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County Court minutes 01-21-15

Published on January 29, 2015 4:20PM


Access the court’s weekly Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at www.gcoregonlive2.com.

JANUARY 21, 2015

Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station, county website, and e-mail distribution list, a regular meeting of the County Court was held at the 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, Hal Smith and Jim Sproul. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Commissioner Britton.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrant Nos. 263 - 271

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


Britton participated in an AOC teleconference on SRS last Thursday. He reported on a preliminary Oregon Department of Forestry budget committee meeting he attended yesterday. ODF has been scheduled for the March 4 Count Court meeting to discuss Zone 1 lands within Grant County. Monday he will attend a SEACT meeting in Ontario. Today at 2 pm he will be interviewed about Bates Pond by the Oregon Consensus group.

9:10 am – Treasurer Kathy Smith, Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett and Dave Traylor entered

Last Thursday Labhart attended Senior Citizens lunch in John Day, participated in an AOC teleconference on SRS, and attended a hospital board meeting. Saturday he attended a VA Van Driver’s Appreciation Dinner at John Day Elks Lodge. Monday he attended Senior Citizen’s lunch in John Day and the Community Health dinner and program in Canyon City. Today at 2 pm he will be interviewed about Bates Pond by the Oregon Consensus group. Tomorrow Labhart will attend Senior Citizens lunch in John Day and an Education Summit at Grant Union High School that evening. This Sunday he will attend a New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals fundraiser at the Squeeze-In Restaurant. Tuesday Labhart will attend the Eastern Oregon Mining and Aggregate Development Summit in Baker City.

Myers will attend a 1-hour CIS webinar on Employee and Employer Resolutions tomorrow. Today he will participate in an interview about Bates Pond by the Oregon Consensus group at 1 pm. He said the local BOPTA board will attend annual training by the State of Oregon Tuesday from 9 am to 4 pm at the airport, but only if the Assessor is unable to settle the one appeal we have this year.

MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the January 14 minutes as corrected

9:25 am -- Lane Burton, Brenda Percy, and News Reporter Scotta Callister entered

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER. Budget Officer Kathy Smith asked the court to consider the possibility of funding the Human Resources Manager position in 2015-2016. Court members approved the job description and discussed funding on November 12, but no decision has been made since then. Smith requested a court decision so she and other departments can include it in the proposed budget for the Budget Committee. All departments have received their budget work papers for completion by February 2. Smith provided a cost estimate for a full time position including wages, benefits and materials & services totaling $81,672 and revenue sources spread among the General and Special Funds to meet that total cost. Departments are billed according to the number of employees within the department with the Road and General Fund equally sharing the balance of costs.

After recently speaking with Clerk Brenda Percy, Kathy Smith posed the idea of combining HR with the Court Secretary job upon the future retirement of the Secretary. Percy said she was willing to assist with HR in the interim. Labhart felt that should be a topic of discussion for another time. He also had a problem giving a job back to someone who previously resigned from the responsibility. Percy clarified she did not want it back, but was willing to help with limited duties (employee orientations and paperwork, assisting in discipline, etc.) just between now and then. She said she wouldn’t do things like set up management training or participate in union negotiations and grievances. Myers stated that the current arrangement is not working well now. He would continue to assist in hiring union and non-union employees i.e. two positions are coming up in the Road Department. Myers sought clarification about the retirement coming next fiscal year – if not, that discussion isn’t needed at this time. The Court Secretary’s retirement was anticipated for FY 2016-2017.

Britton felt the situation could be handled well, and we should take Percy up on her offer, as long as lines of communication are open. He added that we still have the services of CIS and Mr. Whitford.

Judge Kathy Stinnett was interested in the amount of time and compensation involved with Percy’s handling those responsibilities. Stinnett thought it may be useful to hire an experienced, full time HR person now (to build the county’s HR program over the next year and so) then assimilate the program into the other position. Myers saw a downside in hiring an HR person now who would have their job description changed at a later date. Kathy Smith suggested combining the job description now, with the understanding those other duties would not be expected until sometime in the future. Myers felt Sharon Harris (CIS) could be very helpful in setting up trainings and rewriting the job description, if needed.

