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Labor and Industry official studies township building

Published November 29. 2011 05:01PM

Complaints about the Mahoning Township Municipal Building by the township's Police Chief Kenneth Barnes to the Department of Labor and Industry were discussed during the meeting last evening.

Township Chairman John Wieczorek said several items were reported to L&I, including air quality, handicapped access, flammable materials stored under the stairs and lack of a fire escape.

"We (Supervisor Frank Ruch and Wieczorek) met with our building inspector Carl Faust and L&I representative Jim Martin to discuss the complaints submitted to them in his letter," said Wieczorek. "Carl addressed the building issues in the letter, while Martin dealt with the safety and health issues raised."

Wieczorek said while Martin was at the building he toured it and spoke to several of the employees who were there at the time. He wasn't able to make a determination as to whether the building met the safety and health requirements due to its age.

"He said he would need to go back to his office and research the building codes that were in place when the building was constructed to determine what the codes required at the time," said Wieczorek. He said any violations that are determined must be fixed within four months of L&I's final report, but he also noted that as long as progress was being made, extensions could be filed to complete whatever work it entailed.

Wieczorek said Martin was unable to make an assessment of the air quality in the building and said it would need to be tested by an outside firm. Supervisor George Stawnyczyj said at one point in the past, installation of an exhaust fan was discussed, but it was not completed due to budgetary reasons. Ruch said there was no recommendation because Martin said the company conducting the study would need to provide the solutions for the issue based on what they learn from testing the air in the building.

Faust said there was no need for a fire escape due to the number of employees and the layout of the building, but it was recommended nothing be stored under the stairs. He also informed the board that due to the nature of the building and how things were laid out, as well as the number of employees, handicapped access was not an issue.

Wieczorek said the board would move forward on making sure the issues raised are addressed and remedied and this has already started. He said the pole barn would be a big step toward relieving some of the problems.

In other police business, Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt mentioned the request for volunteer officers to work the Black Friday detail requested and underwritten by Wal-Mart was only filled with one officer instead of the two the supervisors requested.

Steigerwalt said he felt the officers would have been more receptive if there was more money involved than the straight time the board offered the part-timers unless they crossed the 40 hour threshold.

"We were asking them to work a holiday and we should have offered more pay."

Ruch pointed out the holiday was Thanksgiving and he didn't understand why those shifts were any different from any others.

"We had two shifts to fill. Officers should have been scheduled for them and that should have been it. This whole process was written in a procedure somewhere."

Steigerwalt said that many businesses celebrate the Friday after, Black Friday, as a holiday as well, but Ruch countered asking why this was no different from Christmas.

"What do officers who work on Christmas do? I don't see the difference here," said Ruch.

The conversation seemed to result in the supervisors indicating they would look for the policy that was written and see if it addresses the issue sufficiently.

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