BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
January 10, 2001
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Zoe Gilstrap were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Patti Little, 21877 Allison Road, Noti, distributed a copy of the proposal and summary for a public conservator program (see material on file). She stated that she was here to ask three questions and requested that the Board point them in the right direction if they were not able to answer them. Little highlighted the proposal, explaining that the study was completed by Lane Care and involved 12 agencies and numerous other communities at large, documenting the need for a public conservatorship and guardianship program in Lane County. She estimated that approximately 100 people would be eligible for the program this fiscal year. Little said members that participated in this study were successful in getting their agencies to pledge money to the program and in estimating the amount of Medicaid match available. Little stated that these agencies are pledging money because it would save staff time and agency dollars.
She said the three questions are: Will the Board of County Commissioners authorize this program, noting the Board has authority by statute; will they authorize housing the program in Lane County under Health and Human Services (as outlined in the proposal); and, will they authorize $79,619 of the general fund towards the program. She said they are asking for that amount because of a Medicaid match. She said it is important to get a response because agencies that have pledged money are starting their budget process.
Mary Sheriffs, 137 W. 37th Avenue, Eugene, said that she is a former employee of LCOG Senior and Disabled Services as an Adult Protective Services worker. Sheriffs relayed a story about an elderly woman living in a little house on River Road by the Taco Time. She said there were reports from the community that the house was falling apart, the floors were caving in, animal and human waste was everywhere and the plumbing had stopped working. Sheriffs stated that the woman did not want any help. She noted the police were called when people began entering the house and taking things. Little stated that the Sheriff’s office became concerned that the woman's name would get out as someone whose home could be entered at any time. She said if there were a public guardianship program, they could have moved forward. She said they eventually found a niece in California and solved the problem, but there are people who have no family and are in imminent danger.
Charles Wright, 2560 Harris, Eugene, wanted to discuss the Tier 3 portion of the public conservator proposal. He said the program’s main clients are people without identifiable financial resources or relatives to step in as guardians. Wright stated that Tier 3 candidates are the disabled and mentally ill whose parents have been acting as guardians. He said that as parents get older they often are no longer able to do this, even though they would like to. Wright stated that Tier 3 would enable them to set up a guardianship when relatives are no longer able to provide care. He said this is a place where a county program could be a lifesaver because they could contract with the county, not for the guardianship, but for case management. Wright said this would then be a stable program with the children paying for the services. He stated the plan is to set up a guardianship program, get it up and running, and then start building the Tier 3 portion. Wright said that all money that comes in from the Tier 3 people who are paying for services is not earmarked and could be used as a match against Medicaid.
Jean Beachdel, 2385 Mission, Eugene, stated that she has been working in Legal Services for the elderly for 25 years and as a court-appointed visitor for the past seven years. She said that in both capacities, she has had the chance to see the operation of guardianships up close. Beachdel stated the appointment of a guardian is a last resort, explaining that a health or safety issue usually precipitates appointment of a guardian. She said the problems occur when there is no one to serve or when a person needing a guardian has no funds to hire a professional guardian. Beachdel noted that the work performed by this committee was significant because it brought together different agencies with diverse experiences which agreed that Lane County needs a public guardian program. Beachdel stated that in response, they went back to their agencies and came up with a source of funding. She said they are hopeful that Lane County will participate.
Ardys Mathews, 3311 Videra, Eugene, Probate Commissioner, stated that she sees guardianship petitions every day. She said they had 92 new adult guardianships filed in 2000 with 35 emergencies needing her attention the day they were filed. Mathews stated that of those, 18 were contested and when they got into court, at least six had no one suitable as a guardian. She said the Court is then put into a position of trying to find someone to serve. Mathews said that if a person has no money and can’t hire a professional, they either ask a professional to take the case free of charge or let someone serve who is not as suitable. She described a case involving a gentleman in the psychiatric unit of Sacred Heart with AIDS and Tuberculosis. Mathews stated that he is mentally impaired and violent. She said that there is a pending mental commitment hearing that has been postponed twice because his spouse is insistent that she is going to take guardianship. Mathews explained that the spouse has applied for guardianship but she is not mentally stable and could not be the guardian.
Little asked the Board to address the three questions or give direction if they can’t answer them.
