Wright County Board Minutes

DECEMBER 11, 2007
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present. Commissioner Heeter was absent.
Eichelberg moved to approve the 11-27-07 County Board Minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Agenda as presented.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Mattson requested that Item D1, Information Technology, “Approve GeoComm’s Proposal For ARMER Radio System Planning & Consulting. Cost Of Services Not To Exceed $84,400” be pulled for discussion. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: C. Anderson, Assr.; T. Karvel, Atty.; L. Davis, A. Duerr, G. Gooler, C. Nelson, Aud./Treas.; D. Chapman, R. Hill, J. Wells, Bldg. Maint.; T. Huston, Ext.; D. Anderson, K. Mortenson, J. Niebolte, Hwy.; N. Eldred, A. Erickson, R. Fisher, A. Fournier, C. Grew, S. Halonen, W. Holland, K. Kremer, D. Lang, K. Lipelt, B. Miller, S. Sims, Sher./Corr.; D. Ernst, VS/Civil Defense.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 11-16-07 & 11-30-07.
3. Claim, Willen Inc., $3,825 (Jail/LEC Project).
4. Claim, Frank Madden, $198.30 (Service For Oct., 2007).
5. Claim, Riley Dettmann & Kelsey, $5,911.04 (Service For Nov., 2007).
6. Claim, KKE Architects, $21,487.73.
7. Approve/Authorize Signatures On Law Enforcement Contracts With City Of Albertville, Delano, Hanover, Maple Lake, Montrose, South Haven & Waverly.
8. Authorize The County Board Chair To Sign The MN Cities Participation Program (First Time Homebuyer) Application.
1. 2007 Tobacco License Albertville Pit Stop (Albertville City).
1. Authorize Attendance Of Fingalson & Hawkins At NACE Annual Conference In Portland, Oregon, April 20-24, 2008.
2. Approve Maintenance Agreement With Franklin Township For CSAH 17.
1. Authorize $200 Petty Cash Fund For Jail Operations.
2. Authorize Signatures Of Board Chair & Sheriff On Two-Year State Snowmobile Supplemental Grant Agreement.
Consent Agenda Item D1 was discussed, Information Technology, “Approve GeoComm’s Proposal For ARMER Radio System Planning & Consulting. Cost Of Services Not To Exceed $84,400.” Mattson said at the recent AMC Conference, the 800Mhz System was a topic of discussion. There was concern voiced by many counties on the costs associated with hiring consultants for radio systems and each county potentially “reinventing the wheel.” Mattson felt counties should not have to consult for services but that it should instead be included in the millions being expended for the 800 Mhz System. Mattson did not support the additional cost of $84,000. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, all voted to lay this item over to the next County Board Meeting. Bill Swing, Information Technology, and Sheriff Department staff will be invited to attend to explain the cost in further detail.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said both the State Auditor and Larson Allen have requested that the County establish policies on the way business is conducted. Hiivala will be presenting various policies to the Board for consideration. Today, two policies were presented for approval. The Electronic Funds Transfer Policy deals with investment and expenditures transactions via electronic funds transfer. The Policy reflects that two staff are involved with wire transfers. Eichelberg moved to approve the Electronic Funds Transfer Policy, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
The second Policy presented for consideration is for Contracting and Procurement Procedures reflecting that Wright County will follow the State of Minnesota’s Procurement Manual and guidelines. Wright County does have a purchasing manual but the Policy will reflect that the manual will not conflict with State guidelines. Sawatzke moved to approve the Contracting and Procurement Procedures Policy, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
Hiivala presented a request for a 3.2 beer license for the Maple Lake/Lake Property Owners’ Association. The non-profit group will host an ice fishing contest on 1-26-08 and have requested a one-day temporary beer license. As the event will be held in the middle of the lake, the Township and City have decided to decline jurisdiction and the request is now before the County. Greg Thomes, representing the Maple Lake/Lake Property Owners’ Association, said proceeds from the event will go towards eradicating milfoil and walleye stocking. If approved by the County, the application will be forwarded to the State for their approval. They will not be required to purchase liquor liability insurance. Gloria Gooler, Administrative Confidential Secretary, clarified the State is aware that the County may grant the 3.2 beer license for the one-day event. With regard to County liability, the temporary license application reflects the applicant does not have to provide proof of insurance. There is a stipulation on the application regarding workers’ compensation coverage if the organization has employees. However, this group is non-profit and so salaried employees are not involved. There is an approved fee schedule for the Auditor’s Office reflecting On-sale seasonal licenses at $50. Gooler consulted with Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, who felt this particular chapter of Statutes would be appropriate to follow, along with his support of the application and the license fee of $50 for the one-time event. Russek inquired what churches pay for one-day events. Gooler explained that churches request liquor licenses for hard liquor sales. The fee for that type of liquor license is $75 and paid to the State Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division. This request is unique as it pertains to a 3.2 license and the Alcohol and Gambling Division does not get involved. Mattson moved to approve the request for a 3.2 Beer License for the Maple Lake/Lake Property Owners’ Association Ice Fishing Contest on 1-26-08 and to set the license fee at $50. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 4-0. Thomes will be asked to fill out the application and submit the fee. The Chair will be asked to sign the application sometime prior to 1-26-08.
On a motion by Mattson, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said the Board reviewed a project called Greener Sky’s on 11-13-07. As a result, Mattice was directed to draft a policy to be more inclusive for other donations. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattice presented the draft Policy/Program for Reclaim Wright County, Natural Resources Fund. Sawatzke felt the draft Policy would allow others in the County an opportunity to participate although the Policy may require revision as things arise. Mattice said the draft was reviewed by the Auditor (accounting aspects) and the Attorney’s Office. If approved by the County Board, the Policy would be forwarded to the first participants for signature. Previous donations have been under the Ney Park Fund and a line item will be created in that Fund for donations. Gifts received toward future purchases of land will be placed into the Park Dedication Fund, allowing for 25% of the funding to be used County wide. Donations will be tracked and donors will be notified when funds are used toward a purchase or project. The draft Policy has been reviewed by Kevin Bergquist, a representative of the Parks Commission, and by the first donor. Sawatzke moved to approve the Reclaim Wright County Natural Resources Fund Policy, seconded by Eichelberg. The effective date of the Policy is 12-11-07. The motion carried 4-0.
A Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 11-20-07, reconvened on 11-27-07, and again reconvened on 11-28-07. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the 2008 salaries of elected department heads to include the Sheriff, County Attorney and Auditor/Treasurer. At today’s County Board Meeting, County Attorney Tom Kelly referenced the 11-27-07 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes. He said there was discussion that took place at the Committee Meeting that is not reflected in the minutes. He composed and read the following, asking the Board to acknowledge that the discussion took place and to make the comments part of the minutes:
“Commissioner Sawatzke wanted to resolve my request by requiring that I submit a job description to the County and see what the point value would be. Then based upon that job description and point value, maybe it would show I was entitled to a raise or maybe it would show that I should be redlined.”
“Commissioner Russek, along with Heeter and Sawatzke, had some discussion where you were concerned that if you gave myself more than the county wide 2.75% salary adjustment increase, it could have an impact and affect the upcoming negotiation with the other bargaining units within the County, including the Assistant County Attorneys. You felt you had to keep in mind that your decision regarding myself would have an impact on other negotiations. I had a discussion with Commissioner Russek that today was my day to negotiate and I have nothing to do with the other bargaining units. That I have never been invited to the negotiations involving those other bargaining units. I tried to explain that to have my salary set by some other bargaining unit that I am not a part of, nor allowed to participate in, eliminates me from the process and was not right. That today was the day I was allowed to address the requirements of Minnesota Statute Section 388.18. That those other negotiations are not concerned with the County Attorney.”
