By Jim Allen
The Personnel, Legal, and Management committee met at 9:00 on February 2, 2021. Present were Jim Mikeworth, chair, Dick Hein and Don Munson. Also present was Attorney Lorna Geiler to advise the committee on possible changes to the the current personnel policy. The discussion came about due to a current probationary employee who has become ill.
The committee discussed, among other possible changes, issuing of sick leave for probationary employees after one month of service and the donating of accumulated sick days from one employee to another. A point was raised that changes in any policy on a case by case basis was not the best thing to do. As to the present personnel policy, it was stated that a probationary employee does not have the same status of a full time employee and therefore does not qualify for full time benefits. When asked, Attorney Geiler stated that although any changes in the present personnel policy were possible, the present policy was sound. After discussion, the committee agreed to keep the existing personnel policy unchanged.
The Plat and Planning Committee met at 9:00 on February 5, 2021. Present were Tom Hettinger, chair, Dick Hein, and Jim Mikeworth. “Possible revisions” to the current Wind Energy Conversion System ordinance was on the agenda as well as the writing of a solar ordinance for the county. At this time Douglas County does not have an ordinance covering requirements for commercial solar “farms”. Without such an ordinance, commercial solar cannot be permitted.
Discussion of a solar ordinance included the ability of solar panels to be recycled. At this time, the United States has no requirement to recycle solar panels. The state of Washington has a requirement for recycling the panels, but at this time no other state has that requirement. On a personal note, I find that ironic, at least for a green energy source. The panels have lead, cadmium and other hazardous materials included in their makeup. Even so, solar panels have been given approval for disposal in landfills. The glass encasing the panels will keep the hazardous materials from migrating into the soil as long as the large steel wheeled compactors used in landfills do not break the panels. After discussion the committee decided to make no recommendation to the board to approve a solar ordinance.
The second item on the agenda was discussed last. This item concerned possible revisions to the current Wind Energy Conversion System ordinance. Little discussion took place except to agree that views from the public would be welcome when the committee began consideration of revisions.