Headed to court? Ditch those bagsWhen visiting Carlton County Court in the not-too-distant future, leave your purse or backpack behind.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
When visiting Carlton County Court from now on, leave your purse or backpack behind.
County Coordinator Dennis Genereau informed Carlton County Commissioners at their adjourned session on Monday that a policy to ban any sort of bag or container in the courtroom is a mandate of the Sixth Judicial District, which includes St. Louis, Cook, Lake and Carlton counties.
Genereau told commissioners that notice of the policy will be posted on the doors to all courtrooms.
“All bags and packages will be prohibited in all courtrooms, unless deemed necessary by the court,” said Genereau, stating the new policy was both a security measure as well as a means of keeping the courtrooms to a minimum of congestion.
Kathy McFarlane, court operations supervisor, said the staff is working with courthouse security officer Joe Mattinen to work out the details of the plan regarding public notification, enforcement, and what, if any, provisions will be made for those bags or purses that must be left behind at the door to the courtroom.
The “bag ban” will go into effect in both Carlton and St. Louis counties on Monday, July 1.
In other business to come before the board, Genereau presented a county wellness policy to commissioners for their consideration.
“Though the county currently has a Wellness Committee in place,” said Genereau, “they wanted to come up with a policy to ensure that we will provide the healthiest workplace possible.”
Genereau explained the initiative is part of the movement toward improved health and safety that coincides with such programs as Safe Routes to Schools.
“The government expects us to get more involved in the lives of our employees and communities to create healthier lifestyles,” said Genereau.
He went on to say the County Management Team was given opportunity for input on the proposed wellness policy, adding that he wanted the board to have that same opportunity.
“I know Koochiching County has a workplace policy,” offered Commissioner Dick Brenner. “We may want to take a look at that.”
The policy proposed to the board on Monday includes such things as the development of ongoing physical activity programs for worksites, the documentation of physical activity opportunities in the area such as trails and walking routes, and encouraging biking to work by providing secure bike parking.
The policy further states that the Wellness Committee will develop programs to educate public employees on healthy food choices and make them available, provide information on how to access locally grown food, make healthy, good tasting water available on site and make certain there is an employee lactation policy in place.
Other proposed provisions include a supportive work environment to assist employees in attending mental health appointments, training on automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for response to cardiac events in the facility and prioritizing enforcement of the city ordinance that prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any entrance or window.
Genereau added that the development of a countywide diversity policy has recently gotten underway as well.
The board approved application for a license to sell wine at Eskomo Pies in Esko. The restaurant currently has a license in place to serve 3.2 percent beer, but due to its proximity to the school, it has not been allowed a license to serve any other type of alcoholic beverages in the past. County Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert explained that “very specific” legislation passed during the most recent session paved the way for the Esko pizza restaurant to be able to secure a wine license, but it must first be approved by the township, the county and the sheriff and county attorney.
Commissioners endorsed a plan for Genereau to research the creation of a human resources manager position for the county. The suggestion for addition of the position was generated during the board’s recent strategic planning session.
“In the year and a half since I’ve held this position, I have become far more aware of the legal requirements, rights and benefits that need to be in place,” stated Genereau, who currently has responsibility for human resources matters, among several others. “It’s more than what I can do with the other responsibilities I currently have in place.”
The board charged him with looking into the county’s specific human resources needs and how the county can meet those needs. He said he would present his findings to the Management Committee and then to the board, with an eye toward including the new position in the 2014 budget.