June 13, 1995
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION
Commissioners' Conference Room - 1:30 p.m.
Chair Ellie Dumdi presided with Steve Cornacchia, Bobby Green, Jerry Rust and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Jerry Pierce, Recording Secretary.
9. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Board recognized Keith Wheeler, an intern who has been working on legislative issues since the first of the year, and thanked him for the work he had done.
10. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Mary Regeth, Grandparents for Family Justice, testified that she and her husband had founded the group a year ago. She submitted information and read a letter into the record. She commented they were going to take HB 3180 to the streets and have it put on the ballot and they were also going to be asking for a federal investigation of CSD.
Barbara Moss read her statement into the record regarding a change in the systems that have gone bad, and the process of trying to save their grandchildren. She said they were asking for help and were offering help.
Florence Brown, secretary and legal advocate for Grandparents for Family Justice, noted the kinship bill passed both houses but was vetoed by the governor. She said they wanted the grand jury to investigate their cases and CSD. She also read into the record a letter to the governor.
11. OTHER BUSINESS
a. ORDER 95-6-13-14/In the Matter of Amending the Commission on Children and Families Comprehensive Plan for 1995-97.
Dr. Jeff Luke, Chair, thanked Mary and Florence for their comments and also thanked Dan Close, professor at the University of Oregon and member of the State Commission on Children and Families, and Steve Carmichael, Director, Youth Services.
Luke reviewed the history of the commission, saying that the Board had appointed the Commission on Children and Families, giving the charge to develop a county-wide system targeting wellness and prevention. He said that what was brought today was the latest thinking and the commitment to move forward. He gave an overview and said each action team chair would summarize key components in their areas. He said there were five things he felt important to highlight: 1) Assessment, at birth and at kindergarten; 2) Family Resource Centers, piloting around family resource centers that will be a magnet for other services for children, youth and families; 3) Reforming foster care and significantly building our family preservation system; 4) Solid Parent Support Systems for non at-risk families, i.e., groups that are not at risk but need some assistance with positive parenting; and 5) Contractual relationships with nonprofits, actively working with nonprofits to build their capacities and act as a venture capitalist and an information infrastructure.
There was a discussion regarding privacy issues with the families and the project model called First Steps which was piloted by Eugene School District 4J.
Action Team Chair, Betsy Boyd, Early Childhood Action Team, said the focus of this committee was on children prenatal to age five and the needs of families with children in that age bracket. She said that that age in a child's development is a time when support and intervention can make a very effective difference in children's later lives and she discussed aspects of their plan.
Tom Coley, Chair of the Juvenile Reform Services Committee, said they begin where Healthy Start ends in terms of services for ages 5 to 13, which is largely unserved now, by looking at existing services for kids that have had some run in, or are about to have some run in, with the juvenile justice system. He said they are looking at the importance of family resource centers as they become an organizing tool for communities to come together.
Ball said accompanying family resource centers is a community mapping which should be an enormous help in identifying churches, civic groups, and individuals, as well as public and private non-profits that are willing to provide services.
Ball said the commissions were set up to be literally the first groups in the country charged not with managing or delivering a particular segment of services, but with figuring out how the system works. He said system analysis is a brand new role.
In response to comments from Commission Weeldreyer regarding the lack of programs involving agricultural projects for at risk youth as an early intervention strategy, there was a discussion on the laws that prevent children from participating in agricultural fields.
Christine Lewandowski, Action Team Chair, Foster Care, said her committee had worked closely with CSD and talked about intervention and outreach at an earlier time and the possibility of keeping children in their own home structure. She said the second portion of their discussion was around recruitment, training and support of foster care parents.
In response to a question from Commissioner Cornacchia regarding contract monitoring, Ball said they would essentially start implementing this plan July 1 and a template would be available then. He said there would be a quarterly reporting process.
There was a discussion on the staff and the reliance on system technology that will simplify that process and focus on measuring outcomes rather than monitoring process.
MOTION: Approval of the Order. Cornacchia MOVED, Green SECONDED.
b. ORDER 95-6-13-15/In the Matter of Directing County Counsel to Prepare Lane Manual Changes to Establish the Lane County Department of Children and Families.
Ball said there had been a discussion last fall about where the commission should be connected within County government. He said the Commission was interested in pursuing a model that Larry Campbell had anticipated in HB 2004 and wanted to give county boards the option to privatize the enterprise and work on a contractual relationship.
Luke said that in discussions with the County Administrator, it came down to establishing the commission as a department as the best thing to do now. He said that in the long run the Board might like to have the Commission privatized. He said there could be a significant potential conflict of interest if the Commission is a division of any county department.
In response to a question from Commissioner Cornacchia asking if this was an advisory commission, John Ball said it was anticipated in the legislation that it is a policy committee.
Ball said as a Department Head, the institutional reporting relationship would clearly be to the County Administrator, but for the purposes of the plan, they would be under the policy direction of the commission. The commission sets the work plan, the commission sets the budget, and the commission staff would be responsible for carrying out the plan.
There was a discussion regarding having the director of the commission report to the Board of Commissioners or to the County Administrator. Commissioner Cornacchia pointed out that with other department directors, with the exception of the auditor and legal counsel, policy comes from the board, communicated through the County Administrator. He said he did not want to add another level of responsibility to the County Administrator and suggested that perhaps the director and the commission should be directly accountable and answerable to the Board. Cornacchia suggested holding off on this for a week or so to make a choice between a traditional county division or department and something different which may meet the County's needs better.
