WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
DECEMBER 19, 2017
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Daleiden, and Potter present.
Commissioner Borrell was absent.
12-12-17 COUNTY BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Vetsch moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Husom. The motion carried 4-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows under the 9:30 AM, Brian Asleson Agenda Item 3, “Update On Driver’s License Look Up Cases” (Asleson); Item 4, “Update RE: State Auditor Lawsuit” (Daleiden). Vetsch moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded Husom, and the motion carried 4-0.
Potter moved to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Vetsch. The motion carried 4-0:
1. Approve 2018 Non-Union Salary Ranges
1. Approve & Authorize Signatures On The Labor Agreement, Sheriff Essential Supervisory Unit, Teamsters Local 320, 2017-2019, & The Memorandum Of Agreement For Off Duty Work, Consistent With Labor Negotiations & Award Of Arbitration
1. Approve & Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Agreement For County Contributions For The 2018 Health Insurance Plans With Teamsters, Local No. 320, Sheriff Essential Supervisory Unit
1. Approve & Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Agreement For County Contributions For The 2018 Health Insurance Plans With Wright County Deputy’s Association
1. Refer To Personnel Committee Discussion RE: Extension Office Staffing
1. Approve Renewal Of 2018 Tobacco Licenses For:
A. City Of Albertville: CL Gentile, Inc. DBA Geez Sports Bar & Grill; West Side Liquor Of Albertville, Inc. DBA Westside Liquor
B. City Of Monticello: Monticello 1998 LLC DBA Cub Foods #1632; Northern Tier Retail, LLC DBA SuperAmerica #4479
C. City Of Montrose Doug & Sally Roepke, Inc. DBA The Ugly Bar
D. City Of St. Michael: Northern Tier Retail, LLC DBA SuperAmerica #4267; Northern Tier Retail, LLC DBA SuperAmerica #4554
2. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between December 6, 2017 And December 12, 2017
3. Change Notary Certification Fee From $10.00 To $5.00 Per MN Statute 359.061
1. Remove “Condition of Register, $50” From The Recorder’s Fee Schedule In Accordance With The 2017 Legislative Changes, Per MN Statutes 2016, Section 508.82, subd. 1. The Fee Is Obsolete & Requests Are Made For Certified Copies, An Existing Fee For Service
TIMED AGENDA ITEMS
GREG KRYZER, ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY
Recognition Of Minnesota County Attorneys Association Award Of Excellence To Retired Assistant Wright County Attorney Terry Frazier
Kryzer said former Assistant County Attorney Terry Frazier was presented the Award of Excellence on 12-07-17 by the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. Frazier mainly worked with child support and commitments.
The award is presented to a County Attorney who has engaged in activities that show a high level of dedication, professionalism and commitment to public service and public practice of law. Recipients also distinguish themselves by making significant contributions that advance the development of sound public policy, aid the operation of government, or by demonstrating extraordinary leadership, initiative, or innovation in performance of their duties. Judging is based on a high level of dedication, professionalism, and commitment to public service, and significant contributions that advance the development of public policy, aid in governmental operations, extraordinary leadership, initiative or innovation.
BOB HIIVALA, AUDITOR/TREASURER
Adopt Resolution Establishing An Absentee Ballot Board For The Current Election Cycle, Ending 12-31-19
On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, roll call vote carried 4-0 to adopt Resolution #17-76.
Adopt Resolution For Wright County Ditch 38, Findings And Order Correcting Drainage System Records For Wright County Ditch 38 (103E.101, Subd. 4a)
Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said the Board is acting in its capacity as Drainage Authority for County Ditch 38. They are proceeding per MN Statute 103E.101, Subd. 4a, for reestablishment of records.
Kryzer stated the Public Hearing in this matter has been closed to further oral and written submissions. Late on 12-18-17, counsel for Graham and Ellen Sones, directly emailed Board members. Kryzer followed up by asking the Board to disregard the email. The email would be considered a late submittal and not part of the record in this proceeding as the Public Hearing is closed. Kryzer stated the Sones were advised of this and instead of following normal rules and procedures, opted to directly email the Commissioners and bypass the Auditor’s Office on that submittal. Kryzer asked for confirmation today that the Board members had deleted and not reviewed any of those submittals. Daleiden said he viewed the email. Kryzer asked Daleiden not to use those comments as part of the deliberation.
