January 19, 2011
Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Faye Stewart presided with Commissioners Jay Bozievich, Rob Handy, Sid Leiken and Pete Sorenson present. County Administrator Liane Richardson, County Counsel Stephen Vorhes and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Today at 10:00 a.m. Senator Jeff Merkley will be hosting a Press Conference in the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza.
Handy requested item 5.E.1) and 5.F.1) be pulled from the Consent Calendar.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
John Miller, Eugene, supported Tom Turner as Interim Sheriff. Miller said he has been a Lane County resident for over 60 years. He appreciated the Board waiting an extra week to solicit additional input. He said the Sheriff’s Office is in dire need of leadership. He has known and worked with Tom Turner for nearly 20 years. He believes it is time for Turner to take charge and move forward in a positive manner. He stated that Turner has demonstrated the ability to make good decisions in a timely manner and has the vision to move the agency forward in a positive, fiscally responsible manner, keeping the public’s interests in mind. He added that Turner has the support of employees, volunteers and County residents. He hoped the Board will support Tom Turner.
Cindy Cable, Justice of the Peace, Florence, believed that under the current fiscal climate that merging the districts into one is a good economic decision. She added that there are issues beyond the budget that must be considered. She stated that people in all parts of the County deserve access to judicial services. She said providing services in the outlying areas from one central court will not be easy or convenient for the judge or the staff but it must be part of the reorganization plan. She stated that judicial services must be made available for the many people who rely on the Florence Justice Court that has been serving the Florence area for over a century. She commented that since the Florence Justice Court is the only remaining Lane County service in Florence with a visible presence, she urged the Board to consider all the information and connection with the people of Western Lane County. She recalled the office space used by Florence was paid by Lane County when Florence constructed the Justice Center. She said the contract they have with the city is for 20 years and at that time the space reverts back to the city. She indicated that Lane County has use for another five to six years with minimal cost and maintenance. She said because her compensation will continue to the end of her term, services can be provided in Florence with little budgetary impact. She urged the Board to commit to the citizens of Western Lane County to maintain the space in the Justice Center for use by Lane County Justice Court and other programs and services provided by Lane County. She said the reason it is important for a traffic judge to be part of the community is that there is a connection with the reality of life in that community. She commented that Florence doesn’t’ have a good public transportation system and if someone ’s license is suspended, it has a different impact than if she would suspend a license in the valley. She asked the Board to consider all citizens of Lane County.
Steve Sieczkowski, Eugene, was present on behalf of Citizens for a Safer Lane County. He said last Wednesday when the Board discussed the topic of appointing Undersheriff Tom Turner, the Board was given notification on January 10, 2011 of his resignation. He said there were comments made about not having enough time to do research to find out who was actually going to be a good candidate for that position. He said he went back and did research and located an e-mail that was sent to the commissioners on September 25, 2009, that identified Russ Burger was in the process for the U.S. Marshal position. He recalled since that time Burger had sent at least six separate e-mails directed to the Board of Commissioners. He said this is a position that is voted in by the community and to have an application process undermines the voters. He said when direction has been given by the actual Sheriff stating Tom Turner would be a great person to take over when he leaves is a no brainer. He commended Bozievich, Liken and Stewart for reaching out to the community and doing research to see if this was true to the case. He stated the Lane County Peace Officers’ Association, AFSCME and Parole and Probation sent their request to the Board to appoint Turner. He was troubled by Handy and Sorenson’ s comments that were made in the last board meeting. He wanted to see Handy and Sorenson come together as a team and do what is right for the County and make the decision today.
Chuck Hardy, said he is the Vice President of the Lane County Peace Officers Association. He recalled that last week both Handy and Sorenson addressed the qualifications for Tom Turner to be appointed to Sheriff as Lane County. He said that Handy and Sorenson agreed Turner was qualified. He indicated that all of the law enforcement of Lane County agrees as well. He believed on behalf of the Lane County Peace Officers Association that that appointment be made as soon as possible to let the Sheriff’s Office move forward. He said the citizens of Lane County deserve to have this decision made promptly. He said it brings into question whether there was politicking last week by Handy or Sorenson, or an inability to track what was happening, or not doing their job. He commented that that was unacceptable. He asked the Board of Commissioners appoint Tom Turner for the remainder of Russ Burger’s position and allow the voters in 2012 to decide whether or not he should remain in office.
Darreyl Davis, Eugene, echoed what had been said. He encouraged a five to zero vote today to get Tom Turner appointed. He commented that Turner has been guiding the Sheriff’s Office for many months and if they could set things aside and get Turner appointed today, it would be much appreciated.
