November 13, 1996
Harris Hall Main Floor - 3:00 p.m.

PRESENT: Bobby Green, Jerry Rust, Cindy Weeldreyer, Ellie Dumdi, Steve Cornacchia. Steve Carmichael, Jan Clemens, Chuck Forster, Jim Gangle, Mike Gleason, John Goodson, Doug Harcleroad, Bill Hoyt, Sheriff Mc Manus, Rob Rockstroh, Pat Rogers, David Suchart, Bill Van Vactor Bennett Wilson, Teresa Wilson, John Clague, Linda Morrison, Arlene Marshall, Rick Schulz, David Garnick, Mary Dutton, Tanya Heaton. Jerry Pierce, Recording Secretary. Also in attendance was Dr. Gayle Surdam.


Commissioner Green thanked everyone for coming to meet and discuss their thoughts on the aftermath of Ballot Measure 47. He said the reality is there are some big changes in front of the County and the County’s work is cut out for it. He said he has confidence in the people in Lane County and reminded everyone that in 1982 the County went through a major upheaval and seemed to have landed on its feet. He said there is a need to be having discussions about things the County doesn’t do or shouldn’t do anymore.

Commissioner Dumdi said she had been misquoted in the Oregonian as saying layoffs would begin in January. What she had said was that the County would begin its budget process in January.

There was a discussion regarding rumors and rumor control.


Bill Van Vactor reported on the results of the Management Team Special Meeting of the previous day and said that basically three things came out of that meeting:

1. A consensus that an all-employee meeting should be held;

2. A communications system should be established; and

3. An implementation team was established; chaired by Jim Gangle and including Bill Van Vactor, David Suchart, Steve Carmichael, Dan Heuvel, Teresa Wilson, Ben Wilson, David Garnick, Tanya Heaton, Rob Rockstroh and possibly some line staff.

Van Vactor said one of the objectives of the implementation team will be to analyze the impact of Ballot Measure 47 to Lane County employees and citizens. A legislative team will also be put together.

III. REVIEW AND DISCUSSION/ONE-PAGE HANDOUT (Reasons to Hold All-Employee Meeting)

Van Vactor discussed the value in having an all-employee meeting and making a video available to employees who are unable to attend.

Dr. Surdam said it was very important to manage rumor control and to present an image of cohesiveness, strength and vision. Providing information at a department level could be more divisive. She emphasized how important it is for the meeting to happen very soon. She said the employees need to hear what they need to focus on, which is customer service, and to not punish voters in Lane County. She said it should be emphasized that voters in Lane County rejected the measure.

Commissioner Cornacchia voiced a different perspective regarding the timing of having an all-employee meeting. He said he believed the type of meeting being proposed was a "top down" meeting where management provides information about what they’re going to do and he believed employees want more input and to be more a part of the decision making process. He said the County needed to identify the facts first, then find a way to factor in employee input before a meeting. He suggested that departments have a meeting with all their employees to brainstorm and ask for input. He suggested that department heads could bring back that information to a leadership meeting before having an all-employee meeting.

Ben Wilson suggested everybody needed to hear the message at the same time to lay the framework and then break into department meetings after that.

Commissioner Weeldreyer agreed with Commissioner Cornacchia regarding having department team meetings first. She said she was concerned about the cost of having a meeting and then having to do it again and suggested employees could be contacted through E-MAIL. She said she wanted to wait until after AOC met to find out what other counties are doing.

Mike Gleason suggested an all staff meeting could be considered an as initial start and then go back to work teams. Gleason said he thought everybody right now is lost and feeling helpless and he thought it best to error on the side of giving too much information, rather than too little.

Commissioner Green noted that Floyd Prozanski was at this meeting and that he would be taking back some of this discussion to the legislature. He said he favored a meeting to get input from employees and ask them, what message do you want me to convey to your legislature?

Jim Gangle said Measure 47 leaves a lot to the legislature to decide. He briefly explained how the tax will be calculated and its effect on next year’s budget. Gangle said his inclination was to meet as fast as possible to show the employees that management is going to be working on it. He said they could be told that there is a great deal of uncertainty and that management will keep them informed to the best of our ability, that management wants their feedback, and that a process for communication would be put in place.

Teresa Wilson said the County needs to work with the legislature to arrive at clarification of those ambiguities. She said there is less money to government generally and the question is how that will get distributed. She said first priority is given to education, then public safety, then the measure says to minimize any loss of local control to state government.

Van Vactor outlined a possible agenda for an all employee meeting:

1. Introduction by Bobby explaining that this is the law of the land and the County’s duty to uphold it.

2. Jim Gangle provide five minutes of general description.

3. Explain the budget analysis of possible $4.5 to $6.5 million cut with $1 million reserves and implementation on July 1, 1997.

4. Explain the implementation team.

5. Talk about the opportunity to reinvent government

6. Open for questions.

Rockstroh said he was in favor of waiting a week but letting the employees know right away that there will be a meeting after the meeting with AOC and League of Oregon Cities, the Cities of Eugene and Springfield. He also said service to the public needs to be the driving force and that is where we ultimately get judged.

Rick Schulz said employees would like to hear from the commissioners and he felt holding department meetings would feed into divisiveness. He said he was not sure that employees know that the commissioners care since they don’t hear a whole lot from the Board level. He said employees could believe that the managers know something but are not telling them and a consistent message is important.

Pat Rogers said she felt that the managers should go as managers and say we don’t know; we don’t have answers, but it has happened and we are going to put a mechanism into place. Tell them they are going to be a part of this process and that we all need to meet to pull together.

John Clague said his organization has been in transition for six months and the basic issue to deal with is fear and the need to acknowledge that this is a fearful time for all of us. He said the people who have the most impact are the first line supervisors and they need to be kept informed.

Commissioner Rust said the County faced something worse than this in 1982 and came out of it. He suggested the formation of a task team and urged department managers to put out a memo debunking rumors and giving what information that was available and to tell employees that there will be an all-employee meeting in 10 days.

Mary Dutton suggested holding a news conference coming out with strong support of employees.

Sheriff McManus said while it is very important as an internal issue to protect County employees, what the citizens want to know is what the cause and effect to them is going to be. Service delivery with all the entities within the county is going to be a big issue.

Commissioner Weeldreyer supported a meeting two Mondays from today and to get a vehicle in place to receive questions from employees.

An all-employee meeting was scheduled for November 25, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Commissioner Green asked supervisors to get individual messages to employees to do rumor control and asking employees to share information and questions with the supervisors.

Bill Van Vactor will ask employees to send in their concerns. Supervisors will be asked about their concerns and questions which will be brought back to the management team on November 18. The Leadership Team will try to get them into a form to bring to the Board to address on November 25th.

There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 4:42.


Jerry Pierce, Recording Secretary

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