At their meeting Monday night, councillors heard that the aluminum and tempered glass barrier is needed for greater security.
“We’re not looking at bullet-proof glass or anything like that,” said Treasurer Michael Beal.
“We are looking at securing the front counter so that it is preventable from somebody being able to jump over the front counter, somebody being able to reach over the front counter if the person has left the front desk.”
Beal also told council he’s proposing to spend an additional $2,500 to install six-millimetre-thick laminated glass to prevent sound from leaking out of CAO Phil Handrahan’s office into a hallway.
He explained that the present glass wall does not block sound effectively enough and people can hear what’s being said during private meetings in the CAO’s office.
If councillors approve the proposed security measures at their next meeting on Nov. 14, the $10,300 contract would be awarded to the lowest bidder, Division 8 Architectural Glass and Aluminum of Elmsdale, N.S.
Councillor Black asked if any specific incident at the front desk had led to the recommendation to increase security there.
“There’s no one specific incident or issue that has happened,” Beal replied, “but we do handle money at the front desk on a regular basis, there are times when there have been aggravated people that do come in.”
Beal said the enhanced security measures have been under consideration for the last couple of years.
“A lot of times we have staff working there at lunch time alone as well, and when they’re working there alone, they may be the only person in the building.”
Beal acknowledged, however, that the glass partition would be “less user-friendly.”
“When we moved in the building, we attempted an open concept with it and what we’re looking at now is making things more safe and secure,” he said.
CAO Handrahan added there have been occasions when front-desk staff have been intimidated by people in front of the counter.
“There have been at least a couple of situations where I called the RCMP to come up on account of the activity that was going on up here,” he said.
“Society is changing unfortunately so it was felt for the safety of employees and things the treasurer has mentioned, that it was something that needed to be done,” he concluded.