9:35 am – Larry Blasing entered

Stinnett felt the most important aspect of HR is being neutral and detached from another job. Labhart felt HR funding should be in the proposed budget so the Budget Committee could decide on funding. Stinnett had a copy of the HR Manager job description. As a Department Head, she wondered which things Percy would be responsibility for and which things the County Judge would handle. She also wondered what to do about things that might not be done that really should be done. Labhart believed the county has a serious liability exposure right now, especially with union issues. He also felt it was a problem that one Department Head refused to have Percy sit in on employment interviews. MSP: Myers/Labhart—to request the Treasurer/Budget Officer to calculate the FY 15-16 budget to include a full time HR Manager position. Labhart hopes the budget committee could provide some direction on this issue. He suggested that 3 lay persons be asked to assist the county in deciding what the county needs in HR. Myers felt the 3 other budget committee members meet that definition. Britton didn’t want to abdicate the court’s role as governing body of the county. He also disagreed with having another county position and spending money we don’t need to. Britton favored asking Percy to assist Myers and using assistance by CIS and Labor Counsel Trent Whitford as needed. Smith explained how the county charges HR admin fees to every department as required by our auditors.

Kathy Smith pointed out the court will still need to address the HR position at some point because Percy is not willing to continue in that role. Smith said this job description was approved in November, yet we are no further along now than we were then. Kathy Stinnett thought a full time HR person was needed for a county with this many employees. She also felt there’s an issue with Percy having other full time responsibilities that prevent having a neutral and detached HR person. Labhart called the question. Myers and Labhart voted yes; Britton voted no. Myers said he wouldn’t be comfortable bringing on another part time employee who may have to add another 8 hours to their position. He also believed webinar and phone call trainings wouldn’t cover our needs (when we really need a full time certified, experienced HR professional).

Britton asked Percy if she was interested in doing HR work with the prior arrangement until July 1. She said she thinks it would be disruptive to do that.

9:55 am – Patrick Bentz entered

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. The court reviewed and discussed an Intergovernmental Agreement with Oregon Emergency Management for the transfer of grant funded equipment to enhance emergency communication capability. The $855.33 project is to upgrade the ARES Winlink Dell Vistro Computer purchased in 2008 for each county emergency operations center. The new computer is Windows 8.1 compatible which includes the Windows 7 Pro operating system. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Intergovernmental Agreement with Oregon Emergency Management for the ARES Winlink Dell Vistro Computer upgrade.

AIRPORT MANAGER. Airport Manager Patrick Bentz requested approval to attend the OAMA Conference in Salem March 9 & 10 and the FAA Conference in Seattle April 6-8. Estimated costs for the Salem Conference including RT mileage to Salem, hotel, meals and registration totals $622.60.

Estimated costs for the Seattle Conference are $1,620.30 for registration, meals, hotel + Sunday night, RT mileage to Seattle, extra personnel hours and parking. Estimated costs were just $1,222.50 for registration, meals, hotel, RT mileage to Redmond, RT Alaska Air between SEA and Redmond, RT light rail SEA to downtown. Bentz said the hotel rates are discounted for these conferences.

Bentz had attended these conferences in the past and felt the information was very helpful. The Airport Commission recommends his attendance. He talked about his preference to drive to and fly out of Redmond rather than driving to Seattle the previous day. It would also be less expensive for the county. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to approve Patrick Bentz’s attendance at the OAMA Conference in Salem and the FAA Conference in Seattle via flying from Redmond as described.

In response to Britton’s inquiry, Bentz talked about the current status of the fueling dispenser that had a starting problem several days ago when he was not there. He said that it works, but not perfectly. Bentz added that it will work before he is done i.e. wiring and specs are needed from the manufacturer.

COUNTY CLERK. Clerk Brenda Percy requested approval to purchase a 70” L-shaped desk to provide sufficient space for two computers from Office Depot for $347.99. Additional quotes were provided from Office Depot @ $699.99 and Quill @ 739.99. Percy also asked to purchase two keyboard trays from Quill costing $120.14 each – one for the new desk and one to replace Julie’s which broke. Percy explained the need to accommodate additional computer equipment on her desk, since her tower crashed. She suggested taking the larger desk in the elections area for her space and using the new “L” shaped desk for elections. Some discussion also took place about the importance of employees using ergonomic keyboards that are at the proper height. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to authorize Ms. Percy to purchase the “L” shaped desk to accommodate the two computers and the two keyboard trays paid from Equipment Reserve.

10:20 am – Tammy Wheeler entered

BUDGET COMMITTEE. Treasurer / Budget Officer Kathy Smith and the court identified several available dates for scheduling the first Budget Committee meeting.

