OLEAN, NY – The city of Olean, N.Y., is defending itself against a claim that it allowed a city employee to smoke in a city-owned vehicle, according to The Times Herald newspaper. A resident complained to the Cattaraugus County Health Department that he saw an employee smoking twice in a city vehicle. A Health Department hearing was recently held before Judge Stuart Hill, acting as a hearing officer for the case. City Attorney Daniel DeRose said the city is the defendant in the case because state law puts the burden for maintaining a healthy workplace on the employer. Both sides are awaiting Judge Hill’s decision. If the city is found guilty of allowing smoking in city vehicles, it could be fined $500. Mayor David Carucci said all employees should know that smoking isn’t permitted inside city-owned facilities or vehicles. “They’ve been given two memos since I took office,” he said, as quoted in The Times Herald newspaper. “That’s twice in eight months. They certainly know they shouldn’t be smoking in city vehicles.” Mayor Carucci said he believes the city has made a good-faith effort to prevent employees from smoking in vehicles and hopes that Judge Hill will recognize that. A recent memo sent out to employees regarding the issue requested employees sign a form to acknowledge they received and read the memo on no smoking in city vehicles. However, 85 percent refused to acknowledge it, that they received it, and that they read it, the report said. The mayor’s office is now working with city union leaders to ensure city employees acknowledge the memo.