In the regular Pinehurst city council meeting, February 24, 2015 the council discussed three items.

The first item discussed was whether there is a need to set a policy regarding the employees use of the TeleDoc system to obtain a release to return to work after an employee has been off on sick leave.

Currently city employees have the option to use TeleDoc to consult with a doctor by telephone and be diagnosed, have treatment recommended and obtain prescriptions. This eliminates the need to schedule an appointment in a doctor’s office. City administration has raised the question as to whether a consult by phone is satisfactory in the case of an employee who has been off the three days on sick leave that require him or her to have a doctor’s release to return to work.

“There have been no cases of abuse of the system, but we are wanting to consider if consulting a doctor over the telephone is sufficient to decide that the sick employee has been sick enough to be off and is well enough to return to work.  The city has had this program in use for two years and we are thinking that it may be time to set a policy regarding return to work releases”, said City Administrator Joe Parkhurst.

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Barclay and Councilman Mike Anderson raised questions about the need for policy and about the authority of department heads in these situations. After discussion among themselves the council decided that more information was needed and time to study the use to TeleDoc.  A motion was made to table the issue and take time for further study.

After a review by the appropriate state agency it was recommended that the city review and update the current drought plan. The plan regulates the use of water by the city and citizens under certain drought conditions. City Attorney Tommy Gunn presented an updated city ordinance to cover drought conditions and water use. The new plan was approved by the council and will replace the current plan that was instituted in 2000.  

The last item on the agenda was a review of the contract between the city and the Pinehurst Police Officers’ Association.  There are no major conflicts between the city and the association.  The items that are left are changes in language that have been discussed by city and police representatives.  After the changes were read by City Administrator Parkhurst;  Mayor Pro Tem Barclay stated that he thought both of these items were covered in the city personnel manual and he thought that there was no need to have them also covered in the contract with the police association.

“I feel that these items relate to all city employees and that we should cover them in the personnel policy and not also in the contract with the police officers. If we have the same items in two different places, we could be creating a potential for trouble,” said Barclay. The items relate to educational expenses and the requirement for essential personnel to stay in the city in emergency situations.

A motion was made to table approval of the contract. The council will discuss the possibility in making changes in the personnel policy that will cover all city employees, and keep the intent of the contract language.