NEWS

Marijuana policy in flux

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Osage County Emergency Management Director Jerry Roberts on Monday submitted to District Attorney Mike Fisher for review a proposed county employee drug use policy. Roberts said the policy had been drafted by lawyers with the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma.

Roberts told county commissioners that numerous bills regarding medical marijuana use have been filed for the 2019 regular session of the Oklahoma Legislature, which began this week. He voiced concern that the county could, depending on what the Legislature does, have to revise its drug use policy numerous times and get county employees to sign off to the effect they’ve been made aware of each change.

“We could have to do this 10 times,” Roberts said.

County Clerk Shelia Bellamy told commissioners the county needs to be able to put a signed statement in each county employee’s personnel file, proving that notice has been provided.

In other business Monday, Osage County commissioners voted to appoint members to a previously created Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board. The commissioners appointed Kay Kelley, director of Osage County E-911; April Thompson, director of Hominy EMS; Larry Eulert, city manager of Pawhuska; Ronny Wilson, of Sperry, who is a Tulsa firefighter; Ken Montgomery, director of Pawhuska EMS; Boa Cox, who is a Fairfax town trustee; and Colt Herren.

District 3 Commissioner Darren McKinney said the advisory board will not have power to make formal decisions. Rather, it will make recommendations. Thus, it really doesn’t matter exactly how many people are appointed to serve.

District Attorney Mike Fisher said it probably did’t legally matter if the EMS Advisory Board gave formal notice of its meeting dates and times, but he recommended that giving notice might help to avoid difficulties.

County commissioners Monday also tabled once more, for continuing legal review of contract terms, a proposed agreement to make the position of county tourism director full-time rather than part-time. District 2 Commissioner Kevin Paslay had made a motion to approve the agreement, but his motion was allowed to die for lack of a second.

“I just don’t want to let this deal slip away,” Paslay said.

Bellamy said that a representative of the district attorney’s office had already said the county could use lodging tax funds to pay wages under the proposed agreement, and also that the contract cannot be automatically renewed. The agreement that is being crafted would take effect July 1.

The commissioners were asked how much tourism director Kelly Bland’s pay would be under the proposed full-time arrangement, and the answer given was that it would likely come to slightly in excess of $65,000 per year.

District 3 Commissioner McKinney said he wasn’t sure if that was a competitive salary for the position. Paslay said he thinks, based on the size of Osage County, it would be competitive.