Morrison said they have a normal budget process for reviewing funding requests. She was concerned about Lane County committing to the funding. Morrison stated that agencies committed to the funding are subject to state and federal funding, and their budgets are constantly subject to change. She said this means that if the County agreed to this funding, Lane County’s portion could be greater than $79,000 in future years. Morrison noted the federal legislation timber money is only for six years with no guarantees after that. She stated that the departments and agencies working on this proposal should be aware of the needs of this program and can present them to the Budget Committee.
Sorenson liked the proposal and said that establishing or authorizing it is separate from funding it. He stated that the budget process includes department directors who meet with the County Administrator who presents a proposed budget to the Budget Committee. He said the Budget Committee then meets for several weeks to come up with a balanced County budget. Sorenson stated that he believes the Budget Committee does not have authority to fund a program not authorized by the Board, so he favored having the Board decide on establishing the program.
Little said that the feasibility members thought the best place for this would be in Lane County; however, Lane County would have the option to do an RFP and house it somewhere else. She stated that if this was to be housed in another agency or nonprofit, the cost would be greatly reduced.
Weeldreyer asked why LCOG wasn’t interested in hosting this program. Little responded that the committee recommended Lane County to run Medicaid match money through its system. Little commented that LCOG Senior and Disabled Services could consider this.
Weeldreyer acknowledged the great need. She agreed with Morrison regarding the short period of time for timber dollars. She explained that taking on new programs for Lane County is something that they have to weigh against existing funding during the budget process. Weeldreyer also agreed with bringing this back as a Board agenda item in a work session with Health and Human Services staff and LCOG staff to explore the best place to house the program. She plans to support it during the budget process.
Little said that rather than LCOG staff, it would be the feasibility studies members.
Lauren Holland, Acting Probate Judge, supported the public guardian program for Lane County. She said it is clear to the court that the program would benefit some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in this community. Judge Holland noted that in 1999, there were 86 new adult petitions filed for guardianship with 38 for emergency petitions. She noted that in 2000, there were 79 new petitions filed for adult guardianships and 37 petitions for guardianships for minors and stressed that the need is here. Judge Holland stated that the people they see both in the courthouse and Sacred Heart Hospital need decisions made on medical needs and living and care arrangements. She explained that a guardianship petition is a fairly drastic procedure and is only utilized when a person is incapacitated or unable to care for themselves or make decisions in a logical manner with regard to their own health and safety issues. Judge Holland said that when there is not a family member who can serve or there is no money for a private guardian, people often fall into the cracks and then the court sees them in either the criminal justice arena or in other arenas that can’t address their needs.
Green said he supports all the values and merits of this program. He reminded the Board of the consistency of the process currently in place, highlighting the Strategic Plan and the public hearing that was held in December. He did not want to set up false expectations on whether or not the Budget Committee or this Board may ultimately fund the program. Green stated that if the Board sets a work session on this particular program, those participants at the public hearing who were only able to testify for three minutes might be concerned about the inconsistency of the Board. He said that while they may all be supportive of getting more information, they need to be mindful of the other requests. Green feared that if the Board creates new programs and authorizes funding out of a six-year limited pie, they are setting themselves up to fail.
Dwyer said he shares Green’s sentiments. He said programs often start with an authorized amount, but the amount may be considerably more next year. Dwyer stated he is not going to authorize a program now and then say Lane County will find the money later. Dwyer agreed with Green about the funding, the strategic plan, and the process. He asked where they stop if they make exceptions to the process. He noted that while this is a worthy program, he also has programs that he would like to see started, but he is not willing to forego Lane County’s process.
Weeldreyer noted that they all agree that Lane County’s resources are finite. She stated this program was developed by people who have identified the program, done the homework and are now looking for a way to help invest their resources and have Lane County help leverage dollars to create a program that is clearly needed in the County. Weeldreyer said that her suggestion for a work session with staff of Health and Human Services would be valuable.
Morrison said there is a definite need, but Lane County needs to start implementing the strategic plan and identifying ways to effectively implement programs. She was not opposed to looking at this later. Morrison said that she appreciates all the work and time put into this.
3. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
1:30 Time Certain.
4. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. ORDER 01-1-10-1/In the Matter of Appointing Representatives to Various Committees and Agencies.
Morrison reviewed the representatives of the various committees and agencies, voicing concern over the number of blank committee spaces. She wanted to find representatives.
Green stated he has signed up for everything he did last year but had a question about the Tourism Council, noting that they have not been meeting.
Sorenson said he was listed as an alternate on the Convention and Visitors Association of Lane County and could be on it again. He said the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority is in error, stating that he did want to be on that again. Sorenson also indicated that he would be on the Boundary Commission and he is the alternate for the Metro Sports Commission, although he doesn’t think that group meets.
