BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

RETREAT

February 20, 2007

9:00 a.m.

Wayne Morse Ranch Park, 595 Crest Drive, Eugene

 

APPROVED4/4/07

 

Present:Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson, Faye Stewart.Also present, Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator; Jennifer Inman, Management Analyst; Melissa Zimmer, Recording Secretary; Joe Hertzberg, Facilitator.

 

New Board Start Up

 

Hertzberg explained that he spoke with each of the commissioners.He said each one mentioned that they wanted to find real direction on where they are going and what they will be doing in the next year. He also heard variations on what they could do to be more effective in the Boardís governance role.He noted there were only four topics that came up from the conversations.He said the topics included the role of the board, organizational questions, accountability, clear direction expectations, and committee structure.He said they also discussed the challenge that the public doesnít understand how government works and how it is financed.He didnít hear the Board say that the people were stupid and ignorant.He heard that citizens donít understand and the Board needs to get the information out.He noted customer service was a topic that came up.He added challenges include animal welfare and the fair board.

 

Fleenor thought there was no satisfaction from the customers of Lane County.He said from his perspective, people are not happy and do not trust government.He hoped they could come together to see what the purpose of Lane County is.

 

Dwyer stated Fleenor was naive.He pointed out that the charter dictates what they do:they are a general-purpose government.He said they donít have the ability to invent something.He commented that taxes make for a civilized society.He said they have had customer surveys that showed services were rated okay.He thought Fleenor needed to change his way of thinking.

 

Fleenor declared that the overall governance model was wrong.He said they are letting staff tell them how to conduct business and go along with their recommendations instead of developing policies in advance and having staff work within those policies.He declared staff is working for the Board--they are not working for staff.He said there is complacency in they are not doing their job as policy makers; they are being driven by staff to fill committees and other things.He commented they were lacking leadership as a Board.

 

Green stated that Fleenor hadnít been in Lane Countyís environment long enough.He indicated they have policies in place but most of the time people need direction from the Board.He commented that there is a political direction that is different.He wasnít sure how Fleenor was receiving his information.He said patience is needed because change at the County is slow.

 

Stewart recalled he came to the Board of Commissioners with the same thoughts as Fleenor because he had no previous political experience.He thought when he came to Lane County that the Board needed to set goals.He said on this first year on the Board, the Board agreed to do goal setting and they came up with three goals that helped with the structural deficit.He commented that he has seen things in the organization that are changing and hoped it was what Fleenor was envisioning. He believed in customer service and treating people fairly.He commented that they could do incredible things if they could just trust each other and agree on the direction they are going.

 

Fleenor admitted that he doesnít know everything about the County.He said he has resources he hoped the Board would see as an advantage, not a disadvantage.He asked what the County was trying to do.He said they should break it down to an individual department instead of one huge organization.

 

Dwyer said it was dependent upon how they are funded and whether or not they are required to provide the service by law.He stated by law they have to be balanced.

 

Stewart said they have goals they need to work for.He wanted to know what the Board wanted to do to move forward.

 

Dwyer said his primary goal is a stable source of funding for the organization.He added they need to look at a long-term fix.

 

Green thought Stewart was doing a good job as Chair. He wanted to change the environment.He said morale for employees is bad.He thought as leaders of the organization that they needed to change.He didnít want to have a ďpity party,Ē but said that is taking place.He said they need to stop reliance on the state and federal governments.He commented that if they really want to make change, they need to have a different attitude and be more assertive.He said they need to be more positive and talk about the things they can do.

 

Fleenor wanted Stewart as Chair, when he speaks, to be speaking on behalf of the Board, not on behalf of Faye Stewart.He commented that was part of the governance process he would like to see them move toward.

 

Financial Stability & Independence

 

Sorenson said they could have a stable local government or a partnership with state government in a greater degree than it currently exists.He commented that they could raise their own taxes.

 

Fleenor stated the taxpayers of Lane County do not think the Board is working with efficiencies and effectiveness.He was feeling the same thing.He said they have to live within their means and learn how to allocate resources to provide the services that taxpayers require.He said instead of asking for more money, they should do what the taxpayers are asking of them.He said he would rather have a full service government.

