BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
June 3, 2008
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Faye Stewart presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., and Peter Sorenson present. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Stewart added the Joint Elected Officials Meeting in June and a discussion of LCAS and the Justice Courts to Commissioners Business.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
3. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes
B. County Counsel
1) ORDER 08-6-3-1/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 2 of the Lane Manual to Update Restrictions on Political Activities of Public Employees (LM 2.365).
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
5. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
6. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. REPORT BACK/Fairgrounds Management.
Spartz recalled that the Board asked him to review the issue of identifying a method for finding a successor to Warren Wong, who will be resigning at the end of June. He added the second issue is to find a better way for the Board to organize the governance in managing the fairgrounds. He and Wilson looked at four options. He thought the Umatilla model was a good one. He explained that the County Board controls the fairgrounds except during the time of the annual fair at which time the fairgrounds is turned over to the control of the appointed Fair Board who manages the fair. He said they could use a managing director they contract for or they could utilize the Countyís managing director who manages the fairgrounds for the rest of the year when the fair is not in session.
Dwyer thought the Umatilla model was a good one. He said they need to have a Fair Board manage the fair during the fair and the Board should each have an appointee from their district. He thought they needed to have a professional manager for the rest of the time. He thought the manager needed to be hired by Spartz to take the politics out of it.
Green recommended that Spartz hire an interim manager before they search for a fair manager. He thought there needed to be some stability for the employees to provide interim leadership.
Fleenor concurred that the Umatilla model held promise. He asked what happens if the Fair Board didnít want to maintain the management director to run the fair. He asked if they could stipulate that the managing director would run the fair.
Wilson explained that the Fair Board has the exclusive management authority over the fair. She said they canít require the Fair Board to use the fairgrounds director as the manager of the fair. She said each commissioner could appoint a representative for the Fair Board and they could set up a process where if the Fair Board is having difficulty with the County hired manager, they come to talk to the Commissioners and the Board could assign the problem to the County Administrator.
Stewart agreed there is consensus to use the Umatilla/Linn County model and to have Spartz put together a process for a long term manager for operations. He added in the short term, because Wong is retiring on June 30, they need to find an interim manager as soon as possible to make the transition appropriate.
MOTION: to allow Spartz to find an interim manager while they prepare for a search for a permanent replacement and have Spartz look into putting the Umatilla model together and have legal counsel review the terms of the Fair Board appointees.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
Spartz said they are seeking a general manager. He said there is an issue that he canít appoint a successor to Wong. Spartz said Wong has to tell him who his deputy is as he leaves and the deputy becomes an interim until they find a permanent solution.
Stewart read an e-mail from Wong stating that he wasnít comfortable about that situation.
Wilson explained that they were in a period of transition and the statutes donít help to answer the questions. She said that before June 30 they need to declare (but for the fair) that the Board is assuming control of the fairgrounds and in that act, they are appointing as an interim a convention manager. She said in the absence of a Fair Board, Wong said he would be comfortable in naming a director for the purpose of the fair.
Spartz said they would need a board order by the end of June to grant him authority to take over control of the convention facility.
Wilson recommended when the Board adopts the order, to give direction to post for recruitment for the Fair Board appointees to get that process started.
Stewart recommended when they come back to the Board that they begin a 30 day search for their appointees and have them in place by the time the fair is operating.
Fleenor asked if they could modify the motion to include a board order to come back by the end of the month with a 30 day commencement of their appointees.
Dwyer modified his motion to include that request.
Stewart reiterated that they directed Spartz to work with Wong to get an interim manager in place by June 30, to research and bring back findings of the Board adopting the Umatilla/Linn County model for management of the fair property and convention facility and that there be a board order included by the end of the month stating the Board is directing Spartz to take over the management of the conference facility and posting for the five appointees.
b. DISCUSSION/Human Resources Response to County Counsel Retirement.
Stewart stated that that he received a letter last Wednesday from Teresa Wilson stating she will be retiring as of June 30, 2008 and she would be available to work past retirement to help out the new County Counsel.