Kelly referenced the minutes where the Committee met to discuss the Sheriff’s salary. Certain comments similar to the ones Kelly read into today’s record were in the minutes pertaining to the Sheriff. Sawatzke referenced what Kelly read and said he was not sure that he necessarily wanted to resolve the issue in that manner but did suggest that it may be a reasonable way. Sawatzke said at the Committee Meeting, he was asking Kelly if he felt he agreed even though it can’t be done that way. There was also some discussion on the 2.75% salary adjustment. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, was contacted by Kelly yesterday. At that time he reiterated what was stated to Kelly at the Personnel Committee Meeting, that the minutes taken of the meeting were summary minutes. A transcript was not taken and not everyone’s comments are found in the minutes. Norman said the 11-20-07 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes where the Committee met with Sheriff Miller reflects discussion on the 2.75% salary adjustment and concern with negotiations. Norman did not feel a need to reiterate those comments in subsequent sets of Committee minutes. Norman said if there were no corrections made by the Board to the Committee Minutes as presented, Kelly’s comments could be included in the Board Minutes as part of discussion at today’s Board Meeting. Mattson said he supported the requests presented to the Committee by County Attorney Kelly and Sheriff Miller. Sawatzke said the Committee minutes reflect the various positions of Committee members and the recommendation states that it is that of the majority of the Committee. Sawatzke moved to approve the Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes and recommendations from 11-20-07, 11-27-07, and 11-28-07. Sawatzke referenced the comments made by Kelly at today’s Board Meeting and said he was not sure if he agreed 100% with the language presented. He did agree there were comments made at the Committee Meeting that were similar to what Kelly presented. The Board Minutes will reflect discussion in those categories. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 4-0. The Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes from 11-20-07, 11-27-07 and 11-28-07 follow:
11-20-07 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes:
Norman stated that State statute reads: “County Board sets the salary after considering the extent of the responsibilities and duties of the office, and the elected official’s experience, qualifications, and performance.”
Gary Miller, Sheriff, stated that this is his eighth salary discussion meeting since he took the position as Wright County Sheriff. Post retirement compensation was the main topic of discussion during the previous two salary meetings. He stated that today his intention is discuss his salary. Miller highlighted the responsibilities and duties of the Sheriff’s office (see attached):
“The Wright County Sheriff currently leads an office staffed by 137 sworn deputies. This number represents an increase of 51 Deputies (67%) since Sheriff Miller took office in 2000. A sworn staff of 137 sworn officers ranks the Wright County Sheriff’s office as the third largest in the State in that category, only Hennepin and Ramsey Counties have a larger contingent of Deputies. The Patrol Division of the Wright County Sheriff Office currently has a staff of 81 sworn Deputies, the largest patrol division of any Minnesota county. Sheriff Miller currently supervises a non-sworn staff of 72 full-time employees.
The Wright County Sheriff’s office provides all direct law enforcement services to an estimated 100,000 citizens, the largest number of any Minnesota Sheriff’s Office and surpassed in number by on[ly] the police departments of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Wright County Sheriff’s office currently fulfills contractual obligations to provide law enforcement services to 13 county municipalities with a total hourly obligation of 78,000 hours of service. Revenues from these contracts in 2007 amount to $4,069,517. This is an increase 44,500 hours and $2,838,503 in annual revenue from city contracts during Sheriff Miller’s tenure. The Sheriff’s office also provides School Resource Officer [SRO] services on a contract basis to seven Wright County school districts. The nine officers currently providing these services represent an increase of eight such positions since Sheriff Miller has taken office. Sheriff Miller personally participates in Safe School Committees in ten districts, representing his office at the various meetings and contributing to the problem solving teams they represent. Sheriff Miller is a member of the Financial Crimes Task Force Oversight Council. This State Statutory committee is [in] charge of oversight and administration of the Financial Crimes Task Force which has an annual budget of over $1,000,000 and a staff of seven investigators charged with investigating high impact financial crimes statewide.”
Miller added that the County is unique in that its Sheriff’s Department provides services for many municipalities, has a large amount of water patrol, and through service contracts, he serves as the Chief of Police for 13 cities. Miller touched on his experience and qualifications:
“…began his career with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office in 1975 on a part-time basis and became a full-time Deputy in July of 1978. He has worked as a dispatcher, jailer, patrol deputy, warrant officer, transport officer, [and] patrol supervisor. His administrative experience commenced in 1991 when he was promoted to the rank of Administrative Lieutenant, third in command in the organization. This position was changed to the rank of Captain of Administration, a role he filled until his appointment as Sheriff on May 27, 2002. While fulfilling his duties as Lieutenant and Captain of Administration, he supervised all divisions of the Sheriff’s office and participated directly in the drafting and presentation of budgets. During the upcoming year, Sheriff Miller will begin his 33rd year of service with the Sheriff’s Office. He will initiate his 30th year of full-time service, his 17th year of Sheriff’s Office Administration service, and his 9th year as Wright County Sheriff.”
Miller stated that in regard to the performance of his office, since his administration, the cost per Deputy is the lowest of any large law enforcement agency in the State. Miller presented his list (see attached) of County peer groups, Sheriff’s offices with at least 50 sworn deputies, and stated that the Department’s efficiency of operation is second to none when compared to his peer organizations.
Sheriff’s Office Ranking by Size and Populations Directly Served 2006
Sheriff’s Office; # Sworn Deputies; Population Served; $ Per Deputy
1. Wright County; 128; 94,000 (1); 87,772 (9)
2. Anoka; 113; 47,000 (6); 107,429 (7)
3. Washington; 90; 57,000 (3); 132,831 (3)
4. Carver; 84; 61,000 (2); 115,926 (5)
5. St. Louis; 84; 53,000 (4); 126,731 (4)
6. Dakota; 76; 18,000 (9); 89,583 (8)
7. Sherburne; 60; 41,000 (7); 111,733 (6)
8. Stearns; 58; 50,000 (5); 154,165 (2)
9. Olmstead; 52; 35,000; (8) 177,271 (1)
Miller added that his Department operates about $40,000 a deputy less than other counties. “If the Wright County Sheriff’s office cost per deputy were the average for large sheriff’s office ($126,959), the County’s budget would have required $5,368,619 more taxpayer dollars” during 2007. He stated that “Administration of the Sheriff’s office budget the last six years has resulted in an annual turn back averaging $230,000 each year.” Miller stated that he has seen significant changes during his administration due to “a period of extensive growth and change.” Seventeen supervisors retired while the number of deputies grew almost 70%. He added that he felt the service to the public has not suffered during the Department’s transition; it has improved. Every contract has increased the number of hours for the SROs. Miller stated that during his tenure, the office has initiated a “pay for stay” program in the Corrections Division. Revenues from this program are the highest per inmate in the State. He created the Drive Wright program which is considered a State model for driver education programs as well as a source of funding for traffic and drug abatement programs not involving grants or levy dollars from taxpayers. It has also become a national model, a Federal program on driver diversion. The Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance program was the first such program in the State and has been the model for other law enforcement agencies. The Major Crimes Investigative Unit was created to address the need for trained crime scene investigation resources. This has provided the County with professional leaders in processing. Miller stated that his Department is considered as one of the best when it comes to dealing with issues of discipline and employee misconduct. Miller provided the Committee with his job performance evaluations by the public (refer to attached): “Twice elected. The 2002 election was hotly contested, but after serving two years as Sheriff, Miller carried 31 or 39 precincts, including 17 of 18 townships. In the latest election, he received the most votes ever cast for a Wright County candidate for any office.” Miller then discussed the salary comparisons of his peers:
Sheriff’s Salary; 2006; 2007
1. Dakota; $123,900; $129,862
2. Anoka; $116,630; $121,295
3. Olmsted; $115,709; $119,180
4. Sherburne; $113,366; $122,775
5. Washington; $106,956 (appointed/2nd year); $101,600 (newly elected/1st year)
6. Carver; $100,605; $103,121
7. Stearns; $101,000; $107,600
8. St. Louis; $95,126; $109,761
9. Wright; $99,268; $101,749
Median Salary: $108,062; $112,933