 

Dwyer commented that that was a view that some people held because they see government workers as having benefits, when they can no longer afford health care or retirement.He believes people are entitled to health care, to make a good wage and are entitled to a good retirement.He said they should lead by example.

 

Green stated that Lane County is living within its means.†† He said they should show the taxpayers how they are doing more with less.

 

Dwyer stated they have to balance the budget and they are subject to union contracts.He commented that they have jobs that they canít fill because people make more in the private sector.

 

Fleenor agreed people deserve a family wage job.He recalled there have been 12 previous attempts to increase the revenue and each time they had stated there would be dire consequences if the public didnít give them the money.He said they had lost credibility with the taxpayers.He commented that there are no dire consequences that taxpayers will recognize.He asked when they were going to get the message that this does not sell to the public.

 

Sorenson said cities as becoming popular government entities.He said the voters in Eugene have given more authority to the city to raise their taxes and provide more services.He commented that government is becoming less relevant to peopleís daily lives.He is concerned about what happened in Portland, where they created Metro to take away county government responsibilities.He said they were at risk of that happening here.He stated that the middle class has had increases in their taxes. He commented that within the five districts the commissioners represent there are different ideas of what the government should be doing.

 

Stewart said his belief is that Lane County has to find stable funding and needs to be independent and not subject to the whims of the federal government.

 

Sorenson said they need an alternative revenue source that is not a property tax that would provide stability.He said what they saw in the analysis of the current revenue is that grants are about to eclipse property tax.He said the organization had known about the funding from the federal and state government and the increasing gap of the property tax and the cost of the services.He commented that the problem is bigger than what currently exists.

 

Hertzberg asked the Board what would get them united on a unanimous vote.

 

Dwyer stated they have a structural problem in Lane County and it is precipitated by the way they receive funding.He said they are subject to how the state is doing.He commented that they have no stability and they have responsibilities that go beyond public safety.He said they are in this problem because they used to have a serial levy for public safety.He said that Ballot Measures 5, 47 and 50 rolled the levy into their tax base and they never increased their tax base when they had the ability.He recalled when they built the Juvenile Justice Center; there wasnít an operating levy that would be part of it.†† He wants to solve the structural problem and not just include public safety.He wanted to have a two percent limit on the amount of taxes and levy up to that amount and ask the people to cap the rate.He said if they get money from the federal governments and other grants, they lower the ability to tax the people.He stated that would give them stability and they wonít have to rely on handouts.He said they would include LCARA, Veteranís Service and the Extension Service.

 

Sorenson thought they should work on a revenue source that would make Lane County less vulnerable to federal and state decision-making.He thought that would be positive.He said they need to be more comprehensive on who they serve to gain the public acceptance.He thought grants and other money raising activities are important ways to give them stability and independence.

 

Fleenor wasnít inclined to have a five to zero vote.He commented there was no right decision.He said they are showing to the public that it is a complex issue.He thought if they voted five to zero the voters would wonder what is going on.He thought there should be opposition and differences of opinion in solving this matter.He commented it would be hard to convince the public that this was a sincere decision.

 

Sorenson suggested finding another county that was vulnerable to federal and state activity and to the attitudes of their own voters, but have managed to increase their stability.He commented that Multnomah County was more stable than Lane County.He thought they should look at other communities more comparably sized.He didnít know if Lane County was in a unique situation.He thought they needed to go beyond their own experience before they can rule out that option.

 

Dwyer said when they do that exercise, they need to look at what services counties are supposed to provide by law and if there is a funding source that comes with that mandate.He stated they have to collect all the taxes for all the districts and distribute the monies.

 

Green commented it is an ongoing goal to work towards financial stability.He wanted to work toward independence for Lane County.

 

Stewart thought it might not be possible to have a five to zero vote.He was concerned on what that might present to the people.††† He stated he has been working on the solution for the past two years.He said it wasnít acceptable to read about crime in his community.He doesnít want a high rate of crime.He didnít want to be faced with a closed juvenile facility when they have some of the best programs recognized nationwide, because they canít provide funding.He was willing to step up and make the tough decisions.He said they want a community that is good to live in and safe.He said if they want good customer service then they need to have good employees who feel good about their jobs.He commented that until they find some other source of income, they will continue to go down this cliff.He doesnít want to keep cutting money out of their budget.He wanted to see it stable.He commented the only way they have been able to survive is because of technology.

