Jeff Busch’s hopes to buy a treadmill to allow interested Miami County Communication Center telecommunicators get more physical activity when time allows during 10 to 12 hours shifts.

The center’s board of directors and the county commissioners last week said they understood the concept of keeping employees on the move when possible but raised questions about liability and the precedent a purchase would set for other agencies.

In the end, the communication center board, which makes recommendations to the commissioners, agreed with a suggestion by Sheriff Dave Duchak to seek outside funding from a foundation or other source versus using tax dollars for the purchase. The board recommended the purchase if an outside funding source could be secured.

Busch discussed the proposal Nov. 15 first during a meeting with the commissioners and later in the day at the board’s meeting. Duchak is a member of the board.

Busch told commissioners he talked with employees about the treadmill after hearing about it at a conference. The work station treadmill proposed would help employees possibly offset some of the effects of the sedentary nature of their work as center dispatchers (now known as telecommunicators). The treadmill proposed is quiet and can be set in a walking mode so those using it are able to answer the center phone or radio.

Some telecommunicators now walk around their work stations in the dispatch room as time allows and walk during breaks, Busch said.

Use of the work station treadmills is growing, with units in use at two centers he knows of in Ohio, Busch said. The cost of the proposed unit was about $1,400.

Commission President Jack Evans said his concern was liability for the county if someone would be hurt using the unit.

Mike Busse, Covington village manager and center board member, said he had employees ask about the treadmills and would be interested in learning more about them.

Matt Simmons, Troy’s fire chief, said the concept was great. “I agree the concept is great, but then you get into who buys them and for who all,” he said.

Duchak said he had not heard of the treadmill, but would be concerned with using taxpayer money to purchase one or more. He suggested funding from another source, a path used by the sheriff’s office to obtain equipment for the exercise area at the sheriff’s training center.

“I don’t have an issue with it if it is OK with CORSA (County Risk Sharing Authority). I would like to see it funded by outside money … that helps take away the ‘me too’ factor,” Duchak said.