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Council continues COVID ‘breakthrough’ paid leave policy

Reorganized

LAURA JAMESON/THE EXPRESS Members of Lock Haven City Council posed for a photo following their first meeting in 2022. They are, from left, Council members Richard Morris, Barb Masorti, Vice President Steve Stevenson, Mayor Joel Long, Council members Rick Conklin and Jeff Brinker. Council member Douglas Byerly attended the meeting virtually and is not pictured.

LOCK HAVEN — Although a few connectivity issues halted the livestream of its meeting momentarily, that didn’t stop Lock Haven City Council from conducting its first meeting of the 2022 calendar year.

Before getting to business, Mayor Joel Long swore in three of council’s returning members — Barbara “Barb” Masorti, Steve Stevenson and Richard “Rick” Conklin. Stevenson was later elected to retain his position at vice president of the board.

New councilmember Jeff Brinker was sworn in at the county’s official ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 and did not take part in Monday night’s swearing in.

Council also appointed former member William “Bill” Mincer as City Controller.

City Manager Gregory Wilson, who attended the meeting virtually, told council Mincer was the only candidate who submitted a letter of interest for the position.

“The city controller is an elected official of the city, or in the absence of a vacancy, a resident appointed until the next municipal election,” Wilson said.

The city’s controller compares invoices authorized for payment by department administrators to the check being issued. This ensures there are no errors in expenditures, Wilson said.

“The of the controller is randomly audited by the city treasurer who then counter-signs the checks,” he said. “The controller also has signatory responsibilities when the city takes on new debt.”

SICK LEAVE

Council considered the continuation of “breakthrough” paid sick leave for fully vaccinated employees for a second time.

This form of sick leave was approved in September 2021 and covered on quarter, expiring on Dec. 31, 2021.

Wilson told council the policy would pay for days that a fully vaccinated employee must quarantine if they were to test positive for COVID-19.

The quarantine period was updated from 10 days to 5 to reflect the CDC’s recent recommendations, he said.

Brinker asked Wilson if the policy only allowed one-time use of the sick leave.

“Not at this time no,” Wilson answered. He added that, since September, the leave was only used by two employees.

Wilson said about 70 percent of city employees are fully vaccinated.

The updated policy would only last until March 30, 2022 unless renewed by council.

Stevenson asked if it would be best to extended the policy past March.

“I just don’t see us getting out of this mess anytime soon,” he said.

Long said he felt more comfortable revisiting the issue in March.

“I think we should revisit the issue in March. You’re right, we don’t know what will happen but we can come back to it,” he said.

The policy was approved unanimously by all members of council with Councilman Douglas Byerly attending the meeting virtually via Zoom.

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