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July 8, 1998
REGULAR MEETING-BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
9:00 a.m. Harris Hall Main Floor

Commissioner Steve Cornacchia presided with Commissioners Ellie Dumdi, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

None.

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

Barbara Newman, 1527 Corum, Eugene, stated that she has been a Lane County employee since February, 1993, where she was hired by Southern Willamette Private Industry Council as an Employment Specialist. She said that she is now the Program Services Coordinator for the welfare to work program in Lane County. She said that last February she wrote a letter to the Human Rights Committee asking the committee to extend health benefits to domestic partners of Lane County employees. She said that the committee agreed to support the request. She said that the City of Portland, State of Oregon, EWEB, City of Eugene and the University of Oregon offer health benefits to employees' domestic partners. She said that even though there is a small increase in cost for this insurance to achieve equity, it was not fair to discriminate to one group of employees by denying benefits to their families, while offering another group of employees full family coverage. She also stated that this is not a labor management issue, it is a human rights concern, a question of fairness and a policy issue. She urged the Board to extend benefits to domestic partners of Lane County employees without delay.

Jennifer Self, 303 Broken Oak Loop, Eugene, stated that she has been a County employee in the District Attorney's office for one year. She said that she has been married for two years to a woman. She said that it wasn't good business for the County to save money on the backs of the families that work for Lane County. She said that she contacted EWEB, questioning the cost of insurance for domestic partners and was told that it was negligible. She said it is a controversial issue, because it involves gays and lesbians as well as heterosexual couples who choose not to marry. She said that she is asking the County to treat its employees with dignity, respect and equality.

Barry Pitzer, 845 Hughes, Eugene, stated that he is an employee of the Housing Authority and Community Services Agency of Lane County. He said that a year ago a group of HACSA employees began working to extend domestic partners health care benefits to employees of their agency. He said that currently over 600 employers nationwide are offering health care benefits for domestic partners and the HACSA diversity policy states: "Diversity and the respect and understanding of the integrity and worth of all cultures, people and lifestyles is today and will continue to be simply good business." He asked the Board that they be allowed to follow the guidelines that have been established by both the management and union members of their agency. He said that as a representative of HACSA employee group, he presented the Board with petitions of support and further requested that HACSA be allowed to move forward and implement domestic partner benefits for all agency employees.

Al King, 128 Knapp Lane, Eugene, shared a story of his parents with regard to civil rights. He came to the Board to look for moral leadership and asked them to do what is morally correct.

3. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

Cornacchia mentioned that Ollie Snowden and Doug Kuchler have been asked by the Forest Service to invite the Board of Commissioners to participate in a multi-agency tour on the Coast to see first-hand repair of culverts done collaboratively to flood damage on Big Creek Road on Tuesday, September 22, at 9:00 a.m. in Yachats at the Commons.

Green discussed an article from Doug Smith of Sheldon High School regarding the Out of School Suspension Program. He said that it is a model program to deal with out of school suspensions.

Dumdi reported that she will be attending a Merger Dinner for the Private Industry Council (PIC) on July 23 and attending the NACo convention next week.

Sorenson stated many activities were taking place this week including the Bach Festival, the Country Fair and the Eugene Adult Concert Band. He said that he will be attending the NACo convention next week and is still attending the Bus Rapid Transit District Committee meetings.

Weeldreyer reported that, from the Smart Oregon meeting in Newport, an executive committee has been formed for this project and she is chairing the group. She also read a resolution for the community of Westfir to help promote their project pride week, July 19 to July 25.

MOTION: to approve RESOLUTION/ORDER 98-7-8-12.

Weeldreyer MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

4. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

a. RECOMMENDATION/To Extend Health Insurance Benefits to Lane County Employees' Domestic Partners.

Lynn Burditt, Lane County Human Rights and Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, presented the proposal from the committee to the Board. She also distributed an updated brochure (see material on file). She said that she is presenting an issue related to human rights. She added that the specific proposal is one that was unanimously supported by the committee membership, that Lane County make the decision to extend health insurance benefits for domestic partners of Lane County employees. She said that the employees who were interested in this proposal developed a petition that they submitted around the County to assess the level of support. She added that 274 people signed the petition. She discussed the sheet from Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield HMO for Oregon that does provide domestic partner coverage. (See material on file.) She referred to David Suchart's memorandum wherein he stated that there is a potential concern that it would not be in keeping with agreement with the various bargaining units to bring benefit matters through the Joint Labor Management Benefits Review Committee. She added that it was not the role of the advisory committee to be engaged with union leadership. She said that according to the committee it was not a union issue but a human rights issue. She added that it was not a new benefit, but the method of implementation of an existing benefit. She said that if more information is needed, that this issue could be revisited on July 29, when as a committee, they are scheduled to come back and provide the Board an update on what the committee has been doing. She requested that the Board recognize the disparity and make the decision to extend health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of Lane County employees.