Kryzer said as the Public Hearing has been closed to further oral and written comment, staff drafted the resolution at the direction of the County Board. The resolution was revised to reflect the termination point at Station 6+75 pursuant to Board discussion and compromise reached with the Sones. Kryzer said Commissioner Borrell had reviewed the draft and asked for an amendment to paragraph 16, subpart A. The following sentence was added based on that input, “The evidence in the record shows Sones’ property is benefitted by CD 38.” Therefore, an amended resolution was distributed to the Board for review at the request of Commissioner Borrell.
Vetsch moved to adopt Resolution #17-77, as revised, for Wright County Ditch 38, Findings and Order correcting drainage system records for Wright County Ditch 38. Susan Wiens, Environmental Law Group, asked the Board whether comment would be allowed. Kryzer said the record is closed. The motion was seconded by Husom. Daleiden thought total agreement had been reached with the Sones. Kryzer responded that was his understanding until they received threat of litigation yesterday. Wiens said there is no threat of litigation but requested an opportunity to comment on the resolution. Kryzer restated the public hearing has been closed. Daleiden asked whether Wiens could speak as he did not want this to proceed to Court. Kryzer said if comment is allowed, then the matter has to be tabled and the County would be required to notify all property owners on the ditch and republish for a period of three weeks. Wiens said she only wants to comment on the resolution. Kryzer said this would be a due process violation to all of the other property owners not to be able to reply. Potter said he will follow the advice of Kryzer. Husom said there have been a number of meetings on this and it has been vetted for several years. She said the Board needs to follow the advice of Kryzer. Other residents on the ditch are not here to speak. The motion to adopt the Resolution carried 3-1 on a roll call vote with Daleiden casting the nay vote
Approve Public Hearing Redetermination Joint Ditch 15 Minutes From 11-14-17
Hiivala said Meeker and McLeod Counties have affirmed accuracy of the minutes. Wright County acts as the official approval of the minutes.
Vetsch moved to approve the 11-14-17 Public Hearing Redetermination Joint Ditch 15 Minutes. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0.
Approve New Tobacco License For Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #104 In The City Of Clearwater
On a motion by Vetsch, second by Potter, all voted to approve the license.
Approve November Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report
Hiivala invited the Board to view information through OpenGov. The data will be updated to include budget amendments for 2017. Potter moved to approve the November Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report. The motion was seconded by Husom. Potter requested that one printed copy of the report be provided quarterly to the Commissioners and should be sorted by department versus alphabetical. The motion carried 4-0.
ALICIA O’HARE, WATER RESOURCE SPECIALIST, SWCD
Wright Regional Inspection Program Update
O’Hare made a PowerPoint presentation on the Wright Regional Inspection Program. A final report for 2017 will be submitted to the DNR, the SWCD Board, and the County Board. She highlighted statistics of the Program. There were over 17,000 inspections performed which were funding through the AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) Fund and Lake Associations. The report reflects that 2/3 of the seals were returned. This may be due to boats that will return next season or boaters going to another lake. There were 66 observed violations with 23 calls for sheriff assistance with no citations issued. The goal is education. O’Hare was directed to provide a copy of the report to the County Board and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen. Potter said Ingebrigtsen will disseminate to other counties that are asking questions on the program.
Vetsch asked whether staff is trained and an inspection system is in place for the spring. O’Hare replied that most things have been worked out. Inspectors are temporary staff so new staff are a possibility in addition to those that return annually. Discussion led to inspection times. O’Hare said the data reflects a 3.3 minute average on a time in/time out basis. Another method is a time calculation used by the DNR on the survey which averaged 5.5 minutes. The DNR survey includes a visual and drain plug check, and questions on where the boat has been and timeline. Decontamination averaged 17.7 minutes plus the time for inspection. The longest time was 45 minutes for both.
