Grant County Court minutes from July 11, 2018:
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 Jim Hamsher and Rob Raschio, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Judy Kerr, Dan Vandehey, Undersheriff Zach Mobley, Vicki Thompson, Judy Schuette, Jim Spell, Billie Jo George, Katy Nelson, Frances Preston, Reporter Rick Hanners, and Pastor Flora Cheadle. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Cheadle.
CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants #1-11.
HAND CHECKS. The court reviewed and approved a hand check to CCS for FY 17-18 year-end claim on June 29th. The court reviewed and approved a hand check to SAIF on July 3rd.
AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to accept the agenda as presented.
9:03 am Ken Olson entered.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Judge Myers reported he and Commissioner Hamsher appointed Rob Raschio as interim commissioner on July 3rd. On July 6th he met with Congressman Walden and staff to view Kenny Brooks’ grazing allotment and later that afternoon attended Senator Merkley’s Town Hall at the John Day Senior Center. Myers went to an IGC meeting and Airport Commission meeting on July 9th. At 2 pm this afternoon he will meet with an Ag Representative from Oregon State University.
9:06 am Didgette McCracken entered.
July 12th he will meet with the Heritage Foundation Board of Directors and on the 16th will meet with representatives of Oregon Fish & Wildlife Services regarding predator control.
Commissioner Hamsher had a meeting with the DA’s office and federal prosecutors and law enforcement about issues within the county and the services they could offer. Hamsher also traveled to view allotments with Congressman Walden and attended the Senator Merkley town hall. Hamsher attended a Rodeo Committee meeting and yesterday met with the Fair Manager about the fair events and rodeo events coming up in August. Hamsher continues to speak with US Cellular about providing cell phone service to the Monument area. He spoke with residents of Dayville about concerns they have with vehicles speeding through town. Hamsher spoke with several residents about the Forest Plan Revision and talked to the Forest Service about an open house they are trying to arrange for the Cliff Knox project.
Commissioner Raschio said he is grateful for the opportunity to serve as interim commissioner and has spoken to commissioner candidates Larson and Palmer. Raschio has told both of them that as soon as the election is certified he will step aside so the winning candidate can be sworn in.
MINUTES. MSP: Hamsher/Myers -- to approve the June 23rd minutes as corrected. Rascho abstained from voting since he wasn’t yet a court member. MSP: Hamsher/Raschio -- to approve the July 3rd minutes as presented.
NATIONWIDE DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLAN. The court reviewed an addendum to the Nationwide Deferred Compensation Plan currently offered to employees as a voluntary benefit. This addendum would allow employees to choose to participate in an after-tax Roth IRA. The current plan only allows deferred comp as a pre-tax option. MSP: Myers/Raschio -- to approve the addendum and authorize Judge Myers to sign.
9:12 am Dan Becker entered.
LGPI MEMBERSHIP. The court reviewed an invoice from LGPI (Local Government Personnel Institute) for 2018-19 membership dues in the amount of $1,559. Myers said the question has been raised as to whether LGPI is utilized enough to justify the dues. They are utilized for job placement review, but CIS (City County Insurance) is used for everything else. Raschio asked if the county ever used LGPI for labor negotiations and Myers stated we do not. County Counsel is used if necessary during labor negotiations with unions. MF: Myers/ -- to continue on with LGPI for this fiscal year. Motion failed for lack of second.
9:13 am Treasurer Julie Ellison entered.
