BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
REGULAR MEETING
March 30, 2010
9:00 a.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
APPROVED 7/7/2010  

Commissioner Bill Fleenor presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Rob Handy, Pete Sorenson and Faye Stewart present, County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

Fleenor indicated that there will be an 8 e., a letter to Congress regarding Medicare. He added there is a technical adjustment to the Working for You video under the presentation.

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

Jim Gillette, Eugene , commented that the Board changed their mind.  Gillette met with Stewart and Gillette understands it is a Board decision. He wanted to meet with the other commissioners.  He wanted 15 minutes to speak with each commissioner. He wanted to meet with the legal department, not about the new case but he thinks the legal department has a grudge against him. He stated the Board has compassion for people who are underdogs and he is an underdog. He asked for letters from people who were treated harshly by the County.

Ann McLucas, Eugene , said she remembered Fleenor asking the case to be reopened and since then things have changed. She said that Gillette was judged against because the facts of the case werenít heard. She wanted the Board to hear the intentions Gillette has to turn his property over to a park.

3. COMMISSIONERS' RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE

Fleenor addressed Gilletteís concerns. He stated that in the beginning he was sympathetic. He had a briefing in Executive Session. He indicated that the Board has certain restrictions they need to follow. He added that even if they wanted to do something, they have to let the judicial process run the course. He stated that they have been fair with the judicious use of the judiciary system, but the rules dictate what they do.

4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

Sorenson read a letter about clean up. He asked DeFazio to get involved with the effort to provide alternatives to diesel engines, especially construction equipment on the reduction of omissions from construction vehicles. He wanted the Board to review the letter.

Dwyer didnít think the letter went far enough. He thought it should include school buses, Amtrak and all diesel trains that run in the valley on a regular basis. He asked why they were doing this. He wasnít opposed to this, but he didnít expect much as a result.

Stewart indicated that sometimes they retro fit items and it becomes detrimental to engines. He asked if that is an issue, then it should be a concern. He added that most new equipment meets new standards. He said they canít sell equipment with standards in place.

Sorenson wanted information on diesel clean up and the coalition. He wanted to get contact information from all groups urging this. He thought they should spend more time on this and to put it on the Consent Calendar.

Dwyer wanted  a paragraph that the government should start with the vehicles they own  along with trains and other polluting vehicles.

Sorenson wanted to send this letter tomorrow and invite the commissioners who want to write a stronger letter to write another letter.

Stewart indicated that he will check with Fleet and if the answers are okay then he will approve the sending of the letter.

5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

a. Announcements

Spartz announced that Lane County has a prevention site on the Lane County website regarding underage drinking, prevention of problem gambling, suicide prevention and healthy babies and healthy parenting.

b. ORDER No. 10-3-30-1/Eliminating Four at Large Positions and Designating the Remaining at Large Positions for Youth on the Commission for the Advancement of Human Rights.

Sascha Cosio, Commission for the Advancement of Human Rights, said that she recommends keeping five appointees and eliminating four at large positions and designate one for youth. She asked the Board not to let this commission go. She thought engaging youth is important and they are committing to fully diversify the participatory process. She thought if applications come in the five appointees would conduct the interviews. She added if the Board passes this that they can start asking for applications on April 1.

Dwyer thought the ages of the youth should be between 16 and 24. He recalled that the committee has had trouble because people who are supposed to donít get along. He added that he has never seen so many people fight and argue.

Stewart agreed with Dwyer. He thought there should be training about the expectations of the members. He added that working together should be taught. He agreed about the ages of the members. He had mixed feelings about the size of the group. He wanted regular updates to make sure things are going well and the intent is being met so they are being diverse and can deal with issues.

Fleenor asked what happens if a youth on the committee turns 25.

Richardson responded that as long as the person fits the criteria when they are appointed, they could stay on. She added that they could make that change in the Lane Manual.

Fleenor wanted the entire committee to participate in the initial screening. He asked about staggering the at large position.

Richardson replied that they donít have the appointees concurrent with the commissioners. She said they are appointed for four years and serve at the will of the commissioners. She said the at large positions could be removed by the Board as a whole. She added that they could amend the board order so they are not serving the same term. She stated that she will work with Cosio on language and bring it back tomorrow on the Consent Calendar.

6. COUNTY COUNSEL

a. Announcements

None.

7. PERFORMANCE AUDITOR

a. Announcements

Stewart Bolinger,  Performance Auditor, reported that he has not completed all the analytical work. He wanted to complete it and when he is finished, to confer with David Suchart, Management Services.

b. REPORT BACK/Update on Public Contracting for Major Projects.

Bolinger indicated that the County doesnít have the same system in place for major capital projects. He noted that this week he is going to Public Works to review capital projects. He said they have a systematic tracking system versus an amount authorized. He noted with construction projects, a percent of the budget is being consumed. He added that they donít routinely contain a right to audit clause. He said he would use the clause even in fixed price competitively bid contracts. He noted there will always be change orders and it will be exceeding the original agreement.