The Board conveyed the importance of education and letting people know that the County is not trying to impair their use or enjoyment of lakes. Potter asked whether the brochure includes reference to Lake Koronis. O’Hare stated the brochure includes photos of zebra mussels and starry stonewort. It does not reference Lake Koronis specifically. The Board said the public can view online pictures and information on the effect starry stonewort has had on Lake Koronis. This was provided as an informational update.
Authorize Signatures On Retainer Agreement For Opioid Litigation
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the Board met in closed session on 11-28-17 to hear a presentation from Lockridge Grindal Nauen, PLLP and Gustafson Gluek, PLLC, regarding civil litigation they have commenced and are initiating on behalf of Minnesota counties and cities against opioid manufacturers and distributors. He submitted a retainer agreement for approval for the purpose of authorizing outside counsel to proceed with a lawsuit on Wright County’s behalf.
Asleson said that he and County Attorney Tom Kelly have gone through the process of data gathering and feel it is a worthwhile effort the more they hear. The goal is not about recovering dollars but a better distribution system in the future. T. Kelly concurred and said he sent a link to the Commissioners on what the County Attorney’s Association is pursuing regarding this litigation. He felt that was a good summary of what is taking place. He also encouraged review of a 60-Minutes presentation on Sunday night on this topic. Vetsch concurred the Commissioners should view it if they can.
T. Kelly said he doesn’t see a down side to proceeding. The County will learn how it is being impacted because of specific damages that relate directly to Wright County. If the County is successful in the lawsuit, the money could be used toward prevention, etc. Kelly said the Medical Examiner’s Office has provided confirmation of an opioid related death. T. Kelly stated there will be a cost associated in collection of data to move the County’s portion forward. In response to Potter, T. Kelly responded that in his professional opinion this is a good thing to pursue. He said this is happening nationwide. There have been wrongs committed by people making billions of dollars at a cost to citizens. Litigation is out there and will not be stopped. In his opinion, T. Kelly said it is a worthy cause to explore when on this type of contingency basis. He does not see a downside so said it is something that would be wise to pursue.
Daleiden said Commissioner Borrell asked to have this topic tabled until 2018. On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, all voted to table this item until the first meeting in January.
Approve Of Retaining Kevin J. Casserly To Perform Appraisals For Purposes Of Tax Court
Asleson said this involves three proposals for appraisals to be performed for Tax Court valuation appeals. Casserly would be retained to prepare appraisals for PID’s #110-059-001010, #110-059-001020; and #110-059-001030, which are commercial-industrial parcels in the City of Maple Lake. All three parcels are owned by the same owner and are part of the same tax appeal. Since they are separate properties, an appraisal is needed for each. The appraisals are due in early February, 2018.
Vetsch made a motion to retain Kevin J. Casserly to perform appraisals for the purpose of tax court. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0.
Update RE: Driver’s License Look Up Cases (Asleson)
Asleson said this is in regard to the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) litigation. In 2013, cities and counties were sued by people whose driver’s license were looked up by law enforcement officers or other county employees (including HHS or License Bureau). Wright County was named as a defendant in 10-15 federal court lawsuits. Wright County has been represented by outside counsel provided through MCIT. He recalled two cases where damages were paid. Daleiden asked whether this was paid through County dollars. Asleson said his recollection is that the County is responsible for a deductible amount through MCIT. In the one pay out case of about $18,000, Asleson said he thought it was more expensive to litigate than to settle.
One remaining case is scheduled for trial on 1-08-18 in federal court in downtown St. Paul. The County is being represented by Jardine, Logan & O’Brien. There are three counties left in this litigation (Wright, Crow Wing and Mille Lacs). Asleson placed this item on the Agenda to inform the Board there could be media coverage. It involves two driver’s license lookups by two Wright County employees done a number of years ago. The employees have been deposed and have no specific recollection of the look up. Both plaintiffs are Wright County residents and involved in the news media in the twin cities. The residents had reasons to call the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement purposes. Asleson said the greater share of the lookups in the State were dismissed because of statute of limitations reasons or they were legitimate (tied to an ORI number or report in the Zuercher system).