Miller stated that he created the above list of who he considers as peer organizations, the sheriff’s offices that have at least fifty officers. Miller stated that Wright County ranks number one in the number of people it serves, the number of contracts administered, in efficiency, and the number sworn deputies. He stated that Wright County ranks the lowest in compensation. He noted that Washington County’s salary decrease in 2007 was due to a newly elected Sheriff position. Norman stated that the County Board has a long standing practice of using a comparison group for non-union employees’ salaries from nine counties (Anoka, Benton, Carver, Chisago, Isanti, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, and Washington). He questioned why Miller had deviated from the list. Miller responded that he selected a peer group whose duties and practices were similar to those of Wright County’s Sheriff’s Department. He added that the Board’s list of comparables dates back to 1980. He stated that his duties have changed significantly in the last seven years and the number of deputies he supervises has increased dramatically. He added that the Benton County Sheriff’s Department does not compare to Wright County, as Wright County is a complex multi-tasked Sheriff’s office. Norman stated that Sherburne County’s resolution setting the salary for 2007 states that the Sheriff’s salary for the County is set with the understanding that he will receive a salary for managing the sheriff’s office, and additional compensation for managing the Federal jail. Miller stated that within his peer group, Wright County is at the top of the list in number of responsibilities; however, his compensation is at the bottom of the list. He stated that he does not believe this is fair. The disparity has grown, and he added that he has not addressed salary in past salary discussion meetings. He added that he is not requesting to be at the top of the list for compensation; yet, the standard 2.75% increase will not be acceptable this year. Heeter stated that historically, the Negotiations Committee has negotiated salary requests. Because Miller’s position is an elected position, the Committee has not had to perform an employee appraisal. She stated that the salary discussion meetings are a great opportunity for the Personnel Committee members to tell the elected department head how they have been performing. Heeter stated that she feels Miller is doing an incredible job. She knows that when the Sheriff’s Department has to go before a microphone, Miller will be appropriate and professional. She stated that she has total faith and confidence in Miller. Heeter stated that Miller’s job is different than any other in the County. Heeter added that it might not be enough to consider merely Miller’s merit, responsibilities, duties, and experience per statute. Heeter stated that the Committee should consider looking at other considerations. Sawatzke stated that he agrees with Heeter in that Miller’s job is different than any other in the County, which is why he is the second highest paid employee in the County. Sawatzke stated that he feels a 2.75% increase to his current salary, $101,749, is fair and adequate compensation. He stated that $104,547 with great benefits is a lot of money. Sawatzke stated that his concern is that employees and Department Heads will monitor the Personnel Committee’s decision. Russek stated that he agrees with Sawatzke and noted that there are two Board members on the Negotiations Committee. These two members will have to face today’s decision during negotiations in the summer of 2008. Russek stated that he does not doubt Miller’s ability, as he is well liked throughout the County. Eichelberg stated that he feels each of the Department Heads are doing an excellent job. He added that the Sheriff’s Department affects the amount of responsibilities and amount of work for every department (more deputies increase the work load for the County Attorney). Heeter exited the meeting due to a previously scheduled event. Mattson asked Miller what his request for compensation is, noting that the Sherburne County Sheriff receives extra compensation for running a Federal jail. Miller stated that he is asking for fair compensation in comparison to his peers. He stated that in his position, there aren’t any step increases. He has been accepting cost of living increases for the past nine years. Miller stated that he is going into his last three years of his career and noted that today’s decision will affect him and his wife for the rest of his life. He stated that by the end of 2008, he wants to be within 90% of his peer group. He stated that he would take the 2.75% increase of his current salary $101,749 until his anniversary date of 5-27-08. He then would request an 8.5% step increase, giving him a 2008 salary of $109,724 and a 2009 salary of $113,423. Miller stated that this increase would not bring him to the top of his peer group’s pay scale; however, he feels that it is a fair and reasonable compensation taking into account his performance, how the citizens view County government, and how his Department has administered the budget. Norman reminded the Committee that market consideration is not listed in State statute as one of the criteria to be considered in setting the salary. Sawatzke stated that he is aware that employees choose the counties or peer groups that would best support their argument. He stated that the Board cannot make decisions without ramifications. Russek repeated that next summer’s negotiations could be impacted by what is decided today. Miller stated that he is not trying to misrepresent the wage scale. He informed the Committee that the BCA groups sheriff departments by size. He used the same group listing that the BCA used. Miller stated that he understands that the Board members have future negotiation meetings. He stated that he cannot be held hostage on how today’s decision will impact future negotiations. Miller noted that today’s meeting is his only opportunity to negotiate with the Board. Miller repeated that he would not take a 2.75% increase. He stated that he wants to finish his work here in Wright County, however, will not take 20% less than his peers just because he lives and works in Wright County. Miller proposed that if the Board is concerned about setting precedence, they could make allowances for the next Sheriff during his ninth year. Russek stated that he has to face the rest of the Department Heads. He stated that he feels each of the Department Heads do a great job. Sawatzke stated that he does not believe the public would be sympathetic to a compensation increase for a person who makes over $100,000 per year. Miller stated that he does not want his legacy to be that he had to sue the County Board because they could not come to a reasonable conclusion. Miller stated that he would not be running for election again. This term will be the end of his career and he wants to do what is in the best interest for his family. Eichelberg asked Miller if the 8.5% increase is his bottom line. Miller stated yes. Mattson stated that it costs a lot of money to run for office. Sawatzke stated that the Board put Miller at the top step. Miller stated that he was granted the top step because he was taking over a job with a lot of responsibilities. Eichelberg proposed recessing the Personnel Committee of the Whole until a later date when all five Commissioners can be present. Miller stated that he hoped the five Commissioners could make a recommendation based on what he presented at today’s Committee Meeting. He stated that he did not believe the public would disagree with the Board for increasing his compensation to $109,724 when comparing Sheriffs salaries in other counties. Russek stated that the tax payers do not care what other counties are paying their staff. Eichelberg repeated that the two other elected individuals would be affected by the Committee’s decision for Miller. The other elected individuals will have similar arguments for how their work has doubled. Mattson stated that overall Miller has the only elected or appointed position that provides protection to the County’s citizens. No other Department Head position requires them to carry a firearm. RECOMMENDATION: Recess the Personnel Committee of the Whole until 11-27-07 at 10:00 a.m. to continue the discussion of 2008 salaries of elected Department Heads. (End of 11-20-07 Personnel Committee Minutes)
11-27-07 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes:
DISCUSS 2008 SALARIES OF ELECTED DEPARTMENT HEADS. Russek reconvened the Personnel Committee of the Whole Meeting of 11-20-07. Norman reviewed the State statute to be considered: “The County Board sets the salary after considering the extent of the responsibilities and duties of the office, and the elected official’s experience, qualifications, and performance.” Norman distributed the “2007 Sheriff Salary Survey” (see attached). Norman stated that the counties listed in the survey have historically been the comparison counties used for salary discussions. Miller presented his adjusted “Sheriff’s Office Ranking by size and populations directly served 2006*” (see attached). He stated that Carver County’s base salary was $103,121 in 2007 with a travel allowance of $5,400 as his duties require him to travel. Mattson asked Miller if he knew how many of the counties have contract cities. Miller stated that Anoka, Stearns, Sherburne, St. Louis, and Washington counties have contract cities. He stated that Wright County has the most in number of contracts and population it serves with over 100,000 persons. Sawatzke stated that the County Sheriff serves an entire county. Miller explained that a contract discerns who will be contacted when 911 is called. The Sheriff is mandated in local jurisdictions. The number of contracts is reflected in the staff numbers, hence Dakota County has less staff and Anoka has more. Miller stated that there are some ramifications for being the Sheriff of a large county, and when you tie in the contracts, you are the chief of police for those cities. Norman asked for clarification on the Washington County Sheriff’s salary in 2006 and 2007. Miller stated that in 2006, a Sheriff was appointed following Sheriff Frank’s retirement earning a salary of $106,956. The appointed Sheriff served the remainder of that term and was defeated in the election. The new Sheriff came in and his base salary for the 2007 was $101,600. Sawatzke referred to the newspaper article Miller presented at the 11-20-07 Meeting, “County Board Adopts New Salary Schedules”, December, 1987. He asked Miller if he was requesting that the Board do what they did in 1987. Miller stated that he would like to be at least 90% of the comparables. He stated that it has been done in the past and he believes that there is precedence to give a step increase for a senior level staff member. Miller stated that he has made his presentation per the requirements of the statute; however, he thinks statute does not fit every situation. Miller stated that he selected his comparables without looking at their salaries. He selected peers who have the responsibilities and duties of the office that are similar to his own. He stated that he did not have their salary information at the time of his research. He requested that the Committee compare the duties and responsibilities of his office to those listed in the salary survey Norman had presented. He stated that any of the Sheriff’s on his peer group list would agree that he belongs in that list. Eichelberg stated that he agrees with what Miller has presented, however, the County Board uses the same list of comparable counties for each Department Head. Miller stated that other Department Heads could justify using the same list, however, his office is unique. Miller stated that he does not think that the process should trump the