By Arthur Cusano
Kent town employees will be now able to spend a little more time with their newborns, thanks to a new policy put in place last week at Kent’s town board meeting.
Employees can now get two weeks paid maternity or paternity leave following the birth of a child or adoption. Four town board voted in favor of the resolution with one abstention at its Aug. 2 meeting.
Councilwoman Jaime McGlasson said the time off was good for employees, who only have a limited amount of vacation time each year.
“They get two weeks to bond with their child, because that is important, instead of people using up all their vacation time to stay home and then for the following year, they have nothing,” McGlasson said.
Town Supervisor Maureen Flemming said town employees cannot currently “bank” their accrued vacation time, into the next year, which makes family planning even more difficult. Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, she added.
Employees would be eligible after six months of employment by the town. The policy goes into effect immediately.
Fellow board member Paul Denbaum said he supported the idea of maternity leave, but said he hoped men would refrain from taking a maternity leave since he felt they did not need it, a sentiment echoed by fellow councilman Scott Chin.
“I object to that idea, I encourage all employees who are men to not take it,” Denbaum said.
Councilman William Huestis abstained from the vote, saying that while he felt the law would help employees, he wanted more information in order to make a better decision. He pointed out the county had looked to differentiate between employees in good standing and those that weren’t in their maternity leave policy, and suggested the town do the same.
Lake Tibet Residents Want to Suck up Underwater Weeds
After years of losing its namesake water body to erosion and plant growth, members of the Lake Tibet Park District are looking to vacuum their problems away.
The town board approved the park district’s plan to use a contractor to remove weeds from the lake at the Aug. 2 meeting.
“Lake Tibet, like a lot of lakes here, is having problem with weed growth, and we haven’t had a regular maintenance program for several years,” Lake Tibet Park District member May Katz told town board members. “We’re at the point of almost losing our lake.”
Herbicides had worked in the past, but with herbicides now banned by the DEC in the lake due to its watershed status, Katz said they were no longer an option.
“We tried hydrators and it was an abysmal failure,” she added.
Residents are now looking to hire a company that sucks up weeds and algae from the bottom of the lake using an underwater vacuum system operated by scuba-clad workers
The district has a sizable reserve fund they can use to pay for the company, but will first pay $30,000 to try the treatment on one acre of the lake. Clearing two acres would cost $50,000, she said.
“If that is successful and we don’t see any growth next spring, we will do two more harvests next year,” she said.
The Lake Tibet Property Owners Association is located in the western part of the town near the Putnam valley Border. Created in 1958, there are approximately 75 homes in the District, according to the town website. It is designated Kent Park District No. 2.