Genoa Township Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt presented a draft of a township vehicle use policy during the June 2 Genoa Township trustees meeting, and trustees expressed differing opinions.
Currently, Honeycutt and Genoa Township Police Chief Steve Gammill drive their command cars home, and often while on personal errands because they are subject to responding to emergencies at any hour of the day. It was also noted that snowplow drivers could drive plows home during anticipated heavy snow events.
Honeycutt said the new policy was an improvement over the older policy, which he described as two sentences long. The new policy formalizes restrictions on employees’ personal use of vehicles, and also adds the self-reporting of off-duty motor vehicle violations (found in the general personnel policy manual) to the motor vehicle use policy section.
Trustee Frank Dantonio said he was not in favor of the policy as drafted.
“I’m not comfortable which township vehicles being taken to non-Genoa jurisdictions on non-Genoa business,” Dantonio said.
Trustee chair Rick Carfagna replied that he was trying to find a middle ground for township vehicle use.
“I’m not looking to strip use of vehicles away, perhaps you are,” Carfagna said. “That’s a difference of opinion.”
Trustee Karl Gephardt said he was not interested in having the policy be punitive; he wanted to develop a vehicle use policy that would be fair to township residents and enable employees to provide effective services.
There was some discussion about township employees’ requirement to self-report driving infractions like speeding tickets.
Dantonio suggested using the police department’s LEADS system to investigate employees’ driving records. Gammill said it would be illegal to use LEADS as an investigative tool, trolling for non-criminal offenses.
Carfagna asked if would even be appropriate to run the township’s approximately 90 employees through an Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles check to determine if anyone is failing to self-report traffic violations.
The vehicle use policy will be discussed more fully during the July 7 trustees meeting.
There have been some questions about the range of the township’s new Federal Signal Manufacturers outdoor warning siren installed at the Genoa Township safety services complex on Big Walnut Road.
Honeycutt said Federal Signal would perform an outdoor warning sound verification for $7,500.
Dantonio said he is opposed to spending $7,500 to do a sound verification on the recently installed unit.
“I’m also surprised the vendor would not flip on a switch to test the product,” Dantonio said. “I make a motion to get bids for two additional sirens, investigate where two more should be strategically located in the township, and not use Federal Signal.”
In an email presented by Honeycutt, Federal Signal Manufacturers representative Wendy Justice said the siren’s effectiveness and range are mapped using sound propagation software and local topographic and atmospheric information; that the cost of a sound verification study, typically only completed for military installations and nuclear facilities, is high because of the equipment and personnel required to complete the study.
Honeycutt said Federal Signal is the leading warning siren vendor in the industry, and is used by the city of Delaware. Delaware currently monitors weather and activates the sirens.
“There may be another company out there,” Honeycutt said. “But other companies don’t have a test verification that talks back to the county.”
In other fire department business, Honeycutt noted that the Brighter Days Foundation donated $10,000 to the township fire department.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.