Asleson is unsure whether this will go to trial. There is a settlement conference with the federal court magistrate this week. This was provided as an informational item.
Update RE: State Auditor Lawsuit (Asleson)
Asleson provided an update on the lawsuit State Auditor vs. Wright, Becker and Ramsey Counties. The first day of oral arguments is 1-03-18 at 9:00 AM. This lawsuit will be one of the first cases. The proceedings are livestreamed so he encouraged the Board to follow if time allows.
Daleiden asked whether other counties have filed Amicus Briefs (friend of the court). Asleson responded that AMC has filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of the three counties. A number of other Amicus Briefs have been filed including a taxpayer group (a group involved in the traffic diversion issue), and another group that wants to address the court on the single subject issue (i.e., whether to tie various items together in an omnibus bill). The legislation that allowed Wright County and other counties to hire private audit firms was included in a large omnibus tax bill. The Supreme Court will look at whether it has violated the single subject rule. Asleson said they are hopeful for a good outcome at the Supreme Court. Daleiden asked whether the State Auditor can take this further if she loses at the Minnesota Supreme Court. Asleson thought it was a possibility but didn’t feel the chance was high of the US Supreme Court taking this on. It is estimated that Wright County has spent in excess of $80,000 on this case thus far. This amount does not include bills for November and when briefings were filed.
ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION
12-13-17 BUILDING COMMITTEE MINUTES
A Building Committee Meeting was scheduled on 12-13-17 but did not meet due to a lack of a quorum. Today, Commissioner Potter explained he did not attend as he looked at the time of the meeting incorrectly.
12-13-17 COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, the minutes were changed to include the following under Others Present,
Duane Dahlman, Secretary/Treasurer, Wright Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors
Mary Wetter, Wright Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors
Mike Zieska, Wright Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors
Andrew Grean, Wetland Specialist, Wright Soil and Water Conservation District
Potter made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected and the recommendations, seconded by Husom.
Daleiden asked whether Kryzer had contacted MCIT. Kryzer said he has obtained a copy of the current Joint Powers Agreement from the SWCD. Amendments will be made and sent to MCIT. Kryzer anticipates bringing this to the County Board sometime in January. The motion carried 4-0. The minutes follow:
I. WETLAND CONSERVATION ACT
Cade Steffenson, Board of Water and Soil Resources Wetland Specialist, referred to his 12-12-17 memorandum to the Wright County Board of Commissioners RE: WCA Structural, Decision-making and Appeal Options (see attached). Steffenson said the memo is intended to provide options for the County Board regarding how the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) will be administered.
Steffenson said currently the County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) administers the WCA, and most decisions are made by their staff. Appeals go before the SWCD Board of Supervisors, and further appeals (and initial appeals of replacement and banking plans) are made directly to the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). The only difference between Option 1 and 3 is that under Option 3, all appeals are heard by the County Board (including replacement and banking plans), and final appeals are heard by BWSR.
Brief discussion ensued regarding the average number of SWCD Board decisions that are appealed annually. SWCD District Manager L. Johnson said two or three decisions are appealed at most per year. County Commissioner Chris Husom said she liked the idea that decisions are not appealed before the same board. She favored Option 3. Assistant Attorney Greg Kryzer said he would not represent either the SWCD or the County Board in the event the two entities disagreed on an appeal. He said the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust would take that responsibility.
County Board of Commissioners Chair Charlie Borrell preferred altering Option 3 by moving replacement and banking plans to be heard by the County Board instead of SWCD staff.
Discussion continued regarding the implications for the County Board, SWCD, and the public should the Board decide on an option other than Option 1. Husom said there aren’t that many disputes. The public may appeal to BWSR if desired. Kryzer said after an appeal to BWSR, they could then go to the Court of Appeals.