 

Fleenor said his community has had a change in demographics which occurred in the past ten years.He noted that they have a large number of retirees on fixed incomes coming from California and the County has to adapt.He said they donít have a timber industry but a retirement community.He said those people expect him to represent their interests.He said a vote of five to zero is a goal, but not a requirement.He wants to be a team player, but said he has to be realistic and representative of the people he represents.He indicated that he had been given clear messages from Santa Clara, Veneta and the coast not to enact the income tax measure.He asked if the purpose of Lane County was to generate revenue or provide service.He wanted to define the service first and then determine what it is going to cost and generate the revenue.He said they have to live within the revenue stream.He commented that auto insurance rates are the lowest in the country, so auto theft is not driving up insurance rates.

 

Hertzberg commented that everyone agreed a goal was long-term stability and independence facing the revenue stream on a variety of sources and looking at sources that make sense.†† He asked if they have to reduce expenditures and if it was large enough to reconfigure Lane County government, if every program area was important and valuable.He also asked if they would seek to continue to have a broad array of services or if they will focus more on certain ones.

 

Green responded that the Board was asked if they wanted to be a single purpose government but declined.He stated as long as they are a general purpose government, they will be required to provide an array of services.He commented the prices of homes in California far exceeds the prices in Lane County and people bought their homes here with the surplus money.He said they need a fairness in tax.He thought the people will pay their fare share of taxes but they want to see where their money goes.

 

Stewart believed that all services are important and that was the way they were going.He said they will have to face cuts of those services.He thought if they gave Assessment and Taxation back to the state, and the state sends a bill to Lane County to collect the tax, they would have to pay more.He doesnít want to make those types of cuts if they donít have to.He commented that everything they do is important; otherwise they wouldnít be doing it.

 

Sorenson commented that when they are in a crisis. fear was driving the decision.0He said the public has a problem with government for the willingness to vote for a ballot measure.He said they tried special things to get the publicís interest.

 

Fleenor indicated that not every program is important.He said they keep diluting services and they are contradicting themselves.He said if they are not going to cut programs, then they need to take it out of the Strategic Plan.He thought everyone deserved to be represented.

 

Effective Governance

 

Measuring Effectiveness

 

Fleenor stated he came from the Carver system, a governance process that he believes in.He said if the Carver system is going to work, it has to take over completely, with no transition.He said they have to do the entire method.He said there should be a bright line between the Board and the department heads.He wanted a two-day work session that identifies what the Carver method does.He said if they want to move forward they would hire a governance facilitator.

 

Dwyer stated he wasnít interested in visiting the Carver model of government.

 

Fleenor said they would have to divide Lane County up into 15 departments and each department would have a Carver governance model. He said he wanted to get to customer satisfaction.

 

Hertzberg asked if the system was so broken that the Carver governance model was the only solution to the problem. He asked if there were ways they could significantly improve and if so what the alternatives for improvement were.He commented that the Carver model is a highly structured way to address it.

 

Dwyer commented that governance starts with the Board.He said they could have any model they wanted.

 

Responsiveness of Committees

 

Fleenor explained that the Carver method doesnít support committees, as it represents a failure of governance.He said Carver supports a task force or ad hoc committee with a defined mission and time period.He asked how often the committees actually generated a work product that ends up in a policy decision.He questioned how effective all of the committees are.He asked if they were getting their moneyís worth.

 

Sorenson thought they were expending too much money on advisory committees.†† He thought giving them a specific topic was a better use of involvement and peopleís time.He didnít think advisory committees got things done.

 

Stewart said he believes in committees, as they are productive.

 

Dwyer commented that they have committees that function perfectly as they provide service to Lane County because they develop polices that affect citizens.He said it gives the citizens a feeling that their views are being heard.He noted the Roads Advisory Committee was an important committee.He noted that some committees are statutory.

 

Green thought committees had value.

 

Dwyer thought in lieu of the Boardís presence (if they are not statutory or intergovernmental) they could assign someone and attend in their stead.

 

Hertzberg asked if they wanted to come up with something systematically.

 

Fleenor asked if they were getting sufficient return for their investment of the taxpayerís money to warrant the continuation of the committee.He asked what the purpose was and if they had a work product. He commented that some committees go on forever.

