BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
January 25, 2006
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson, and Faye Stewart. Bobby Green, Sr., was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Zachary Vishinoff, Eugene, said he would be providing the Board with a packet regarding the proposed University of Oregon basketball arena. He thought there was a problem with no bids on the property. He thought the donors dictate to the community. He said he tried to get Mayor Piercy to request a public forum. He said they have to get public involvement on the siting, financing, whether they need a new basketball arena, and using state money to buy the site. He wanted to work with the Board on the public arena.
Ernest Nisser, Eugene, read a letter regarding an incident that happened to him seven years ago. He asked his lawyers to submit papers. He said his rights were violated. He asked Sorenson for help but Sorenson couldn’t help. He said he was filing complaints against his lawyer and judge. He stated he is a disabled vet. He wanted a review committee regarding the Sheriff’s complaint. He said the Board was the only one who could install oversight in a review board. His said complaint was never reviewed, and wanted help from the Board.
Debbie Jeffries, Eugene, recalled a few months ago the city came to a meeting showing what was included in the Pros Plan. She asked why the Board of Commissioners was not included in the planning process when it includes property outside of the UGB area and in the County. She said the plan is continuing forward with the City of Eugene, to be adopted by resolution and nothing has changed. She was supportive of parks and recreational activity. She said part of her property was not in the city’s planning area. She said she didn’t get to participate in the planning process. She said it shows a map with plan of a linear park that goes on property under the County’s jurisdiction, which is her property. She asked for support and direction from the Board to tell the City of Eugene they need to remove property on the map and language that is not in their planning area.
Van Vactor indicated that Lane County submitted a letter stating some general concerns, and they had amended the plan to make it clear that it has no legal effect. He said the County is supposed to be receiving a reply.
Morrison said they wrote a letter to the city saying they wanted clarification on what they were doing.
Van Vactor said they didn’t think it had any legal effect.
Jeffries asked if, instead of sending a letter, direction could be given to the city. She didn’t know the city’s purpose in including plans on a map.
Morrison noted that Lane County Parks was working on an update to their master plan. She thought the plan had to do with areas that Lane County had control over which included some of these lands. She was concerned about two jurisdiction’s processes going forward without each jurisdiction knowing what the other one was doing, resulting in a possible conflict.
Sorenson indicated that the citizens of Eugene had voted for a property tax measure that allows the city to buy open space land. He said they were operating under a mandate from the people. He noted Lane County had participated with the City of Eugene when they had tax-foreclosed properties for their trail properties; they had contributed land to the City of Eugene to protect open space in the metro area. He agreed that the City of Eugene did not have any land use or regulatory authority over Lane County.
Stewart was disappointed that the city didn’t include Lane County in the process. He was in favor of sending a letter asking if Lane County could be part of the discussion when there is County land involved.
Dan Stoddard, Eugene, discussed the procedural aspects of the Eugene Sand and Gravel issue. He indicated the Eugene Sand and Gravel land use action should have closure and he was waiting for final action by the Board. He said the Planning Commission had put in more than a year’s worth of work and staff time. He recalled the Board reached its decision on May 15, 2002. He noted after that occurred, LUBA supported the Board’s action and rendered a decision in 2003. He added that the Court of Appeals issued its decision in July 2003, and from 2004 until present, they had been waiting for the Board to issue a decision. He encouraged staff to expedite this. He commented as they reach the four-year period, that there are people in the community who would like to see a final decision. He thought it was an easy process. He said he would be willing to draft findings for counsel to review and expedite this.
Wilson said she would have Steve Vorhes, Assistant County Counsel, report back in the afternoon on the Eugene Sand and Gravel matter.
Jim Hale, Eugene, asked the Board to refer a County income tax limitation charter amendment to the voters in May. He said they would have to bring forward an amendment to the code. He said if the County was not to have revenue coming from the Secure Rural Schools Act, they should review whether the organization could maintain services without taking action. He said they couldn’t cut $17 million from public safety. He said they have to do something different. He said voters of Lane County could feel inclined to restrict the authority of the Board to impose any kind of tax in advance that might cause them to change their mind. He asked the Board to have a rate limitation on the proposal he recommended, and make a deduction for County taxable income. He also asked for mandatory property tax relief in the proposal. He wanted a rainy day fund to ensure the revenue source could meet the need over time. He wanted an ordinance brought forward in February.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. ORDER 06-1-25-6/Amending the Intergovernmental Agreement to Change the Name of the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority to Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA).
Merlyn Hough, LRAPA, recalled the last time he met with the Board, there were two points of direction the Board forwarded to LRAPA Board through Commissioner Stewart: that the Board should proceed as quickly as possible to appoint a new director for the agency, and to update its strategic planning.