SWCD Board Chair Chris Uecker said they made 786 contacts in the last four years. Of those, 87 came to the SWCD Board, with only four denials. Three went to appeals, and the other was pulled. Only three people were adversely affected.
Borrell expressed concerns regarding the decisions made by the SWCD Board in cases of gray areas.
SWCD Board Supervisor Jeff Burns said appeals have come up only three times in the last four years. He suggested several alternatives:
A. Delegate several County Commissioners to a joint group of SWCD Supervisors and Commissioners to vote on the few appeals that arise per year. There would be seven voters: Five SWCD Supervisors, and two County Commissioners.
B. If Option 3 is chosen, leave replacement and banking plans with the SWCD staff. Burns said if the County Board chooses Option 3, Burns recommended they leave it as written.
Kryzer said the current Joint Powers Agreement with the SWCD would have to be amended. He will check with MCIT regarding how this may affect coverage. He does not foresee a problem.
Daleiden said one of the County Board members delegated to hear an appeal should be the one who represents the District in which the appeal originates.
A. Modify the Joint Powers Agreement with the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to state that two County Commissioners, as appointed by the County Board, will be added to the SWCD Board of Supervisors when appeals are heard.
B. Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer will work with the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust regarding coverage in the case of appeals.
(End of 12-13-17 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
12-13-17 PERSONNEL/EMPLOYEE RELATIONS COMMITTEE MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, Vetsch asked whether the Parks Patrol would be a licensed deputy. The response is that it would not be. Shawna Athman, Business Manager, said the intent is to move this to a nonlicensed position. Kryzer said that job description should include the word “deputy.” Husom moved to accept the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Potter. Potter referenced the recommendation to rehire a former deputy at 30% above the minimum pay range. Sheriff Joe Hagerty said recruitment of deputies is in competition with metro agencies. Three deputies left to the same smaller police department in the past couple of years. He said the rehire would be an employee that is well trained and they would welcome back. The person will lose their seniority and may end up in another division of the Sheriff’s Office. It will send a message to others in the agency that it is a good place to work. Potter said to hire a new employee, the County would expend that 30% in training. Hagerty stated that the employee has training in body cameras which is something that is planned for the Sheriff’s Office. The motion to approve the minutes carried 4-0. The minutes follow:
I. Hire Deputy Applicant Above 12% of Minimum Salary Range
Chief Deputy Sheriff Todd Hoffman said 18 deputies left the Wright County Sheriff’s Office in 2017. Ten went to other agencies, primarily local police departments. One deputy that left was hired in 2007 and had acquired experience in the Narcotics Unit and the Emergency Response Team. He went to a local police department, but was not happy with that situation and applied to come back to the Sheriff’s Department. Due to the job move, he lost his seniority at the County. The request from the Sheriff’s Department is to start him above the 12 percent above minimum threshold to bring him closer to his previous pay range of $31.60 per hour. At 30 percent above the minimum pay range, his pay would be less than when he left, but satisfactory. Hoffman said this deputy’s former experience with the County will reduce the amount of time needed to bring him up to speed.
Recommendation: Authorize rehiring former deputy at 30 percent above the minimum pay range.
II. New Job Description for Park Patrol and Increase of One FTE
Hoffman said the County currently funds a seasonal temporary Park Patrol position in the Parks budget for about $20,000. No job description exists for this position. These are reserve officers who drive around in marked squad cars and visit all County parks; however, they have no authority to issue citations. They work in the spring, summer and fall on some weekends and occasional weekday shifts. Hoffman said there are two parts to this request:
1) The Sheriff’s Office would like to give this position more authority. The County would draft an ordinance giving this position the ability to enforce all park ordinances, the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Ordinance as well as others, and write citations. Hoffman drafted a job evaluation request and questionnaire. He has not yet written a job description.
2) Hire a full-time Park Patrol position in addition to the $20,000 that covers the current seasonal Park Patrol positions, as there is more than enough work to justify this position.