statute. Mattson stated that he believes law enforcement is completely different from any other job. He stated that Miller has made a good presentation and he recognizes that the County Sheriff and law enforcement has a relationship with its cities and townships. The County is growing fast and crime is always present. Heeter stated that Russek and Sawatzke have to sit in on negotiations with the bargaining units and justify what is done at today’s meeting. She stated that she agrees with Mattson that the Sheriff’s position is different than any other Department. She stated that she could not justify an 8.5% increase but would be willing to support something other than the 2.75% increase. She continued to state that the Committee is to look at the Sheriff’s performance and ability. She stated that she feels Miller does an incredible job; yet, discussing salary increases places the Committee in a difficult role. Norman stated that according to the Statute, “The elected official can challenge the Board’s decision on the grounds that the decision was arbitrary, capricious, oppressive, or did not sufficiently take into account the criteria listed above.” Sawatzke stated that the 11-20-07 Meeting avidly discussed what could be considered as a reasonable increase. Sawatzke stated that Miller is the second highest paid position in the organization. He explained that market should not be a consideration because Miller could not apply for the Hennepin County, or any other county, Sheriff position. Sawatzke stated that Miller’s current salary fits within the salary survey which recognizes that Anoka, Carver, Washington, Stearns Counties are larger than Wright. Miller noted that he is not the second highest paid Department Head, as he shares the same salary as two other Department Heads. He stated that Sawatzke is not taking into account that he has nine years of experience. He stated that he is requesting the average from the 2006 salary survey for 2008. Mattson asked Miller if he knew how many of the Counties from the salary survey receive revenue from outside service contracts. Miller stated that he did not know. Mattson stated that Miller has contracts with 13 county municipalities which are bringing revenue into the County. Both Heeter and Eichelberg asked Miller if he would only accept an 8.5% increase. Miller stated that he did not select his list of comparables to make his request look better. He stated that his request is defendable and logical. He stated that he is not looking to be paid the top of his peer group. This is his ninth year, third term, as County Sheriff. He stated that those Department Heads with ten years of experience receive a considerable increase in pay. He repeated that he would only be doing this job for the next three years and feels that this is his compensation to recognize what he has accomplished in his profession. He stated that as a whole, we sell what we do, and this is his product and he wants to be paid close to market value. He stated that most of the Sheriff’s on the list do not have as many years of experience. He stated that he is not an ego-maniac and does not like having to blow his own horn. He stated that his job has changed dramatically in the years he has been Sheriff. He has done a good job and does his job more efficiently than anybody else. This case is unique. He stated that he would not argue that other Department Heads are not doing a good job; however, he has been working with the County for 33 years and has never argued for salary. He stated that he feels this is his time to request a salary increase. State statute requires him to present his case in this forum. Heeter stated that she knows negotiations are a tough subject. Heeter stated that she would be willing to look at a 3.5 or 4% increase. She stated that she could justify to staff why she feels Miller deserves a higher percentage increase. She stated that she does believe that the Sheriff’s position is different from other Department Head positions. Sawatzke used the paraphrase “glass box” to describe that other Department Heads will view what occurred today and will use it to their defense during their salary discussions. Russek stated that he and Sawatzke are in favor of a 2.75% increase. Mattson is in favor of Miller’s proposed 8.5% increase. Heeter expressed that she is in favor of a 3.5 – 4% increase. Eichelberg stated that he is in agreement with Heeter, however would like to see what revenue the Sheriff is bringing to the County through service contracts. Miller stated that he would make his decision based upon the Board’s approval of its resolution.
COUNTY ATTORNEY. Norman reviewed the statute once again prior to Kelly making his presentation. Kelly, using a PowerPoint presentation, described his work ethic, his history with the County and his job duties and responsibilities. Kelly referred to State Statute 388.18, County Attorney Compensation to introduce the purpose of today’s discussion. He stated that “The County Board in setting the salary of the County Attorney should act in a reasonable manner by sufficiently taking into account the extent of the responsibilities and duties of the office of County Attorney and the County Attorney’s experience, qualifications and performance. The County Board should not act in an arbitrary, capricious, oppressive, or unreasonable manner.” Kelly stated that he keeps an active caseload while performing all duties and responsibilities of a County Attorney. He illustrated how his office uses a team approach with County deputies, however, with the increase of the number of deputies hired within the County, his responsibilities also increase. He described his success with the Bad Check Restitution Program, his speaking and training ventures, and his committee and board participation. He described how he receives feedback on his performance through the public, his employees, and law enforcement. Kelly stated that his duties differ from the Sheriff. He added that his job and stress comes home with him, describing it as a job that consumes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Kelly stated that he is requesting an increase to $116,000 for 2008. He described the process of how he arrived at his proposed amount. He took eight of the lower paying counties with comparable County Attorneys for a sum of $903,325 and divided it by 8. $112,916 is the average 2007 salary of the eight counties. He then multiplied the average by 2.75% to arrive at $116,021. Kelly defended his request by stating it will cost the County an additional $5,082 for this year. He stated that the Check Program and Drug Forfeiture monies would finance his raise for years to come. He asked that the Board consider his duties, experience, and that he has not asked for a raise in seven years. Kelly stated that he does not foresee that any citizen or community member would argue that his request is fair. Making $116,000 would place Wright County in the middle of Becker, Otter Tail, Blue Earth, Sherburne, Carver, Kandiyohi, and Scott counties. Kelly presented his draft Resolution (refer to attached) for the 2008 Wright County Attorney Salary:
“WHEREAS, the Wright county Board of Commissioners reviewed the salaries of other county Attorneys in comparables markets;
“WHEREAS, the Board considered Mr. Kelly’s qualifications and experience to other county Attorneys I comparable markets;
“WHEREAS, Mr. Kelly has been with Wright County for 24 years, has been the elected County Attorney since 1998, and will begin his 25th year in March, 2008;
“WHEREAS, Mr. Kelly has not received an increase in his base salary since 2001;
‘WHEREAS, said review indicates a need to address the salary disparity within the comparable markets and to grant an increase in Mr. Kelly’s base salary;
“WHEREAS, the Board would like to acknowledge and thank Mr. Kelly for his many years of outstanding service to the county and our citizens;
“WHEREAS, a 4.7% raise in Mr. Kelly’s base salary would address the salary disparity and provide him the “average” salary given within the comparable markets;
“WHEREAS, based on all of the above, and being cognizant of the duties imposed upon them by Minn. Stat. 388.18, the Board believes now is the time to address Mr. Kelly’s salary and after considering his duties, responsibilities, qualifications, experience and performance it is fair, just, reasonable and deserving that he receive the “average’ salary given within the comparable markets;
“NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Wright County Board of Commissioners that Mr. Kelly will receive a 2.75% COLA and a 4.7% raise thereby setting his 2008 salary at $116,000.”
Heeter asked for clarification of Kelly’s comment that he has not received a raise since 2001. Kelly stated that he has received COLAs (cost of living adjustment) each year. He added that he used to receive a COLA and then a salary increase. Norman stated that the County has never referred to the term COLA during elected official salary discussions. The elected positions have received annual salary adjustments. Kelly stated that he uses the term loosely to reflect what he understood as a cost of living adjustment. Heeter stated that Kelly has received salary adjustments for the last seven years that totaled approximately $15,000. Sawatzke questioned Kelly’s group of comparison counties, asking why he deviated from the list that has been recognized by the County during its negotiations and salary discussions. Kelly stated that he chose his grouping of counties because the County Attorneys have similar duties and responsibilities. Sawatzke questioned if Kelly has selected only the highest paying counties to use in his comparable list. Kelly challenged Sawatzke to find lower paying counties whose County Attorneys have similar responsibilities and duties. Russek stated that the Board should not deviate from the county comparables that have been used in the past. Norman stated that the County, in its compensation plan, never had as its goal to pay the market average. The compensation plan states that no job should fall outside of 90% of the market group. Norman added that in review of the comparable data, Kelly does fall within that 10%. Kelly stated that it is his hope that the Committee can resolve the salary disparity in a reasonable fashion. He added that he is not ashamed or embarrassed to ask for this increase. He stated that his qualifications, experience, and performance speak for itself. He repeated that he would begin his 25th year in March, 2008, with the County. Sawatzke stated that to him, it seems the newly elected personnel feel they should be paid the same as what the previous person was paid at the end of their term. The new people are not willing to start lower to get step increases. They start at the top and want to know why they are not receiving additional steps.