Greta Utecht, Human Resources, distributed advertisements from Jackson County for their County Counsel position. She said most people go into the public sector because they want to have some impact and make a difference in the community. She recalled when the Board posted for the County Administrator position, they had a salary range of about 11 percent and it was a single salary appointment range, not like their class and comp plan. She stated the County Counsel position is at-will to the Board appointed position at a good salary. She thought there should be a range at which they could negotiate. She said Wilsonís salary is currently at $113,000 and she was given a pay increase effective December 2007. She stated that most of the sister counties and public jurisdictions have been granting COLAís up to four percent. She wanted to see if the $113,000 is an appropriate level at the top because she didnít think it was. Her recommendation for a salary level was going to be $103,000 to $119,000. She didnít recommend appointing at the top level. She asked if she should do an external recruitment process.
Utecht stated that Fleenor suggested a career development process. She said with a career development process, the work doesnít go away and they would have to find out how to backfill the person who would be taking on the career development County Counsel position, unless they contracted out with an external law firm. She thought that work would be more expensive.
Fleenor asked if there were internal candidates and if they could do a preliminary first round to see if there was a fit between the Board and the internal candidate.
Utecht said they could do an internal recruitment. She added that they want to make sure they think through the consequences.
Fleenor noted on page 2 of the classification that instead of stating working with AOC, to state ďWorks with professional county associations,Ē to be generic.
Green thought there should be an external recruitment. He asked if someone took a career development position, what happens with that personís workload when they are in transition. He wanted to see what other counties were doing. He thought this was a good first start.
Utecht indicated Wilson was willing to help transition the person. She said with career development, they would have two transitions without being able to permanently backfill the work load. She said if they select an internal candidate, they will have to look for another attorney. She added at that point it would be the new County Counsel running the process of interviewing the candidates.
Green wanted to take Wilson up on her offer to help through the transition. He said her wealth of experience will be valuable.
Dwyer said that the County Counsel works for the Board. He thought there were people working internally who could qualify to be County Counsel. He said there are people who are qualified but it takes a high level of competence. He encouraged the candidates to apply. He wanted to see if anyone in-house could fit the criteria. He said career development makes the assumption the person would automatically get the position but that is not always the reality. He commented that they have lawyers who are competent in certain areas of law and that was why they were hired. He said when someone does the County Counsel job, they canít do their job as well. He suggested looking in-house to see if anyone would be interested and then do a search outside.
Sorenson stated he liked the Jackson County brochure and recommended that Lane County have the same type of brochure. With comparing the definition, class and duties, he thought the attorneys in Legal Counsel should give input. He recommended having the experience be broader with seven years of legal experience and three years of municipal law. He noted that all of the current lawyers who are not managers are not eligible for the position even if they have municipal law experience. He didnít want to write the position for a specific person. He thought having someone eligible to practice in all the courts should be consistent with County Counsel. He thought they should pursue external recruitment and career development. He thought if they did career development, they could get a contracted law clerk to pick up the work from one of the lawyers into a career development position.
Utecht agreed that the years of experience shouldnít be on municipal law and the Jackson Countyís minimum requirements would get a broader pool of candidates. She didnít know if the County Counsel in Jackson County was to be chosen as a litigator.
Stewart thought they should have a total external and internal process. He said they have timing and work load issues and they donít have time to give an internal candidate a career development position. He thought if the person qualifies and they are hired based on a competitive process that meets their goals about a defendable process. He agreed with reducing the requirements for time served.
Fleenor asked when a County is downsizing, at what point they no longer need additional attorneys. He asked when they could start to reduce legal staff.
Dwyer stated that now is not the time to downsize as they have more work than they can do. He added that contracting with outside law firms is more expensive.
Fleenor was concerned and thought they should see how the organization is structured to determine if it should be reduced and if it is running efficiently.
Green said County Counsel has capable people and they continue to do the work the Board gives them. He approved with what County Counsel is doing. He wanted to get the best person they could.
Utecht wanted the Board to look at the class spec document and get comments back to her. She said she would be back next week with a mock up of a Lane County brochure, recommendations with the salary spread and putting together a schedule to post the position.
c. JEO Meeting in June
Stewart reported that there would be a Joint Elected Officials meeting in June discussing the Willamette Bridge design. He said they would be adding an additional topic about the potential long term solution toward the public safety problem in Lane County. He heard at the last meeting that all elected officials wanted to be a part of looking for a solution He thought if they didnít take advantage of that, they would lose the momentum to help the budget. He asked the Board to think of ideas about a long term solution they could present. He indicated they would add that the Springfield and Eugene City Councilors do the same thing so they would have a block of ideas to narrow down to the top five. He said that way staff would have something to work on and come back to the Board. He recommended making copies about past work the Board had already done.
