Foster homes must now be smoke free

Commissioner Jack Edmonds, defeated later that day in an attempt to be re-elected to the Mille Lacs County Board, had to cast two tie-breaking votes at the board’s Nov. 6 meeting.

Edmonds is the board’s chairman and had to break ties on a vote to extend a computer contract and to approve a request for a smoke-free policy for foster homes.

In an item added to the agenda before the meeting, commissioners were asked to extend a contract with Computer Professionals Unlimited for three years, through 2018.

There would be an annual maintenance fee increase of four percent.

Commissioner Dan Whitcomb, also defeated that day in a re-election attempt, questioned the extension and the increase.

He said he didn’t want to extend the contract so far and he thought the increase asked for was “significant.”

County Administrator Roxy Traxler said that department heads affected by the contract were the ones recommending the extension.

“What if we leave it the way it is?” asked Edmonds.

Whitcomb made a motion to approve the contract, saying he didn’t like negative motions, and commissioners Roger Tellinghuisen and Frank Courteau voted for it, with Whitcomb and Phil Peterson voting against.

Edmonds then voted for the motion.

There was a request by the Community & Veterans Services Department to approve a smoke-free policy for foster homes in the county.

There are no foster homes in the county that the policy would affect at this time.

Whitcomb asked if laws address such things as the use of alcohol and firearms in foster homes and Suzanne Lelwica, assistant director of the county department, answered that there are such laws.

As the discussion continued, Whitcomb said he was not in favor of intrusive rules.

“Are there programs for obesity and the use of video games?” asked Peterson.

Lelwica answered that there weren’t.

A motion was made to approve the smoke-free policy for foster homes, effective immediately. Whitcomb and Peterson voted against the motion, Tellinghuisen and Courteau voted for it, and Edmonds again cast the deciding vote by voting for the motion.