Wright County Board Minutes

OCTOBER 5, 2010
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, and Eichelberg present. Commissioner Thelen was absent.
Russek moved to approve the 9-28-10 County Board Minutes, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #2, “Fair Board Minutes” (Russek). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: C. Hayes, M. Nolan, Admin.; W. LaSonne’, Assr.; K. Ahlm, Aud./Treas.; G. Stonelake, Hwy.; N. Aarvig, E. Adams, C. Engel, C. Poirier, L. Salls, S. Sims, A. Sturm, Sher./Corr.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 9-17-10.
1. Refer To Personnel Committee Extension Staffing Issues.
1. 09-13-10 Park Commission Minutes.
1. Authorize Signatures On FY 10 Natural Resources Block Grant (NRBG)/Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) Base Grant.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested the Board schedule a Forfeited Tax Sales Committee Meeting to review the conservation classification of tax forfeit parcels. Mattson and Russek serve on the Committee. On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to schedule the meeting for 10-13-10 at 1:30 P.M.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
A Technology Committee Meeting was held on 9-22-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to accept the minutes. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously:
Swing distributed a Meeting Objective handout, dated 9-22-10 (see attached) as he discussed the purpose for today’s demonstrations. He stated that the biggest challenge for the County is to determine how to better align itself. He stated that this all started during a strategic planning session in 2007 with Saturn Systems. A consultant worked with I.T. in 2008 to continue the technological planning process. More recently, discussions have taken place at capital improvement meetings on how technology will impact large projects. He stated that he presented his “Report on Technology” at the 6-23-10 Technology Committee Meeting. A few items listed in the appendix of that report are being demonstrated today.
Swing stated that one of the keys to a successful roll out of a new system is to have a champion within the stakeholder’s department. The champion pushes the project to completion. Swing noted that Microsoft SharePoint is a recognized platform by the State. The County has invested in moving forward with this program for many reasons: integration, workflow of documents, and functionality. He stated that I.T. will no longer perform development of client-server based systems. Currently, I.T.’s efforts are web- based.
Thelen asked Swing what his definition of “alignment” is. Swing stated that the County is inefficient when it comes to paper. There is a lot of manual transference of paper. If the County were to automate, it would produce tremendous staff savings. In order to make this happen, the entire County organization needs to be on the same page, or in “alignment”. He stated that in order to move toward alignment, there needs to be stakeholders involved in the process. Stakeholders have a vision of what online forms and the workflow can do for a department. The real return-on-investment will come when a comparison is made in the “before and after” stages of deployment. This will truly demonstrate the time savings.
Swing stated that the concept for online purchase requisitions (PR) and purchase orders (PO) came about in 2008. Swing referred to his handout “Online Forms Survey Results”, dated 2-12-08, that demonstrated the results of the need for online forms. Pat Melvin, previous Special Projects Administrator, was involved in the initial concept of the online PR/PO form. After looking at what other counties were doing, it was determined that this had not been done before. The Wright County I.T. Department initiated this process and hired a developer, CIT, to create this product. K. Hayes stated that the project is still in process. It isn’t ready for production yet.
Swing stated that the PR/PO form has been a long and drawn out process because there wasn’t a stakeholder or “champion” in the Administration Department; which is where the responsibilities of this job function comes from. This application takes care of the workflow between the requestor, supervisor, and Purchasing Agent. The Purchasing Agent will no longer have to rekey POs anymore. This in itself is an efficiency. He stated that it is pretty obvious that this will lead to significant savings and time.
K. Hayes demonstrated how the new online PR looks very similar to the blank paper form. The requisitioner logs into their computer, and pulls up a new document through their Department’s intranet homepage. Because the user is logged in, by virtue, the form populates with the employee’s name. Swing stated that all online forms will minimize data entry. The user will not have to do a lot of keying.
C. Hayes stated that the user will be able to see the status of their original PR request. They will be able to see if the PR was approved and whether a PO has been created yet. He stated that this is nice in that there is less of a paper trail; less paper on the desk and fewer lost documents. The user will be able to look up their document at any time on their desktop. Swing stated that another benefit is a reduction in errors (transcription, etc).
