Town Reorganizes for 2016

By Jann Wiswall

All Town of Mansfield employees and elected officials are in the process of obtaining official identification cards from the County’s Department of Emergency Services (DES).

The new program is intended to ensure that only authorized municipal employees in the county can be cleared to enter emergency areas within their municipalities. Emergency areas include those that have been damaged by natural or man-made disasters, such as floods, ice storms, tornados, chemical spills, etc.

While the IDs will be required for municipal employees who have an official need to be in an emergency area, they also are important as employees perform their daily duties. Residents can now ask anyone who says they are an employee of Mansfield to show their ID.

According to Town Supervisor Bob Keis, who explained the program at the town board’s January 18 meeting, “IDs are only given to authorized employees. If someone says they’re an employee and you don’t know them, ask for their ID to be sure.”

Keis said that DES staff told him that Mansfield is the first municipality in the county to request the IDs for their employees.

In other board business, Keis reported that the town’s attorney was consulted about drafting a road bonding law to ensure that the town highway superintendent can demand compensation for damage to town roads caused by “high-impact equipment” such as logging and construction vehicles. The attorney felt that existing NYS vehicle and traffic safety law already provides municipal protection and that a town-specific law is unnecessary.

Going forward, companies with heavy equipment that expect to be frequent users of town roads and risk damaging roadways must clear the project with town highway superintendent Brad Hurley before work begins to determine if bonds from an approved bonding agency are required.

As this was the first meeting of the new year, the Mansfield board officially reviewed and approved existing policies and procedures and reappointed most staff/officials to their respective posts.

The only change made was to appoint Margaret Puszcz as chair of the Planning Board of Appeals to replace Marilyn Hintz who resigned the post.

The board also reduced the mileage reimbursement rate for municipal employees to $.50 per mile from $.53.

The next meeting of the Mansfield Board is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in the town hall.