The Pryor Times

May 14, 2013

Commissioners discuss employee wellness program

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

— Mayes County commissioners discussed both life and death at their meeting Monday.

Discussion continued concerning the complementary Integris Wellness Works Program.

A representative from Integris presented the program to the commissioners at their last meeting, saying it has a number of benefits including an increased quality of life that promotes healthier positive attitudes in the work place, a decrease in insurance and medical claims and a decrease in worker's compensation claims.

The program promotes preventative medicine first and foremost.

The free program includes customized seminars, per the employer’s need,  on anything from diabetes prevention to proper lifting techniques. Employees will have access to free body mass index checks and blood pressure screenings. The employers will receive a weekly e-mail to forward to their employees or attach to pay check stubs, with wellness tips and healthy recipes.

Last week, the commissioners voted to table the issue to allow more time to look into the details of the drug testing program.

At Monday's meeting, Commissioner Ryan Ball said the drug testing portion of the Wellness Program  would meet the current needs for county employees. The tests, which require blood to be drawn and lab work, cost $29 or $34 depending on the type of test needed. A representative of Integris will go to each of the county barns and offices to do the drug tests and conduct wellness lectures.

“I think this would be a great deal at the sheriff's department,” said Mayes County Sheriff Mike Reed.

The commissioners approved enrollment in the program to positively benefit the lives of their employees as well as decrease the cost of medical expenses.

The commissioners discussed proposed action concerning the burial of an indigent person.

“This is someone that passed away. He has no money. Mike has done an investigation and can't find any family for him,” said Commissioner Alva Martin.

Martin said the commissioners, along with their attorney, checked the relevant ordinances and found that upon a death of this type, the cost of cremation will be split between the three districts.

The commissioners approved Rick Stephens, of Stephens Funeral Home in Pryor, to do the cremation.

The commissioners switched gears to focus on agriculture and county bridges.  

The board heard a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, leading into a decision to renew the existing cooperative agreement between the two.

The USDA representative reported that last year saw 439 new wildlife-related problems and $26,718 worth of damage caused by wildlife in Mayes County.

“You've saved us some huge headaches,” said Martin.

“I know our local ranchers sure appreciate you,” said Commissioner Darrell Yoder.

The commissioners discussed several bridges in need of repair.

In District 3, Ball requested the use of County Bridge and Road Improvement  funds for utility relocation for the Wickliffe Creek Bridge project.

“It's going to cost $326,000 total and I don't have that kind of funds,” said Ball. “Cherokee Nation said they would reimburse us 100 percent, but not until it's completed. So it's an easier process to go through the county.”

“I've done this before, on a smaller scale. As long as it doesn't interfere with any other projects I'm ok with it,” said Yoder, stating his opinion on the the three-month project.

The board approved the use of CBRI funds and discussed another bridge in District 3 that has been washed out by recent flooding. The proposed action was an approval of a Circuit Engineering District (CED) Material Request. Each of these circuit engineering districts is funded by state and county money and acts as a political subdivision. The CED deals mostly with emergency and transportation funds.

Ball said he was hoping to get funds for a quick-fix of the bridge as its condition is deteriorating.

“We spent a million dollars to repair it and it's not fixed. If we dump another $500,000 into it, like is on our eight-year plan, will we be done with it?,” said Martin.

“It isn't going to stop washing out if someone doesn't make a permanent fix, which our million should have done,” said Martin.

“I want to start with eight-inches steel pipes. We'll put them in vertically and they'll stand about 10 feet tall. We'll anchor them in the bedrock about a foot and go from there,” said Ball, outlining his plan for a temporary fix.

Yoder said he understood the need, but was under the impression that the CED material was given to each of the districts on a rotating basis. Approval in this instance would mean two in a row for District 3.

Yoder said he has no problem approving Ball’s request, as long as it does not hurt his chances of getting one when he applies next month. The three commissioners decided to table the issue for another week to get outside opinions and better understand their options.

Yoder began a discussion about  the Emergency and Trans-portation Revolving Fund.

“I planned on using this for one of the projects the Cherokee Nation funded but it's pretty late in the spring now. Our yearly money comes around in June, so I'm just not going to use this,” he said. “I want to turn the money back over to the CED.”

The commissioners approved a resolution to surplus two Polaris four-wheelers for the sheriff's office.

“We use four-wheelers when we go on a man hunt, whether its an arrestee,  missing child or an elderly person. Well, what happens when you find them?,” said Reed. “If it's an arrestee, you can lay them over the front, but that's just not going to work.”

Yoder joked that nobody, not even criminals, are supposed to ride on the handlebars.

Reed said he would like to use the money for a more practical utility vehicle, with side-by-side seats.

The remainder of the meeting was spent opening and reviewing bids for a 2013 day cab dump truck for district two.