Van Vactor said he fully supported this recommendation as it was brought to the Board. He said Steve Carmichael had raised a concern that he wanted to make sure that it was the understanding of the Board that the Department of Youth Services was still that, a department which serves youth. Under the balanced approach, which he is very committed to, there are three sides of the triangle and Carmichael was concerned that perhaps there would be a vision on the part of the Board that the treatment end of youth services would tend to move towards the Commission on Children and Families and the Department of Youth Services would become just an incarceration facility.
Commissioner Cornacchia stated that the Department of Youth Services should not be trying to retain anything that, under a new approach, would better fit some place else. He said his expectation is a full integration and coordination between the two departments. He said there needs to be flexibility of movement of responsibilities and considerations based upon what's best for the children, not what's best for the department.
Carmichael said his concern was more about the mission of the Department of Youth Services which had broadened when the Board changed it from Juvenile Department to the Department of Youth Services, which identifies a concern about the broader issues rather than just kids that are in law violation. He said he thought there was a policy choice for the Board to go back to having a juvenile corrections department or not and that's what he wanted to discuss.
Commissioner Cornacchia thought it would be inappropriate to discuss that until it is clear where the plan is headed. He said there should be an analysis of the condition of the children in this community and what is the best way to deal with that condition.
Commissioner Rust stated it had never been suggested by the Board that the Department be put in a corrections box only. He felt that the issue raised is one that needs to be discussed as the plan emerges and as the transition plan at Skipworth is being built for the newly configured plan. He said during the campaign for a Juvenile Justice center, the discussion in the community was that the County was not setting the Department of Youth Services to be just a jail for kids.
Commissioner Green said his interpretation is that the balanced approach meant that there would be some integrated solutions for preventativness, treatment and incarceration but there was no way shape or form that is comprehensive. He said he did not promote the Juvenile Justice Center as just that.
Commissioner Cornacchia said the needs of the Department are secondary to the needs of the children and families in this community and that what the County does as an entity will be determined by them.
Commissioner Dumdi asked about a private partnership and why it was felt to be premature at this time.
John Ball said the Commissions were created as non-traditional models and state government has had difficulty figuring out what to do with them. He said they will continue to look at privatization as the long range goal; however, at this point, they want to establish this relationship more clearly with the Board. He said they want to develop a clear understanding of what the commission's work is and how it differs from familiar models. He said when those relationships are clearer and the mission is well understood by both sides, they may then ask for the privatization option.
Luke said there will be inherent resistance because of the effort to change the system towards a preventative system and there's a lot of institutions that fund treatment and crisis. He said there are going to be some "turf" issues and conflicts.
There was a discussion on political issues and political muscle.
Van Vactor said another advantage to being a department would be having the Commission Director on the Management Team and able to develop a working relationship with other directors.
Commissioner Weeldreyer voiced a concern about creating a new department that may appear to overlap with other departments at a time when the County is going to the public and asking for more money. She was also concerned about the stress on the County's core services for personnel, payroll, etc.
Commissioner Cornacchia said this is reinventing government and has to be looked at in a different way and explained to the public in a different way.
Ball said this is an extremely lean staffing function so the piece that rests inside county government is extremely small. He said there was a minuscule staffing arrangement that disburses the activity functions out into the community with little overhead drain.
Van Vactor suggested that the Board approve creation of a department now and review options regarding the reporting relationship at a later meeting.
MOTION: Approval of the Order to direct county counsel to prepare the lane manual changes to establish the Lane County Department of Children and Families. Rust MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED.
6. PUBLIC WORKS
a. FOURTH READING AND DELIBERATIONS/Ordinance PA 1072/In the Matter of Amending the Rural Comprehensive Plan to Redesignate Land from "Agriculture" to "Rural," Rezoning that Land from "E-30/Exclusive Farm Use" to "RR-5/Rural Residential 5," and Taking Exceptions to Statewide Planning Goals 3 and 4; and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (file PA 0229-95; Henton).
This item was brought over from the morning meeting.
Michael Copely outlined materials received and said this matter was now back for deliberation and action. He said the options were to adopt or not adopt and if they elected to adopt, he recommended that the Board take tentative action to allow the applicant time to revise the findings. He said if the Board elected not to adopt, it would be their option to instruct the opponent to prepare findings to support that action.
Commissioner Rust said burden of proof in this matter is on the applicant and he did not believe the applicant had met that burden. He said the subject property is not surrounded by irrevocably committed land for development, there are 10 acres of prime farm soil that can be used for agriculture, presumably, and that it was up to the applicant to demonstrate why that could not be done.
Commissioner Cornacchia discussed some of the evidence that had been submitted and talked about the lack of water rights. He quoted
Mr. Day's letter: "In my opinion it is impracticable to use the land for farm purposes due to limitations associated with soil type, lack of irrigation, land form, size, location and accessibility." and said he believed those statements had been backed up throughout the letter and by other assertions and evidence by the applicant. He felt the applicant had met his burden and has refuted much of the assertions and evidence that were provided by the opponent. Cornacchia said he would support a motion to support the ordinance.
Commissioner Dumdi pointed out that the LCDC had not responded within the time frame and in fact had not responded until they were contacted after the original time frame had expired. She noted the watermaster had indicated no water rights and that it was not likely there would be. She said she gave more weight to those testaments than to a late letter from a regulatory agency, or a late letter coming in from another group that is not particularly familiar with the area.
MOTION: Tentative Approval of the Ordinance with findings to be submitted. Green MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Stephen Vorhes said the ordinance will come back for another reading and final action once the findings have been drafted and once the 5th reading and final action is taken, then the route for appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) is clear.
VOTE: 4-1 (Rust opposed).
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned into executive session at 4:15.
Jerry Pierce, Recording Secretary