April 3, 2000

9:00 a.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room 

APPROVED 7/12/00


Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Cindy Weeldreyer present.  County Administrator Bill Van Vactor and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.




Van Vactor noted that Page 22, of the Policy Book, Morrison indicated there were no issues.  Van Vactor said it was all controlled by the petition in the state statute.


Van Vactor noted on Page 33, he asked about the process and suggested changes for the elected official transition policy.


Morrison responded the orientation was well structured.


Van Vactor stated that in case of a contested November election the County will pay the expenses for their attendance at the AOC conference.


Morrison said with item number 4, on page 23, (unfinished business) it couldn’t be possible.  She suggested a 45 day transition period.


Weeldreyer said with regard to number 4 on page 23, she was reluctant to take the language out.  She said there needs to be some level of expectation for the transition period.


Sorenson said with page 23, some of the language is old, and he suggested putting in gender neutral language.


Van Vactor responded the manual had not been modified since 1987 and when County Counsel reviews it, they will clean it up.


Van Vactor noted that on page 26 it is a general policy statement that employees will be reimbursed for their actual expenditures and have the choice of taking it per diem.

He added he will ask the Management Team about a one call home policy.

Sorenson suggested to put the definition of “charter” on page 29.  He said there are ordinances, orders and rules, but there is also charters.

Van Vactor noted that on page 30, records retention, the minimum retention record is one year.  He said the Secretary of State has a lengthy administrative rule on how long things can be retained.

Sorenson asked about voice mail and e-mail being retained.


Van Vactor responded he was not familiar with voice mail, but e-mail is retained on a back-up server for the administrative rule period.


Van Vactor said on the land use petition process, on page 31, anything received related to a quasi-judicial case goes to Zimmer.


Van Vactor said regarding ex-parte contacts, page 32, at one point they were prohibited but the legislation came in and described the process.   He said it is an important process to follow.

Van Vactor said on page 21, with letterhead, it works well.

Dwyer stated it is a good policy and works for him.  He said if it is a message coming from the Board, there needs to be three or more signing the letter.

Morrison said if they as a Board take Board action, and the majority of the Board agrees on a position, and that communication goes out, the chair is supposed to sign the letter.


Van Vactor said page 34 deals with commissioners conduct.


Weeldreyer said with regard to commissioner’s conduct, her attitude has become unhealthy.  She said the Board is losing a sense of team work and it is becoming more political than it ever was.  She wanted to get the teamwork back.


Morrison said the first line of page 34 indicates there is no personal attacks on staff.  She said there have been times in the last fifteen months when she has been uncomfortable with comments that have been made.  She said in building relationships,  trust and accountability with the public, staff plays an important part and the Board needs to be able to work so the public can trust them.  She said the whole first paragraph concerns her about how the Board interacts with some of the staff.


Sorenson said Lane County has a policy that commissioners should not give individual direction to staff.  He said the written policy is the best policy in terms of building a more cohesive policy from the Board on what the direction of the organization should be.


Green said the purpose this was written was to give direction as a Board, not as individual commissioners.  He said staff can’t respond to five different bosses.  He said there is an expectation by the public that when the Board is engaged in business, it is not productive or healthy to publicly attack staff who are providing information.


Sorenson said in his view things have improved.  He said at one point it was not uncommon for commissioners to give specific orders to county employees to do something and it is now not allowed.  He added because of attacks on employees by commissioners, there has been a policy since 1987 to not attack the integrity of the employee.  He said from an efficiency standpoint, the Board has to have clarity of the decisions they make so the direction is to the County Administrator and department managers on what the Board wants done.


Sorenson stated he wanted a multiple group of people for the agenda team on Page 34.

Arlene Marshall, Management Services Supervisor, noted the people on the agenda team are the chair, vice-chair, legal, county administrator and herself.  She said after it has gone through a tight process, (being reviewed by the analysts and legal department), there are still questions.  She said the end result  has always meant the Board will receive the best information to make the best decisions possible and this process is a model for other counties.

Van Vactor noted commissioners announcements and business are separated.  He said from time to time, staff are concerned that commissioners try to put business into announcements.


Weeldreyer said the Board needs to be flexible.


Van Vactor said with regard to page 36 regarding public comment, if it is quasi-judicial, it is not subject to public comment because there is no notice to the opposing party.  He noted with personnel matters or matters that are confidential that once they are brought to the Board, they could be dealt with by the County Administrator or in an Executive Session.  He added the public has a right to make a complaint about an employee.  He said he could then give direction and report back to the Board.


Van Vactor noted that pages 38 and 42 have been assigned to policies and procedures.


Morrison asked with regard to page 44, 5.b.2., if Van Vactor went through with each of the department heads on evaluations.


Van Vactor responded he tries doing that annually.  He noted that most are at the top of their scale.


Green asked how consistent the reviews were and if the conversations were documented.


Van Vactor responded the mood among management team is that it is rule-driven by performance evaluation and if anything comes up, he will meet with that department manager.  He added it was not a productive use of time to develop something formal.


Green noted it would be good practice to document conversations.


Van Vactor stated he does perform annual evaluations but not for established department heads.  He said the Board wanted him to keep working his way up with different department heads and when he does meet with someone, he will document the discussion.


Sorenson said if an employee’s job evaluation is positive and then an event occurs, if there is a reason to take action, the record of the employee (if it hasn’t been documented) becomes difficult under the “for cause clause.”


Weeldreyer stated that turnover is indicative of a supervisor issue that management needs to look at.  She said she did not have confidence that it is happening on a routine basis and it has an impact of the effectiveness of the department.  She said it is important how managers are managed.


Van Vactor said he would meet with the department heads and report back to the Board.


Green suggested training for department heads.  He said there are ways to keep it positive.


Van Vactor responded as time permits, he has analysts attend division manager meetings.


Dwyer suggested Van Vactor visit different departments and spend time in the field.


Sorenson suggested taking out words like “department head” and using department director instead.


Van Vactor noted that on 5.d., the preparation and administration of a management compensation plan, he had not done anything.  He said there is no distinction in separate compensation and he has no plans on changing it.


Mike Moskovitz, suggested that in 2 a. website management,  to get it in writing that County Administration oversee the website.


Van Vactor stated the section on bargaining units needs to be updated.


Sorenson said with the no date certain list, they went down the list from the future agenda and pulled off functions of the last session.


Sorenson suggested on May 31, 2000 to amend obsolete provisions of Lane Charter, no substantive changes possible.  He noted November 2000, as being the most inexpensive time for the County to go to the voters for a non-controversial charter change.


Sorenson said a coin toss will determine the sequence of who is sworn in on the Board of County Commissioners.


Sorenson said a complete review of the BCC policy book orientation procedures to be updated will be completed on May 31, 2000.


There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 11:50 a.m.



Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary


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