 

Dwyer said they should ask the committees about their goals.

 

Sorenson said they have a structural problem with committees.He said they are supposed to represent people and some people are poor and wonít be able to come to a committee meeting.He said they donít have an affirmative action program involving people on a committee.He suggested having a seven-member committee, where the commissioners would assign one person each.He didnít know when the meetings were set and the rationale to setting the meetings.

 

Stewart said they should have a complete list of the committees and discuss each specific committee, their expectations of the committees and the Boardís expectations.He said they need to determine whether the committees are still appropriate and if they want to have specific targets for them to meet.

 

Green saw that as a second step.He thought after they engaged the chairs of the committees they could discuss the work product, resources, and if the committee should go away or be retained.

 

Sorenson indicated they might be able to improve governance and the relationship between the Board and the policies and staff performance by driving the performance into a routine or a report to the Board on how they are doing.†† He thought instead of a semi-annual report of performance measures, they should think about breaking it down as a routine item on the agenda.He said they need to be monitoring performance measures.

 

Hertzberg recalled the Board wants to evaluate the future of each committee, involving its purpose, what are its expectations for reporting, its costs and the connection with the Board.

 

Dwyer noted that most committees already have bylaws and a purpose.

 

With regard to governance, Hertzberg stated the following:to have a clear purpose, goals, strategic plan, clear and articulated policies, clear direction from board to staff, clear performance measurements and reporting, clear statement of the relationship between the Board and the administrator and expectations of the commissioners themselves and their responsiveness.

 

Fleenor explained what is good about a performance governance process is that they give direction to management and they could do many things.He said with the model, they could make decisions without the fear of having to second guess.He wanted to bring in the Carver form of governance.

 

Dwyer indicated he was not opposed to finding a better way of doing things.He didnít support a work session on the Carver method.

 

Green did not support the Carver method. He believed they could get reasonable people to make decisions.He was not in favor of bringing the Carver group in.He said he went online and found they were consultants.He didnít think this was the best fit for Lane County as they are decentralized.He said they could make improvements but they have to agree without what Carver was telling them.He said they need to work towards improving.

 

Sorenson commented with governance, they could have more data and evaluation.He said they canít do it unless they get it on a routine basis.

 

Fleenor explained no one would force them to do anything.He said it was just for information purposes.He said they would have to have an outside facilitator show them the options, but it wouldnít be for free.He asked the board how they go the next step.

 

Dwyer said he wants efficiency.

 

Green commented that if it is efficiency, they could do it themselves by giving clear direction.He said they need to be clearer in what they expect.

 

Dwyer indicated there is a cost associated with giving directions and they have to recognize that and step up.

 

Animal Welfare

 

Green asked what the expectation would be with the work session.

 

Dwyer said someone would write a resolution.His expectation was they will set goals and direction and they might adopt a resolution in some point in time that would be less onerous.He added there would be some direction with the resolution so it would have meaning.

 

Sorenson suggested hearing from people who are outside of the organization who have expertise.He said they wonít take action.He commented the dilemma of the policy choices will come out as a result of this meeting.

 

Dwyer wanted to find out the impediment of putting this in place and the cost associated with it.

 

Fleenor said they have a group of people who are pro and con.He hoped the truth would come out that they are doing the best they can with the resources.

 

Fair Board

 

Dwyer explained there is no requirement for a Fair Board.He thought they got $40,000 a year because they had a fair board, but he found out they got the money because they have a fair.He said they should have a fair board.

 

Green wasnít convinced that the current structure was broken and needed to be replaced.He wanted to make sure it continues.

 

Fleenor preferred ďdirect democracyĒ and indicated that the fair and the fairgrounds rise to the level where they need to have a definitive impact on its future.He was in favor of the Board of Commissioners taking the place of the fair board for an indefinite period to provide clear direction to Warren Wong.He wanted to make sure the fairgrounds survive.

 

Dwyer stated that commissioners cannot be the fair board.He said if they want the fair board to take direct action, then they would have Warren Wong report to them or Van Vactor.He added that if they do have a commissioner on the fair board, the law allows a maximum of one commissioner.

