Glendale Council to discuss workers’ comp, COVID economic relief in Tuesday workshop

Independent Newsmedia
Posted 5/24/20

In its Tuesday workshop, Glendale City Council will receive a presentation on the city’s workers’ compensation policy, especially as it pertains to job-related cancer and will discuss how …

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Glendale Council to discuss workers’ comp, COVID economic relief in Tuesday workshop

Posted

In its Tuesday workshop, Glendale City Council will receive a presentation on the city’s workers’ compensation policy, especially as it pertains to job-related cancer and will discuss how it can best use its federally allocated grant money to help those financial affected by the coronavirus.

Council will also consider loosening requirements around business licenses and will consider asking voters to approve a 25-year contract with a utility company to provide water services to the western part of town.

Tuesday's workshop is the first meeting open to the public since mid-March. It begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Glendale Civic Center, 5750 W. Glenn Drive.

The meeting can be watched live on government access Channel 11 or streamed live or watched back later here or watched later at the city's Facebook page or YouTube page. View the meeting's full agenda here.

Later Tuesday, Glendale will hold a voting meeting at 5:30 p.m., also in the Glendale Civic Center.

Workers’ compensation

Council will review and discuss its workers’ compensation policy, especially as it pertains to cancer that is presumed to be related to an employee’s job. The discussion is for information only and is not followed by a vote.

Kevin Thompson
Kevin Thompson
Ocotillo District Councilman Jamie Aldama requested for the informational presentation from staff after the city’s workers’ comp policies came under scrutiny last summer. Firefighter Kevin Thompson was looking to pay for his cancer treatment alone after a third-party administrator ruled Glendale’s workers’ comp did not have to cover his illness, even though his type of cancer is listed in state law as presumed to be caused by firefighting activities.

After facing pressure from the public, state Sen. Paul Boyer — who represents part of Glendale — and fire unions across the state, city officials appealed to the Industrial Commission of Arizona, which informed them that the city can override the decision of the third-party administrator. Mayor Jerry Weiers said in a letter that until then the city had been following advice from city workers’ comp attorneys that the third-party administrator’s ruling was binding. After hearing otherwise from the ICA, Glendale reversed course and covered Mr. Thompson’s cancer treatments under its workers’ comp program.

Federal grants

Each year, City Council decides how to best distribute millions of dollars in federal grants to Glendale residents and business owners in need. This year, many of the most pressing needs are caused by the economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic, which has caused businesses to close and the state’s unemployment rate to jump to 12.7%. Tuesday, Council will strategize about how to best allocate the federal money its given under this new economic landscape.

Business licenses

Council will consider changing its requirements so only businesses with a physical presence in Glendale must have a business license through the city. The proposed change would drop the requirement for businesses to get a license through Glendale if they do business in Glendale but have no physical presence in the city.

Such businesses with no physical presence in Glendale accounted for just under half of Glendale’s business licenses last year, bringing in $143,700 to the city. Only Glendale, Peoria and Avondale require businesses with no physical presence in their city to have a city business license.

Council’s discussion of the city’s Business Licensing Code Review Tuesday may also seek to clarify other language throughout the code.

EPCOR

Council is considering entering a franchise agreement with EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc. for the water and wastewater company to service Glendale’s western region for the next 25 years, if voters approve the agreement in the ballot box.

The company already services much of Glendale’s western region, which is rapidly adding developments, namely industrial. This agreement would lock EPCOR in as the sole water and wastewater provider for everything in Glendale west of 115th Avenue, which is generally the western edge of the Glendale Water Utility Department’s ability to provide water and wastewater facilities and services, for the next 25 years. Glendale has similar utility agreements in place with APS and Southwest Gas.

Council’s action would send the issue to the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 3 for voter approval. If Council forwards the question to the ballot Tuesday, it will decide the ballot language Tuesday, June 9.

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