K. Hayes stated that after the user submits their online PR for approval, they will be asked to re-authenticate. By supplying the password, the user’s signature and date will be auto filled. This is an important security feature. If the password is entered incorrectly, the PR won’t be submitted. After the PR has been submitted, the supervisor will receive a notification email in their inbox. The supervisor receives a prompt indicating that someone has submitted a PR. The supervisor can choose to click on a link within their email to see the document, or they can go to their Department’s intranet home page and log in to see a list of submitted PRs waiting for their approval/denial. Upon review of the PR, they can either approve the PR which then is automatically forwarded to the Purchasing Agent, or they can deny it which would then bounce back in an email to the requisitioner. If the supervisor denies the PR, there is a comment section within the form which the requisitioner could see (i.e. “Don’t work with this vendor”, “You have exceeded the budget amount”).
K. Hayes stated that the Purchasing Agent, at his convenience, can log onto the Administration’s intranet homepage under “Purchasing Agent View” to view the PRs awaiting approval. C. Hayes stated that this process will be a cultural change. There will be less reliance on paper and only the licensed subscribers can create or submit a PR. K. Hayes stated that the Purchasing Agent will then have the option to approve or deny the PR. An email prompt will go back to both the supervisor and the requistioner alerting them of the status. If the PR was denied, they can either resubmit after making corrections or contact the Purchasing Agent for further information. If the PR is approved, then it is assigned a PO number and turned into a PO. C. Hayes commented that the Auditor’s Department will still require a printed or paper copy of the approved PO. The Department will still have to print the PO and attach it to their claim form. C. Hayes stated that although this is still not a completely automated purchasing system, this is a first step in that direction.
Swing asked C. Hayes if he thinks this process will be worth the time and expense. C. Hayes stated that it is his hope. This is the trend.
Swing asked the Committee if they could see what the return-on-investment is in this process. Jobe stated that this would be a huge time savings for him. He no longer would have to drive over to the Government Center to submit a PR or to inquire on the status of a PO.
Thelen asked Swing whether I.T. needs more money in order to complete this project. Swing stated that it is his intent to demonstrate a few SharePoint developed applications today, their expense, the time involved, and to demonstrate how staff-intensive these types of projects are. Swing stated that I.T. has gained a lot of knowledge from this initial project. This knowledge will be applied to future SharePoint projects.
K. Hayes stated that this form will require testing. The developer has yet to complete its changes. Once the changes are completed, I.T. will engage a few departments in the testing process. Once the testing is clean, then there will be limited roll-out production. K. Hayes did caution that there will be a cross-over period of the old process (paper) and the new process (online submittals). The hope is that the entire enterprise would be engaged in this process in January, 2011.
C. Hayes stated that this has been a learning curve. Swing stated that I.T. is getting better with SharePoint. It should not take this long on future SharePoint projects.
Swing stated that Human Services has Information Support Specialists (ISS). Their job descriptions include responsibilities for technical application. Human Services and I.T. have a great working relationship which doesn’t necessarily exist in any other Department. The placement of an ISS person within a department lessens dependency on the I.T. Department.
Webb introduced herself as an ISS. She stated that her duties include web development, maintaining the internet/intranet site, and coordinating training. Training allows the Human Services employees to be less reliant on I.T.
Webb stated that the idea of the Mileage Reimbursement Form was developed in May, 2008. Many of Human Services’ staff are out in the field. Mileage reimbursement was submitted in Word format with manual signatures. The form was created by CIT in June, 2009 and rolled out in phases for testing. An initial group of 26 employees were the testers. Testing results went back to CIT and they made changes accordingly. Since May, 2010, the entire Human Services staff have been using the document.
Webb stated that the Mileage Reimbursement Form is found on the Human Services intranet home page. When logging into the system, and pulling up the new document, the computer recognizes the user and automatically populates the employee’s name and address. Abbreviations are used to identify locations which promote consistency and less key strokes. The user identifies the “Purpose” of their trip, and they enter their “Odometer readings from/to”. The mileage is then automatically calculated. The mileage is calculated using the current rate. The rates are inputted and stored in the SharePoint list. Webb stated that in the past, the Department would have to rely on I.T. to update the mileage reimbursement rate, but with training, an ISS person can now make that change.