Sorenson thought having a discussion with the joint elected officials is a good way to acquaint people with some of the history of the work the Board completed in the past.
Dwyer said he wouldnít give any recommendations. He said he recommended income tax surcharges and an income tax. He said they have taken recommendations and moved things forward. He thought they needed a one page sheet of studies and a membership makeup of the groups, the recommendations and what happened from the recommendations. He said this is not in the hands of the elected officials, it is in the hands of the people.
Fleenor thought a summary with results could be given with a link to the entire reports on the Countyís website and let the elected officials review them. He commented that it is a countywide issue, not just for Eugene or Springfield. He said they have to be looking out of the self-imposed boundaries and impact the rest of the County.
Green thought they should capture the momentum with a problem solving exercising. He wanted to challenge the community to determine what type of community they want to live in. He said they need to narrow the terminology. He commented that public safety is an entire system. He said they had made efforts in the past to have the public vote on public safety but to no avail. He wanted to hear what the general public wants to support. He thought the citizens didnít want to fund public safety in the way the Commissioners brought it to the ballot. He commented that they have reviewed all types of taxes.
Sorenson thought they should have copies of what the Board had done in the past and have it available in the law library so the public could see it. He said no one from the community has come up with good ideas. He added they have to be backed with information that three commissioners could support.
Fleenor asked why the citizens arenít coming forth to help them during this difficult time. He asked what the problem is. He thought it was a citizen issue and their perception of Lane County as a governmental entity providing essential services. He said if they were a good delivery agent of essential services, they would have complete support. He said they should ask the citizens what the County is not doing right.
Dwyer asked if they could do things more effectively with the same or less cost. He said the problem is not the services, the problem is they canít deliver the type of services they want to deliver. He said they have done more with less. He noted Lane Countyís population is 345,000 people and they have 400 fewer employees. He added they went from a budget of $550 million to $470 million. He said it was unfair for Fleenor to be critical of the employees that they werenít doing their jobs.
Fleenor said it has to do with the leadership, not employees. He said they canít be all things to all people. He thought they should limit the intake of animals to the extent they could maintain the save adoptable animals philosophy. He said they as policy makers have to deliver a quality product that people are willing to pay for.
Stewart thought the previous reports from the Board were available. He shared everyoneís frustration. He believed they have done all they can to move the County forward to address the revenue situation to find efficiencies. He stated the employees are doing a great job. He said they made forward progress this budget cycle with both Eugene and Springfield coming up with the ability to help them with their budget problems. He said they are moving forward and he thought they should possibly form a Human Services Commission District and take the general revenue fund and apply it toward public safety. He thought there were other ways to get them to their end goal.
Sorenson suggested reviewing the previous task forces with the Board and the cities and a proposal process where they would invite the public and non-profit groups to make proposals.
Green said the challenge is to find a stable revenue source that would relieve the general fund. He said their mission is critical services and to provide public safety. He said they canít do that with the existing revenue. He said the goal should be to find a revenue source. He thought the elected officials could engage in a discussion about revenue. He said they need to look for opportunities and to change the message on what is being said to the community.
d. Funding for LCAS
Stewart recalled they funded LCAS at a lower rate for an additional year. He thought they should spend some effort improving the registration of licensing. He asked the Board if they wanted a work session on getting in the County taxpayer statement information about dog licensing and the fees. He asked if the Board wanted to look for another revenue source for LCAS. He asked if there could be a surcharge on rabies vaccinations. He said he would be willing to go to each of the small cities to ask them if they could implement the resource.
Dwyer thought the surcharge on rabies was self-defeating. He said the rabies shot is a requirement and they want to encourage the public to vaccinate for rabies. He wanted a surcharge on all pet food at the wholesale level. He wanted to do something across the Board that applies to everyone. He encouraged free rabies vaccinations to protect public health.
Fleenor wanted to examine different options, but he didnít want a pet food tax. He thought it was regressive and the cost of pet food will rise and people with low income would have difficulty paying for pet food. He said they have to live within their means. He wanted to limit the intake of animals to the level their resources permit them to have a save adoptable animals philosophy. He added as they gain trust with citizens, they will recognize how important it is and the citizens will fund the programs. He said they have to show them the Board is accountable and will do the best job they can with their money.
