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County Court minutes

Published on August 28, 2014 8:35AM


Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station, website and e-mail distribution list, a regular meeting of the County Court was held at the Grant County Courthouse in Canyon City OR.

9:00 am – Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Mark Pengelly, Hank Lissman, Jim Sproul and Pastor Rob Roberson. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Roberson.

CLAIMS. The court had approved claims and Extension District Warrant Nos. 199–205.

The Sheriff’s claim to Quill for a capital outlay purchase was tagged because it lacked approval by the court.

AGENDA. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to accept the agenda as presented


Labhart will drive the VA van to Boise on Thursday and is participating in the American Red Cross blood drive this afternoon. He plans to attend the fundraising function for Sue Horn this Saturday at the Pavilion.

Myers had attended the Road Department’s Bid Opening for the South Fork John Day River Culvert Replacement project. He plans to participate in the American Red Cross Blood drive today at 4 pm and the fundraiser for Sue Horn at the Pavilion this Saturday. Myers explained plans the Incident Team has to relocate their camp at the fairgrounds on Thursday then return with a smaller camp on Sunday. He had submitted personal comments on the Blue Mountain Forests Revised Plan.

Britton had submitted personal comments on the Blue Mountain Forests Revised Plan. He was invited to conduct a greeting for the Northwest Oregon Bicycle Association and had a meeting with government liaisons on the South Fork Complex. He will be attending the Oregon Transportation Commission meeting representing the SEACT board meeting in Ontario on Thursday.

9:10 am – Malheur NF Deputy Supervisor Steve Beverlin entered

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart - to approve the August 13 minutes as presented.

NORTHEAST OREGON HOUSING AUTHORITY. The court considered a recent request from Northeast Oregon Housing Authority to reappoint Judge Myers to serve a 5 year term on its Board of Commissioners. Myers has been serving on this board over the past ten years. MSP: Labhart/Britton -- to reappoint Judge Myers to serve a 5 year term on the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority.

FAIR BOARD. The court discussed the Fair Manager’s request to fill a vacant position on the Fair Board with regard to an application previously submitted by Shanna Northway, OSU Extension & 4H Service District Leader. The court was considering this action before the next quarterly appointment process because the board has a problem obtaining a quorum of four members at their monthly meeting. MSP: Myers/ Britton -- to appoint Shanna Northway to the Fair Board out-of-sequence as requested.

PUBLIC ACCESS ADVISORY BOARD. Last week seven volunteers were appointed to serve on the newly formed Public Access Advisory Board. Newly appointed board members Mark Pengelly and Jim Sproul were present. This week the court discussed how this board, the court, and the agencies can work collectively to address our Ordinance and any potential closures and / or restrictions of roads, trails and cross country travel on the forest. Myers felt some guidelines and direction could come from the court, but the board would determine how that will take place. Oregon public meetings law was briefly reviewed in terms of requirements to announce meetings 24 hours in advance, record meetings, and produce minutes. Sproul expressed his understanding that this board would be required to observe public meeting laws.

Britton would like to see the board deal with the immediate closures, modifications and restrictions then go back and look at some previous decisions if the court should decide to do that. Malheur NF Deputy Supervisor Steve Beverlin said the Forest Service intends to provide written information to the board about the current decisions that are on the books, and is open to having a discussion on previous decisions. It was clarified among those present that new information from public agencies would be directed to the County Court before being given to the Advisory Board. It was pointed out that board members are to decide on appointing a Chairman and Secretary like the other county committees. Mark Pengelly felt it was important for the public agencies to provide input at the meetings. He expressed the importance of maintaining forest access for the public, including disabled individuals. Labhart provided Beverlin with a list of the Advisory Board members appointed last week. Some discussion followed about the availability of public meeting space at the Courthouse. Britton proposed to provide some collaborative guidelines for the court’s review at next week’s meeting.

