PARIS — Oxford County commissioners on Monday considered changes to the county’s policies on inclement weather and pets in the workplace.

After reading amendments prepared by County Administrator Scott Cole based on previous conversations, commissioners David Duguay and Stephen Merrill didn’t take action on either one but discussed possible changes.

The draft of the Animals on County Property Policy would throw out the rules written in May 2009 and ban live animals, with exceptions for service and police animals. Scott Parker, director of the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency, was in attendance to defend the practice of keeping pets at work, especially in areas like the EMA office, where members of the public never enter.

Commissioner David Duguay said he would be more comfortable with an environment where animals weren’t allowed in spaces the public could enter.

Others challenged the professionalism of keeping dogs in the workplace. County Treasurer Roy Gedat, who was present for another matter, said that pets aren’t allowed in most workplaces and he didn’t see why public buildings should be exempt.

Parker challenged the idea that the county should set a policy because others have it. Having pets present “does impact morale. It does impact people who come in to visit us,” Parker said.

Although he doubted the professionalism of having pets at work, Cole later said the dogs in county buildings are all well-behaved and that none have territorial issues.

Cole said he will revise the draft for the March meeting.

After a string of heavy snowstorms this year, the commission began to eye the county’s policy, last revised in 2007, on days when the courthouse closes for weather.

It’s a rare occurrence and the decision to close is left to the chairman of the commission. When it happens, offices in the courthouse close and employees are paid administrative leave.

Employees who elect to stay home during storms must use vacation, compensatory or paid leave to do so. Monday’s draft would require they use vacation or other paid leave even for announced snow days where they are told not to come to work.

Commissioners decided against going so far, although the draft does narrow the list of offices whose employees aren’t to come in on severe snow days to commissioners, the treasurer, the District Attorney, Probate, Deeds East and West, Emergency Management and the administration only in the Sheriff’s and Regional Communication Center offices.

The new draft also clarifies some of the language from the 2007 revision. Parker said he’ll draft another copy for the next meeting, set for March 15.

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