Hoffman said Director of Parks and Recreation Marc Mattice agrees that it makes sense to transfer the $20,000 from the Parks budget to the Sheriff’s budget, since Sheriff’s staff supervises these positions. With the increased call load for AIS, boating, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), it has become difficult filling these shifts with deputies. Hoffman said he is hoping for grants from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to offset the cost of this position. There were 23 calls in 18 days from October 11-28, 2017 related to the pilot AIS program for three lakes. If the program continues, there will be more calls next year. The seasonal Park Patrol officers and the proposed full-time officer would be responding to these calls to reduce the load on deputies. Hoffman said the seasonal Park Patrol officers are not necessarily licensed deputies. They would be given the authority to issue citations. They could learn defensive tactics and detainment measures. They would not do arrests or take people into custody.
Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer said the full-time position should be referred to as “Special Deputy” in the body of the job description to comply with the powers delegated to the County by State Statute. Hoffman said he searched similar job descriptions at other counties. The salary ranges from $13.24 to 18.55 dollars per hour. Sergeant Brian Johnson said Wright County Park Rangers make about $15.80 per hour.
Husom asked what impact adding a full-time position would have on the budget. Hoffman estimated about $60,000 per year including benefits, but not including any grant reimbursements. Business Manager Shawna Athman said she estimates $1.2 million from 2017 will be turned back to the County in 2018. Captain Dan Anselment said the $20,000 currently budgeted for Parks would be used to fund the seasonal Park Patrol.
Discussion ensued regarding the hours the full- and part-time positions would work. B. Johnson said it is easier to find part-time workers for weekends.
Hoffman said he would like the job description for the Special Deputy to include enforcement and citation powers. S. Johnson said a separate job description is needed for the seasonal Park Patrol.
1) Proceed with developing job descriptions for the proposed full-time Special Deputy and the seasonal Park Patrol positions; and
2) Refer the drafting of an Enforcement Ordinance to the Ways & Means Committee.
III. Job Reclassifications for Office Technician I, Office Technician II, and Accounting Technicians
Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer Tammi Vaith said that these requests were submitted to the former Human Resources Director a year ago, who did not take action. She met with the new Human Resources Director, Schawn Johnson last month regarding this request. Vaith said they are asking for the following:
1) Reclassify some Office Technician I (OTI) positions in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office to Office Technician II (OTII);
2) Replace four Auditor/Treasurer OTII positions with a new job description called Taxation Process Specialist, which includes an addendum for Property Tax Specialist, and one for Land Records Specialist;
3) Change the job description for two Accounting Technician positions in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office to Payroll Specialist, as these employees primarily perform payroll functions, unlike other Accounting Technicians at the County.
S. Johnson said pay equity has to be evaluated. Establishing positions with different names that are performing the same functions can be a problem. Assistant Finance Director Lindsey Meyer said she is not proposing that the Payroll Specialists be added as an addendum to the Accounting Technician job description. She would like a new job description drafted.
S. Johnson distributed a document entitled, “Weighting of Factors” (see attached). He said qualifications are important, but not the only consideration. Human Resources looks at minimum job qualifications versus maximum job qualifications to fill positions. He wants to determine whether the changes in the OTI positions are significant enough to affect the pay grade. He would like to hold this request until after the classification study is completed. Commissioner Mark Daleiden said he agrees with the Payroll Specialist request because it is so specific. He would also like to wait on the OTI positions until after the classification study.
Vaith said the OTI change wouldn’t create a new position, but would become an addendum on the OTII job description. The scope of the position responsibilities in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office has increased. The OTIs do more than answer phones or deliver documents to other staff members. Independent thinking and decisionmaking is required, as well as passing yearly certification on passport processing to make sure documents are completed correctly for the State. The Auditor/Treasurer’s Office has six OTI employees, including elections, and four OTIIs. The request is to reclassify the OTI staff to OTII, except for one OTI who works as a receptionist. Hiivala said the License Bureau OTIs will stay the same.