Webb stated that the Form also has space for other expense reimbursement (i.e. parking, meeting registration). The Form automatically totals all amounts, and the total appears in red until Patterson approves the form. Anytime there is a request for reimbursement on a non-mileage expense, supporting documentation is required. The supporting documentation is a required field and is attached as a file. If all of the required fields within the online form are not completed, the user is not able to “submit” the Form. Once the Form is submitted for supervisor approval, the Form will sit in the user’s Forms Library with a status of “Draft” until approved.
Webb stated that this online form is great for tracking. It has date and time stamps affiliated with each action. The user can log in and view “Version History”. Webb stated that this new online form promotes accuracy, saves on paper, and comes with an email workflow. An automatic email goes to the supervisor with a link imbedded into the email. The form can open directly from the link, or the supervisor can go to their Department’s intranet homepage to see all documents. Again, if the Form is denied, a comment would appear in the comments field. The users then can access the form in their email, fix the mistake, and resubmit for approval.
Patterson stated that the benefits have been priceless. The time efficiency for her as a supervisor has been surmountable. She does not have to interpret handwriting or perform hundreds of calculations. She stated that the County Attorney looked at the signature and authentication portion of the document and they approved it. The Department just went through a State audit and they were fine with the process. She stated that since the online form has rolled out, she has not heard any of the staff ask, “Where’s my claim?” or “Who lost my claim?”. The employees can see what stage their form is in the process.
Thelen asked what it would take for other Departments to Access this form for their mileage reimbursement requests. Swing stated that each user requires a license. This is coming in the near future.
Thelen then stated that according to what has been demonstrated, she doubts that anybody needs any further convincing. She asked what Swing’s ulterior motive is with today’s meeting. Swing stated that Mike Janckila is the only person in I.T. that is working on SharePoint projects. 80% of the County’s business is form driven. The County could see tremendous savings if more of its forms were automated. He stated that he will be going to the Personnel Committee to seek authorization to fill his vacant Lead Developer position. He stated that the County wants to be lean and mean. He stated that the Sheriffs Department came forward at budget time to request an ISS person. This is right on target with the “alignment” piece Swing has spoken of. This is how the County can become more efficient.
Swing distributed a memo written by Bob Hiivala (see attached).
Swing stated that this agenda item won’t be presented today because the stakeholder, Bob Hiivala, is not present. He stated that this type of program will be leveraged for Highway and Parks. The program was presented to the County Board yesterday.
Austin-Roehler stated that she was on a Minnesota Department of Health conference call during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. She stated that although the conference call was informational, the most valuable information she got out of the call was hearing how Carver County was using SharePoint to schedule appointments. Austin-Roehler stated that during flu-shot clinics in Wright County, Public Health accepts hundreds of phone calls to set appointments. The process is very staff intensive with not only taking phone appointments, but also returning phone calls, and manning the clinics. Through a one-time grant called PHER (Public Health Emergency Response) from the federal government, they were able to leverage funding to create an online scheduling tool. The vendor, CIT, developed the project. The project was then handed back to Human Services, where Webb has taken over to customize it to the needs of the Department. Swing stated that Austin-Roehler was named the project manager on this project and it was her enthusiasm that resulted in a quick turn-over. The final testing mode will be completed within a week and will be rolled out officially thereafter.
Austin-Roehler stated that even though this was a Public Health project, it is County property. Public Health pioneered it; however, this will benefit the entire County. Webb explained that this is an intranet based, not public website based, program. She stated that the web portion of the project was built by CIT, however, those persons in each Department that have attended Webmaster training would be able to customize the project for their Department’s needs.
Webb explained that when this is rolled out, Public Health will put a link or announcement on the County’s intranet site. The users would click on the link, and they would be directed to a scheduling page. Because they are logged into the server, their name would automatically be stamped onto the scheduler. The user then selects the date and time of their appointment, selects their age range, enter any of their health concerns, and then click “Book Appointment”. The age range and health concern fields were customized within SharePoint. She stated that the user can also delete a previously scheduled appointment through this process. There is an email notification workflow that sends confirmation emails, cancellation emails, and/or reminder emails. She stated that these are all options that they can choose. The email notifications also include pre-programmed information such as, “Wear short sleeves and bring your insurance card.”