Norman asked Kelly for clarification on one of his PowerPoint slides that indicated that after being elected, he has not received any monetary compensation for severance. He asked Kelly if he was paid out his vacation and sick time prior to taking the County Attorney position. Kelly stated yes, however, since becoming County Attorney, he has not received severance. Norman stated that as an elected official, he is not limited to the amount of vacation or sick time he chooses to take. Kelly stated that he feels he has presented a salary request. The County would have to pay $5,000 in attorney fees to save $5,000, and he would have to pay $5,000 in attorney fees to make $5,000. He urged the Committee to consider his track record of seven years noting that he is not asking for a comparable. He stated that he feels he is making a reasonable wage request. Heeter stated that she couldn’t justify an 8.5% increase to the Sheriff or a 7.45% increase to the County Attorney. She added that 2.75% of $107,949 is a lot of money. Kelly stated that as an elected position, the salary discussions at the Personnel Committee of the Whole Meetings are his only opportunity to request a salary increase. He stated that he has not requested an increase in seven years and explained that he does not have the same opportunity as the Assistant County Attorneys to negotiate his wage. Norman stated that earlier he handed out salary data for the sheriff salary discussion. He had inadvertently included Dakota County on that survey. Some years ago, Dakota County was dropped from the list because they have a MERIT system. He stated that he would distribute the corrected salary data immediately following the Meeting. Kelly stated that for seven years there was not any market analysis presented at his salary discussion meetings. Mattson stated that the County couldn’t expect to get quality service if it is not paying people what they deserve. Sawatzke stated that he recognizes the duties and responsibilities that Kelly is responsible for. He stated that he would be in favor of granting Kelly the largest salary adjustment in the County, 2.75% of $107,949 equates to an increase of $2,969. Kelly stated that Sawatzke’s recommendation does give the appearance that the County Attorney is being given the largest increase which is based on a percentage of his salary. Russek stated that he is in favor of a 2.75% salary adjustment. Sawatzke stated that he is in favor of a 2.75% salary adjustment. Heeter stated that the Board could not deviate from its recommendation for the Sheriff’s salary. She stated that she is in favor of a 2.75% salary adjustment. Norman stated that the resolution setting the salaries would be presented before the County Board on 12-18-07. Eichelberg requested recessing the Meeting to continue the salary discussion. RECOMMENDATION: The majority of the Committee recommends a 2.75% salary adjustment for 2008 for County Sheriff and County Attorney. Recess the Personnel Committee of the Whole until 11-28-07 at 1:30 p.m. to continue the discussion of 2008 salaries of elected Department Heads. (End of 11-27-07 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
DISCUSS 2008 SALARIES OF ELECTED DEPARTMENT HEADS. Russek reconvened the Personnel Committee of the Whole Meeting of 11-27-07. Norman reviewed the State statute to be considered: “The County Board sets the salary after considering the extent of the responsibilities and duties of the office, and the elected official’s experience, qualifications, and performance.” Hiivala stated that he is currently at the salary equivalent of Step 8, Non-Union Salary Schedule, and is requesting a salary increase equivalent to Step 10. Hiivala continued by stating that he believes he is doing his job well. Eichelberg noted that there are only ten steps. Russek questioned why Hiivala would want to be placed at the top step knowing that in the future he would only receive the standard salary adjustment. Sawatzke stated that the Auditor/Treasurer position was placed on a step equivalency in 1991. Norman confirmed that at one time, the elected positions were on a salary schedule, which has since ceased. Heeter asked Hiivala if he received a two step increase in 2006. Hiivala stated yes. He stated that he is currently at $95,000 and a one step increase would bring him to approximately $101,000, and a two step increase would bring him to $104,000. These increases include the 2.75% salary adjustment. He explained that when he was appointed to Doug Gruber’s position, he was placed at a salary equivalent of Step 4. Heeter noted that he has climbed five steps in four years, or four steps in three years since Gruber passed away, equating to an approximate $30,000 increase. Heeter asked the Committee whether Hiivala would also receive a 2.75% salary adjustment if the Committee were to recommend approving a one step increase. Russek stated yes. Sawatzke stated that he believes Hiivala would be receiving the largest increase of any County employee. Russek stated that he would be in favor of a one step increase plus the 2.75% salary adjustment. Heeter stated that she agrees with Russek. She added that she is not in favor of granting a two step increase two years in a row. Hiivala stated that he believes the Board has held him back from Step 10. He stated that he has career experience which supports his request for the top step. Sawatzke stated that the Board has not been consistent with the elected officials, and it has been controversial. Sawatzke stated that he supports Heeter and Russek’s recommendation which would give Hiivala nearly a $6,000 increase. Sawatzke stated that he felt this was a fair increase which would place him under the Sheriff and Attorney’s salaries who have both been with the County, and in their positions, longer. Eichelberg stated that Hiivala is eligible for a one step increase, plus the 2.75% salary adjustment. He stated that the Committee is being consistent with the recommendations made for the County Sheriff and Attorney. He stated that Hiivala’s service is important to the County. Mattson stated that he agreed with Eichelberg. Russek stated that the Board has spoken several times about creating the Auditor/Treasurer position as an appointed position in lieu of an elected position. The concern is that an unqualified person could be elected into the position. Russek explained that the elected positions for County Sheriff and Attorney do require qualifications; however, the Auditor/Treasurer position does not. Hiivala stated that he does not see a down side in changing his position to an appointed position. He stated that whether his job is an elected or an appointed position, he works for the County Commissioners. Sawatzke discussed how as an appointed position, the Auditor/Treasurer’s immediate influences are the Commissioners. As an elected position, the public serves as the direct influence. Hiivala stated that although there are not any defined qualifications for the Auditor/Treasurer position, there is a State statute that outlines the processes, responsibilities, and duties of an Auditor/Treasurer. The statute provides guidelines with regard to investing, etc. Heeter stated that in the best interest of the County, she would prefer that the Auditor/Treasurer be an appointed position. Norman stated that the appointed position would become an at-will employee by law. Norman referenced the Recorder’s position as a recently changed appointed position. Norman stated that a job description would need to be written which would define investment procedures and general safeguards. The County Attorney would need to be consulted so that a legislative bill could be drafted. Norman noted that the bill would be subject to a reverse referendum. Recommendation: Authorize a one step increase plus a 2.75% salary adjustment for 2008. Start the process to create the Auditor/Treasurer position as an appointed position. (End of 11-28-07 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
A Negotiation Committee Meeting was held on 11-28-07. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke referenced Item II and said there is some skepticism on whether 24/7 coverage is essential or whether the current practice of a call list is more effective. There are other departments which are called in at least as often and possibly more often. The concept will be reviewed further but Sawatzke noted that the County may not necessarily move in that direction. Russek agreed. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Eichelberg. Russek said the largest discussion the Committee had was with regard to evenings and weekends for the Dispatch Center. So far, there have been no problems. It was viewed that $15,000/year for on-call status was a lot of money. The Dispatch Center at the new Jail/LEC will include one backup unit. The motion carried 4-0 to approve the minutes:
On-Call, After-Hours Emergency Services Proposal (Human Services Board Item).
Request From Information Technology Department RE: 24/7 Coverage (County Board Agenda Item).
