Pburg Township

File photo. Perrysburg Township Administration Building.

LIME CITY — The Perrysburg Township Trustees have extended a township employee sick leave policy, expanding it to include vaccine-related illness. That original policy had been in place since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“My concern would be, if we force them to use their sick leave, they might come to work sick. There would be no reason for them to come to work sick the way we’ve been handling it for the past 10 or 11 months,” Trustee Gary Britten said. “If we force them to use their own sick leave, they may be walking in the door sick and we may have our troops dropping.”

Legislation put in place by the state legislature, originally as Ohio House Bill 197, had allowed employees to quarantine with pay. That bill had expired, but subsequent legislation enacted for the new year allows for local governments to extend the policy.

No vote was taken during discussions at the Feb. 3 meeting, but trustees each voiced support for it to also cover vaccine related sickness.

Administrator Walt Celley said that the township had received approximately $600,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding, which was not anticipated when the budget was created. Those funds had been used for personnel costs for police, fire and EMS.

“I advise that we just continue our policy unaltered,” Celley said.

Trustee Joe Schaller asked about including a finite ending to the policy.

“I propose that we put an end date of June, so that it’s clean and everybody knows what is going on. At that time we can continue it or revisit it after more of the vaccines come out,” Schaller said. “That way all our employees will know where they stand.”

In additional questions at the end of the meeting Fire Chief Tom Brice asked if the extended policy would cover a vaccine-related sickness.

“I had one employee that had a pretty severe reaction to the vaccine and was off work for 12 hours,” Brice said.

Britten said that he thought it would be covered.

“This is something that we’ve never ever experienced before,” Britten said. “We have employees who are on the job every day and as far as I’m concerned, and I’m just one of three, that should be covered. He shouldn’t have to use his time.”

All three trustees supported the coverage.

Police Chief Mark Hetrick joined Brice in appreciation of the support from trustees.

“They’ve all stepped up, chief. All the employees have. It just shows their dedication. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve all come together and gotten it done,” Britten said.

Virtual meetings were again addressed, because of a lack of quality that led to problems in conducting the meeting. Trustee Bob Mack asked for a change in the agenda to add discussion on changing the platform from WebEx to Zoom.

Several times during the meeting Mack took over for Britten and ran the meeting. Britten’s virtual connection was dropped several times.

Referencing the regular problems trustees decided that moving forward all virtual meetings would be held on the Zoom platform.

Also at the meeting, the trustees approved $1,600 for the combined costs of additional electrical work and a new dryer for fire and EMS.

They also approved the fire department to apply for two grants. The first would be for $42,000 to be spent on new radios. It would require a match of $2,100. The second grant would be for $50,000 to replace their air fill station, at a matching cost of $2,500 to the township.