FLOOR REPLACEMENT. Circuit Court Administrator Tammy Wheeler and Property Maintenance Specialist Nate Hughes met with the court to discuss a proposal to replace flooring upstairs at the Courthouse. Wheeler provided background on the proposal that started with having about $5,0o0 in her local budget which she could use to carpet the floor. Since Hughes strongly recommended abating the floor tile first, a preliminary bid for abatement of the landing area, Circuit Courtroom and Circuit Court Operations area was obtained at $22,000.00; carpeting would be another $10,000.00. (Hughes is in the process of obtaining two additional bids for comparison.) Wheeler received Oregon Judicial Department approval for floor tile abatement which will involve another Intergovernmental Agreement with the county. Wheeler said she would assume management of this project and coordinate with the county. She asked if the court was willing to enter into another IGA for about $35,000.00 similar to the one for the elevator. Myers reported that Wheeler has been assured additional money from OJD would not interfere with OJD funding for the elevator. Wheeler added that the IGA for the elevator will be amended to reflect funding one-half of the total accepted cost of the elevator. Myers clarified with Hughes that floor abatement of the top floor (except Justice Court) would be done before the elevator project is completed. Britton fully supported the upper floor tile abatement project. Discussion took place about the idea of using high grade commercial carpet squares in non-traffic areas, and using tile that’s easily cleaned and waxed in the high traffic areas. Treasurer Smith strongly objected to the use of carpet at all. Britton noted that carpet squares have worked well at the airport. Wheeler said the flooring project needs to be completed by June. MSP: Britton/ Myers -- to allow Ms. Wheeler to move forward with this floor tile abatement upstairs and enter into another IGA with the OJD. Labhart suggested that carpet squares be selected that would match other areas of the Courthouse, in case it is decided to use them in other areas.

10:40 am – Circuit Court Judge William Cramer Jr. entered

The court and Judge Cramer talked about necessary interruptions to operations during the flooring abatement process. Hughes said some work can be done after hours and over long weekends. He was willing and able to lay carpet squares after tile abatement, if the county asks him to do that.

10:45 – The court took a break to inspect the new flooring in the Water Master’s office in the basement.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett requested approval of additional temporary relief help provided by Amy Bellinger January 26 – 30. JP Clerk Jamie McKay was also present. Stinnett provided details about criteria she established and accomplishments that were made to review a backlog of 140 arrest warrants during the previous 40 hour relief help period. She said an Excel spreadsheet was previously produced and provided to all law enforcement agencies for their use. The next 40 hour relief help period would involve looking at old driver’s license suspensions and credit agency cases that can be purged.

11:10 am – Gregg Smith entered

Stinnett asked for the 40 hour work period to extend beyond January 30, if Bellinger feels she is unable to work 40 hours before that date. She said she plans to budget for about 3 weeks of relief help next fiscal year. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve up to 40 hours of temporary relief help for the Justice of the Peace office as presented. Stinnett understood the work period should not extend beyond the next pay period.

Stinnett also asked for approval of a monthly stipend of $51.00 for her cell phone data package. She said she seems to use her cell phone more for work-related calls than personal calls. Labhart pointed out the public information requirement applies to personal cell phones if the county is paying a stipend. Treasurer Kathy Smith noted that the county previously authorized a monthly cell phone stipend for law enforcement and the DA office since access to those personnel is necessary 24 hours a day. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to authorize the $51.00 monthly cell phone stipend for Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul said, if future SRS funding goes away, the County Court should urge the Forest Service and BLM to salvage timber as soon as possible the value is lost. He reported that the Public Access Board has been working hard to identify 30 roads closed by the previous order without proper documents for legal closure. Myers said he plans to ask the Forest Service to focus on salvage timber within the South Fork fire. Public Forest Commissioner Dave Traylor asked that Myers make his request in writing. Public Forest Commissioner Larry Blasing added that this topic may be discussed at the Commission’s meeting this evening. Myers indicated he would send a letter to the Public Agencies.

Gregg Smith, who grew up near Bates Pond, was present to hand out photos of the Bates Pond and Bridge Creek (above the pond) as well as some annual technical reports. Court members will be meeting with representatives of Oregon Consensus (associated with Portland State University) for individual interviews regarding Bates Pond at 1 pm and 2 pm today. Smith hopes to see an increase in the number of fish in the pond, if the water resource is treated well by ODF&W. Jim Sproul felt the problem for fish is actually with the beaver dams located there. Blasing indicated that he completely agrees with Smith.

11:50 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary


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