Austin-Roehler stated that due to security issues, only County employees (persons logged into the system) can schedule appointments.
Austin-Roehler stated that the facilitator of the flu shot clinic can then print a list of the appointments which also alerts staff on how many immunizations/mists are needed.
Austin-Roehler stated that Public Health is looking to customize this scheduling document to do Car Seat Checks, WOW Van appointments, Child & Teen Checks, Dental Van, etc. She stated that staff is really excited about this because it will save staff time on the phone.
Swing stated that he hopes the Committee can already see the return-on-investment for this scheduling form. All of today’s demonstrations are in-house and intranet applications. Hiivala’s project, E-Subscription, is the first project that will be applicable for use on the internet.
Thelen stated that she would recommend Swing bring forth the “champions” from each Department to back up his request at the Personnel Committee for a Lead Developer. The stakeholders now have an interest in SharePoint. Eichelberg commented that the Departments could show that not just I.T. would benefit by filling the Lead Developer position. Filling this position would be for the benefit of the major Departments. Thelen stated that it appears that the only way the County can work more efficiently, is to get I.T. to help it to be more efficient.
Swing thanked Janckila, K. Hayes, Webb, Austin-Roehler, and Patterson.
(End of 9-22-10 Technology Committee Minutes)
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested approval of a resolution of initial support for the Mississippi River Trail bicycle route. The 3000-mile system will run from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca State Park to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. The route will utilize bicycle-friendly roads and multi-use pathways. The Trail started in the 1990’s between New Orleans and St. Louis and has worked its way north. Mn/DOT is focusing their efforts on the Minnesota route and will rely heavily on road shoulders, low volume paved roads, and separate pathways. Approximately 60% of the route in Minnesota will be on local, township, and county roads; 25% will be on State roads; and 15% will be on State, Regional and local trails. Mattice said the Trail will generally parallel the Great River Road. He has attended several of the meetings on this project. The hope is that the Trail will run through Wright County. Mattice referenced a letter presented at the last County Board Meeting where approval was given for mitigation and paving shoulders on CSAH 75. He said that will benefit this project as CSAH’s 75 and 39 are on the planned route through Wright County. Mn/DOT will provide signing, marketing/framework, and websites. Mn/DOT has requested Wright County adopt a resolution reflecting its support of the collective efforts of Mn/DOT and other road and trail authorities that comprise the Mississippi River Trail. The resolution would further authorize Mattice to represent Wright County in ongoing collaborative discussions and in matters of a general nature regarding the operation and location of the Mississippi River Trail within its administrative boundaries. Mattson attended a 7W Transportation Meeting on 10-01-10. He said a former Mn/DOT employee who is working on the Trail project was at the meeting. During discussions, the 7W group ran into a few problems around the Elk River area. Nothing was settled at the meeting and a resolution was not adopted. Mattson said Wright County has been required to have trails separated from roadways and yet this action would allow biking on the roadways. Mattson previously supported a 10’ shoulder and rumble strips to keep costs down on projects. He feels the CR 12 project is a prime example. He was informed that they could not have anything but a separate trail for that project. The Mississippi River Trail bicycle route will place bicyclists on roads. Sawatzke said the resolution does not request anything other than Mattice’s participation. What will be noticed with the Trail are the signs. Mattice said a month ago, the Board gave authorization for a SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Program) Grant for updating the Trail and Bikeway Plan in Wright County. Discussion on the Grant (approximately $47,000) will be brought forth at the next Board meeting. The funding will be used to hire a consultant to handle public forums and update the County Trail and Bikeway Plan. He will bring the review process and the recommendation from the Review Committee to the County Board. Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #10-35, seconded by Eichelberg. Russek questioned the funding for the construction of the Trail. Mattice said construction is within the jurisdiction. Although Mattice may participate in the meetings, that does not mean a new route will be established through Wright County. The key is that the pathway will be on road shoulders. There is no funding for construction in the program at this time. Sawatzke asked whether the intent is to construct. Mattice confirmed it is not. The Trail predominantly runs on the road shoulders to New Orleans. The motion carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Russek said that last week, the County Board was copied on the Fair Board Minutes. A question has since come up as to why the minutes reflect a vote failing when the vote was 10-7. Russek explained that for the passage of a vote, a vote of at least 11 is required because it is a 20-person Board. The Fair Board Minutes will be corrected to reflect that at least 11 votes are needed for passage. This was provided as an informational item.