Green stated that he is the liaison for the Human Rights Committee and as the liaison he questioned the committee on the positioning of the bargaining units. He said that he was not convinced that it was a fairness issue, but an issue of benefits. He added that he wants to know the school districts' positions on this issue.

Dumdi expressed gratitude, and said that everyone should be applauded for the way this subject was presented. She said that her concern is the fact that the County is in the middle of negotiations with the unions and they have not given any input. She said that she prefers to see it go through the proper channels with the bargaining practices. She added that she was also concerned about the dollar figure because the 98/99 Budget had just been approved and it should be in next year's budget.

Weeldreyer echoed the cautionary words of Dumdi and Green about the fiscal impact. She said that she is taking an approach from two perspectives, one, is a fiscal one for the County and the other is a moral one. She said that she has respect for the choices that the domestic partners are making for their lives and also has an obligation to the taxpayers of Lane County, but she is accountable to a higher authority that she deeply respects. She said that she could not in anyway approve this issue.

Sorenson commended the Advisory Committee for taking the effort for this issue. He said that ultimately the Board will make the decision that is right for the community and for business and employment relationships.

Cornacchia said that he has heard three commissioners state that they would be willing to go ahead with this matter. He said that the only issue he has on this subject is the position of the bargaining units and if they consider language in their contracts to cover this subject as a policy issue, not a contractual issue. He added that he would be willing to extend benefits, but needs to see the level of commitment that makes a true family, with dependency, commitment and a willingness to share. He said that it is a policy issue, not a contractual issue and thinks that the issue should go to Management Team.

Van Vactor stated that he has not heard from the department that administers the program and David Suchart and he could address the administrative issues.

Green said that he needed to know from the union if they would be willing to enter into negotiations, because the insurance is a benefit. He added that he would like a list of public schools that have taken positions on this issue.

Cornacchia suggested that the County staff take specific tasks relative to this issue.

Weeldreyer said that she believes that this is a policy issue for the Board to make, not a bargaining one and she places a higher value on the privacy of individuals.

Van Vactor stated that at a future date should this benefit be extended and at that time there would be a 30-day enrollment period. He said that if that would not be the case, they would come back to the July 29 meeting, but mid-August, first part of September, is the earliest that they can return. He is also concerned about contacting the school districts during the summer.
b. UPDATE/Facilities Capital Improvements Projects (No Material).

David Suchart, Management Services, reported that the jail was moving along fairly well and they hope to be completed by March 19, 1999. He also reported there was amazing progress on the juvenile justice center and things were going great. He added that there was one hitch--the bids for the treatment center came out higher than earlier projections, based on the schematic design. He said that the options will be considered with the contractor to be within budget. He also gave a presentation of the types of materials used in the facility.

Suchart also reported that the opening of the security doors is still six to eight weeks away due to the availability of the lifts. He said that it will be September before it is completed. He also talked about security within the building, including a break-in that occurred over the July 4th weekend.

5. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.66

Commissioner Cornacchia recessed into Executive Session at 11:45 a.m.

6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

a. Announcements

None.

7. PUBLIC WORKS

a. ORDER 98-7-8-1/In the Matter of Entering into an Agreement with Kittelson and Associates, Inc. for Study of the Delta Highway/Beltline Road Interchange and Authorizing the County Administrator to Execute the Agreement

Snowden stated there is increased traffic over Delta Highway and a series of proposals for that interchange all have drawbacks to them. He said that a consultant was hired last year to look at an interim fix. He said that a safety issue relates to the westbound exiting traffic from Beltline to southbound Delta Highway and the eastbound to northbound movement. He said the consultant at that time recommended signals, ramp realignments and widening the bridge by two lanes. He said that the County would like to look at ramp configurations that involve roundabouts. He said that the first part of the study with Kittelson will be to look at the feasibility of roundabouts, and if they are not feasible the scope of work will change, either terminate the contract or have Kittleson supply the County with assistance in a signal design.

MOTION: to approve ORDER 98-7-8-1.

Dumdi MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0

b. ORAL REPORT BACK/London Road Slide.

Snowden discussed the memo of July 2, 1998 (see copy on file). He added that two drawings are to replace the single drawing, figure 3, attached to the July 2 memo. He said that Rad Squire has completed his preliminary investigation and the County is looking at a fix that includes a series of trench drains up slope that is entirely on Weyerhaeuser land, and a rock buttress that will be along the London Road right-of-way and a toe berm that would be along a portion of the Weyerhaeuser service road right-of-way. He added that the cost for the entire fix is approximately $750,000. He said that this site has been identified as eligible for Federal Highway Emergency Relief funding and the County's portion would be $500,000 to $600,000. He added that if Federal Highway is going to fund this, it has to be an Oregon Department of Transportation contract. He said that according to Federal regulations, a contract has to be executed within two years of the occurrence and he has prepared a letter asking for a time extension with a good possibility would be extending this to September 30, 1999.