Hough explained in the process of updating the Strategic Plan for the agency, the Board focused on the vision statement. He said the Board fine tuned the mission statement and established four goals that organized all the functions LRAPA is involved in. He added in the process of establishing the vision and mission statement and establishing the goals, a couple of the Board members questioned whether LRAPA was the appropriate name for the work they do. He said two changes that were approved by the LRAPA Board are changing “pollution” to “protection” and “authority” to “agency.” He asked the Board of Commissioners to change it to the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency.
Dwyer voiced concerned about the name change.
Stewart recalled they went through a process in getting a director. He said it was suggested that they change the name to make it more appealing to citizens in the area. He didn’t think the name change took away anything from their duties and job. He supported the name change.
Sorenson thought the name change was a more inclusive term and supported it. He wanted to see the non-regulatory promotion to be visible within the agency as a function of the agency.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-1-25-6.
Morrison MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Stewart recalled that six months ago they (as a Board) said they would pay 50 percent of the dues to LRAPA He said they now have an additional payment due. He said at that time they were concerned about the director and goals with a specific list for LRAPA to complete. He said they had done that and they now have a full Board. He wanted the Board to make the second payment.
MOTION: to approve the second payment to LRAPA.
Stewart MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Wilson indicated she would incorporate both actions in an order they will prepare and have the chair sign.
Hough requested that they be invited back in about a year to give an update on the organization.
b. ORDER 06-1-25-1/In the Matter of Approving a Lane County Public Information Program and Budget.
Melinda Kletzok, Public Information Office, reported that due to two decades of cuts and the expected cuts after 07/08, there is an information deficit that needs to be made up regarding the situation. She noted the Board and the Department Directors have ratified a strategic objective that is to engage informed citizens about Lane County government services. She added this was just discussed in the Leadership Team meeting. She noted what Lane County had been adamant about is to have a good representative government, with informed citizens. She recalled since 1997 they had been pursuing a strategy of mainly using the news and website to educate and inform. She indicated it had become clear that that wasn’t enough and the wide information gap is serious and something that needs to be addressed.
Kletzok explained the plan uses many communication strategies, not only news, but also the web and greater use of Metro Television and existing resources. She said they would be buying space for public service announcements, more consistent messaging, videos and community outreach. She said it would include a higher level of communications with the employees. She said they are looking at a higher and more intense project than in the past. She said they have 1.5 FTE covering 72 direct services and instead of hiring additional staff, they are recommending retaining local services to temporarily augment the need for staffing. She said if the Board approves the budget for this plan, a Strategic Communications Team would be reporting back every six weeks on the progress. She noted a preliminary estimate for the entire programming and staffing is $250,000 to $300,000. She added that $50,000 had already been approved and is in the Lane County budget. She noted the recommendation is to adopt the proposed Public Information Plan and approve the budget.
Van Vactor indicated they had a discussion at the Lane County Management Team about funding this. He said it was important enough to the Management Team that everyone is committed to increasing their under-expenditures to cover the $250,000.
Stewart commented they are not connecting with citizens and the citizens don’t know what is taking place at Lane County. He said if they expect the citizens to give an approval rating, they need to know what Lane County is doing. He believed this was a necessity.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-1-25-1.
Stewart MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Morrison agreed about the confusion in the citizens’ minds on what it is that Lane County does. She didn’t know how they would be able to measure the success of increasing the public’s knowledge level by using six-week intervals. She supported this with reservations.
Kletzok said the problem with the news and website is that people have to decide to go to the website; with the news there was no consistency because it was up to the news media to run what they want. She noted what is different about this proposal is for the first time they are able to get out the minimum message the public needs to know about their government. She added they would see the message at least seven times or more. She said there would be more community outreach with public service announcements. Some will be paid for, so they will air during the time most of the public is watching. She noted these results are not tied to any ballot measure, and part of the success of this could be measured by a separate survey. She suggested doing a pre- and post-survey. She noted the cost is about $24,000 for both.
Sorenson commented that they have to make sure that it is countywide and not the work of one particular function of County government.
Dwyer stated there is a disconnect between the services the County provides and what they are mandated to provide. He added they don’t charge other governments for the services they give. He said they have little choice in what they do. He commented that a plan couldn’t center on public safety because it is only one part of what they do. He added it has to be objective and explained in a way a fifth grader would understand. He thought it was a good idea.
Dwyer said they have to delineate exactly what it is they do, how they do it, how it is funded, and segment that aspect. He said they have a responsibility to see that the citizens are safe and have an efficient, effective government. He said in doing that they understand the challenges facing them. He added that under the current situation they couldn’t meet their challenges.
6. COMMITTEE REPORTS
a. Legislative Committee
1) REPORT/United Front Projects List.