Bills Approved
Allina Hospitals & Clinic. $16,893.00
American Institutional Supp 1,277.02
American Planning Associat 130.00
Ameripride Services 341.98
AMI Imaging Systems, Inc. 1,315.33
Ancom Communications Inc. 588.35
Anoka County Sheriff 7,933.77
Aramark Services Inc. 13,337.05
Astech 8,002.00
Bakeberg/George 234.00
Barker Co./Bob 207.00
Bauman/Lawrence R. 504.00
Berg/Stephen L. 555.00
Boyer Truck Parts 161.05
BP Amoco 184.87
Breezy Point Resort Inc. 249.77
Brock White Co. Inc. 6,021.07
Buttweilers Do All 605.89
Catco Parts Service 213.91
Cenex Fleetcard 585.00
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 18,940.71
Central MN Mental Health 600.00
Climate Air 306.10
Collins Brothers Towing 162.45
Commissioner of Transport 500.49
Cragons Lodging and Confe 2,036.95
Cub Pharmacy 5,503.28
Dell Marketing LP 352.62
Desmarais/Randal 3,000.00
Dingmann Marine & More LLC 142.28
Douglas/Ralph D. 366.00
Elk River Municipal Utilities 132.52
Frazier/Terry 269.50
Gabriel/Cathleen 200.00
Grainger 302.55
Halderson/Jason 1,500.00
Hardings Towing Inc. 106.88
Hart/Brian 892.00
Hennepin County Treasurer 2,290.54
Hiivala/Robert 225.00
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 4,730.88
Howard/Jolanta 200.00
Intereum Inc. 101.53
Intoximeters Inc. 295.78
Jacobs/Jeffrey W. 487.50
Jerry’s Towing & Repair 144.28
Junction Towing & Auto Rep. 224.44
Kopff/Nancy 270.00
L3 Communications Inc. 338.68
Lab Safety Supply Inc. 223.69
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,216.54
Lawson Products Inc. 286.46
Lostetter/Carol H. 300.00
Marco 352.66
Marco Inc. 3,787.08
Mathiowetz Construction 273,091.25
Mattila Electric/Roger 110.89
Menards - Buffalo 178.02
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc. 4,647.57
Midway Ford 61,442.76
Midwest Safety Counselors 200.74
Mini Biff LLC 392.04
MN Assn. of County Probation 180.00
MN Counties Computer Coop 150.00
MN County Attorneys Assoc 449.95
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 1,227.80
Monticello Chamber of Com 125.00
Morris Parts & Service Group 336.19
Mpls. Clinic of Neurology 316.00
Mumford Sanitation 129.87
Nuss Truck & Equipment 4,086.18
Office Depot 1,608.92
Omann Brothers Inc. 1,459.55
Otten/Harriet 1,500.00
Pederson/David 130.00
Precision Dynamics Corpora 1,839.49
Ramacciotti/Frank 100.00
Regents of the University 31,862.49
Road Machinery & Supplies 548.19
RS Eden 13,441.50
Russell Security Resource 798.94
Ryan Chevrolet 1,681.75
Schermann/Robert D. 340.00
Schmidt/Donald M 262.00
Sirchie Finger Print Lab 758.70
St. Cloud Times 230.66
Synergy Graphics 34,320.56
Tracker 3,135.00
University of Minnesota 987.52
Unlimited Electric Inc. 186.36
Vance Brothers Inc. 2,448.77
Wagner/H David 294.00
Woods Edge Apples 120.00
Xcel Energy 1,547.47
25 Payments less than $100 1,213.20
Final total $558,308.78
The meeting adjourned at 9:19 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Nov. 8, 2010.

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