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Spicer adopts cell phone policy for staff

First proposed in October, new council approves policy in second meeting of year

SPICER -- Spicer's new City Council didn't waste time making decisions in its second meeting on Tuesday when it adopted a policy that has been in the council chambers for three months.

Spicer City Council adopted a policy for city-issued cell phones for city employees. The previous council had held onto the policy for two months. Spicer's 2009 council adopted the policy within two meetings.

The policy for city-issued cell phones was first distributed by Councilman Troy Block during the City Council's Oct. 8 meeting. The proposed policy was a near-replica of the policy the City of Chanhassen uses, Block said.

The council didn't discuss the proposal until Nov. 12 when former councilman Ron Schneider moved that Spicer discontinue providing cell phones to employees and instead provide two-way radios. The motion was seconded but turned down by the City Council. The issue wasn't discussed again in 2008.

Just two meetings into 2009, the new City Council approved the proposed cell phone policy.

"That's a good policy," Interim Administrator Wayne Thompson told the council Tuesday. "It's a good one to adopt."

The main guidelines in the policy focus on the personal usage of city-issued cell phones.

According to the policy, employees with city-issued cell phones "may make necessary personal telephone calls during non-business hours." However, the policy recommends minimal personal use.

The city will pay for the basic calling and text message plan as long as personal calls do not cause the employee's monthly bill to exceed the cell phone's calling plan. If a monthly bill exceeds the plan due to personal calls, the employee will reimburse the city the dollar value of those calls.

The policy also indicates that any employee with a city-issued cell phone must be readily available for any and all emergency calls that may occur and accept the calling plan chosen by the city for the employee.

Discussion about adopting a cell phone policy was first introduced in 2007.

During a December 2007 council meeting, former mayor Perry Wohnoutka addressed some roaming charges on a cell phone bill for Public Works Director Dan Haats. According to Tribune archives, Wohnoutka said the charges were from calls made by Haats during a vacation in Colorado.

At a later meeting, Haats said that previous council members had granted him the privilege to make personal calls on his city-issued cell phone as his duties require him to be on call for emergencies, even while on vacation.

The Council readdressed the issue during a Sept. 23, 2008, special meeting and Block responded to discussions by finding and distributing the Chanhassen policy.