County commissioners seek policy on bad weather courthouse closing issue

As the winter bears down on Cavalier County, officials of the county remain perplexed on the issue of closing the county courthouse because of the weather.

Posted on 1/25/14

By Lee Coleman

At Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting, the ramifications of closing the courthouse last Thursday during the blizzard were front and center.

Currently, there is not a policy in place to handle the decisions of closure. Last fall, then-chairperson Elsie Magnus suggested the courthouse close when the schools do.

That idea never received a vote from the Board.

After Thursday’s closing, the commissioners reported numerous comments from the community expressing displeasure with the decision.

Essentially, citizens thought if local businesses were open, the courthouse should be open.

Also, commissioners reported a strong consensus among citizens not in favor of closing when the schools do.

“If the courthouse is closed and the 911 employees still have to be at work, should they get extra pay?” asked chairman Rich Flanders.

Magnus suggested a vacation day be used if a county employee decides not to test the weather.

“It should be open,” said commissioner Ole Nowatzki. “If you can make it, come in and if not, don’t come in.”

Flanders cited his support of a policy governing excused absences.

“With approval,” Magnus added. “Why can’t we put in an emergency day off policy?”

The issue was tabled without a vote until the next meeting on Feb. 4 when it will be on the agenda.

In other county business, the Board approved the reappointment of Nancy Feil to the Board of Health for the Cavalier County Health District for another five-year term.

Additionally, the Board approved Mark Busse, Jim Rademacher and Lawrence Henry for the Cavalier County Job Development Authority Board of Directors.

According to CCJDA executive director Shannon Duerr, there is one board position vacant and attempts are being made to identify someone from either the agricultural sector and/or the southwestern part of the county to fill the opening.