Scott Myers, Springfield, said given the current state of the County and the economical challenges past, current and future, he said it is time for a decisive leadership, not time for irresponsible words. He said it appears that political interests have been more important than meeting the law enforcement needs of the County. He encouraged the appointment of Tom Turner. He added to present further disruption of the Sheriff ’s Department is not good. He asked for a vote today.
Greg Rice, Eugene, discussed Tom Turner being be appointed to the Sheriff’s Office. He believes they need to make the decision today because the longer they put it off, the more turmoil they have in their department. He commented that they have tough times coming in their department with the budget issue. He said they have internal things they can’ t deal with now because they don’t have an appointed Sheriff to make decisions. He asked that they make a five to zero vote today, but if not he would accept a three to two vote.
Barry Nivilinsky, Owner of Coast Property Management, Florence, discussed the recent proposal to close Florence Justice Court. He said it is disturbing news for the community, especially for homeowners and property managers who rely on the legal system. He stated the closing of the Justice court will severely impact legal services in Western Lane County. He said he represents over 250 property owners with over 300 properties. He commented that change in economy has impacted real estate and the rental markets. He said they need and rely on the Florence Justice Courts to help with evictions, legal services and small claims. He indicated to file one eviction in the Springfield Court takes time and expense. He said it would require a minimum of five trips to the court per eviction for an owner or property manager. He stated that would equate to over 700 miles of driving per case. He thought that was unacceptable. He commented that the Florence Justice Court is an asset to the community and surrounding areas and has provided an invaluable service to Western Lane County. He asked the Board not to close the court.
Loren Corner, Eugene, asked the Board to endorse the process or putting Tom Turner in as Sheriff. He said it is not a decision being made in haste or in secret. He said the Board has known about this for months and there has been time for someone else to express interest in the position. He asked the Board to set aside partisan politics to do what is right for the local law enforcement community and the County and unanimously appoint Tom Turner.
Mike Beta, thinks Lane County has a serious air pollution issue. He wanted to see LTD burn propane instead of diesel.
Bill Shreve, Springfield, said they are requesting the Board break the monopoly The Register Guard has had on the County’ s legal ads and other advertising for more than a century. He said in 2009 the County was spending about 80 percent of its ad budget on The Register Guard and less than .5 percent with The Eugene Weekly and other papers around the County. He believed the County would save significantly by shifting more of its ad budget to The Eugene Weekly and other newspapers. He stated The Eugene Weekly ad rates are 30 percent less than The Register Guard. He thought there was money that could be diverted to less expensive newspapers and legally done. He commented that the Board has to spend the money on smaller papers to see the savings. He indicated that The Eugene Weekly has been increasing its readership and circulation while many other media are not.
John Brown, Eugene, encouraged the Board to move forward with the appointment of Tom Turner. He stated that he takes seriously the responsibility of making the recommendation of Tom Turner. He said the Board has the opportunity to appoint the best qualified individual and understands the system and has the support of the organization. He asked the Board to make the appointment.
Katherine Kane, Fall Creek, stated that she has been active in watershed councils. She asked the Board to put water protections back on the work plan. She wanted the Board to step up and protect the quality of the County and drinking water and put it back on the work plan.
Alex Gardner, Eugene, spoke in support of Tom Turner. He said the application process for the U.S. Marshal position went on for more than a year and during that period of time there was discussion about what the succession might look like. He said these are difficult times and they need a continuity of leadership. He commented that throughout the last year he had not heard a single person recommended for the position other than Tom Turner. He said if there was another candidate, he or she would have surfaced. He hoped the Board of Commissioners will act decisively to make the only responsible decision under the circumstances.
3. COMMISSIONERS' RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE
4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
5. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes
April 27, 2010, Regular Meeting,
January 5, 2011, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
1) ORDER 11-1-19-1/In The Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign Five Routine Contracts and Amendments.
2) ORDER 11-1-19-2/In the Matter of Approving Contracts Totaling $155,381 for 2010-11 Rural Tourism Marketing Program (RTMP) Projects in the Cities of Oakridge, Lowell, Cottage Grove, Veneta, Creswell, Junction City, Florence, Dunes City, and Authorizing County Administrator to Sign Contracts Authorizing Distribution of Funds.
1) ORDER 11-1-19-3/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 3 of the Lane Manual to Remove References to the Lane County Metropolitan Wastewater Service District which was Dissolved by Board Order No. 10-6-9-15 (LM 3.515, LM 3.560).
D. Public Safety
1) ORDER 11-1-19-4/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign Two Intergovernmental Agreement Amendments with Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) and One Intergovernmental Agreement with Lane Council of Governments (LCOG).
E. Public Works
1) ORDER 11-1-19-5/In the Matter of Authorizing Applications for Funding from the Federal Highway Administration Under the 2011 Oregon Forest Highway Program for Minor Widening, Culvert Replacements and Spot Repairs on Identified Roads and Authorizing the County Administrative Officer to Sign all Documents in Connection with the Acceptance of the Grants.