Swing provided information on a request for after hours support of IT operations (attached). After hours support would provide redundancy and enhanced integrity of the network. In conjunction with the hire of the Network Analyst position, Swing felt it was timely to discuss after hours coverage as this item is included in the draft job description for the position. Currently, IT staff volunteer for on-call status for after hours, weekends and holiday. Overtime is paid for telephone work over 15 minutes in length or if staff is required to travel to the work site. A 2-hour minimum is paid for overtime. Swing said the proposal to pay staff for 24/7 coverage would result in a cost of $15,000/year. Although situations requiring assistance are rare (once every two months), critical systems could be affected. Swing felt the Dispatch Center was the most critical area. The Committee questioned whether there is a mobile command center. Swing confirmed there is but it is not full functioning. The Committee felt that if Dispatch operations were down, a message could be broadcast through the media to call another Dispatch Center. Swing said with the current setup, there are times when staff may be unavailable to address problems which arise. Other considerations are vendor coordination for equipment repair. The Committee referenced other County employees who are called in to work, possibly more often than the six times per year estimated by Swing. Sawatzke stated that the County could have expended $150,000 over the past 10 years and would not realize any more benefit than what the current practice has offered. Swing said there is more reliance on the network now. Norman said the overtime provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreements will have to be reviewed on how overtime is addressed. This is a negotiable item as it impacts the terms and conditions of employment. Recommendation: Swing will draft a more in-depth proposal which will be forwarded to Frank Madden for review. Swing will provide Norman with copies of what other counties are doing in this regard.
Request For Job Reclassifications. Recommendation: Lay this item over to the next Committee Meeting. This item will be addressed in Closed Session as it impacts labor negotiations. (End of Negotiation Committee Minutes)
Norman brought forth discussion on selecting insurance providers for Group Life, Short-Term Disability, and Long-Term Disability coverage, beginning Plan Year 3-01-08. Joan Grotjahn, MCIT, was unable to attend today’s meeting. MCIT distributed Request For Proposals to vendors and an analysis was performed by Grotjahn. Norman provided an overview of information reflecting the analysis.
Basic Life and AD&D Rate Analysis:
Carrier; Rate Guarantee; Life; AD&D; Total
Minnesota Life (Current Carrier); Current Rates; .19; .03; .22
Minnesota Life Option 1(Proposed); Two Years; .09; .025; .115
Minnesota Life Option 2; Two Years; .15; .025; .175
Standard Life; Two Years; .17; .03; .20
USAble Life; Two Years; .18; .03; .21
Norman said the bidding process results in a savings to the County and perhaps the employee depending upon which option is selected. With Minnesota Life Option 1, the rates are guaranteed for two years and will result in a savings to the County of $7,894 annually. The life insurance rate dropped from $.19/$1000 to $.09/$1000. With Minnesota Life Option 2, both the employer and employee will realize a savings. The cost to the County is $.15/$1000 for a total of $.175/$1000 including AD&D. The net savings to the County would be $3,382. With Option 1, the employer realizes the savings and with Option 2 the savings is both to the employer and employee. There will be no loss of coverage during the transition. Judy Brown, Personnel Representative, stated the current cost is $.22/$1000 for Life including AD&D. With Option 1, the cost of Life and AD&D would be $.115/$1,000 resulting in a savings of $.105/$1,000. With Option 2, the proposed rate of $.175/$1,000 would result in a savings of $.045/$1,000 over the current rate. Employees would save anywhere from $.03/$1,000 to $.16/$1,000 depending upon the age category. Staff recommends Minnesota Life Option 2.
Long-Term Disability Analysis:
Norman stated that five proposals were received including three from Assurant, one from Standard, and one from USAble Life. Only one meets bid specifications and that is the new proposal from Assurant. The current rate from Assurant is $1.00/$100. The new proposal is $.92/$100, employer only. Sawatzke questioned the difference between benefit and payroll. Norman explained that both Standard and USAble submitted a payroll rate. Grotjahn put the data into a payroll equivalency to compare the proposals. Assurant comes in lowest on the payroll basis as well. The recommendation is to accept the proposal from Assurant at $.92/$100.
Voluntary Long Term Disability Analysis:
Three proposals were received from Assurant, one from USAble Life, and one from Standard. Only Assurant’s proposal met specifications. Norman recommended the proposed rates from Assurant.
Short Term Disability Analysis:
Two proposals were received from Assurant, one from Standard, one from Trustmark, and one from USAble Life. The only proposal that met specifications was from Assurant. The proposed rate is $1.63/$100 for both employee and employer. The current rate is $2.17/$100 employer and $2.39/$100 for employee. This would result in a 25% savings to employer and 32% savings to the employee. The recommendation is to accept the proposal from Assurant.
Sawatzke made a motion in support of the staff recommendations. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 4-0.
Wayne Fingalson introduced Mark Johnson who was recently hired as the Right-Of-Way Agent/Engineering Assistant. Johnson has already started work on Right-Of-Way projects, including the CSAH 19 project. Johnson’s background includes the positions of City Engineer in Sauk Rapids, Assistant City Engineer at Maplewood, as well as real estate experience. Johnson said his experience working with Wright County thus far has been positive and expressed that staff are professional, helpful and caring. He has been working closely with Fingalson, Brian Asleson, Bill Augustin, Virgil Hawkins, as well as former Right-Of-Way Agent/Engineering Assistant Richard Marquette. Johnson was welcomed.
Fingalson requested approval of Funding Agreement #07-54 with the City of St. Michael for the TH 241/CSAH 35 One-Way Pair Project. The Agreement outlines responsibilities of both parties. Wright County will fund $2 million toward the project, with ten annual payments starting in 2009. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #07-67 approving Funding Agreement #07-54 with St. Michael, seconded by Mattson. Sawatzke asked whether this was approved as part of a Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Fingalson confirmed that it had been discussed both in that forum as well as in Budget sessions. Sawatzke did not recall that an exact dollar figure had been approved but Fingalson confirmed it had. The motion carried 4-0 on a roll call vote. The total project cost is just under $20 million. The Agreement only addresses a portion of TH 241. Mn/DOT is acquiring 17 homes as part of the project. Both this project and the CSAH 19 project will occur in St. Michael next year.
Fingalson requested approval of a resolution for the Highway Right-of-Way Plat for CSAH 6 (SP 86-606-13). The CSAH 6 project will occur just east of Annandale (from TH 55 to TH 24). Plat approval is required so the County Surveyor can prepare the plat. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #07-68, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Fingalson said the Official Mapping Ordinance and Official Map will be presented to the Board in one week. The Surveyor is working with Mn/DOT on approval. Mn/DOT officials could be invited to the next County Board Meeting to answer questions. Previous concern had been voiced on the Lakedale Telephone Company building and costs which may be associated with relocation associated with the future TH 55 project. Mn/DOT has since researched this and feels the proposed design can be modified to accommodate this property. Mattson supported having Mn/DOT available at the next meeting to answer questions which may occur. Fingalson inquired whether the Board had interest in viewing the area. Sawatzke said he brought the issue up after driving TH 55 and noticed how close homes and buildings were to the road. The Lakedale building in particular seemed as though it would be extremely expensive to relocate. He did not want to suggest that he is more concerned with that property than other properties. Sawatzke said that the County should obtain a formal position from all townships involved, although he felt that most townships are a part of the TH 55 Coalition. Fingalson said townships have not been asked for their position. It was the consensus that Mn/DOT should be at the next meeting to answer questions and that townships involved should be advised of the meeting.
An Owner’s Committee Meeting was held on 11-27-07. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson referenced the discussion at the Committee level on precast cells and plumbing. He questioned whether there will be any finger pointing between Old Castle and Thielen. Sawatzke said that A&P representatives felt vendors should be able to handle this correctly and the precast cells should not be damaged. On a motion by Mattson, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the minutes as presented:
Project Update.
A & P. Streich reported that concrete is being poured today for the exterior walls of Areas D & E. Scaffolding is being set in Area A, LEC. They are laying the above grade block for stairwells and elevators. The deep underground plumbing is being installed in Areas D & E. There are 25 wells left to drill and those will possibly be finished this week. Header material is being placed. The vaults were delivered last week and they will start to install them. Electrical piping has been completed to the building. The City of Buffalo is there today connecting wire to the transformers. The precast walls will be set in areas A & C next week. They will mobilize on site on Monday. Structural steel deliveries are tentatively scheduled to start the week of 12-17-07. All areas, including hydrants, have been marked with rebar so they are not damaged during snowplowing. In response to Norman, Streich confirmed that everything is on schedule although weather could be a factor. The mailbox at the Jail/LEC has been installed so mail is now being delivered. The address is 2300 – 1st Ave. NW. Previously, mail was being returned as undeliverable. Streich discussed the location with the post office and the mail carrier understands where to deliver mail. Sawatzke said it does not make sense that the address of the site is 1st Ave. when that is not the name of the road.
KKE Architects. Maddox was in attendance on behalf of Buikema. Major items that KKE is working on include review of shop drawings. They have reviewed four of the six precast areas. They have received drawings for Areas D & E which will be reviewed this week. These have been sent to the consultants for structural, mechanical and electrical. They have also received steel shop drawings for review for miscellaneous steel. Those have been reviewed and they are coordinating those with the precast cell manufacturer. Norman stated that the County’s Commissioning Agent is reviewing shop drawings. Torfin said one of the items the Commissioning Agent brought forth was waste plumbing for the lavatories in the precast cells, suggesting that Old Castle not complete this but instead have it as part of the plumbing package. The concern is that the cells will be damaged from exposure or when they are moved. This is included in Old Castle’s bid. The Committee discussed the loss which would be realized by deducting this from Old Castle’s bid and adding it to the plumbing bid. Martin did not recommend this. Norman said the Commissioning Agent felt there would be more damage to the cells if completed per bid, resulting in more maintenance costs later. Torfin said the precast cells will be delivered by Old Castle and Thielen will install them. Martin said the contractor is responsible for protecting any material they have installed and would have to replace anything damaged. Sawatzke questioned whether it was inevitable that there will be material which Old Castle will have to fix. Martin did not feel this was likely or that it will be a problem. There are 216 cells and all of them have plumbing. Streich was in contact with the Commissioning Agent and the concern was that they did not pour the slab on grade prior to getting the plumbing hooked up. Streich will make sure this does not happen. The Committee will not meet on 12-05-07. The next meeting will be 12-11-07. (End of Owner’s Committee Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 11-28-07. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0:
Annandale Law Enforcement Contract For 2008. Kelly was in contact with Jeff Herr, Annandale Chief of Police, regarding the Contract which provides prosecution services to the City. A 5% increase in 2007 was agreed to for a total contract value of $37,065. The proposal is for a 3% increase for 2008 bringing the total cost of the contract to $38,177. If approved by the County Board, the proposal will then be sent to the City for their approval. Recommendation: Authorize a 3% increase in the Annandale Law Enforcement Contract for prosecution services for a total of $38,177. (End of Personnel Committee Minutes)
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 11-28-07. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 4-0:
Joint Powers Agreement For Regional Crime Laboratory. The meeting of 10-10-07 was reconvened. Asleson recently met with the Sherburne and Anoka County Attorney offices to review and discuss concerns the Committee had with the draft Agreement. The concerns are outlined in the 10-10-07 Committee Minutes. At today’s Committee meeting, a newly revised draft was distributed for review (dated 10-25-07). The draft has not been reviewed by the Sheriff. The bonding bill which would affect funding for the Regional Crime Lab will be addressed by the Legislature at their next Session. The bonding bill was approved last year by both Houses but was vetoed. At a future Board Meeting, Asleson will bring forth for consideration a draft resolution seeking funding. One of the purposes of the Agreement will be to show support for the Regional Crime Lab in an effort to obtain funding. The Committee had considerable discussion on Section 7.01, Establishment of Committee, Section 7.02, Duties of Committee, and Section 7.03, Voting. With regard to Section 7.01, Asleson said the draft does not reflect that the law enforcement representative is appointed by the Sheriff. However, the third person appointed in each of the counties does not have a vote and that is addressed in another portion of the document. Under Section 7.02, Subd. (1) and (5), particular concern was raised on the review and approval of annual budgets. The Committee felt the Agreement should dictate what role the Committee would serve with regard to review and approval of budgets and also specify what budgets are pertained to in the Agreement. Hoffman understood that Wright County would be involved with approval of budgets for the services that pertain to Wright County. The cost to each County in the Joint Powers Agreement will be based upon population. Cities that elect to utilize the lab will be billed through a separate, non-member service agreement. If Wright County elects to utilize services that are outside of the Agreement, the County would be billed at the non-member rate. Norman referenced Section 8.01, Annual Budget, which states in part, “Anoka County may include a charge for contribution to a self-insurance risk pool.” Norman said Anoka County owns the building and staff are Anoka County employees. He questioned why Wright County would want to share in insurance costs. Asleson said the employees may perform work for Wright County but they are employed by Anoka County. Wright County is not liable for what they do. Anoka County is responsible for the liability of operating the facility. Asleson referenced Section 7.03, Voting, and the Committee’s concern with a majority vote. The Committee will have six voting members. Approval of items will require four votes. Asleson understood that the Committee would not vote on the budget but on the provision of member services and related items. It was the consensus that this needed to be clarified. Norman referenced correspondence from MCIT dated 9-18-07 on their review of the draft Agreement. MCIT’s concerns basically still apply to the newest revision of the draft. Norman cited Page 3 of MCIT’s letter which reads, “While this agreement generally meets the requirements of the statute it is important to note that in entering the arrangement Wright County will be incurring risks with very little ability or authority to control exposures.” Asleson responded that although there is no coverage for property damage, Wright County will not own the property and would be covered for errors and omissions of employees or elected officials. Norman said Wright County currently contracts with Anoka County for Medical Examiner Services and offered the suggestion of potentially contracting for Regional Crime Lab Services. Under this arrangement, Anoka County is responsible for the overall budget. The cost is divided to member counties based on a funding formula. Asleson said one of the purposes of the Joint Powers Agreement is to convey support for the Regional Lab for the purpose of obtaining grant funding. Norman suggested not entering into an Agreement until it is seen whether the bonding bill passes and is signed by the Governor. Questions followed on how the Lab would be funded if bonding is not obtained. Asleson referenced Section 9.03, Termination, which states that the Agreement shall terminate upon the occurrence of any of the listed items, including Subd. (5), “If Anoka fails to enter into a Grant Agreement prior to December 31, 2008, or in the event that the Grant Agreement is terminated.” Asleson interpreted this to mean that the Agreement would be dissolved if State funding is not available. Section 9.04, Effect of Termination; Distribution of Property, further states, “Upon termination of this Agreement, Anoka shall retain all right, title, interest and ownership of the Facility, the Facility site and all equipment…” After further consideration, it was the consensus of the Committee that a meeting should be held with Anoka and Sherburne Counties to discuss the Agreement. The meeting should be attended by two Commissioners, the Sheriff, and Attorney staff from each of the counties. Recommendation: Asleson will arrange a meeting between Anoka, Sherburne and Wright County officials to discuss the draft Agreement. (End of Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
Norman announced there will be an Owner’s Committee Meeting today at 1:00 P.M. Commissioner Russek will attend on behalf of Heeter.
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #07-69, Charitable Gambling Application Form LG200R, Central MN Sexual Assault Center, Olson Truck Stop, 4101 148th St. NW, Silver Creek (Silver Creek Twp.). The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
At the last Leadership Team Meeting, the group discussed their Quarterly Meeting schedule. Because of the conflict with Owner’s Committee Meetings at 1:00 P.M. every Tuesday, Norman said the request is for a time change from 1:30 P.M. to 10:30 A.M. The first Quarterly Meeting in 2008 would occur on 1-08-08 at 10:30 A.M. Sawatzke said that once the Jail/LEC project has been completed, the Leadership Team Meetings should be moved back to 1:30 P.M. as it handicaps what other meetings can be held that day. The consensus was to change the time of the Leadership Team Meetings as requested.
Norman said the County’s Truth In Local Taxation Hearing was held on 12-06-07 where the 2008 Budget and Certified Levy were discussed. A number of questions and comments were taken from residents. Sawatzke said one resident requested that the County provide at future Truth In Local Taxation Hearings a budget history by department for the major budget areas (Human Services, Highway and Sheriff). It was the consensus that staff should compile data for review at the next Hearing, possibly for a 5-year period. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #07-70 establishing the 2008 Budget and Certified Taxable Levy, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby establishes the 2008 Budget as follows:
General Revenue $42,782,748
Road and Bridge $22,730,495
Human Services $21,107,100
Debt Service $2,566,177
Lake Pulaski LID $33,500
Mink-Somers LID $13,420
TOTAL BUDGET $89,233,440
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby establishes the 2008 Certified Taxable Levy as follows:
General Revenue $21,664,223
Road and Bridge $7,907,290
Human Services $8,189,000
Sub-Total $37,760,513
Less: County Program Aid $3,629,640
NET TAXABLE LEVY $34,130,873
Plus Special Levies:
Corrections $5,794,288
Debt Service $2,566,177
Lake Pulaski LID $33,500
Mink-Somers LID $13,420
LEVY $42,538,258
(End of Resolution #07-70)
Russek provided an update on the future of RC&D. At the last RC&D meeting, members discussed whether to remain in existence. The NRCS will no longer provide funding and so the group will not be sanctioned as an RC&D. Members decided they would continue to meet. Wright County has benefited by being a part of RC&D, through grants procured. The SWCD received a grant toward a map project that resulted in a benefit of $1,500. A few other projects were completed as well. Wright County’s cost is $150/year. This was provided as an informational update.
Bills Approved
Brian Abrahamson. $160.05
Albertville Body Shop Inc. 10,547.72
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 1,462.52
American Instit. Supply 166.48
American Messaging 925.21
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 368.31
AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 875.00
Ancom Communications Inc. 297.67
Ancom Technical Center 998.00
APEC Industrial Sales & Service 414.23
Apollo Glass Company 185.08
Aramark Correc. Services 16,470.49
Kirk Asplin Oil Company Inc. 103.87
Auto Glass Center Inc. 489.74
Joe Backes 144.04
Barnes Distribution 265.39
Bear Graphics Inc. 1,858.12
Beaudry Oil Co. 348.15
Blaine Lock & Safe Inc. 520.15
Ralph Borell 446.03
Bound Tree Medical LLC 1,959.69
Boyer Truck Parts 823.33
BP Amoco 2,761.57
Brock White Co. Inc. 2,303.60
Buffalo Floral & Landscaping 120.00
Buffalo Hospital 10,580.00
City Buffalo 36,629.63
Canadian Pacific Railway 11,708.00
Cardiac Science 260.93
Cargill Inc.-Salt Division 39,949.39
Carver County Treasurer 100.90
Center Point Energy 369.06
Centra Sota Lake Region Inc. 68,925.78
Central MN Mental Health Ctr. 185.00
Climate Air 518.40
Comdata Corporation 112.49
Commissioner of Transportation 17,338.95
Compliance Solutions Occup. 451.93
Computer Professionals Unlimit 2,125.09
Consolidated Container Corp. 1,792.41
Contech Construction Product 392.43
Corrections Products Co. Ltd. 525.90
Cottens’ Inc. 1,907.82
H. Cragg Co. 625.00
Crow River Tools 396.31
Cub Foods 400.00
Cub Pharmacy 2,828.04
Colleen Curran 7,521.00
Dash Medical Gloves 309.40
Deatons Mailing Systems Inc. 236.22
City Delano 2,208.10
Nathaniel Deroo 9,765.00
Dingmann Marine & More LLC 253.15
E Central Reg. Juvenile 15,826.00
Elections Sys. & Software Inc. 1,181.30
Embarq 163.03
Emedco 1,257.53
EmergencyPhysicians PA 434.25
Dale Engel 800.00
Engineering Design Initiative 1,587.50
Engineering Repro Systems 343.28
EPA Audio Visual Inc. 718.88
ESRI 950.00
Fairbanks Scale Inc. 630.23
Fastenal Company 126.50
Tom Feddema 135.80
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Exc. 460,274.30
Final Touch Excavating, Inc. 31,738.65
Fleet Computing International 775.00
Gateway Companies Inc. 4800.01
GCS Service Inc. 676.06
Michael Glanz 3,146.00
Raymond Glunz 100.00
Grainger 470.99
Graphic & Printing Services 252.00
Greenview Inc. 252.40
H & H Sport Shop Inc. 147.00
Hardrives, Inc. 3,993.75
Karla Heeter 175.57
Hegle Door Co. 1,165.80
Hennepin Co. Sheriff 338.20
Chris Herbst 2,735.00
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 12,118.69
Todd Hoffman 374.25
Holiday 15,143.87
City Howard Lake 529.07
Integrated Fire & Security 193.19
International Code Council 310.50
Intoximeters Inc. 148.49
Chris Jahnke 192.06
Robert James Co. Inc. 243.46
Jerrys Towing & Repair 133.13
Kaplan Professional Schools 795.00
Cheryl Klinger 200.00
Randy Kramer Excavating 19,635.49
Kustom Signals Inc. 717.00
Lakedale Communications 285.10
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,635.96
Law Enforcement Training Serv. 200.00
Lawson Products Inc. 311.56
Loberg Electric 346.87
L3 Communications Inc. 161.59
M-R Sign Company Inc. 222.43
Maple Lake Lumber Company 141.87
City Maple Lake 3,857.79
Marco 5,663.73
Marco Inc. 6,797.08
Martin Marietta Aggregates 669.11
Martin-McAllisters Consulting 700.00
Menards - Buffalo 1,438.09
The Metro Group Inc. 648.59
Midway Iron & Metal Co. Inc. 496.84
Midwest Machinery Co. 165.30
Mies Outland Inc. 100.62
MN Assn. of Community Correct. 100.00
MN Counties Comp. Co-op 2,881.77
MN GIS-LIS Conference 910.00
MN Sheriff’s Association 275.00
MN Supreme Court 663.00
City Monticello 14,317.52
City Montrose 705.42
Morries Parts & Service Co. 4,447.76
Nagell Appraisal & Consulting 6,000.00
Nelson Ford 24,530.86
Nextel Communications 2,714.28
Numara Software 4,704.37
Office Depot 6,241.13
City Otsego 10,050.00
Pearson Education 236.37
Lynn Peavey Company 521.25
Photo 1 296.85
Plastic Safety Systems, Inc. 3,514.89
Polar Chevrolet 30,611.65
Powerplan OIB 2,027.57
Prosource One 543.35
The Raptor Center 250.00
Red Barn Plat Books 1,771.14
Genell Reese 126.79
Retrofit Companies Inc. 6,120.19
Royal Tire Inc. 2,483.53
RS Eden 9,935.00
Ryan Chevrolet 335.60
Michael Schmidt 18,379.00
Barbara Schneider Foundation 550.00
Setina Mfg. Co. Inc. 790.89
Shell Fleet Plus 348.40
Software House International Inc 1,426.04
Specialty Turf & Ag 1,745.01
Sprint 150.88
St. Cloud Medical Group PA 329.08
Star West 24,775.10
Swanson Brothers Trapline Serv. 334.60
William Swing 428.22
Tech Depot 649.92
Terning Excavating Inc. 3,910.00
Tilsner Carton Co. 981.10
Timber Resources LLC 875.00
Tool Warehouse Inc. 444.91
Tractor Supply Credit Plan 165.58
Traffic Control Corporation 3,333.46
Traffic Marking Service Inc. 14,322.37
Trueman Welters, Inc. 931.88
Uniforms Unlimited 373.76
United Parcel Service 1227.22
University of Minnesota 295.50
Varitech Industries Inc. 9474.77
Veolia Environmental Services 7,554.10
Veripic Inc. 16,820.00
Verizon Wireless 242.83
Victor Township 1,047.70
Walmart Store 01-1577 798.60
Waste Management TC West 1,299.91
City Waverly 2,028.09
John Wenner 378.00
Wright Co. Auditor Treasurer 442.80
Wright Co. Journal Press 409.53
Wright Hennepin Co-op Elec Assn. 217.44
Wright Hennepin Electric 413.00
Wright Soil & Water Cons. Dist. 10,657.00
Xcel Energy 159.25
Zack’s Inc. 2,601.05
54 Payments less than $100 2,618.47
Final total $1,143,348.28
The meeting adjourned at 10:19 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Jan. 14, 2007.