The discussion was tabled in order to get additional information about what costs would be for job placement review if we weren’t members.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT. Undersheriff Zach Mobley presented a request to the court to approve a Sergeant Position in the Sheriff’s Department and another Sergeant Position in the Jail. Position One: Mobley explained the Sergeant position for Patrol would be an exempt employee and would reduce overtime costs as such. Mobley said the department is covering Prairie City law enforcement duties along with John Day enforcement on an as needed basis. This would also allow for a supervisor to be available seven days a week. Mobley is proposing moving a current employee into this position and explained this would open up a patrol deputy position and they have a certified patrol deputy who is currently hired as a corrections officer and has been filling in as needed. This would change the makeup of the department to the Sheriff, Undersheriff, Sergeant and three patrol deputies. Mobley reported they should have a supervisor available at all times. Treasurer Julie Ellison explained the funding costs from last fiscal year. Myers asked how the court would know that this would cut down on overtime. Mobley said this position would be non-union and could be scheduled much more flexibly. Hamsher asked how much time Reserve Deputy Ken Olson donated last year. Mobley reported Olson worked full time during the eclipse last year. Hamsher thanked him for his time. Olson said he worked well over 1000 hours last year, but he won’t be around forever. Discussion followed about training needs for the current deputies and how when they must attend trainings to remain certified and then someone else must fill in when the deputies are gone. Myers explained how overtime costs must be paid down once a deputy reaches 60 hours in a month and at the end of each fiscal year the overtime must be paid down to zero. The fact that Wheeler County no longer has a Sheriff’s Department was brought up and Mobley said during Memorial Day weekend they had three deputies assisting in Wheeler County. In addition to the John Day and Prairie City contracts Mobley is working on two others. Judy Schuette asked if anyone from Wheeler County had expressed interest in either position. Mobley replied that he could not answer that today. Raschio said he is struggling with the idea of having three supervisors and three deputies. Mobley explained the Sheriff and Undersheriff positions are supposed to be management positions for the day to day operations, but currently he and the Sheriff must work after hour calls. Mobley believes overtime costs will likely be reduced with this new position. Mobley added he also has 10 reserve deputies that the Sergeant would also be supervising. Mobley stated without the fourth position they will not be able to keep up with the current contracts. Judy Kerr said her observation over the years has been that the Sheriff’s Department has worked well within their budget and Mobley’s presentation today has been well thought out and presented. Kerr would like the court to support the Sheriff’s Department and the welfare of the citizens. Raschio would like a general idea of the cost of this position with benefits. Ellison said insurance would be the biggest expense and estimated between $75,000 and $80,000 per year. Myers would like to see the officers be able to use their vacation. MSP: Hamsher/Raschio – to approve position one (Patrol Sergeant). Myers wanted to know how likely this position will reduce overtime and Mobley reported very likely since it is an exempt position. The current contracts would fund this position and if the contracts went away funding would need to be decided at that time. Olson said police presence works and with the current staffing level the Sheriff’s Department can only be reactive and not proactive.
Position Two: Mobley asked for a second Sergeant position in Corrections because of the increase in inmates and this position would allow a supervisor to be on staff seven days a week and would cut down on temporary relief helps costs. Mobley said some of the current contracts they have require a supervisor be on staff and he is forced to fill in at times. He reported they are running a skeleton staff currently, but bed rentals have increased substantially over the last year. Temporary relief staff are not certified and are only trained in house. Only full time corrections officers are sent to DPSST for certification. Mobley explained different issues they face to stay in compliance with the contracts and PREA certification. Raschio asked why the same rank for corrections? Mobley explained the current county pay scale only has a position for a Sergeant and the pay scale between the exempt and non-exempt employees is so close that he has some non-exempt employees who make more money than exempt employees because they can accrue overtime. Mobley advised they absolutely must have 2 corrections deputies on staff at all times or they can’t operate. The jail is averaging 17-25 inmates per day. It can be dangerous to have only 2 corrections deputies working when something like a fight breaks out. This position would add a third person on staff in a supervisory role. The current Corrections Manager work load would be split with the new position and the supervisors would work 12 hour shifts and would be staggered so there was always a supervisor available. MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to approve position two (Corrections Sergeant). Raschio said Sgt. Wolf has been working in this position for a long time and would prefer Wolf have some supervisory authority over the new position. Raschio suggested having the new position be at a slightly lower level. Mobley said he presented this idea to Wolf prior to coming to court and Wolf agreed that he needed the help. Raschio asked how the Sergeants would communicate with each other if they are always on different shifts. Mobley said they have pass along logs as well as will be holding supervisor meetings weekly. Myers asked Mobley to please do everything he can to reduce the current overtime costs and show that this solution will work.
FAIR CONTRACTS. Fair Manager Mindy Winegar had sent two contracts for Fair entertainers to the court for approval. The first was with Jessie Leigh for music and a full band for August 11th at a cost of $1000 and the second was with the Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers for music August 15-18th at a cost of $700. MSP: Myers/Raschio -- to approve the contract with Jessie Leigh and to approve the contract with Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers and circulate for signatures.
FAIRGROUNDS. The court reviewed a contract with 1188 Brewing to provide a beer garden for the Velocette Owners Club at the Fairgrounds on July 25th. The County will receive 20% of all net sales below $5,000 and 30% of all net sales exceeding $5,000. MSP: Hamsher/Raschio -- to approve the contract with 1188 Brewing and circulate for signatures.
USDA PREDATOR CONTROL. The United States Department of Agriculture sent a work and financial plan to the court for approval. The agreement defines the objectives, plan of action, resources and budget for cooperative wildlife services program (predator control). Grant County will provide up to $35,000 in funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year to assist with the program. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the agreement with USDA and authorize Judge Myers to sign. Kerr would like the predator control agent to come to court and give an update on his activities. Myers said he will ask him to do this.
