The Marion Board of Selectmen on October 3 approved a new cell phone policy for Council on Aging van drivers, and they will proceed to eventually establish a town-wide employee policy on cell phone use during work.
According to Town Administrator Paul Dawson, COA Director Heather Sylvia requested the policy in light of some grants the COA had applied for that mandated a cell phone use policy for drivers.
“This suggested [draft] policy is sort of mission critical at this point in time,” Dawson said. “It would be our recommendation to ask the board to approve the policy tonight for the COA,” adding, “but it begs the larger question for a cell phone policy for all Town departments…”
Dawson said one is in the works that would encompass the procedures in the COA driver policy and cover certain areas such as social media more broadly.
The COA driver policy prohibits the use of PDAs and cell phones, both handheld and hands-free, while operating a vehicle. It also prohibits initiating or responding to calls and reading texts or emails while driving. Making emergency calls must be made while the vehicle is pulled over, and employees charged with traffic violations that result from PDA or cell phone use while driving will be held solely responsible for all liabilities that result.
Employees found in violation of the policy will be subject to discipline, including termination of employment.
“[It’s] critical that we have these policies in place,” said Dawson.
In other matters, Dawson said Engine 1 was involved in a minor traffic accident on the evening of September 25 at 8:00 pm on Cove Street.
During an in-progress training drill, Engine 1 was called to a medical incident with an EMT and paramedic on board. The engine was alerted that vehicles were parked on both sides of Cove Street at that time, and during an attempt to pass with just 1 to 1.5 inches of space on either side, the engine sideswiped a parked car while travelling at a slow speed.
“All the damage appears to be very minor in nature,” said Dawson. The staff followed the proper procedure and notified the Police Department, as well as Fire Chief Brian Jackvony who responded to the scene.
“Thank God it’s very minor,” said Selectman Steve Gonsalves sitting in as chairman for an absent Jody Dickerson that night.
In other business, Dawson said the Town’s website has been updated and within a short while any glitches should work themselves out.
Dawson called the new format “user-friendly,” saying, “I’m very pleased with it and we’ve been working hard … on something that I think our residents will enjoy and probably get through really easily.”
Also during the meeting, the board tabled until October 17 the appointment of a new member to the Marion Energy Management Committee as well as one to the Carver Marion Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District.
The next meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for October 17 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.
Marion Board of Selectmen
By Jean Perry