Chesterton Tribune



Porter Town Council discusses cell phone use by employees while driving

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The Porter Town Council discussed cell phone usage by town employees and road safety at its meeting Tuesday night.

Member Bill Lopez suggested that the town should consider adding to the employee handbook a guideline forbidding workers from using cell phones while operating municipal vehicles. The handbook is currently being reviewed and amended with the help of independent contractor Nora Wiergacz.

Indiana law does not prohibit private motorists from talking on cell phones while driving but does require drivers of commercial vehicles to use a hands-free or one-touch device. Lopez noted that the town has not had problems with cell phone use, but he suggested the guideline as a preventative measure that will show that the town is proactive. “Hopefully people follow protocol, but some people don’t always do the right thing,” he said.

Member Ross LeBleu, on the other hand, raised concerns over how the rule would be enforced and who would enforce it.

Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer, for her part, said that the Public Works Department already has a standard operating procedure that requires employees to pull over to use cell phones. The Police and Fire Departments also have policies against employees using cell phones at an active scene.

After discussion the council decided not to take further action.

Fire Department

Deputy Fire Chief Jay Craig reported that the Fire Department has been busy, responding to several calls this month for fires and water emergencies which have taken hours to resolve. Craig said that several local businesses provided refreshments to the first responders at some of these calls. Among them are: Dunkin Donuts, Subway, ZIP Foodmart, Venice Pizza, and Al’s. Craig thanked them for their service to the community, and encouraged residents to thank them as well next time they visit.

The Fire Department will hold its annual Christmas Open House at the fire station from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, with Santa arrive by fire truck at 1:30 p.m. The FD will also be collecting new toys for Toys for Tots, and encourages folks to donate non-perishable food items for their food drive.

Public Works

Brueckheimer received authorization for an emergency repair to a 10-inch sewer main that collapsed on Pine Drive. Public Works will go out for two bids on the project and get it repaired as soon as possible.

Brueckheimer also reported that sidewalk projects in Porter Cove and on Franklin Street from Porter Ave. to the bike trail have been completed. She extended thanks to the staff for their support.

Other Business

* A map detailing leaf pick-up schedules for different areas of the town is available on the municipal website, Brueckheimer said. Residents can also call the Public Works office at 926-4212 to find out what days they can expect pick-up.

* The Park Department will hold its annual Volunteer appreciation event from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Community Center in Hawthorne Park.

* Building Commissioner Michael Barry reported that Michigami Trail was paved Tuesday. Barry was also granted a change order to add $42,130.50 to the paving projects budget for additional supplies and work completed. This brings the cost of 2017 paving to $802, 130.50--exactly on budget.

* Members adopted the 2018 salary ordinance on second reading.



Posted 11/15/2017





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