Genoa seeks streamlined rules for volunteers | NevadaAppeal.com

Genoa seeks streamlined rules for volunteers

Kurt Hildebrand
Nevada Appeal News Service

Candy Dance, Carson Valley’s largest fundraiser, wouldn’t function without hundreds of volunteers. That’s why Genoa Town Board members are concerned about a new policy being proposed by Douglas County that would formalize the volunteer process.

A draft of the policy has been distributed to the towns and other county entities that use volunteers to help out.

County Manager Michael Brown has asked for comments regarding the new policy that would establish rules for screening and managing volunteers.

Included in the policy, developed by the county’s human resources department, are a three-page application for volunteers to fill out, including a request for references and an authorization for a background check and record search, an agreement and a release of liability.

Under the proposed policy, volunteers would receive the county’s harassment prevention policy, rules on sexual harassment, anti-violence and drug and alcohol free workplace, and the county’s safety handbook.

A spokeswoman for the county said the benefit of a formal program is the reduced liability to the county and the towns.

“If anyone can be hurt by the new policy, it’s going to be us,” Genoa Town Board member Dave Whitgob observed.

But Whitgob cautioned against too great a response, in case the draft might not make it into policy.

Volunteer Dan Aynesworth pointed out that the draft used the term “regular volunteers” and asked if that would include those who just came out to make candy once a year.

Town Manager Sheryl Gonzales said the county plans for the policy to apply to all volunteers.

Resident Lynne Bowersock said she could understand the policy, but the proposal that the town would have to pay $40 each for a volunteer to be fingerprinted might discourage some people.

“I can see why the town would want to do this,” she said. “But part of the fun of volunteering is the spontaneity.”

Genoa Town Board members instructed Manager Sheryl Gonzales to meet with other county entities that use volunteers to develop a policy that provides a more streamlined process.