Tony Bieda, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, reported this was an outline of the projects they will take to Washington, D.C. in the upcoming appropriations cycle to seek federal earmarks. He said at the top of the list is the re-authorization of the Federal Timber Safety Net Payments, Public Law 106.393. He said they have a bill in the House and a bill in the Senate that were introduced last year and were advanced through the process, including being successfully approved on the floor of the House and the Senate and then to the President’s desk for that resource to continue to flow to Lane County beyond 2006. He said when they combine the Title 1 money (which is general fund for public safety and road money for the County road department) with Title II and Title III money (for projects on federal land) the projects include augmentation of the search and rescue capacity, corrections capacity through the Forest Work Camp and other resource related functions that are performed by the County including wildfire planning. He said they are looking at almost $50 million per year in economic benefit that flows to Lane County He said they would be working on re-authorization issues. He added there are four other projects that they had seen on the agenda before, but they represent need in County departments: mental health services for at-risk youth through Youth Services; funding for the facility for the Community Health Center of Lane County and Springfield; additional work in the methamphetamine abatement area and study money for the Beltline Road corridor that would fit with improvements that might be necessary if the new regional medical center proposed by McKenzie Willamette and Triad ends up located at the location on Delta Highway.
Dwyer said he knows how the transportation planning process works. He said they were looking at a seven-year window from concept to construction. He noted some of the land isn’t in the urban growth boundary and not in their jurisdiction. He didn’t see the hospital happening. He said they need to upgrade Beltline and it had been a demonstrated need for a long time. He said his message is to do what is possible without pipe dreams.
Morrison asked what projects their partners had that were going to the United Front.
Bieda noted that he had seen a preliminary list and it was shorter than in the past, but it had not been finalized. He said LTD has two projects, the City of Eugene has a wetland education center and another wetland project. He noted the Springfield Schools has two items, one including the clinic. He added the City of Springfield was doing another appropriation request for a theatre project. He noted that Coburg has the Metro Wastewater request.
Sorenson asked if he thought that they would receive money from the Secure Rural Schools Act.
Bieda thought it would be a 50-50 chance if they have a definitive decision before the budget cycle. His personal thought is that the relationship between funding for local government programs, public safety schools and roads and the forest reserve that was created in 1908 is a long standing obligation that goes beyond the commitment of the re-authorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act. He said they would hold Congress responsible for keeping that commitment.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor sent an e-mail about an upcoming training in April regarding diversity. He said it was exceptional and the Board should attend.
8. PUBLIC WORKS
a. FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. 2-06/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 10 of Lane Code to Adopt Amendments to the Springfield Development Regulations for Application to Urbanizable Lands Within the Springfield Urban Growth Area (LC 10.600-15) and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (Second Reading & Public Hearing: February 15, 2006, 1:30 pm).
MOTION: to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance No. 2-06 on February 15, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
Morrison MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
9. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
July 12, 2005, Work Session, 9:00 a.m.
January 10, 2006, Work Session, 2:00 p.m.
January 11, 2006, Regular Meeting, Following HACSA
B. Children and Families
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 06-1-25-2/In the Matter of Approving Submission of the Biennial Plan Update and Report to the Oregon Commission on Children and Families.
C. Public Works
1) ORDER 06-1-25-3/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract to Paul Brothers Inc. in the Amount of $691,283.00 for Roadside Development, Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway (Beltline Road to Hayden Bridge Way), Prospective Contract No. 05/06-05.
2) ORDER 06-1-25-4/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract to Modern Machinery Co., Inc., in the amount of $137,410.00, for the Purchase of One (1), new Diesel-Powered Hydraulic Excavator, Contract FY05/06 FS-08.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Morrison MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
10. MANAGEMENT SERVICES
a. ORDER 06-1-25-5/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 3 of the Lane Manual to Revise the Term and Duties of the Elected Officials Compensation Board (LM 3.600).
Greta Utecht, Management Services, said this is to make changes to the Lane Manual so the whole process for determining compensation for elected officials could be clearer and more reflective of actual practices. She added this would be less costly to the County. She recalled that over the last few years, the whole definition of compensation had shifted from salary to include other components such as deferred compensation and the health insurance benefit. She noted the Lane Manual language had not clarified exactly what compensation meant and this would help clarify that. She said the Lane Manual currently requires them to look at private sector comparable salaries. She said this past year when she convened the Elected Officials Compensation Board, she made an attempt to get as much private sector information as possible and the only way she could get any numbers was by buying expensive studies. She added even if they would be able to get that information, all they would be getting would be base salaries and not the fringe benefits. Her recommendation is to move the private sector language from the Lane Manual and add comparable non-profit organizations, as that is information more readily available.
Soreson stated that nothing in the current policy requires the Compensation Board to spend significant money to do its work. He said if it is budget limited and the only information they get is from the newspapers, then that was the best they could do with the information.