F. Board of Commissioners
1) ORDER 11-1-19-6/In the Matter of Appointing Lane County Sheriff.
MOTION: to approve the balance of the Consent Calendar.
Handy MOVED, Bozievich SECONDED.
Handy asked what would be the match from the road fund for each project.
Bill Morgan, Public Works, responded that they have applied for grants that are 100 percent paid for construction. He said there is no match for construction. He added that because of the federal guidelines, they are not allowed to apply for any right-of-way costs. He stated there is no match required for this federal funding for the construction dollars. He said the long term impact to the road fund will be them spending time on the right-of-way acquisition or the designing. He said they have been allowed on recent agreements to ask for reimbursement for the preliminary engineering.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 11-1-19-5.
Bozievich MOVED, Leiken SECONDED.
Handy stated that he supports and advocates for fair, equitable and transparent hiring policies and procedures. He said he will be advocating for the same process for the County Administrator. He said that Sheriff Turner is a good man and he could have had his credentials shine in an open, transparent and fair hiring process. He said it is a concerning trend that the Board is failing to adhere to those important principles. He will be opposing this matter on principle.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 11-1-19-6.
Bozievich MOVED, Leiken SECONDED.
Sorenson thanked everyone who has e-mailed him and called him and people who came to public comment to reconfirm what he has learned in his work over the years with Tom Turner. He said he has had Probation Officers, city employees in Human Services, Police Officers and Sheriff’ s Deputies confirm that Sheriff Turner is a great leader and good person. He will be voting no for the same reasons he voted for Larry Abel as the HACSA Executive Director. He said Larry Abel is an excellent leader for the community and Sorenson reluctantly voted no on that appointment because there was no application process. He believed Turner is a good leader. He said had they had an application process, Turner would have risen to the top. He said this is about the matter of the process. He thought for the Board of Commissioners it was a harbinger of other appointments the Board will be making for County Counsel and the County Administrator. He added had they had a brief application process they could have avoided this, but it wasn’t the way it was going to be handled. He indicated that he would have voted for Turner had there been an application process.
Bozievich stated one of the facts that had come up in public testimony is that this decision has been coming before the board for some time. He added that they all knew they were going to be making this appointment early on in this year. He stated that much of the County is operating under interim management and in a management crisis. He commented that this is an opportunity to resolve at least one of the management problems and put permanent leadership in place for the next two years for a department that is critical for the citizens of Lane County. He said some of the discussions about an open, fair, equitable and transparent hiring process is specious. He recalled that about eight years ago he applied for an open position on the Planning Commission in Lane County. He said it was advertised that there were two open positions. He made an application, was short listed for the application process and was interviewed by commissioners. He was selected to be appointed and brought forward in a board order. He recalled at that board meeting, Sorenson (who was attending by speaker phone) decided that he was not a good person for the Planning Commission because he previously ran for elective office. He indicated that Sorenson struck both the people who were selected by the committee who was doing the interviews from that list, substituted two people who had not participated in the process and proceeded to appoint those people to the process without prior comment. Bozievich said it seemed to be previously arranged before that board meeting because it was a three to two vote for the people recommended. He stated the prior history has been to circumvent open, fair and transparent application processes. He stated that they have waited a week to make this decision and they have offered the public an opportunity to comment and all the comment has been in favor to support Tom Turner. He said they have to move forward and protest votes about open process are not conducive to moving forward in this County. He said they need to give Undersheriff Turner the support he needs to lead that department over the next two years.
Leiken was satisfied by moving with appointing Undersheriff Tom Turner for the remainder of Sheriff Burger’ s term. He said they are looking for stability. He did his due diligence and spoke with different people about Turner and their opinions were very positive. He said that Turner comes from the other Police Chiefs as being a regional partner. He thought it made sense to coordinate and work together as much as possible. He doesn’t view this conversation as divisive. He wants the Board to make this vote and move forward. He strongly supported Turner.
VOTE: 3-2 (Handy, Sorenson dissenting).
6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Sorenson asked if the Board could be given a heads up about what will be happening the following week on the agenda.
Richardson said she could bring in a draft agenda and let them know about the highlights.
b. REPORT/Legislative Committee.
Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, explained that this is a report back from the Legislative Committee who met on January 12. He discussed his memo. (Copy in file). He recalled he brought this memo to the Board on August 25, 2010, outlining the recommendations for legislative priorities. He said with regard to priorities A through K, the only things they were not successful with were Items B, D, and half of item F. He asked for the Board to confirm the priorities previously established by the previous board and to add a new legislative priority outlined in Item L. He indicated that SB 443, would remove the sunset that exists in statute that provides Lane and Douglas counties to utilize money from the road fund for Sheriff’ s patrol and would come from the federal forest fees in ORS 294. He said the legislative committee discussed the operating principles that were developed and agreed upon in February 2009 during the 2009 session. He was directed to change two sections.
MOTION: to approve the previous board legislative priorities with the one amendment with the new priority sunsetting legislation and with the two policy changes to their process mentioned by Cuyler.
Handy MOVED, Leiken SECONDED.
Bozievich was not comfortable adopting the priorities at this time. He thought Item B was not County business and he didn’t know why they were taking a stand. He thought it would lead to higher electric bills.. He thought with Item G the original bills needed to be rescinded as it is a complex issue and could be harmful to adjacent property owners. He was also concerned about the exemption on cigarette taxes. He thought Item G should be taken off the priority list completely. He commented that he would be comfortable with the rest of the priorities.
Bozievich amended the motion to remove Items B, C and G from the Legislative Priority List.
Stewart wanted to bring these items back for a further discussion.
VOTE: 3-1(Sorenson dissenting, Handy out of room) for the amended motion.
VOTE: 3-1 (Sorenson dissenting, Handy out of room) for the main motion as amended.
c. DISCUSSION/2011 United Front.
Cuyler noted there are three documents before the Board. He noted one document is about the United Front trip to Washington, D.C. He noted Attachment A is the recommendation for projects and policy proirities. He added the other document is the Lane County Federal Projects Overview. (Copy in file). He asked for direction and confirmation for the agenda of the United Front trip. He indicated that the book they take back to Washington, D.C. will be more focused on policy issues. He added Attachment A is what staff is recommending become part of the book: Secure Rural Schools Reauthorization, blue green algae blooms, the toxicity of the blooms, the Coos Bay Rail Link, the Wildish Property transfer, the extension of water to Veneta and how Veneta can make that available for their residents. He added in the back of the book they will put projects that their lobbyist recommends.
MOTION: to approve the policies and priorities for the United Front trip.
MOVED, Handy SECONDED.
7. PUBLIC WORKS
a. FIRST READING AND SETTING THE SECOND READING / PUBLIC HEARING / Ordinance
No. PA 1277/In the Matter of Amending the Springfield Local Wetland
Inventory, the Springfield Inventory of Natural Resource Sites, and the
Springfield Natural Resources Study, to Include Newly Identified Wetland and
Riparian Sites and to Update the Boundaries of Known Sites Within the Glenwood
Area; and Adopting a Severability Clause. (File No. PA 10-6053) (Second
Reading/Joint Public Hearing: 2/7/11)
MOTION: to approve a First Reading and Setting a
Second Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance No. PA 1277 for
February 7, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Handy MOVED, Leiken SECONDED.
b. DISCUSSION/Briefing on Oregon Rail Study.
Betsy Imholt , State of Oregon, gave a presentation on the Oregon Rail Study. (Copy in file.)
8. COMMISSIONERS’ BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Amending Chapter 2 of the Lane Manual to Revise the Organization and Clarify S.A.V.E. Program Rules of the S.A.V.E. Committee (LM 2.451 and LM 2.455).
Lori Green, S.A.V. E. Committee, explained the revisions to the Lane Manual. She noted the first item is to address the vacancy created by the Internal Auditor’s position. She said the composition of the committee is specified in Lane Manual and is no longer current since this position is currently vacant and remains unfilled. She said the committee is seeking the Board’s direction.
Green noted the second piece is to address a housekeeping item for the committee, to clarify the language on non-adopted proposals and provide direction in the Lane Manual as to whether or not eligible proposals need to be implemented in order to receive an award from the committee.
MOTION: to approve the amending of the organization of the S.A.V.E. Committee.
Handy MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
Vorhes indicated that these are two cover amendments that talk about the issues. He said the motion should direct staff to make the manual changes as reflected.
Handy amended his motion to cover the language for both board orders.
9. COUNTY COUNSEL
a. ORDER 11-1-5-4/In the Matter of Selecting Newspapers to Publish Ballots, Monthly Statement of Expenditures, Personal Property Tax Warrants, and Notices of Real Property Tax Foreclosures.
Vorhes said the materials distributed reflected the history of the work this last year with links to the website, the orders and the financial analysis of the actual costs spent in 2010 for the publication of the monthly statement of financial expenditures and the tax foreclosure listings. He noted this year those dates fall on a Monday and Wednesday and it creates a problem for The Eugene Weekly. His concern was how it complies with statutory provisions that are driving this in ORS 193.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 11-1-5-4.
Bozievich MOVED, Leiken SECONDED.
VOTE: 3-2 (Handy, Sorenson dissenting).
10. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS. 192.660(2)(h) for the discussion of potential litigation.
There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart recessed the meeting at 12:15 p.m.