9:40 am – Kathy Smith, Lane Burton, and Kathy Gillam entered

FALL MOUNTAIN. Oregon Department of Transportation recently requested that the county issue a renewed Communication Site Lease Agreement for use of space on Fall Mountain. The department recently said it has been undergoing a major project and would like to make sure the agreement is renewed before the end of December. Some discussion took place about increasing the lease rate by $50 per year, since it has been several years since the rate was increased. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to circulate for signature the Communication Site Lease Agreement with Oregon Department of Transportation for Fall Mountain.

EMERGENCY LEAVE. Labhart provided a draft “Emergency Leave” policy for the court to consider being included in the Grant County Employee Handbook. He felt the written policy was needed so all employees are treated fairly. It proposed to allow the donation of comp, vacation and sick hours to a fellow employee in times of emergency. He understood that donations have been allowed by the court in the past, but no written policy was in place. Labhart was concerned about this policy being abused, so he consulted with the school district and was told their Emergency Leave policy is rarely used. Myers noted that donation of comp and vacation accruals have been allowed in the past, but not sick leave. He felt there may be good reasons not to allow the donation of sick leave.

Assessor Lane Burton believed that donation of comp and vacation accrual was appropriate, but not sick leave because that is not a benefit the employee has until they are sick. Burton said he has employees who would like to donate vacation accruals, but not sick leave. Some discussion followed about county policy that allows an eligible employee to receive a portion of their sick hours upon termination or retirement. Hank Lissman believed it was a value to the county -- to allow donation of sick leave -- because sick hours accumulated over a long time have a greater cost (hourly rate) to be paid at separation.

Burton felt there may already be enough donations available now to cover the current need. If not, he said, the county could consider making an exception for sick leave. Treasurer Kathy Smith felt the donation of sick hours could be abused, like employees now at the cap for comp who would donate sick leave so they continue receiving payment for hours over the cap. She asked about possible issues that could develop with donated hours for union and non-union employees. Smith said the Sheriff’s Union has their own bank of donation hours, but no one has donated to the bank since they don’t know who would receive the donation. Smith mentioned that the court can also consider the 120 hours minimum work hours required to receive monthly benefits.

Labhart suggested working with the Clerk and Treasurer to further clarify the policy. Britton expressed appreciation for Labhart bringing this proposed policy forward, but felt he should pursue the policy because he’s the liasion for both the Clerk and Assessor.

10:00 am – The court took a 15 minute break.

ROAD DEPARTMENT. Road Office Manager Kathy Gillam and the court discussed the Bid Tab and engineer’s recommendation for the South Fork John Day River Culvert Replacement Project. The Road Department opened bids at 1 pm yesterday. Myers indicated that we vacated the road 3 or 4 years ago from the fence to the highway. The culvert is between the highway and the fence and provides access to the Sinclair Pit for us and others. He explained it is in disrepair, collapsing from the rip-rap, is nearly impassable, and was posted about 6 months ago to only allow ranch traffic. Ferguson Engineering and Surveying had provided a recommendation to send a Notice of Intent to Award Bid to low bidder Iron Triangle in the amount of $53,107.10. The department agreed it is in the best interest of the county to do so. MSP: Labhart/Myers-- to authorize Judge Myers to sign a Notice of Intent to Award to Iron Triangle in the amount of $53, 107.10 for the South Fork John Day River Culvert Replacement project. Some general discussion followed to clarify that the county would be supplying the backfill, the multi-plate and the rip-rap for this project. It was noted that permitting has been done and an in-stream extension beyond August 31 had been requested.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul asked for and received an explanation of the public closure of the fairgrounds associated with the Forest Service Incident Command Team conducting activities there this past week. The status of fire fighting activities was also discussed. In response to Mark Pengelly’s question, Britton talked about his belief that the Forest Service is sincere about receiving public input concerning public access. Others pointed out they’ve noticed that Malheur Forest representatives have been indicating they want to hear how the needs of the counties can be better served.

10:30 am – Dave Traylor entered

Dave Traylor announced that the Black Powder Long Range Shoot would take place here September 10 - 14 which brings lots of outside visitors to the county. He asked if the county could provide a water truck during this time to keep the dust down on about 100 yards of road. Myers agreed to look into that request. He pointed out a CDL would be required on the state highway.

10:40 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary


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