Daleiden expressed concern that these changes would cause problems in the future, as well as possible budget implications related to changing employees to a higher pay scale. Hiivala said there are areas in his budget to accommodate these changes. Daleiden said he is concerned about the possibility that the classification study would not justify the change from OTI to OTII. Husom said she would prefer to have different position titles than just Office Technician I and Office Technician II for clearer differentiation. L. Kelly said the minimum qualifications of the two positions are very similar.
Discussion continued regarding the level of complexity of OTI positions among various Departments.
Daleiden said he preferred to let the full County Board decide on whether to change the OTI positions in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office to OTII. L. Meyer said the word “payroll” appears in the generic Accounting Technician job description, and other Departments don’t do payroll activities. Daleiden agreed that the Payroll Specialist job description should be created since it encompasses different responsibilities from other Accounting Technicians in the County organization. Husom agreed.
Daleiden said the word “payroll” should be removed from the existing Accounting Technician job description. Partlow asked whether that would lower the pay grade of that position. Hiivala recommended leaving the Accounting Technician job description as it is, and let the findings from the upcoming classification study determine whether a grade change is necessary.
S. Johnson thought the creation of the Taxation Process Specialist job description with two addenda (Property Tax Specialist and Land Records Specialist) would accomplish their goals with minimal impact on other Departments. He will have to get the union’s approval as well.
Daleiden said no steps will be taken regarding changing the Auditor/Treasurer OTI positions to OTII at this time, due to the pending classification study.
1) Create a new job description for a Taxation Process Specialist which includes one addendum for Property Tax Specialist position and another for the Land Records Specialist position; and
2) Change the job description for two Accounting Technician positions in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office to Payroll Specialist.
IV. HHS Workplace Expectations & Professional Standards Policy Discussion
Health and Human Services (HHS) Director Jami Goodrum Schwartz distributed a document entitled, “HHS Workplace Expectations and Professional Standards” (see attachment). She explained that the purpose is to present this to new employees at orientation, at which time the supervisor signs the back page, and asks the employee to do so. Existing staff will be asked to review and sign it as well, once approved. The target date for implementation is January or February 2018. Schwartz said these expectations will help get all HHS staff on board and accountable from the beginning. Unions have said they are concerned this document would be used against employees. She asked staff to read and respond with any comments, but got only one response.
S. Johnson outlined his concerns:
1) The County has a Personnel Policy in place that every new employee signs at orientation.
2) The Personnel Policy says any rules initiated in a Department must be brought to the County Coordinator and the County Board for approval. The proposed HHS Workplace Expectations and Professionals Standards (HHS Standards) document requires new employees to sign off. The County’s labor law attorney advised against it. S. Johnson said he is fine with the content of the document, but does not want employees to have to sign it. He added that the union is against this document because the County already has a similar document in place in the Personnel Policy.
Schwartz said they hold their staff to a different standard. This functions as a measure of accountability for staff and supervisors. She would like to implement this document in HHS in January. Daleiden said the attorney recommended that this go through the regular Human Resources process.
Daleiden said he would like to look over the HHS Standards document and bring it back to the Personnel Committee in January. He would also like to see the labor law attorney’s comments. He does not want to hold HHS employees to a different standard from other County employees.
S. Johnson will forward the HHS Standards document to the labor law attorney, and provide Schwartz and the rest of the Committee with the attorney’s comments. He said Schwartz may include the HHS Standards document in their orientation packet, minus the signature page on back. It should also be the same for all County employees.
Recommendation: Tabled until the January 2018 Personnel / Employee Relations Committee.
V. Performance Review Greg Pickard, Veterans Services Officer
Recommendation: Based on four (4) performance evaluations received, the Committee recommends a rating of “Meets Expectations”.
(End of 12-13-17 Personnel Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, the following changes were made to the minutes: Page 1, Item I, change the Recommendation to read, “Renew the Appointment of Erik Heuring as the County’s Agricultural Inspector for 2018 at an annual rate of $15,000” (Husom). Husom moved to approve the minutes as corrected and the recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter. The motion to approve the minutes carried 4-0. The minutes follow:
I. Ag Inspector, Erik Heuring - 2017 Year End Report
Heuring provided an overview of what had taken place during 2017.