Utecht said she doesn’t get salary information on the public sector from the newspapers. She said they get the information from their counterparts in the organization. She stated that many non-profit organizations list the starting salary but they will note that salary is negotiable with a nice benefit packet, but no specific information. She added that with most private sector jobs, they won’t see a salary figure listed in an ad. She said instead they would see generous salary and benefits negotiable based on experience and knowledge. She said that is trade secret information. She said if the Board wants the Elected Officials Compensation Board to look at private sector compensation information, then they would need to look at what it would cost them. She was under the impression that when she needs to know what the comparable position is, she would have to pay $500 in order to get the information from the private sector. She didn’t know how relevant it was if what they are trying to do is compare the elected official positions with similar elected official positions.
Utecht recalled in the last meeting with the Elected Officials Compensation Board, they wrestled with how they would apply a logical methodology to those positions. She thought they could do a separate project to work with the Elected Officials Compensation Board to fold in the elected officials’ position with the other work on non-represented positions. She said they need to find a way to apply a logical view to what other entities are doing beyond Oregon. Her concern is the way the Lane Manual is now, it states they they have to look at it just the private sector. She thought if they could add “or” that it would make it more reasonable.
Dwyer didn’t think the system was broken. He said he would amend the manual to put in “or,” but that is all he would agree with.
Utecht said currently the language in the manual is requiring them to review private sector information that applies to the specific positions and in some cases they would have to purchase the information and it is costly. She said if the Board thinks it is in their best interest to do so, she would go forward with it, given budget reality that it is an expensive expenditure on an annual basis.
MOTION: to approve to change the Lane Manual to add the term total before compensation so it is clear that it includes benefits.
Morrison MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
Sorenson supported the motion. He thought total included all factors like retirement benefits, stock options and insurance so when they are comparing things, they are looking at the total.
Morrison suggested that they look at all possibilities, non-profit, public and private in trying to determine the salary range for the comparable elected position they are looking at. If the information is available, it would be included. She said if they could not get access, then they had tried their best to get the comparisons.
Wilson said the Manual language reads as follows: a) The compensation paid to persons comparably employed by the State of Oregon, local public bodies, private businesses, non-profit agencies, and/or other counties within the labor market deemed appropriate.
MOTION: to approve the Manual language Wilson read above.
Morrison MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
MOTION: requiring that the Compensation Board meet at least every two years during the year in which there is a general election and require that the Compensation Board meet prior to July 31 of that year.
Morrison MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Morrison said this would provide the voters the opportunity to respond to any recommendations while reducing the requirement to meet when there is no need to do so.
Morrison suggested to allow the Compensation Board to make recommendations directly to the Board of Commissioners for non-Board elected official compensation, continue the requirement that recommendations concerning the compensation for County Commissioners be made to the Budget Committee.
Morrison noted this would allow the process with the timely requirements in the Lane Charter and make it possible to address compensation of elected officials who manage classified staff in a more timely and responsive manner with the District Attorney, the Assessor, the Sheriff and the Justice Court.
Utecht said the reason that no changes can be made to the Commissioners compensation until after the general election is so that the voters have an opportunity to express their opinion about any compensation changes during that general election. Any changes would take place thereafter.
Sorenson asked why they were treating elected officials differently. He said they should have the requirement that they make recommendations to the Budget Committee and the Board of Commissioners.
Utecht said because the Sheriff, District Attorney, the Assessor and the Justices of the Peace supervise and manage classified employees, and because employees negotiate and bargain for changes in their compensation package, that may create internal inequities. She said it is more difficult when they have a process that has to go through the Budget Committee to constantly be in a catch up mode for department director positions. She added the other problem is by the time the Budget Committee is able to make recommendations, they were looking at a year retroactive adjustment. She said it was expensive to make retroactive adjustments as it all has to be done manually. She said they may end up having someone who leaves office and the change may affect them retroactively. She said it was an administrative issue.
MOTION: to allow the Board to make recommendations directly to the Board of Commissioners and to the Budget Committee.
Sorenson said he was making no change. He wanted to make it clear that they are to make recommendations on all positions to the Budget Committee and the Board.
Motion died for lack of a second.
Dwyer said the Budget Committee doesn’t meet all the time and they are citizen members.
MOTION: to move to amend the Lane Manual to incorporate the clarification of the language.
Morrison MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
VOTE: 3-1 (Sorenson dissenting).
11. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Morrison said that today Florence is hosting their First Citizen luncheon. She said the First Citizens for this year are Mike and Kathy Bones.
Stewart announced that at 2:00 p.m. he will be making a conference call to choose a facilitator for the mediation process for alternatives to the West Eugene Parkway. He said tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. he will testify on how Lane County is processing Measure 37 claims.
13. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
14. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer recessed the meeting at 11:05 p.m.