Stewart indicated that Karen Gaffney will be managing LCAS and they recognize there is a revenue issue. He hoped they could bring back ideas. He said these are areas where they could generate more revenue and get them off the general fund so they are stabilized into the future.
e. Justice Courts
Stewart wanted to ask three judges if they wanted to give their ideas about the concern of not being able to collect fines. He noted Stewart Bolinger, Auditor, is looking into the amount of fines that is on the books. He said that Judge Carl in Oakridge has implemented pieces that have made fine recovery and reduction in criminal activity that has helped. He wanted to see if there was a policy change the Board needed to implement so they could recover a greater portion of the fines. He indicated that they added five resident patrol officers and if they canít receive the fines, they wonít be in the business. He indicated he would write the letters to the judges.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
b. ORDER 08-6-3-2/In the Matter of Appointing Eleven Members to the Lane County Commission for the Advancement of Human Rights.
Sascha Cosio, County Administration, recalled in 2006 the old Human Rights Advisory Committee was disbanded and a task force was put in place to see what wasnít working and to make recommendations. She indicated those recommendations came from the task force and the Board approved the recommendations in October 2007. She said once the members are approved, the first meeting will take place on June 10. She recalled the recommendations from the task force were for a new staff member to support the group and a dedicated budget approved to support the work. She said the name and the scope of the advisory committee changed to the Lane County Commission for the Advancement of Human Rights. She said the commission will focus its scope on Human Rights. She indicated the committee would include five board member appointees and six at-large members. She indicated that they need to reach the rural and non-metro outreach as the major objective. She added that they have to help the smaller communities address specific community needs.
Sorenson suggested the members appointed by the Board should have four year terms and they could stagger the others.
Green suggested going in alphabetical order for the six at large members.
MOTION: to appoint the district members for four year terms, commencing with this date to expire in four years, incorporating the names of the other members alphabetized by last name and terms will commence with 3, 2, 1 year terms. To approve the board order as written with these dates.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Green thought the appointees were significant and they would keep a good connection with the Board. He supported the motion.
Fleenor asked Cosio to have each of the appointees contact the Board by e-mail and set up a process on how they are going to report back.
8. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 08-6-3-3/In the Matter of Entering Into an Agreement with Lane County School Districts for the Collection and Remittance of District Construction Excise Taxes.
Matt Laird, Land Management, reported this is a proposed IGA with Lane County school districts for the collection and remittance of district construction excise taxes. He said they had formal request from the Bethel School District, South Lane School District and Oakridge School District, authorizing that they impose an excise tax as a means to finance capital improvements to facilities. He said the maximum rate set was $1 per square foot for new residential construction and 50 cents per square foot for non-residential construction. He recalled that on December 12, 2007 in response to new legislation, this Board directed the Land Management Division to begin working with the school districts to impose a construction excise tax. He added it was also determined by the Board that Lane County must have full cost recovery and would not subsidize the collection of those taxes. He said since that time staff has met several times with the district to work out the details of the implementation. He requested the IGA be signed by the county administrator. He recommended Option 1, authorizing the county administrator to enter into the IGA with the school districts and begin collecting the construction excise tax on July 1, 2008.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 08-6-3-3.
Green MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
Green thought the process went smooth.
Dwyer didnít support this. He thought schools needed to be financed by everyone. He said it was a deal made by the legislature. He didnít think the fee was fair between houses and businesses.
Green indicated there was a similar view expressed by a Springfield City Councilor in Salem.
Fleenor didnít like what the legislature did, but he would support it.
VOTE: 4-1 (Dwyer dissenting).
9. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
Green announced he would be attending the AOC Spring Conference in Bend.
He said they would be discussing public lands.
Fleenor announced that he and Mike Clark will have a community dialogue in
Stewart indicated that he would not be able to attend the June 11 morning session, as he will be in Redmond making a presentation to the State Parks Advisory Committee for a grant request for Bohemia Park in Cottage Grove.
11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per
Per ORS 192.660 (2)(H) for the purpose of consulting with counsel on
12. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart recessed the meeting
into Executive Session at 11:10 a.m.