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Earned sick and safe time in Duluth

Two months ago, our Duluth City Council approved a resolution creating an 11-member task force to study the policies, best practices and potential impacts of a possible earned sick and safe time ordinance for our city. The council's action was the result of a public request made by a coalition of 10 well-intentioned organizations which united under the name Vision Duluth.

By initiating a task force, the council has placed our beloved community at the center of a statewide campaign aimed at implementing earned sick and safe time throughout our great state. Our talented mayor has stated, "This is an important community-wide issue needing a broader community conversation and I welcome that opportunity in coming months."

The task force met for the first time Oct. 17. It most recently met Nov. 30. The task force will convene on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, at 4:30 p.m., in Room 402 of our elegant City Hall. They will continue doing so until October 2017. The next meeting will be Dec. 14.

Council President Zack Filipovich was able to attract the following community leaders to serve on the task force: citizens at large Terese Tomanek and Stephan Witherspoon, labor representative Theresa O'Halloran-Johnson (AFSCME Local 66), hospitality industry representative Tony Boen, health professional Kathryn Wegner, economic development organization representative Arik Forsman, human resources professional Laura Weintraub, organizations assisting working families representative Angie Miller, domestic violence or sexual assault advocacy professional Mary Faulkner and business community representatives Chad Ronchetti and Brenda Denton. Laura Weintraub and Angie Miller are serving as task force co-chairs. I applaud each of these conscientious community members for giving of their time and talent to address this important community decision.

The aforementioned individuals are hopeful that you and I will stay apprised of the task force's actions. We can do so by visiting the City of Duluth's website and opening the Boards and Commissions page.

Task force minutes and agendas will be posted there for our review. Also, the task force's recurring meetings are posted on the City of Duluth's events calendar. We can also subscribe to be provided task force minutes, agendas, and meeting times.

City Council President Zack Filipovich and the taskforce members have done everything they can to make their activities transparent and available to us. It is up to you and me to closely follow this unfolding initiative.

The Duluth Area Chamber's leadership will ensure that the voice of business is heard within the council's evaluation of a proposed mandatory earned sick and safe time city ordinance.

David Ross

David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751.