Fleenor asked how difficult it was to have a right to audit clause in the contracts.

Richardson said they could make it standard on their end. She said there might be someone who will be willing to do it and others might refuse. She added if they wanted to have exceptions, it would need to be approved by department heads or by the county administrator. She thought they could check for a certain dollar amount.

Fleenor asked if they should give direction to work up a board order that would make the right to audit clause routine.

Bolinger said that financial management has a project to make electronic copies of all the copies they have. He thought it was a valuable resource. He recommending having Management Services by County policy manage the internal capital projects. He said the finance part would be independent. He didnítí think they should continue the organizational alliance with finance and purchasing. He said they should be separate from capital project management. He thought it should be moved over to Public Works. He indicated that they have the same approach with permitting, project monitoring and civil engineering staff. He said he would have a finance function reporting to the finance manager and a project manager on the project side.

Spartz indicated that based on Bolingerís recommendations, he would discuss the ramifications and come back to the Board with recommendations.

Fleenor asked what process they would use to modify Bolingerís position.

Richardson recommended two county commissioners, the HR Director and Bolinger. She said that whatever that group comes up with they could bring back to the Board for discussion.

Handy asked Sorenson to be present. He asked how the initial job description had worked out given how tightly staffed they are and the challenge for vision and goals. He said they need a skill set to help leadership deal with the challenge. He wanted to look at this not in just updating the auditor position, but for other positions that are missing the administrative function.

Sorenson commented that initially there was skepticism that there wouldnít be any savings or efficiencies found with the position as debated. He indicated that over time because they are a lean organization, how much could be saved was the argument for it. He said the risk is avoided when something bad doesnít happen. He added that is a factor for the independent auditor role.  With regard to updating the job description, he wanted to have the County Administrator , Performance Auditor and Legal Counsel bring back an updated job description and present it to the Board. He thought they should take advantage of involving Bolinger in the search so the amount of time between the arrival of the new person and Bolingerís departure wonít be long and Bolinger will be able to help. He was concerned about how to advertise the position because the first time they offered the position it was at a low salary.

Fleenor thought they should proceed with the hiring process with a job description and update and bring it back to the Board for a work session.

8. COMMISSIONERSí BUSINESS

a. PRESENTATION/Working for You Video, Land Management Division.

b. DISCUSSION/Use of Volunteers as Criteria for Setting Budget Priorities.

Fleenor recalled that during agenda setting they talked about the budget and challenges with diminishing revenue with timber payments. He added this was an area of interest with the budgeting process. He asked how they take limited resources and allocate it over the programs and departments the County has. He added that many services are mandated.  e noted during budget deliberations the Budget Committee uses a variety of criteria. He noticed in the past they have a growing number of volunteers who are participating in different programs. He asked what other criteria they could come up with on whether they could fund the program. He recalled that they came up with volunteerism as another critera for making decisions. He thought as they are moving forward, that they establish a new criteria, to use volunteer leverage in which the Budget Committee and the Board of Commissioners could use to determine which programs to continue funding. He said it will result in departments reaching out to the community and it will increase their ability to demonstrate that the community appreciates the program. He asked if there was interest to move this forward.

Spartz responded that there are legal requirements that need to be met on some jobs. He said they couldnít use volunteers in health services. He thought the best example is at LCAS to leverage staff for value added for the animal shelter. He added another issue is labor agreements with the bulk of employees and they have to be careful not to get into a situation to substitute a volunteer for legitimate work done by employees. He thought they could search for opportunities for people willing to volunteer and they could provide value added in core services on a daily basis.

Richardson thought it was a category the Board or Budget Committee could consider but there are legal concerns. She indicated that they have labor agreements with unions and there are concerns about using volunteers to replace employees.

Fleenor said they are not looking to replace jobs, but to augment jobs as they are cutting back on programs. He hoped organized labor would see this as an asset. He indicated that it is a matter of necessity.

Dwyer appreciated the concept but he said it is not workable for some of the reasons that were previously stated. He indicated that the unions will not be happy. He added that volunteers require supervision and there will be add packages needed where people will have volunteer coordinators. He indicated that because they canít utilize volunteers unless they are highly directed, they are not as dependable, as they canít require volunteers to show up. He noted that some departments donít use volunteers and some canít use them. He stated they have volunteers on the Budget Committee. He said they are required to balance the budget and they doing more with less.

Stewart thought using volunteers had major issues and it could turn into a liability issue if people donít have training. He indicated that they have worked hard over the past five years to bring all materials together for the budget and the SOS sheets have been valuable. He asked if they should use Survey Monkey for the services. He thought they should look at if $1.5 million needed to be cut, to ask citizens to go through the process. He indicated he did that as part of the South Lane School Budget Committee and it worked well.

Fleenor commented that as the budget tightens and they negotiate with employees, there tends to be diminished amounts of revenue available to support employees and year after year they cut FTE and expect the remaining employees to deliver the same level of services. His issue is that he has no interest in cutting any FTE, he wants to add FTE but in reality they canít. He said when they cut to balance programs, they will reach a tipping point where it canít exist and a volunteer could supplement to keep the program going until better economic times. He commented that they canít do things status quo.

