as particularly violent places. Disagreements naturally erupt, but things usually remain civilized–and a new town policy aims to keep it that way.
A Workplace Violence Prevention Policy was adopted by the board at its July 15 meeting. The policy’s stated purpose is “to ensure a safe workplace and reduce the risk of violence.”
The conduct prohibited by the policy includes:
*Causing physical injury to another person
*Making overt or veiled threatening remarks
*Aggressive or hostile behavior that creates a reasonable fear of injury to another person or subjects another individual to emotional distress or intimidation
*Intentional damaging or threatening to damage employer property or property of an employee
*Possession of a weapon or facsimile thereof while on town property or while on town business.
The policy covers how to report potentially dangerous situations, risk reduction measures and enforcement and penalties for offenses.
The policy came up in Highway Superintendent Jim MacArthur’s monthly report, which Town Supervisor Art Bassin read in Mr. MacArthur’s absence. The policy is a state requirement for workplace health and safety at places that employ more than 20 people. “We have 21 employees,” said Mr. Bassin.
In other Highway Department business, Mr. MacArthur said in his report that he planted some grass on the highway garage property “to improve the wetland buffer” and that he was trying to become “a better steward of the environment.” The highway garage is situated on property that borders a wetland, and that has raised concerns about runoff from highway equipment–machinery fluids among other things–flowing into the wetland. Grass would help filter such runoff. During construction of the proposed addition to and renovation of the highway garage, a retention pond would be dug to further mitigate wetland impact.
Some confusion arose over what materials the state Department of Conservation (DEC) would allow the Highway Department to store within the 100-foot wetland buffer zone. Mr. Bassin said provisions for storage would be included in the plan for site work at the highway garage and would be sent to the DEC for approval so any decisions will be in writing.
Also in his report, Mr. MacArthur asked the board to approve his attendance at an upcoming educational seminar for which funds are available in his budget. The highway boss wrote that the seminar is of particular interest because the topic is “how to build a new highway garage in four months.”
In other business:
*Mr. Bassin announced that the Ancram Preservation Group intends to donate the historic Mary Moon album quilt to the town. A formal presentation will be made at Ancram Community Days August 14 and 15.
*The board passed a resolution to extend the terms of the town supervisor, highway superintendent and town clerk/tax collector from two to four years. A proposition to that effect will appear on the November ballot for voter approval. The term changes, if authorized, would start in January 2012.