 

Sorenson saw the fair board size and function as being representative of other boards.He said they have buy in from special interest groups.He said because of the mass resignation from the fair board, he suggested continuing having the fair board for a period of time and taking the time to fill the positions.He didnít like the idea of a three-member fair board.He thought they should try this out for six months.

 

Dwyer was in agreement.

 

Green didnít want to make a decision until they filled the vacancies after they resolve the income tax.He commented that this was a negative in the community.

 

Hertzberg reiterated there was agreement in the short run, not to reappoint members to the fair board and not to change anything until they resolve the funding for the Board of Commissioners.

 

Green wanted to fix the public perception for the long term.

 

Stewart said there are issues to discuss around the fairgrounds and how they are going to deal with them.

 

Sorenson wanted Warren Wong to come to the Board to answer questions they have about handling the checks and what he normally would bring to the Fair Board.He wanted to ask him what happened to the YMCA proposal.He thought these should be direction to schedule Wong to report to the Board.

 

The Planning Commission

 

Stewart explained they have vacancies on the Planning Commission.He said they need direction.

 

Dwyer said they currently have three people who are capable, but he wanted to appoint those who have applied.

 

Sorenson asked if they would change the method by which they pick people.He suggested the five commissioners each recommend a person.He was concerned with filling in the gaps with experience and diversity.He thought there should be seven people on the boards and commissions.He suggested that the Planning Commission be the first opportunity to implement that suggestion.He thought there should be five appointed from the Board and two at large.

 

Hertzberg asked if this was a model that other organizations were going towards.

 

Dwyer thought it was the model that would take the politics out of the discussions.

 

Van Vactor indicated that with the Planning Commission there are statutory requirements in terms of occupation, conflict of interest, size and geographic distribution.

 

Green stated he didnít have a problem with the process for Parks, the Roads Advisory Committee and Budget.He was against having a committee on committees to fill committee positions.

 

Hertzberg stated the committees would include one member appointed by each commissioner plus two appointed by the other five in the group.

 

Stewart was not opposed to the committee making recommendations for the two at large positions.He said they have a nine member Planning Commission and they have three seats open.He asked if they want to get a report from Howe to meet the requirements.

 

Hertzberg said for the future of the Planning Commission they have a process they want to follow.

 

Van Vactor asked if they still wanted to do a countywide recruitment and a public announcement.He asked if the Board still wanted that managed through the Board of Commissioners office.

 

There was agreement by the Board to do that.

 

Van Vactor noted they needed to look at the Diversity Action Plan as it discusses diversity on the advisory committees.

 

Hertzberg recalled the goal of the Planning Commission is to have five of the seven members of the Planning Commission each designate one member.He said they would look at the current members (to the extent possible) to be allocated by district and if any were not in the district, the next time there is a vacancy, that commissioner would get the designation.

 

Sorenson disagreed.He indicated the concept was to be applied to all of the boards and commissioners so they could take the policy and put it into effect over time.He thought they could easily implement this for the Planning Commission.

 

Public Information/Dialogue/Customer Service

 

Hertzberg heard from the Board that people donít understand what the County does and how the County is funded and that donít identify with County government.He added no commissioner stated that people are stupid.He heard the Board needs to give the information out the public†† With regard to customer service, he asked how they make sure the public service they provide is as good as it can be.

 

Dwyer said they need to have someone compile the information they want to get out.He said they need to have the knowledge on how to gather and disseminate the information in the best and most logical fashion.He said that every city has a public relations person.

 

Sorenson commented the function changes over time based on technology.He said they have to keep up the methods by which people are receiving information.He wanted to have the information available to the public as easily as possible.He wanted an e-mail sign up where people could automatically get the information.He thought they should have structured opportunity for dialogue where they go and listen to people.

 

Fleenor said he was having good success with his ďcoffee and conversations.ĒHe said he engages the participants.He wanted to see more use of the website.He thought each commissioner should have their own website with their calendars and a monthly topic from the County so they could communicate more effectively with their districts.He thought there could be a webcast chat live with call ins and teleconference call ins so people have more access.He commented that they were missing the opportunity to use technology more efficiently.

 

Dwyer said it was important to have a governmental relations person as well as a public relations person put a spin on whatever they do in a positive way.He noted there is a cost associated with it and they have to be willing to budget it.He commented that ignorance is more expensive than education.

 

Green supported community outreach and going into the community for their input.He commented that when they do the radio show ďAsk the County, it is live and they are able to get instant feedback.He suggested possibly having an hour-long meeting where they public could call them and ask questions.

 

Stewart agreed with all the ideas.He wanted to see them do town hall forums.He thought they could go once a month or quarterly.He was in favor of giving information through e-mail.He said instead of relying on the newspaper to either print their press releases or have a reporter report on the meeting, they should buy a spot in the newspaper once a week and report what they did.He said they should tell their story in their own words and be proactive.He thought the County could print a bi-monthly magazine to report what has been taking place and send it out to the residents.

 

Dwyer recommended having a blog.

 

Green said there was a cost associated with a magazine and it is not an essential County service.He commented that constituents think the County is wasting money doing that.

 

Fleenor thought every piece of mail that comes from Lane County should have a newsletter inserted in it.

 

Sorenson thought they could use the Internet to see if people are involved by getting them signed up.He said they would be saving money and time by not sending information to people who donít want it.

 

Fleenor suggested getting e-mail addresses and signing up people and then poll them on their interests.

 

Customer Service and Satisfaction and Identification with Lane County.

 

Dwyer commented that the customerís satisfaction is not a prerequisite of getting their service.

 

Sorenson said they could measure customer service by going out and asking people.He said they could improve on things that are less popular.He commented that customer service does not work well unless there is buy in at all levels.He said they have to support people who provide superior customer service.He said they need to make customer service a part of the job so people see it as an important part of their job.He said they should ask managers how they measure customer service and what people are upset about and how to make them happy.

 

Green hoped that customer service started within Lane County internally.He said that is where it needs to start.He commented if they have problems internally then they would have problems externally.

 

Stewart said customer reports from staff said that Land Management is great, but he gets telephone calls about no one returning telephone calls from Land Management.He thought they should interview the customers to make sure they got satisfaction.He didnít think the representation of satisfaction was taking place.He believed they are there to serve the citizens and to do whatever they can to have a positive experience.He wanted to define another check point to make sure customer satisfaction is being registered appropriately.

 

Fleenor commented that customer service is the process by which they develop customer satisfaction.He said the goal is customer satisfaction.He asked what customer satisfaction is.He said they have to have a goal or a benchmark.He said they need to have a benchmark poll.

 

Sorenson said they should ask the citizens how Lane County as an organization could improve and provide greater satisfaction.He thought they should also ask the advisory committees the same questions.

 

Green commented that the customer is not always right.††† He said sometimes they agree with the customer just to keep good will going.

 

Goal Setting

 

Green indicated they have three existing goals:eliminate the structural deficit, replace the public health building and fund and enhance the public safety system for the long term.

 

Hertzberg recalled the four strategic objectives are:enhance revenues and contain costs, engage and inform citizens about Lane County government replace the public health building, measure performance and use the results and decision making.He asked about the goals they wanted to go forward and what they want to accomplish.

 

Green stated that financial stability is still the goal and should be the immediate objective.

 

Dwyer said they have to sever all ties from the state and federal government.He wants to fix the structural aspect to what it is that is causing them to be in the position that they are currently in.He said they need to have enough of a revenue stream to account for any loss of federal or state funds, should they occur and to only levy the appropriate amount.He said he wants to stabilize the problem now.

 

Hertzberg noted the goals for the next year from now: stabilize services without revenue or expenditure components, independence and balancing revenues and expenditures.

 

Sorenson thought getting to financial stability in one year would not be something they could do.He wanted to try to achieve goals.

 

Green thought they could develop service improvements.He wanted to create a short list.

 

Hertzberg stated that Lane County is financially stable and independent for revenues and expenditures in a long-term balance as a first goal.

 

Van Vactor stated that on behalf of the Management Team, if they donít get Secure Rural Schools and they donít have a tax enacted, they will have to have a balanced budget in June.He said they will have met their goal, but they wonít be the terms for the organization to strive for.

 

Fleenor said they have to establish public trust.He said the public doesnít trust Lane County.He said the only way of solving that problem is proving they are trustworthy.

 

Green said they will secure an alternative revenue source.He said that sends the message they will do everything possible to secure it.