Sorenson also had concerns about volunteers displacing employees.

Christine Moody, Budget and Finance Manager, said they could show where volunteers are being used but it would take research.

Richardson said they could see what is already happening with volunteers. She indicated that they need to involve the unions.

Dwyer thought the effort was commendable but he said it is not the answer to the budget woes. He thought energy put in from this will not get the same energy out. He added that they already have the budget process where years ago they used leverage and mandates and color codes so they can look to see what they have to do to make it clear for the Budget Committee to understand. He thought citizens will always respond to a crisis. He commented that they are sitting on reserves and they are required by law to have a prudent person reserve and they have other funding. He added that if Congress doesnít renew the money, people will have to determine how to pay for services, or they wonít have the services.

Stewart agreed with Dwyer that this wonít be the solution to backfill programs, but he thought there was value in knowing how citizens volunteer. He noted that they apply for grants and that information is helpful in making a stronger case for the grant.

Handy wanted to know what other counties were doing with volunteerism and how Lane County might benefit.

Fleenor thought voting at the ballot is a way of supporting and doing something to support a program. He thought Spartz could work with Moody so when individuals volunteer, they put in the number of hours they traveled so it doesnít cost a lot of money. He thought they should have a web based volunteer program.

c. DISCUSSION/Moving Forward with United Front 2011 and Beyond Priority Setting.

Handy wanted to set criteria for projects on the United Front list. He wanted to make sure they are not missing any opportunities to procure funds for projects for Lane County . He wanted to be proactive. He asked if other jurisdictionsí elected officials have criteria for putting projects on the list.

Fleenor said he participated in the United Front and inherited pre-determined projects that he was responsible for touting to senators and congressmen. He wasnít sure they had an opportunity to engage in the process of the priorities raised and where his time should have been directed. He commented that if they are advocating on behalf of Lane County , he would like to know that the other commissioners are engaged for what he is advocating for.

Sorenson stated that they need to plan on how they are going to do United Front for next year.  He said they need to set up a calendar that is achievable so they are having check ins and they are deciding what their priorities are. He thought they needed to redo the process. He thought they should have a debrief for the 2010 United Front with the other representatives. He also wanted to plan on how they are going to do the 2011 United Front.

Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, said he is doing a debrief on Friday with the United Front group and he will bring back the feedback.

Spartz indicated that projects go to SEL before they go to the Board. He indicated that a list is compiled and it goes to the consulting firm Smith Dawson. He indicated that it is reviewed and based on contacts with various agencies; they will evaluate the project to get the money and report back to staff. He indicated that was the early filtering process. He added that the consultant works with the congressional staff and the federal government to look at maximizing the total number of dollars coming back into the local community.

Cuyler indicated that each jurisdiction develops a list of projects. He noted there are 12 apportioning bills they are receiving funding for and only certain projects work. He said he gets the list back and he monitors them. He said he compiles that into a document for potential projects and he comes back with recommendations from Smith Dawson. He said they compile a final list to the SEL group. He noted in the past, United Front paid the city of Eugene to act as the lead organization with United Front and they handled the logistics for a fee. He indicated that there is an expectation that as being part of the United Front they may be asked to speak on another jurisdictionsí project. He said they do follow up with a letter of support.

Fleenor thought there was a potential conflict where they are forced to support a program the Board does not want.

Sorenson asked Cuyler to come up with a schedule and the efficacy of 35 pages versus one letter per project. He thought one project per jurisdiction was too small.

Handy thought they needed to do some updating. He wanted another work session that gets a more rigorous conversation about including small cities. He said they want to address projects of countywide significance and if there are extra costs, how they are going to balance it. He wants the Board to learn about the framework for what is eligible. He wants to know the Board could be more involved.

Cuyler commented that it is a difficult task to get everyone on the same page. He agreed he would take the lead on doing the work. He indicated they had five projects, more than they had in the past. He added of the five projects, four have been recommended for approval. He thought they were doing well.

Fleenor asked when Cuyler will let them know about the requested information. He asked for a quarterly check in.

Cuyler said he is trying to get a meeting with Handy to explore what projects the individual commissioners might have to develop or to include in a document. He recommended a quarterly check in. He had a conversation with Smith Dawson about having better inclusion from smaller communities. He thought they could maybe have a primary and secondary membership. He indicated that they have a contract with Smith Dawson that goes to June and they have to decide if the County picks up the costs if small cities submit projects. He said it will depend on the budget season.

Fleenor asked if the Board wanted to appoint a delegate for United Front next year.

Stewart thought they should bring this up after the first of the year to see who has the desire to go.

Handy said he will be available for United Front next year. He wants the Board of Commissioners to establish priorities and the process for how they learn to set priorities.

d. Letter to Congressman DeFazio

MOTION: to send the letter to Congressman DeFazio

Stewart MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0. 

There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary