EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County Commissioners are eager to protect the county and other cities from the City of Eugene's proposed sick leave ordinance.
"I tried to ask the mayor to slow down their process, so there would be time to try and work some of this out last Thursday," Commissioner Jay Bozievich said of a meeting with Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy. "Basically I was met with a refusal."
Commissioners say county workers would not be exempt from Eugene's sick-leave ordinance.
County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky said this could cost county taxpayers more than a half of a million dollars on the high end each year.
The county said the result would mean there would be serious cuts in county services.
As it's written, Mokrohisky said that anytime a person is working within Eugene's city limits, that person must acrue paid-sick time, even if the employer is located outside Eugene.
In response, the county proposed three ordinances of its own.
- Exempting any unit of local government located in Lane County from another unit of local government's resolution, ordinance, rule, or regulation.
- Exempting any employer located in Lane County, but outside the city limits from any other unit of government's resolution, ordinance, rule, or regulation that mandates, orders, or requires any changes in terms of conditions of employment.
- Exempting any employer that has employees located in Lane County from any resolution, ordinance, rule, or regulation adopted by any unit of local government.
Bozievich said the city is exceeding it's authority.
"Some people might say that we're stepping in to the city's business," he said. "The city has decided to step outside of their jurisdiction."
Bozievich said the city is just scratching the surface on how much of an economic impact it would have on Lane County.
"How it impacts the Lane Events Center, how it's going to impact being Tracktown USA, how it's going to impact our ability to compete for new business."
Years ago, Bozievich said the state of Oregon sanctioned Lane County as the director of public health for the region.
He said Eugene is "trying to act as the board of health when they don't have that authority."
Commissioner Pat Farr said Eugene crossed the line when it failed to exempt county employees from the proposed ordinance, since most work within the City of Eugene.
"They're trying to do the right thing, but in that it is happening very, very quickly," Farr said. "It's easy for me to say I think they missed a few things."
The county will convene for a second reading of these three proposed ordinances on July 21 and hope to pass some kind of protective ordinances before Eugene passes an ordinance of their own, if that happens.