 

Fleenor said the goal is to stabilize services.He said if they could do it by enhancing revenue, it could be one technique.He said if all they are going to do is go out and find more money, he didnít think that was the end goal.He commented that if they find the money and they donít spend it correctly it will not stabilize services.

 

Green stated the current revenue source is inadequate.He asked how they could provide the current level of services given the growth population with 25-year-old money.

 

Sorenson commented that a goal where they are going to be financially stable and the revenues and expenditures will be balanced is not inspirational.He said that is not saying that Lane County citizens will be served by exceptional government they would want to support.He said they have a unique opportunity to talk about the goal.†† He thought that the Lane County Fair was popular.

 

Green asked if they should sell the fairgrounds so they get a better fair and have animals year round as a goal.He said they could ask the public if they were interested in that suggestion.

 

Sorenson thought they could take Riverstone Clinic and expand it.He thought they could go into primary health care as a revenue generating activity.

 

Dwyer said they were already anemic and that is why they went to the voters.He said they were asking for money because services were growing at seven percent and the income is at three percent and they canít continue to operate.He asked if the current service level is acceptable.†† He commented that in the short term it is not satisfactory and in the longer term he wants to do something about the structural defect.He didnít think the current services levels are adequate.He said they need more money to fund current service levels. He asked where the money would be coming from.

 

Sorenson said the tax from public safety would address the public safety component, but would not address the other issues.

 

Hertzberg reiterated that the structural deficit needs to be eliminated, provide adequate service level, provide exceptional customer service, listen to people, and earn trust.

 

Fleenor asked about a legislative solution.

 

Sorenson said so much of county government has been downsized.He said even if they cut expenses in the budget year they are in, and if they get an income tax, it is dedicated to public safety and they will have that problem for all aspects of county government outside of public safety.

 

Dwyer said they dedicated some funding to Veteranís Services and LCARA.He said they couldnít provide the current service level.He said they still have a $3 million budget deficit, as the best-case scenario.

 

Green thought earned trust should be put at the top.Fleenor wanted sustainable service levels.

 

Hertzberg said they could get earned trust by:eliminating the structural deficit, providing sustainable service levels, provide exceptional customer service.

 

Sorenson commented that if they adopt a minimalist view of what they are doing, they are going to achieve their goals.He said they need to have big aspirations.He added they should reinvent themselves and have a positive outlook.

 

Green stated that not every agency wins in every election.He was encouraged to do something to get to yes.††† He said they have to provide leadership at the higher level so the community could watch them instead of asserting what the problem is.He thought with education and communication, they could do more.He said they needed to stay focused and stay together.

 

Hertzberg thought being responsible was the real key.He said the minimum is to stay out of bankruptcy and donít violate any mandates. He said at a higher level it is to maintain at least the service level they have now.He said higher than that is to reinvent and do something inspiring.

 

Green stated they need to focus on the strengths of Lane County in spite of hard times.He commented that the best ambassadors for Lane County are the people who work for Lane County.He noted that employees do a lot of good things but they donít talk enough about it.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Fleenor commented that the service level is a moving target.He thought they should avoid bankruptcy and try to make the best of what they have.He thought the Board was doing what is right faced with the drastic measures.He thought their talking civilly shows that they are willing to work together.He said they might not all agree and not always voting five to zero shows strength.

 

Sorenson thought this was a valuable use of his time.He wanted to do it after the budget year ends and a new year begins.He thought they made progress on the committees and the Fair Board and Planning Commission. He said focusing the commissioners on the policy issues was good.He suggested when they do this again, have the Management Team for half the day, talking to the Board to explain how they see things.

 

Stewart thought it helped to grow and build trust and understanding.He agreed that as soon as the budget period is over, they should compare what they have accomplished between now and the next three or four months and to be more direct on their goals.

 

Green supported goal setting. He said they need to find ways to work with each other.He wanted to be sure that whatever message is reported back that they work at it and work together.††† He said they came up with areas of agreement and it allowed them to have a conversation they couldnít have on camera.

 

Next Steps

 

Hertzberg thought the next steps would be a process.He said there is a similar process regarding governance and if it fits in the Strategic Plan.He said they did brainstorming about customer satisfaction and about building trust.He said the follow up is for the Board to pull toward the same direction.

 

Adjourned at 4:32 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary