Wright County Board Minutes

MAY 4, 2010
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
Russek moved to approve the 4-27-10 County Board minutes, seconded by Thelen, carried unanimously.
Thelen moved to approve the Agenda as presented, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: D. Anderson, D. Lee, T. Rasmuson, Assr.; B. Lutes, Atty.: C. Barthel, R. Burns, M. Gasper, R. Hagel, D. Pace, A. Pulvermacher, W. Vogel, Bldg. Maint.; L. Cleaveland, R. Gongoll, Sher./Corr.
2. Budget 100 Transfers To The Various Departments In The General Revenue Budget.
3. Refer Discussion RE: Dispatch Schedules To The Negotiation Committee.
1. Approve Abatement, PID #116-600-000300, T Mobile Central LLC (City of Waverly).
2. Approve Abatement, PID #118-190-006020, Knisley Const. Inc. (City of Otsego).
3. Approve Abatement, PID #215-013-000090, Matthew & Lexann Steffens (Rockford Twp.).
4. Approve Abatement, PID #215-100-154400, Great River Energy (Rockford Twp.).
1. Authorize Signatures Of The Board Chair, County Coordinator, & Sheriff On The Boat & Water Supplemental Safety Grant Agreement.
2. Refer To Personnel Committee Request For Discussion On Lead Clerk Supervisor Wage.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said a conference call was held on 5-03-10 with Meeker County on Joint Ditch 15. McLeod County was not available. The purpose of the conference call was to discuss approval of a variance request for a pipeline to cross Joint Ditch 15 at an elevation less than required by Statute. Hiivala said Kerry Saxton, SWCD, advised that there is sufficient cover in that portion of the ditch so he recommended approval of the variance. The resolution passed during the conference call with three votes. This was provided as an informational item.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 18, Sabre Communications Corporation ($33,634.80), for a tower shelter and asked where the shelter will be installed. In review of the claim, Hiivala stated this is the final payment for two shelters, and the payment represents 15% of the total cost. The sites are in Annandale and Howard Lake. On a motion by Russek, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, distributed the 2009 Highway Department Annual Report. Approval of the Report will be placed on the next County Board Agenda.
Fingalson presented a resolution approving Agreement No. 96646 with Mn/DOT for the advance vehicle detection warning system. Federal funding has been obtained for placement of the system in four identified intersections and will be installed this summer. The detection system warns travelers of vehicles approaching on cross roads. Fingalson supports trying the system as it has been successful in other areas. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #10-17, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 4-28-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Russek. Russek referenced the Committee’s recommendation on Item 4, Request To Remodel, Human Services Center, which reads, “Approve request to remodel, at a cost not to exceed $1,200-$1,300.” He said approval might as well just read “to a maximum of $1,300.” Sawatzke said the quotes were received on 2-24-10. The minutes reflect the estimate of work at $1,136. The request by Human Services is to increase the amount authorized because of when it was quoted. Sawatzke did not feel the construction industry has realized inflation costs to substantiate a 10% increase in the quote. Eichelberg said quotes are sometimes only good for 60-90 days. Sawatzke felt if that were the case, the County could select another person to complete the work. Sawatzke asked that the motion include a friendly amendment that the amount authorized be capped at $1,200. Eichelberg stated that he hoped this would not require the issue to have to be referred back to Committee. He was aware that lumber costs have increased. Eichelberg and Russek accepted the friendly amendment to the motion. The motion carried 5-0 to approve the minutes as amended:
I. Quote For Security Cameras.
Nolan received a request from Genell Reese, Veteran Services/Nuclear Director, on the possibility of installing security cameras in both the EOC corridor and the Veteran Services/Extension corridor. Nolan said the Second, Third, and Fourth Floors of the Annex Building do not have security cameras. There are cameras located outside the building, in the Lobby, and in several corridors. The County has one recorder. If cameras are installed in the Annex, an additional recorder would be required. Nolan stated completion of this work would provide surveillance of pretty much the entire Government Center. The cameras provide a recording of activities and are on a 30-day loop. Nolan contacted Russell’s Security Resource Inc. who provided two quotes. The first totals $1,347.60 and includes installation of two cameras (1-Veterans Services/Extension corridor and 1-EOC corridor). The second quote totals $5,113.88 and includes installation of four cameras in the Annex Building (2-Second Floor, 1-Third Floor, and 1-Fourth Floor). Mattson supported Reese’s request for security cameras due to the amount of veteran records located in that office. Eichelberg added that the main entrance to the Veteran Services office is not secured through the card key system. Recommendation: Approve the two quotes from Russell’s Security Resource Inc. for a total of $6,461.48 including installation and labor, funded from Budget 100, Site Improvements.
II. Uninterruptable Power Source Maintenance Plan.
Swing provided a handout (attached) reflecting his recommendation for a County-wide Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS) maintenance plan. The plan involves providing backup to the County systems in the event of a power outage. There are seven UPS units in the County buildings (3-LEC, 1-Public Works, 1-Human Services Center, 2-Government Center). HM Cragg has been providing the inspection of the UPS batteries for a number of years. It is proposed that the batteries at the LEC are brought into the maintenance plan. The plan would include annual inspection of the batteries, UPS equipment inspections every five years, and battery replacement every five years. Costs associated are as follows:
Year; Item; Totals
2010; Alber Monitoring for Dispatch; $10,388
2010; Equipment/Battery Inspection-Legacy UPS; $3,800
2010; 2nd Half Battery Inspection-LEC (2 UPS); $650
TOTAL 2010 $14,838
Annually Annual Battery Inspections
2012; Legacy UPS Battery Replacement; $17,000
2014; LEC UPS Battery Replacement; $31,000
It was noted that battery replacements would be required every five year period (i.e., again in 2017 for the Legacy UPS Battery, again in 2019 for the LEC UPS Battery, etc.). Swing elaborated that this provides a monitoring solution for Dispatch. Monitoring would be completed by the Building Maintenance Supervisor at the LEC. The system will alert staff when batteries fall below the threshold. It is critical that the E911 System not go down. The UPS maintains power to the systems until the generator kicks in. The UPS is only good for a short time. The Human Services Center does not have a generator. One was recently installed at Public Works and that is working well. Discussion led to the ongoing maintenance and the budget. Swing said the IT Budget includes $2,000 for the maintenance of the current UPS units. However, he viewed this as a Building Maintenance function as it involves electrical. Hayes agreed stating that the LEC has a computer system that monitors the heating/cooling systems. This function could be connected to the current system and Hatfield would be notified when things are not working properly. Recommendation: Authorize County-wide UPS Maintenance Plan including the costs outlined above. Funding in 2010 will be from Budget 100, Site Improvements. In future years, funding will be included as part of the Building Maintenance budget.
III. Request For Temporary Storage Space.
Mleziva presented a request to temporarily utilize storage space in the vacated Sheriff’s Office. Human Services recently obtained a State SHIP Grant that will be utilized to provide cribs for adoption/foster homes. They were able to obtain about six cribs and various other items. Mleziva said this will be totally funded by the SHIP Grant and will not involve County dollars. The Human Services Center does not have space to house these items. An estimated 10’ x 10’ area is required for up to one year. Norman noted that if the request were approved, access to the items would be through the Building Maintenance Department. The area is secured through the card key system and card key access will not be granted. Access will need to be during normal business hours. Recommendation: Approve request to authorize use of an approximate 10’ x 10’ area in the vacated Sheriff Department for storage of cribs, noting that the request is temporary and that the request is authorized for up to a 12-month period. Once the cribs are gone, the agreement is done. Requests to access the area must be made during normal business hours through the Building Maintenance staff.
IV. Request To Remodel, Human Services Center.
Mleziva presented a request to move a sink from one room to another at the Human Services Center to accommodate Nursing Mothers needs (see attached). The Public Health Department acquired a new “lab type” refrigerator to store vaccines and to meet Minnesota Department of Health requirements. The specifications of the new refrigerator were such that it must be housed in a larger space than where the previous refrigerator was stored. The new refrigerator was moved into one of the small conference rooms at the Human Services Center. The intent is to use the room where the old refrigerator was located as the Nursing Mothers Room. This will require the movement of a sink from the Public Health Exam Room. The sink is not required in the Exam Room. The cost for moving the sink will be paid for by the SHIP Grant. Schefers said the plumbing is located in a common wall between the Exam Room and the proposed Nursing Mothers Room. The current Nursing Mothers Room is a former restroom outside of the main reception room foyer. Minnesota Statutes indicate a nursing room cannot be located in a toilet stall. If the Nursing Mothers Room is moved, the area would again be used as a restroom. The intent is to accommodate those staff who have an ADA or a physician’s order requiring the availability of a chemical scent-free restroom. The Public Health Exam Room restroom is currently being used for this purpose. However, Schefers explained that certain guidelines must be followed for sanitizing the Exam Room. Access problems have also occurred because of the frequent use of the Exam Room and because the Exam Room must remain locked. The restroom cannot be accessed without going through the Exam Room. Norman asked whether there is a sink located in close proximity to the current Nursing Mothers Room. Schefers explained that the closest sink is located in the Exam Room and poses access problems. The nearest sink beyond that is the one in the room that is currently being used as the Nursing Mothers Room. Norman said the only requirement of the new Federal Regulations is that the Nursing Mothers Room not be located in a restroom and there must be access to running water nearby. The Statute does not define the meaning of “nearby”. Schefers said the current room furnishings include a chair and a small table and that is what regulations require. An estimate was received for $1,136 to complete the work. Mleziva is asking for approval of up to $1,200-$1,300 as the quotes are from February, 2010. Mattson asked that Human Services verify the bid from Robin’s Plumbing & Heating Service Inc. The person who owns the business is now an employee in the Corrections Department. He wanted it verified that the person is still willing to complete the work and that there is not a conflict of interest as this is a County employee. Recommendation: Approve request to remodel, at a cost not to exceed $1,200.
(End of Building Committee Minutes and discussion)
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 4-27-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 4-0 (Thelen absent):
Mattson stated that he initiated today’s discussion due to an article in the March 29, 2010 NACo “CountyNews” newspaper (Vol. 42, No. 6, Page 1). He stated that he was upset to read that NACo “applauds” the legislative passage of the health care reform plan. He stated that it is his opinion that NACo is supposed to remain neutral in its position on legislative issues. Russek stated that NACo is lobbying for something that 70% of the national public is against. Thelen stated that she read the article and saw that NACo’s position was to applaud portions of the bill (i.e. nurse family partnerships, no cost expansion of the Medicaid program) and according to the headline, there would be “No undue burdens on counties.” She stated that it was her interpretation that the NACo organization and the Governor’s Association found some things within the bill that were favorable to Minnesota counties. She stated that she believes NACo is neutral on the topic. The bill was enacted, and there are some things within that bill that benefit counties. Norman distributed a packet of Department Head feedback (see attached) regarding their perceived value/benefit received from the County’s membership in NACo. Eichelberg stated that his concern is whether the County is gaining enough help from the organization to justify the membership dues. He asked Norman whether certain Department Heads could pay their portion of the membership dues in order to remain connected to NACo. Norman stated that it is an “all or nothing” membership. Norman explained that the membership dues are split between the three major budget areas (i.e. Road & Bridge, Human Services, and General Revenue), just as the AMC membership dues are split. This year’s dues is $1,676. He presents the claim at the first County Board Meeting each year. Mattson and Sawatzke commented that the annual dues were less than they expected. Russek stated that at last week’s AMC Board of Directors Meeting, he informed them that Wright County is possibly considering terminating its membership with NACo. He stated that nobody responded to his comment. Mattson stated that he proposes that perhaps a letter indicating that the County is considering cancelling its membership may be enough action to bring forth attention from NACo. Sawatzke referenced the packet of Department Head responses. He stated that he anticipated that a few Department Heads were in favor of the County’s membership in NACo; however, he was shocked to see how few felt they were directly benefited by the membership. He noted that Highway and the Administration Departments sited specific benefits they have received due to the County’s membership in NACo. Norman stated that the Administration Department’s largest advantage is in monitoring the NACo website. Via their website, the County has been made aware of grant funds that may not have been otherwise available. The County received over $525,000 in grant funding in 2009. Norman stated that Wright County was one of 10 counties in Minnesota that had an automatic allocation based on its population. Sawatzke stated that AMC may be able to provide this same service. Norman stated that he is not aware whether AMC could provide the same readily available information. Sawatzke responded that the County could view the NACo website whether it is a member or not. Thelen stated that she was surprised by Don Mleziva’s opinion regarding the County’s membership with NACo. She stated that she is part of the Health and Human Service Board and stated there is a lot of information about federal level programs that are filtered down through NACo. She stated that in discussion with Mleziva, he stated that his supervisors did not see a direct benefit from NACo. Thelen stated that she thinks it would be a mistake to withdraw membership with NACo. Sawatzke commented that these types of organizations could be swayed by its members, involvement of members, and geographic size of its members. He commented that it is his opinion that AMC is heavily influenced by Hennepin County because of its geographic size and amount of dues it must pay. He stated that it is his opinion that the bigger counties carry more clout because they have more people who are actively involved. Thelen stated that she does not have an overall sense of the types of decisions or impacts the NACo organization has made over the years since she is only a recent County Board Member. Sawatzke stated that NACo is supposed to take a position on issues based on the feeling of the Counties they represent. He stated that Wright County does not have a large influence because its Commissioners are not individually involved due to the time and cost. NACo meetings are rarely scheduled in Minnesota. Sawatzke stated that he understands there are some reasons or benefits in remaining a member of NACo. Thelen stated that she is a big supporter of networking and working with others who have similar needs. She stated that choosing isolation or not participating is problematic. She stated that she does not agree with terminating membership because NACo expressed support for the health care bill. Sawatzke asked if NACo has 100% participation from Minnesota counties. Eichelberg stated that when he attended the NACo meeting two years ago, every county in Minnesota was a member. Eichelberg asked whether the County Board should direct Russek to attend the District Meeting to determine what other out state counties are doing. Russek stated that the next District Meeting will take place on 5-20-10. Mattson commented that the County has already paid its 2010 dues. Eichelberg proposed that between now and the end of the year, Wright County can find out what other counties are doing. Thelen stated that we should ask for more communication from other counties. John Swanson stated that it his opinion that any group that the County is involved in should be impartial on any political view. He stated that these types of organizations should not take sides. The taxpayers are paying the membership dues.
Sawatzke stated that these organizations are not supposed to be impartial. NACo and AMC create platforms that are supposed to represent the viewpoint of their members. He clarified that these organizations should take sides on issues, but not on political viewpoints. He stated that it is his opinion that NACo made a mistake in promoting the universal health care plan. NACo was misguided in their stance based on the general overall feeling of the country. Russek commented that this is a partisan issue. Dick Anderson asked if NACo is a lobbying group. Sawatzke stated yes. Thelen stated that NACo provides training. Norman stated that NACo acts as a clearing house for information and notifications. They also offer webinars that are valuable to his office staff. RECOMMENDATION: Discuss NACo Membership as an Agenda Item at the District Meeting, and consider membership as part of the 2011 budget process.
(End of 4-27-10 Committee Of the Whole minutes and discussion)
A Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Meeting was held on 4-28-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0:
I. UNIONS/NON-UNION GROUP RESPONSES AND NEXT STEPS. Norman introduced today’s Committee Meeting by stating that the union/non-union representatives were instructed to go back and confer with their members regarding their options for making changes to the County’s health insurance plans. The purpose of today’s meeting is to hear feedback from each group. Norman stated that it is not the intent of the employer to dictate the insurance plans, however with rising healthcare costs, the County Board is seeking input from employees regarding their insurance benefits. Russek confirmed that this is the opportunity for County employees to discuss their insurance needs.
Number of Insured on BCBS:
Plan; Single; Family
Plan 1; 420; 63
Plan 2; 5; 37
Plan 3; 12; 114
Total: Single 437; Family 214
Teamster’s, Sheriff Supervisor
O’Malley stated that their group is fairly small. Most of the members carry single coverage. The majority of the group is open to all ideas. It was the consensus that the members are not using their health care policies to the fullest. If the premiums do increase, the single planholders know that they can drop into a lower priced plan to fit their budget.
Local 49’ers
Korman stated that the members of his group are favorable to increasing the co-pay amounts. Norman asked if the group discussed what they considered to be a reasonable co-pay amount. Korman stated that the group was in favor of the maximum proposed amount of $25. Petersen asked if the group was favorable to increasing the out-of-pocket maximum or prescription co-pay. Korman stated that the group would be interested in these types of increases as long as none of the current benefits are eliminated.
Teamster’s, Essential Employees Unit (320)
Guinn stated that most of the members are in Plan 1. The majority of the group expressed that they do not want to pay higher prescription co-pays. They are open to increasing co-pays and hospital portions. The consensus was to leave Plan 1 as is, switch Plan 2 down to Plan 3, and then consider other options for Plan 3 (i.e. catastrophic, HSA, cafeteria plan). Pawelk stated that she also attended this meeting. She stated that the majority of the members were open to small changes. However, there were a lot of prescription users and they were not interested in a three-tier system. They might be receptive to raising the out-of-pocket maximum to $1,200.
Non-Union Group
Brown stated that there were approximately 20 employees that came to this meeting. The majority of the members have family coverage. The group expressed interest in increasing the office visit co-pays and minimally increasing the annual deductible and out-of-pocket amounts. The group was undecided on hospital services and prescription co-pays. The group inquired about HSAs. The pros and cons were discussed, however, a formal opinion was not developed.
Pawelk stated that this topic is personal to each employee. She stated that it was her observation that employees are receptive to making small changes and a lot of the groups were open to the idea of a cafeteria plan.
Wright County Deputies Association
Fladung stated that he had a small turnout. The majority of the members that attended the meeting have families, however, they are not paying for family coverage. Most had single coverage and either had their spouse carry the family health insurance or had a separate policy outside of the County. He stated that the members had a strong interest in an HSA plan. He clarified that the group was not willing to discuss options until they receive more information. Those that have single coverage did not have an opinion other than they did not want Plan 1 to change.
AFSCME, Human Services
Adams stated that AFSCME has 170 members. She conducted three meetings and distributed a survey. She stated that it was very difficult to single-handedly educate 170 members and get the members to attend meetings during non-working hours. She noted that employees carrying single coverage don’t have a vested interest because they aren’t paying anything toward their insurance benefits. Their coverage is completely covered by the County’s contribution. She stated that she would encourage that the County do more education on how to effectively use their insurance benefits. The single coverage employees do not understand that this is part of their benefits compensation package. She stated that the members expressed the desire to have the current plans go out for bid as-is. Adams stated that quite a few members expressed interest in adding a four tiered family plan. She stated that it was difficult for members to conceptualize the options, as the number of options were overwhelming. Some of the options seemed unrealistic (i.e. Plan 2’s Out-of-Pocket Maximum increasing from $750 to $2,000). The group was in favor of the following changes in this order:
1) Increasing Office Co-Pay
2) Increase Prescription Drug Co-Pay
3) Create a 3-Tier Prescription Drug Co-Pay
Adams stated that there was a strong feeling that if the County were to make these changes, the reduction in benefits would be a concession. She stated that it was the hope of the group that any concessions would be supplemented by the County. There was strong support for a true Cafeteria Plan. There was also strong support to explore the long-term possibility of an onsite clinic. Norman asked if there was any indication as to what the ceiling amount should be for the three-tiered prescription drug co-pay. Adams stated that $10/$25/$50 was the recommendation. Norman asked if there is a ceiling to the co-pay amount. Adams stated no.
Teamster’s Courthouse Unit
Riley stated that his group had a good discussion. All of the options were explored and everybody understands that the current plans will soon hit their ceiling. In the context of the meeting, the majority of individuals didn’t want to see Plan 1 change at this time. The focus then turned to the family plans. There was an overwhelming feeling that something needs to be done about the high cost of the family plan. The idea to add an additional plan (fourth plan) would give employees a year to get comfortable, and achieve a learning curve prior to going into the next contract negotiations. He stated that by the time we hold contract negotiations, the top plan may become outdated and drop out. Riley stated there was minimal discussion regarding an HSA plan. He stated that there was some concern that the proposed benefit savings didn’t correlate to the amount the co-pays and out-of-pocket amounts would increase. The consensus was that the members would be willing to make small changes. Norman asked if the group was willing to look at co-pay adjustments. Riley stated that the group didn’t specifically talk about numbers. The group wanted a general consensus from other groups before making these types of decisions.
Riley commented that he discovered there are a lot of people that need family coverage and don’t have it. They have the single coverage plan and have purchased a separate catastrophic plan. Coglitore stated that this is not a good option for employees. Adams stated that she also found this happening within the AFSCME Human Services group.
Norman asked whether the groups would consider higher co-pays and out-of-pockets in Plan 1. Riley responded that nobody was willing to change Plan 1. Fladung stated that the single employees in Plan 1 did not care to make any changes. The ones that are hurting are those with families. He stated that the employees who don’t have to contribute to their health insurance plans don’t have a real interest in this process.
Norman stated that 70% of the County’s employees are on single coverage. Plan 1 is considered a “Cadillac” plan and employees within the plan do not want to change it because it is so good and does not have a deductible. Norman informed the group that the risk is that there might not be any providers willing to bid on the County’s current plans because they are too rich and the County has a high loss ratio. Riley stated that this was discussed with the members of the Teamster’s Courthouse Unit. Norman asked B&C Consulting how restructuring Plan 3, while keeping Plans 1 and 2 the same would impact quotes. Berg stated that he is not sure if the underwriters will even quote Plan 1 as it stands. He stated that he foresees the underwriters requiring changes to Plan 1. Berg stated that what typically happens is that the older and less healthy employees are in the high plan. If the premium amount is not high enough to cover the costs of those in the high plan, then the loss ratio artificially increases. Underwriters won’t look at plans with a history of a high loss ratio.
Brown asked B&C Consulting for their input regarding the recently passed healthcare reform bill and the proposed excise tax on “Cadillac” insurance plans. Coglitore stated that it is too early to know how the healthcare reform plan will affect providers and the plans they offer. Berg stated that the changes from the healthcare bill could take until 2014 to be fully implemented.
Riley asked whether a fourth family plan with lower benefits and lower costs is a consideration. Pawelk stated that it is her understanding that there is more volatility with having more health insurance plans. She stated that it is difficult for underwriters to obtain quotes on more plans. Brown asked whether the County could request bids for four plans, allowing the unions to determine the three plans they would want implemented. Riley agreed with Brown stating that the fourth plan could provide the framework for negotiating. Brown stated that she has heard that underwriters tend to artificially price extra plans. Berg stated that most underwriters aren’t willing to look at four plan options. Norman stated that it sounds as if Plan 3 needs to be restructured to help those with family coverage. Berg stated that this would help drive down the costs. Norman asked if B&C would support the idea of restructuring Plans 2 & 3. He also asked whether from a bid standpoint if it would be sufficient to only restructure Plan 3. Berg responded that Plan 1 is going to be the tough sell to the underwriters. Providers are trying to extinguish these types of rich plans. The underwriters would like to see Plans 2 & 3 restructured, however, the County would have higher negotiation power if Plan 1 was also changed.
Brown asked if B&C could provide a recommendation. Coglitore stated that they would have to discuss today’s ideas with carriers. He explained that the bulk of the cost is in Plan 1. He stated that even if the County had a fourth plan, and only a minimum amount of employees moved into that plan, it would not affect the premiums. He stated that it would make sense to make the current Plan 2 the new Plan 1, Plan 3 the new Plan 2, and then create a new 3rd option. Berg stated that this could be a first step which could create a more affordable family health insurance plan.
AFSCME, Attorneys
Sandberg stated that the AFSCME Attorneys group did not meet. However, he stated that most are pleased with the family coverage plans. He commented that with 700 employees, it seems as if it would be impossible to get everyone to agree on the offered plans. He stated that since the County is contributing toward the various health plans, he asked whether the County can just make the decision for everybody. Norman explained that from the employer’s standpoint, it would be nice to do this. However, there is an arbitrators award and a court ruling regarding how changing employer offered insurance benefits is a reduction of benefits. This affects terms of employment, which must be agreed upon by all bargaining units.
Riley stated that the County is not going to convince 420 employees to make changes to Plan 1 when the County is contributing 100% toward the cost of that plan. Adams confirmed that the members in Plan 1 won’t give up anything voluntarily.
O’Malley asked how soon B&C would know whether insurance companies would be willing to bid on Plan 1. Coglitore stated that they could start laying the groundwork now and talk to the carriers to get an idea on what they think of the current plans, however, they wanted to get a feel for what the County employees were looking for. O’Malley stated that if the County knew that the underwriters won’t bid on the current Plan 1, then this could move the process along quickly. The employees would be forced to determine how to change all of the plans.
Norman proposed outlining the potential changes based on today’s discussion, and distributing the information to the stewards and representatives to share with their groups. The Committee could be rescheduled to meet again in a month to discuss feedback from each of the groups.
Collectively, the group proposed these changes:
Plan 1
Leave as-is
Plan 2
Increase Office Co-Pay to $25
Increase Out-Of-Pocket Maximum $1,000
Maintain a No Deductible Status
Increase Hospital Emergency Room Co-Pay to $100 (to encourage use of Urgent Care and Minute Clinics)
Plan 3 Maintain a No Office Co-Pay Status
Increase Out-Of-Pocket to $1,200/$2,500
Increase Deductible to $500/$1,000
Hohl stated that she is hearing the majority of the costs are coming from those that are in Plan 1. She asked whether tweaking Plan 3 is going to really achieve a significant savings. She stated that she is concerned as she has family coverage. She questioned whether raising the deductibles within her plan is really going to impact the savings the County is looking for. Brown stated that she thinks there will be a lot of objection in raising the deductible on Plan 3. These employees already pay the most for their coverage. To combine this with having to pay a higher deductible does not seem fair.
Berg explained to the group that the underwriters would be more aggressive if the County is more aggressive in changing its level of benefits.
Sandberg asked whether the plans could be bid out twice. He stated that if the current plans came back with high premiums, then employees may be more willing to make changes. The changes could then go out for bid again. Berg explained that the County would lose leverage by going out for bid twice.
Guinn asked if the County would consider more educational programs for its employees. Brown stated that when the County had Medica as its provider, they offered a lot of educational materials and meetings. However, nobody would attend the meetings. Pawelk stated that educational materials are distributed as part of the new employee orientations, Benefits Fair, Wellness Committee, and in preparation for today’s Committee Meeting.
Guinn asked if the County could post information on the intranet regarding the Health Insurance plans to help educate employees and encourage employees to meet with their unions regarding the importance of these decisions. Brown and Pawelk stated yes.
RECOMMENDATION: Schedule a Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Meeting for 5-26-10 at 9:00 a.m. to obtain feedback from Unions/Non-Union groups and determine next steps.
(End of 4-28-10 Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Minutes & discussion)
At 9:36 A.M., Russek moved to close the Board Meeting and enter into the Public Hearing to consider proposed changes to the Fee Schedule, Sheriff/Corrections. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0. Chief Deputy Joe Hagerty provided an overview of the proposed changes to the Fee Schedule. A few fees charged by the Department are not reflected in the Schedule so they will be added. Other fees on the Schedule will be amended. Hagerty provided the following information relating to the individual fees:
Incident Report Copies. The Schedule currently lists “$5.00 each” for “Incident/Arrest Copies.” It is proposed to change the name to “Incident Report Copies” at a cost of “$.25/copy” as that is what they currently charge.
Sheriff Sales. It is proposed to change “All Other Sales” and “All Sheriff Sales” from “$50.00” to “$60.00.” This change is based on bringing the Wright County Sheriff’s Department fees in line with fees charged by surrounding agencies.
Executions. The fee is currently at “$30.00 plus 4% commission on the money collected.” It is proposed to change this rate to “$30.00 plus 5% commission on money collected.” This change is based on bringing the Wright County Sheriff’s Department fees in line with fees charged by surrounding agencies.
Pay-For-Stay Other Counties/State. Hagerty said the proposed fee is “$55.00 per day”. Sawatzke suggested changing the name of this fee to something like Bed Rental Other Counties/State. He felt naming it Pay-For-Stay was confusing as it is not a fee charged to inmates. Hagerty said staff discussed this and decided upon the proposed name. The fee is not charged to inmates. It is the fee assessed to counties or the State when they house prisoners at the Jail.
At 9:41 A.M., Eichelberg moved to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0.
The regular Board Meeting was reconvened. Eichelberg moved to approve the following Fee Schedule changes for the Sheriff/Corrections Department, seconded by Thelen. The effective date will be 5-05-10. The motion carried 5-0:
Item; Current Rate/Charge; Proposed New Rate or Language Change
All Other Sales; $50.00; $60.00
All Sheriff Sales; $50.00 each; $60.00
Executions; $30.00 Plus 4% commission on money collected; $30.00 Plus 5% commission on money collected
Foreclosure Sales; $50.00; $60.00
Incident/Arrest Copies; $5.00 each; Incident Report Copies $ .25 per page
*Special Detail/Outside Employment; $40.00 per hour; $45.00 per hour
*Pay-For-Stay Other Counties/State $55.00; Pay-For-Stay Other Counties/State $55.00
Photo Fee $5.00; $5.00, Free if electronically sent
*These items were not previously listed on the Fee Schedule
(End of Fee Schedule changes)
Thelen moved to cancel the 6-29-10 County Board Meeting due to the occurrence of five Tuesdays in June, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
At 9:45 A.M., Mattson closed the bids for the building demolition at the Wright County Fair Grounds. Craig Hayes, Purchasing Agent, opened the bids received:
Bidder; Total Bid
1. Carlson Construction, Buffalo MN; $500 (partially donated)
2. Davis Contractors, Buffalo MN; $6,500
3. Gibby’s Construction, Maple Lake MN; $2,380
4. Veit Companies, Rogers MN; $3,200
5. J.L. Schmitz & Sons, Monticello MN; $3,921
6. Pro Asphalt Total Maintenance, Buffalo MN; $2,996
7. Dennis Fehn, Albertville MN; $2,255
8. Rolstad Construction, Buffalo MN; $3,250
9. Jake’s Excavating, Buffalo MN; $1,500
Hayes stated that a bid bond was not required for the project. The recommendation is to accept the low bid contingent upon the contractor providing proof of insurance; completing the work by 5-20-10; and at the time of payment, presenting a receipt from the landfill indicating tonnage delivered and type of material. Hayes said he will contact Carlson Construction on clarification of the “partially donated” notation on the bid. Sawatzke moved to authorize Hayes to approve an agreement with the lowest bidder who meets the requirements set forth. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Hayes provided an update on the status of the goat barn project. A meeting was held recently and attended by Hayes, Mark Nolan (Safety Director), Craig Schulz (Building Inspector), and representatives of the Fair Board. Bid specifications have been developed. The Fair Board would like the building completed by 7-01-10. Given that timeline, Hayes requested that the Board consider setting a bid opening date of 5-18-10 at 9:30 A.M. Sawatzke moved to set the Bid Opening as requested, seconded by Eichelberg. Hayes said there are eleven people who have expressed interest in bidding. He does not plan to advertise. It was already mentioned in the newspaper. The public was instructed to contact Hayes at 763-682-7382 if they are interested in obtaining bid specifications. The motion carried 5-0. Russek said the Fair Board has indicated they would like 4’ curtains instead of 2’ curtains for extra ventilation. Hayes said this has already been changed in the bid specifications. Mattson questioned whether everything has been included in the specifications to avoid future change orders. He was concerned about change orders that could affect the total cost and the apparent low bid. Hayes responded that they have spent quite a bit of time working on the specifications with input from the Wright County Building Inspector. When the project is bid, they will recommend that the bids be laid over for one week to allow staff to review them for accuracy. There will be three alternates in the size of the building: 30’ x 104’, 40’ x 104’, and 42’ x 104’.
A Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 4-27-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Russek. Thelen requested that the following change be made to the minutes: Page 1, 4th paragraph, line 9, sentence should read, “She continued that Employer’s Association, Inc. provided good questions in their sample questionnaire.” The motion carried 5-0:
The Personnel Committee of The Whole meeting of 4-19-10 was reconvened at 1:30 P.M. Norman referenced discussions that took place at the 4-19-10 Personnel Committee of The Whole meeting and the consensus is that the two finalists for the Classification Study are Employers Association, Inc. and Springsted Inc. He stated that a decision should be made on who the County Board feels most comfortable working with and the scope of services provided by each firm. It was felt that the County received good proposals from the four firms that were interviewed.
Russek stated that everyone was in agreement with the two finalists chosen after the initial meeting. Eichelberg commented that it did add value to hear the presentations, as the two finalists did not originally receive the top points. Thelen questioned if references have been checked on Employers Association, Inc. and Springsted Inc. Norman stated not at this time.
Thelen stated that Springstead Inc. did not provide a long list of counties that they have worked with; however, she was impressed by the length and wealth of information that was presented by Antonsen. She felt that Antonsen would be a great project lead to work with. Thelen referenced Employers Association, Inc. in regards to their ability to keep people focused on a timeline and feels this alleviates some of the pressure put on the Administration Department.
Norman stated that Employers Association, Inc. referenced that questionnaires would be used as an optional tool. He added that questionnaires involve a lot of work to complete and employees are not always consistent in their writing. Employers Association, Inc. prefers conducting interviews and a questionnaire may be used as pre-work for the interviews. Norman feels that it is appropriate to use questionnaires; however, a person’s major task and responsibilities should be formulated by the department heads, supervisors, and the Board. It is not the employee that defines their job, but the hierarchy that develops the job. Thelen believes that every employee’s job should be validated. This allows employees to buy into the process, as sometimes people in the hierarchy lose touch with what is happening within an organization. She continued that Employers Association, Inc. provided good questions in their sample questionnaire. Norman agrees that there has to be input from the employees; however, he is concerned about the time commitment between the employees, supervisors, and the department heads.
Brown stated that she does not feel that every employee has to complete a questionnaire. She added that it could be beneficial to have one person representing a group versus every employee within a group. Brown stated that she liked the detail in the Springsted Inc. questionnaire. She stated that she has concern regarding the outcome of the interviews and that there would be no documentation to refer back to in order to confirm accuracy of each job description if questionnaires are not completed. Brown stated that Antonsen did a good job in relaying that information received from employees would be used during their review process.
Sawatzke referenced Employers Association, Inc. and he agrees with the managing expectations statements provided. He liked how Employers Association, Inc. presented this information early in their presentation as it is critical. Sawatzke questioned the associated costs with each presenting firm. Norman stated that Springsted Inc. came in with a proposal of $44,725 dollars and stated that additional costs would not exceed $1,500 dollars. Additional costs that go above and beyond the scope of the project would be billed at $185 dollars an hour. He continued that if the County was interested in purchasing the Springsted, Inc. database, it would be an additional $3,500 dollars. Norman stated the Employers Association, Inc. proposal came in at $48,370 dollars.
Brown commented that Employers Association, Inc. will provide an electronic job description; however, they will not make appropriate changes going forward. She feels that it is unrealistic not to eliminate or make changes when necessary. Sawatzke questioned if there is a formula that is created to apply points to certain jobs and if this formula will be made available to allow the County to make changes. Norman stated that consultant firms own their formulas and/or systems. Norman commented that Springsted Inc. will train the County on how to evaluate positions in the future. Sawatzke questioned if the County is not happy with the firm chosen, is the County able to take the information and work with another firm, or would the County have to start from scratch. Norman stated that the County could continue the process internally. Department Heads would not know the formula and he does not advise making this information available to the public. Norman referenced that previously the County had an internal committee to classify job descriptions and it did not work.
Norman stated that Springsted Inc. would use their questionnaire and it would be reviewed by supervisors. If differences appeared after the review, individual audits would be performed. Norman agrees with this process but feels that it would delay the final outcome. He continued that if the Board wants to use the information from the study during Labor negotiations, then this process would have to be completed by November, 2010 or at the latest January, 2011. Thelen questioned the process that would be used if there are discrepancies between how the supervisors and employees view their current role. Thelen questioned if the costs can be negotiated in regard to decreasing the length of each job description. Eichelberg questioned if there would be costs associated with a market study. Norman replied that both firms would provide a market study at additional costs.
Russek questioned if Frank Madden has been contacted to review this process. Norman stated that a discussion took place in regards to the firms presenting proposals and Madden agreed that they are amongst the top consulting firms. Several firms that were involved in the past have gone out of business. Russek felt that Bjorklund Compensation Consulting, LLC would present a risk as the firm is an individual with no back up in place.
Petersen commented that the County is interested in cutting down on the number of long job descriptions. She added that if you look at the final product, Employers Association, Inc. job descriptions are long and contain a lot of words in comparison to Springsted Inc. job descriptions. She questioned if it would be possible to work with Employers Association, Inc. in order to decrease the length of each job description. Eichelberg agreed and commented that the County is trying to cut down on the number of job classifications that are currently in place. Brown stated that Springsted Inc. descriptions follow suit with surrounding counties; however, Employers Association, Inc. has more experience working with multiple counties.
Kelly stated that out side of the study, the County is going to have to decide if they want to be broader, which will result in short job descriptions or more narrow, resulting in longer job descriptions. Kelly commented that he was impressed with Employers Association, Inc. system of assigning points. He feels job descriptions could be shortened based on conversations prior to starting the process. Kelly questioned the Access data base portion and if the County would be responsible for writing our own job descriptions going forward. Brown felt that the County would be responsible for writing descriptions once the original project was completed.
Russek, Sawatzke, Eichelberg, Thelen, and Mattson agreed to move forward with accepting Employers Association, Inc. proposal. Sawatzke indicated that it should be discussed with them that the County would like the job descriptions to be shortened. Norman stated that both Employers Association, Inc. and Springsted Inc. would have input from employees and he feels it is an important part of the process. He is concerned about the time lines and commented that no department head will enjoy writing new job descriptions. He adds that support from the Board will be needed to keep the project moving forward and making information available during the process. Mattson questioned if the County is looking at maintaining a long term relationship with the chosen firm. Norman replied that currently the County has one person evaluating job descriptions, as needed, and it is a lengthy process. He would like the County to have a long term relationship with Employers Association, Inc.
RECOMMENDATION: The Personnel Committee will negotiate an agreement with Employers Association, Inc. clearly defining the scope of the project. The Committee will meet on 5-12-10.
(End of 4-27-10 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes & discussion)
Bills Approved
Allina Health System. $16,893.00
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 2,103.17
Allina OCC Med 190.00
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 142.35
AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 10,245.97
Annandale/City of 804.00
APEC Industrial Sales & Serv. 1,489.36
Aramark Correctional Serv. 26,411.10
B & B Products - Rigs and Sq 1,720.00
BP Amoco 179.94
Buffalo Township 660.60
Buffalo/City of 4,465.40
Bunnett Consulting 1,925.00
Cenex Fleetcard 447.69
Center Point Energy 106.49
CenturyLink 106.74
Chatham Township 549.80
Clearwater Township 582.00
Clearwater/City of 6,147.65
Climate Air 7,473.00
Contech Construction Proj 998.96
CRA Payment Center 138.62
Crop Productions Services 615.00
Delano/City of 2,276.60
Dell Marketing LP 4,899.28
Excel Systems 862.00
Franklin Township 1,066.50
Garage Door Store 282.22
Gholson/Janet 130.00
Hanover/City of 840.40
Keeprs Inc. 259.49
Klein Heating and Cooling 175.50
LaPlant Demo Inc. 332.50
Lostetter/Carol H. 300.00
Maple Lake Lumber Company 146.55
Marco 352.23
Marco Inc. 5,211.81
Marysville Township 834.00
McQuay International 2,438.50
Menards - Buffalo 134.24
Middleville Township 472.00
Midwest Protection Agency 577.29
MN Sheriff’s Association 426.00
Moore & Moore Water Treat 300.00
Odessey Group/The 250.00
Pakor Inc. 1,032.12
Path 966.96
Rockford Township 1,268.80
RS Eden 546.75
Russek/John 114.00
Sabre Communications Corp. 33,634.80
SHI International Corp 344.14
St Michael EDA/City of 4,982.20
State Supply Co. 100.09
T & M Towing and Snow Plow 224.44
The Flag Guys 193.05
Ultramax 5,158.00
Wallin/Gerald E. 3,439.90
Woodland Township 528.50
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 311.33
23 Payments less than $100 1,131.25
Final total $160,939.18
The meeting adjourned at 10:03 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal June 7, 2010.

Return to Wright County Menu | Return to Government Table of Contents

Herald Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries | Classifieds
Guides | Sitemap | Dassel-Cokato Home | Delano Home | HJ Home