Rad Squire, Principal, Squire & Associates stated that his recommendations for the stabilization of the slide on London Road would be to include a rock buttress along London Road, the distance of about 300 feet and then go south to the service road of Weyerhaeuser. He also suggested adding a toe berm and to stabilize the ground further up slope from the slide, he is proposing a network of trench drains. He said that with this approach, he thought it would be a suitable for stabilization of the slide.

In response to Cornacchia's question regarding upper trenching not accomplished, Squire stated in his opinion that if the trench drain network was not installed, the upper part of the slide would override the lower portion. He added that repair on public and private land would be the best approach to assure that the ground will be stabilized.

Paul Barnum, Weyerhaeuser, stated that Weyerhaeuser sees the slide as a mutual problem with the County and they are committed to working together to come up with a solution. He added that Squire's report did not address another option, to use the road where the detour has been rerouted, which is Weyerhaeuser's service road. He added that this road has remained stable throughout two rainfall seasons and recommended the detour becoming permanent.

Cornacchia suggested to Snowden to come back to the Board on July 15 with an amendment to the contract with Weyerhaeuser to define each other's responsibilities.

Snowden responded that the County did discuss with Weyerhaeuser the option of making the detour road permanent. He added that there has been some geotechnical work there and Squire will be putting together an addendum that deals with that issue. He said that with the detour the road is substandard and the County would not support this as a solution.

Snowden said that he would not come back on July 15, but would come back as soon as possible after that because if the fix that Squire recommended is the one the County agrees upon, that the trench drains need to go in this summer.

Kevin Boyle, Federal Aid Specialist, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Region II, reported that the process for the time extension will go to ODOT, then go to Federal Highway in Salem and because it is emergency relief, the monies are in Washington D.C. He said that the formal request from the Salem office will go to Washington D.C. for approval and the time frame would be about a month. He said that their expectation for Federal funding is returning the existing road back into the condition it was prior to the Flood of November 1996. He said that this would be a betterment type of project which requires a request by Federal Highway because the County is doing something different than putting the road back into its original condition.

8. CONSENT CALENDAR

Item D. 3) has been pulled from the consent calendar.

A. Approval of Minutes:

February 3, 1998, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
June 24, 1998, Regular Meeting, following MWSD
May 6, 1998, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.

B. Children and Family Services

1) ORDER 98-7-8-2/In the Matter of Awarding One Year Contracts for FY 98/99 to Commission on Children and Families' Service Providers, and Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Execute the Contracts.

C. Health and Human Services

1) ORDER 98-7-8-3/In the Matter of Approving a New Court Fee of $25 in the Family Mediation Program.

2) ORDER 98-7-8-4/In the Matter of Ratifying the Execution of the Application of a Stop Violence Against Women Formula Grant by the County Administrator.

3) ORDER 98-7-8-5/In the Matter of Awarding Two Contracts for $28,080 Each to Dr. Jerome Vergamini and Dr. Bazil Freedman, and Authorizing the County Administrator to Sign the Contracts for the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit (CABHU).

D. Public Works

1) ORDER 98-7-8-6/In the Matter of Accepting a Deed of Land to be Used as a Public Road Easement for County Road No. 2010 (Elk Creek Road) (16-45-29).

2) ORDER 98-7-8-7/In the Matter of Accepting a Deed of Land to be Used as a Public Road Easement for County Road Number 270, High Pass Road (15-05-36).

3) ORDER 98-7-8-8/In the Matter of Awarding Contracts to Portland Precision, Inc. in the Amount of $17,960.75, and to Johnson Instrument Company in the Amount of $29,750 for a Total of $47,710.75 to Purchase Real Time GPS Equipment, Bid No. LCSO-02 FY 97/98.

E. Youth Services

1) ORDER 98-7-8-9/In the Matter of Authorizing the County Administrator to Execute a Contract for Medical Services at Skipworth Juvenile Detention Center.

MOTION: to approve Consent Calendar.

Green MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

Commissioner Cornacchia recessed the meeting to return at 10:45 a.m.

9. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

a. ORDER 98-7-8-10/In the Matter of Increasing Appropriations for Revenues and Expenditures in the Amount of $196,440 in Programs for Persons with a Developmental Disability; Establishing Two 1.0 FTE Developmental Disabilities Specialist (DDS) Positions, Increasing a .75 FTE DDS Position to a 1.0 FTE DDS Position, Establishing a 1.0 FTE Community Service Worker II (CSWII) Position, and Establishing Two .5 FTE CSWII Positions in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Van Vactor announced that Rob Rockstroh was not able to be present but he wanted an amendment to the order, changing to one full-time position, not two positions half-time. He added that Health and Human Services would change the order.

MOTION: to approve ORDER 98-7-8-10 as modified.

Dumdi MOVED, Green SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

b. ORDER 98-7-8-11/In the Matter of Establishing a Temporary Help Psychiatrist Position in the Department of Health & Human Services.

MOTION: to approve ORDER 98-7-8-11.

Dumdi MOVED, Green SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

10. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

None.

There being no further business, Commissioner Cornacchia recessed the meeting to Executive Session.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary

 

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