COMMUNITY CONNECTION OF NORTHEAST OREGON. The court reviewed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Community Connection of Northeast Oregon (CCNEO) to provide funding for homeless and energy programs for fiscal year 2018-19. Myers reported he is the Vice Chair of Community Connection. This is a reimbursement agreement for services rendered to homeless veterans and other homeless by Veanne Weddle. MSP: Myers/Raschio -- to approve the MOA with CCNEO and authorize Judge Myers to sign.
COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS. Volunteer applications were reviewed by the court along with member resignations.
College Advisory Board: Curt Shelley and Elizabeth Shelley resigned from this board because of relocation. Chris Cronin volunteered to serve. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to appoint Chris Cronin to the College Advisory Board with a term expiring December 31, 2018 and to accept the resignations of Curt Shelley and Elizabeth Shelley and send them a letter of thanks.
Library Advisory Board: Mary Michael and Dolores Ostberg had both requested re-appointment to this board. MSP: Raschio/Hamsher -- to re-appoint Mary Michael and Dolores Ostberg to the Library Advisory Board with terms expiring June 30, 2022.
Road Advisory Board: Judy Kerr and Hank Lissman had both requested re-appointment to this board. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to re-appoint Judy Kerr and Hank Lissman to the Road Advisory Board with terms expiring June 30, 2021.
Senior Citizens Advisory Council: Charles Dowse requested re-appointment to this council. Bruce Kaufman resigned from the council. No other volunteer applications were received. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to re-appoint Charles Dowse to the Senior Citizens Advisory Council with a term expiring June 30, 2021 and to accept Bruce Kaufman’s resignation and send him a letter of thanks.
10:26 am Kimberly Lindsay, Jessica Winegar, Andrew Epstein and Kristie Bingaman entered.
10:27 am The court took a short recess. 10:36 am The court returned to session.
COMMUNITY COUNSELING SOLUTIONS. CCS Executive Director Kimberly Lindsay and Andrew Epstein, Public Health Systems Consultant with the Oregon Health Authority updated the court on changes regarding Local Public Health Authorities. Lindsay reported CCS is mostly done with the tri-annual review and are currently awaiting feedback from the state. Two of the reviews completed were the fiscal review and administrative review. When the State was reviewed by federal representatives it was noted that the Local Public Health Administrator must be paid by the Local Public Health Authority. The feds wanted certain items in the current contract addressed.
10:39 am Mark Webb entered.
Lindsay said the things discovered were issues in a lot of counties and we have until December 31st to address the items found. Lindsay presented a map to the court members showing the current structures of health departments within the state. One rule is that the local public health administrator must be employed by Grant County. Lindsay reported that in Harney County the County Judge is the local public health authority. Raschio advised he has reviewed the regulations and would like clarification on how this is possible. Epstein said the Harney County Judge can be in this role because they operate public health services through their county. Epstein stated Grant County can choose how to meet this requirement and can ask OHA to allow this position to be less than full time. He said some counties have this position hired as .1 FTE paid by the county. Myers asked if these changes are not new then how did they pass previous tri-annual reviews. Epstein reported this came out when OHA was audited at the federal level. Discussion followed about the statutory requirements. Epstein explained how Columbia County structured their services and suggested the court members might like to look at it and other surrounding counties. Lindsay said no matter what the court decides CCS will be impacted, but they are willing to assist in any way they can. Union, Lake and Curry Counties all have their administrators hired at .1 FTE. Epstein explained how Douglas County’s model is set up. Lindsay said she has thought a lot over the last three years about Jessica Winegar taking on the administrator role for public health and said if the court decided to go this route they should consider Winegar. Raschio would like to complete some research prior to a court decision on this matter and would like an opinion from OHA on whether or not the county can hire someone that currently works for the contractor. Epstein said he will look into this. Once a local public health administrator is employed by the county they will need to address the other areas of improvement such as a subcontractor monitoring policy, ensuring the CCS contract meets the necessary standards and that the county has civil rights policies in place. Rashio asked Epstein to follow up with the Attorney General and Oregon Health Authority to ensure the Harney and Lake County structures were acceptable to state authorities.
11:13 am – Adjourned.
**** Please note the court minutes are a summary of the court proceedings. An audio recording of each court session is available, after approval of the minutes, by contacting Laurie Wright at 541-575-0059 or firstname.lastname@example.org ****
JAIL INSPECTION. At 11:25 am, pursuant to ORS 169.040, the court members and court administrative assistant conducted an inspection of the Criminal Justice Facility lead by Jail Manager Josh Wolf, Sheriff Glenn Palmer and Undersheriff Zach Mobley. A tour was made of the facilities which included the Sallie port, booking room, kitchen, medical room, exercise room, cell areas and control room. The inspection was concluded at 11:55 am.