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Friday, May 6, 2016

Safety concerns halt jail tours

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Public safety concerns have temporarily halted tours of the Clay County Jail construction site, and waivers, hard hats and parental permission slips may be required before they can resume.

After discussion with Clerk of the Works Gary Rodgers and under the advisement of County Attorney Eric Somheil, the Clay County Commissioners opted to stop tours after considering not only liability, but the potential safety hazards for local citizens, particularly children.

President Dave Parr told Rodgers that while the Commissioners are proud of the new jail and the progress of construction, most sites require everyone wear hard hats, but not even children wear them at the jail site. While Rodgers said hard hats could be available, the Commissioners questioned whether taking chances with liability with daily tours was the best choice.

While Commissioner Charlie Brown said he thought a previous discussion had resulted in the availability of hard hats for those who may want to use them, Parr emphasized he is especially concerned about the safety of children, and suggested holding off on giving tours until safety measures and liability precautions can be explored further.

Rodgers asked about building trades students, and Parr said he didn't include them since they were there for instructional purposes, but questioned whether they and others should sign liability waivers.

Auditor Joe Dierdorf said he has been deeply concerned about safety and liability issues regarding tours, and Somheil suggested liability waivers for anyone who tours, and parental permission slips for those less than 18 years old.

Parr said Rodgers should hold off on tours until Somheil can gather more information.

The Clay County Commissioners regularly meet at 9 a.m. the first Monday of the month in the Commissioners Court at the Clay County Courthouse. Meetings are open to the public.

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