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Neighbors complain of the litter around smoke-free workplace

A Jamestown social service agency's smoke-free-workplace policy has become a cleanup task and a nuisance for nearby homeowners.

Lawmakers discussed smoking near the campus of Lutheran Social Services on Falconer Street during a joint meeting of the City Council's Public Safety and Public Works committees Monday night.

May 1, Lutheran Social Services adopted a smoke-free policy, requiring employees who smoke to leave the campus to light up.

As a result, the sidewalks in front of private homes near the campus have become littered with cigarette butts, and some residents are complaining about secondhand smoke.
Dr. Lillian Ney, Public Safety Committee chairwoman, is working with the agency to come up with a solution to the problem.

"The committee had asked that we get together with [Lutheran Social Services]," Ney said.
Tom Holt, president and chief executive officer of Lutheran Social Services, said that, technically, the agency can stop employees from smoking during 15-minute breaks -- but on half-hour lunch breaks, they are no longer on the agency's time.

Ney called the problem "a complicated issue."

". . . The displacement of smokers is a problem in and of itself," she said. "They're leaving the property from which smoking is forbidden and then spilling out into wider and wider areas in the neighborhood."

Ney, who called the phenomenon a "domino effect," said the issue likely will be discussed during the Council work session Monday.

On another issue, the Council's Housing Committee is making headway on a proposal to deal with habitual code violators.

Mayor Sam Teresi called this a promising sign.

Committee members met recently with City Judge George Panebianco and said some progress was made on penalties.

"We think that we have come to a consensus on what that minimum, graduated penalty structure, every year for repeat penalties on city properties, could be," Teresi said. "There's been some further dialogue with the court about this as to how it could implemented and how they would receive it."

Teresi noted that Corporation Counsel Marilyn Fiore-Nieves has been researching the issue and that the administration will make a proposal when the committee meets next week.

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