Morrison asked if the Metro Sports Commission is mandatory. Green explained that it was formed as a central point for kids, and meets as-needed. He stated that he is the alternate and that Dwyer is the regular member.
Sorenson continued by saying that he will be on the Long Tom Council, Community Health Advisory Committee and Human Rights Advisory Committee. He said that he will be alternate on the Parks Advisory Committee. Sorenson also indicated that he wanted to be an alternate on both the Workforce Partnership and Fair Board Committees.
Morrison continued with the Metropolitan Policy Committee with Dwyer, Green and Sorenson as alternate. Regarding the Siuslaw Watershed Council, Morrison stated she has not attended because they meet on Wednesday nights and do not want to change. Morrison noted that she gets the minutes and knows what they are doing. She said that she would continue to be on it but would not attend meetings. Weeldreyer said that she has the same problem with the Middle Fork Watershed Council. Morrison noted that the Planning Commission alternate is Sorenson, Metro Partnership has Dwyer as an alternate and Morrison on executive committee chair. She said she will be the main representative on the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission with Dwyer also as a representative and Green as an alternate.
Morrison noted there are some committees that have either been inactive or have had problems with attendance and suggested that they be referred to Policy and Procedures. The following committees were assigned to Policies and Procedures for review: Traffic Safety Committee, Rural Community Improvement Council, Metro Sports Commission and the Tourism Council. Regarding the Economic Development Committee, Morrison suggested that the Board chair be the representative on this committee, changing with the chair each year. This will also be referred to Policies and Procedures.
MOTION: Approval of the Order as amended.
Green MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
b. ORDER 01-1-10-2/In the Matter of Accepting the Internal Auditor's Annual Work Plan Updated for the Period May 1, 2000 through December 31, 2000, and the Internal Auditor's Gantt Chart Updated for the Period May 1, 2000 through December 31, 2000.
Stephens gave a brief update on his work plan. He noted that at his last update, he was directed to hold the Fleet review and go ahead with the Land Management review, which he has done. Stephens stated that he is writing the report on cash handling, noting that 90% of the fieldwork has been completed. He said the report will go to the Board on February 14.
Green asked when Stephens would begin to deal with performance concerns. Stephens replied that he is still waiting for direction from the Board. He stated that in December the direction was cash handling. Stephens stated that with the passage of Measure 7, there was concern about a change in policies and procedures. Stephens stated that while that has been enjoined, it may be implemented in some form in the future. He said that Land Management practices will tend to be the same and recommended going forth with the review process.
Morrison said that very few recommendations in the Land Management audit done in 1992 were implemented and there are things they could start tomorrow. She said that compliance and permitting problems have not changed in eight years and what is needed is spelled out in that audit. She said if they implement the majority of things in the audit, they could eliminate most of the problems that rural commissioners face.
Van Vactor stated there have been staff changes and said the Board needs to provide clear lines as to how they want to deal with these issues. Dwyer suggested having a work session around permitting and planning. Morrison stated that some recommendations would fall under the performance area of the strategic plan. Morrison stressed that they really need to buckle down and decide what they want to accomplish. She said this is one example of what they as a Board could do for accountability and credibility.
Stephens recommended that he review the 1992 audit because some things have changed and that sanitation was not included in that original audit. Van Vactor suggested having a work session with Land Management staff to discuss how to implement these recommendations. Stephens said it would be the end of the fiscal year before implementation. Van Vactor stated that any budget decisions would be in a 2002 supplemental.
Van Vactor stated that the Finance and Audit Committee also directed staff to look outside for an independent audit for surveyors.
Morrison summarized that Stephens will perform a follow-up review of the old audit and report back in three months.
MOTION: Approval of the Order as discussed by the Board.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor commented on the letter from the state regarding the state building. He thanked Judge Mattison and others who made contact with Services Management. Dwyer noted he discussed this yesterday at the legislature and is going back again on Friday.
Van Vactor noted that items 8.a. and 8.b. will be taken after the executive session.
6. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
December 6, 2000, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
December 6, 2000, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
B. Health and Human Services
1) ORDER 01-1-10-3/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign a Contract Amendment in the Amount of $27,083 with Eugene Center for Family Development for LaneCare Community Support Coordinator Services.
MOTION: Approval of the Consent Calendar.
Sorenson MOVED, Green SECONDED.
7. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
a. ORDER 01-1-10-4/In the Matter of Establishing a .5 FTE Office Assistant 2 in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Rockstroh gave an overview of his agenda cover memo (see material on file).
MOTION: Approval of the Order.
Green MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED. VOTE: 5-0.
b. ORAL REPORT/Impacts of O.H.P. to the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Providers of Lane County.
Rockstroh distributed background material (see file).
Judge Darryl Larson stated that this reduction would be equal to cutting jail funding in two weeks by 25-30%. He said that 80% of the criminal justice population are either alcohol or drug dependent or addicted. Larson stated that they can either lock these people up at $85 a day or treat them on an outpatient basis for $7.30 a day. He stressed that there are hundreds of studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of treatment. Larson said this reduction will cause a probable reduction in counselors in treatment agencies and a significant increase in waiting lists for people trying to get treatment, and continued drug usage by offenders on the waiting lists. He said there would be increased bookings at the jail, increased prisoner transports and increased workloads for the jail staff and the District Attorney and the Public Defender offices. Larson continued that there would be increases in child and domestic abuse and neglect and increases in the workload of Services to Children and Families and other public and private agencies as well as increases in foster care placement and loss of parental rights. He said that the DA Victim Services will see increases and that there will be stress on all social services agencies. Larson stated that health care will see an increase in heroin deaths as well as other health fallouts such as sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis, and increases in overdoses and psychiatric hospital patients. Larson said that there will be probation failure increases resulting in jail population increases. He stated that there will be a $100,000 income reduction to Drug Court in next 12 months and a $35,000-$50,000 reduction in the six months following that. Larson said that ACES has announced their intent to withdraw from the Drug Court contract leaving no treatment for at least half the Drug Court population. He stated that he has informed the District Attorney that they want to stop intake to Drug Court effective immediately. He anticipates that they won’t be able to continue honoring Drug Court contracts if this continues. He said they may have to send 325 drug cases back to the District Attorney’s office for resumption of prosecution. Larson stressed the need to solve these problems in the short-term and to begin working on long-term funding solutions.
Hillary Wylie, Executive Director, Willamette Family Treatment Center, stated that the health plans have been putting in over $2 million into Lane County’s outpatient alcohol and drug programs. She said this cut will be approximately $700,000 and stressed there isn’t any extra money to make up that $700,000. Wylie explained that the treatment system has funding like a house of cards-- when one or two pieces are removed, the rest gets shaky. She said they are facing layoffs of counselors, reduced caseloads and increased waiting lists. Wylie stated that women with children in foster care must be in treatment and into recovery within 12 months or they will lose parental rights. She noted the impact on other agencies like ACES, stating that they are all outpatient facilities. Wylie said that without these services all other services will be impacted. She stated that when their clients get into recovery, they no longer use these services and move on with their lives. She emphasized that this really is a crisis.
Shannon Thienes, Local Alcohol and Drug Planning Committee, said that when they started this committee, there was anticipation about the things they might be able to accomplish for Lane County. She said that when the 30% cut occurred, stabilization became their priority. Thienes stated that now they just need to save what they have. She said the A&D Issues Forum is provided through the Local Alcohol and Drug Planning Committee and carry their vision, noting that they have opened the forum up to anybody in an effort to find cooperation and collaboration in their goal is to find more funding. Thienes reiterated that at this point, all they can do is take care of and save what they have.
Rockstroh stated there is no immediate plan right now and suggested creating a work group such as a Human Services subcommittee. He noted that this issue should be included in the strategic planning process. Rockstroh said he is not asking for any money today but wanted to bring this to the attention of the Board for future conversations.
Dwyer stated that this impacts the criminal system as well as the health system. He asked what determines what a provider chooses to provide and how services are shifted under the health plan. Rockstroh responded that health plans can pick and choose when they bail out, because a provider is under a fee for service contract, which allows that to occur.
Dwyer said they should not be put into a position where they need to make choices about treatment. He stated that the case needs to be made around the cost of not providing services to the rest of the community.
Sorenson stated that there is a big fight in the legislature over reluctance to address human services concerns. He said they need to focus on Lane County’s delegation. Sorenson said there will be a meeting in Salem for the purpose of making specific requests and said this is a very appropriate request.
Rockstroh stated that he will give updates as he gets them.
Hilary Wylie encouraged the commissioners to visit their programs and talk to their staff and clients.
This meeting recessed at 11:20 a.m. to reconvene at 1:30 p.m.
Zoe Gilstrap, Recording Secretary