• Worked with SWCD to establish pesticide applicator classes for township, county and city employees, however this is only available to those licensed by the State and keep an application log. Since municipal employees are not required to be licensed, there was a lack of interest. However, will continue to seek participation for classes.
• This was the first year that Heuring proctored pesticide exams, which were held at the Government center.
• Attended three township meetings, January, April and July.
• Attended pesticide applicators workshop held through the Extension office.
• Attended the Wright County CWMA (Cooperative Weed Management Area) meeting in April, this was a very good opportunity for networking.
• Dealt with Wild Parsnip, Oriental Bittersweet and Teasel, all of which are very invasive.
• Sprayed several times with the SWCD this year.
• Sent out 122 notices in 2017, compared to 55 in 2016.
• Canada Thistle was another noxious weed that Heuring spent time with enforcing its eradication.
• Noted that everyone that received a notice this year will receive notices in 2018 reminding them to continue to control noxious weeds.
• Will be collaborating with the SWCD to apply for a grant through the MDA in 2018 for the purposes of eradicating species, by providing more scouting and control measures as well as hiring someone to spray the rail lines.
• Released spotted knapweed weevils. They will not harm other plants, but are successful in the management of Spotted Knapweed.
Briefly discussed how the hiring of the Agriculture and Drainage Coordinator position, Matt Detjen, would impact the Ag Inspector’s role with the County. Commissioner Borrell stated that the new position would be more involved with the drainage system of the County and would not affect Erik’s role; Detjen would be more of a liaison for Erik.
Renew the Appointment of Erik Heuring as the County’s Agricultural Inspector for 2018, at an annual rate of $15,000.
II. Drainage Inspector, Mike Young - 2017 Year End Report
Young reviewed highlights from 2017, indicating that the most notable change is that 2017 was a reactive year. This was primarily due to the redetermination and re-establishment of records. There were five new repairs entered, with eight repairs completed and closed. Working with SWCD regarding Best Management Practices for JD 15. Anticipating that 2018 will be more proactive. Will be working with Agriculture and Drainage Coordinator, Matt Detjen, to identify a more proactive approach to repairing and maintaining the County drainage infrastructure.
Noted that he is fine with his current wage, not looking for an increase in 2018.
Renew the Appointment of Mike Young as the County’s Drainage Inspector for 2018, retaining the same rate(s) as set forth in the 2017 agreement.
(End of 12-13-17 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
COUNTY BOARD MEETING, 12-26-17
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said this item was laid over from the last meeting. HHS sent an email in the last 10 minutes indicating they need to have something approved at the 12-26-17 Board Meeting. The Board said if the item is time sensitive, then the meeting will be held. L. Kelly said that the Parks Department submitted a Consent Agenda item as well. It was the consensus that the 12-26-17 County Board Meeting will be held.
SCHEDULE MEETINGS WITH LEGISLATORS (KELLY)
L. Kelly said response was received from legislators on attending a meeting with the County Board on 1-23-18 at 11:00 A.M. Two have responded that they will attend, two are unsure, and two will not attend. L. Kelly also recommended the Board meet on 1-02-18 at 11:00 AM to discuss the legislative platform.
On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, all voted to set the following Meetings:
Committee Of The Whole Meeting 1-02-18 @ 11:00 A.M. Agenda topic: Legislative Priorities
Committee Of The Whole Meeting 1-23-18 @ 11:00 A.M. Agenda topic: Meeting with Legislators to discuss Legislative Priorities
CHANGES TO COMMITTEE MEETING/ADVISORY BOARD APPOINTMENTS SCHEDULE
L. Kelly said proposed changes will be incorporated into the per diem resolution and committee appointments listing which will be presented for approval at the first meeting in January. On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, all voted to approve the following changes to the Committee Meeting/Advisory Board Appointments Schedule:
• Change the Nuclear Committee membership to reflect “Husom, Vetsch, Coordinator, Emergency Management Director, and Emergency Management Deputy”
• Remove “Central MN Mental Health Center Board”
• Remove “Central MN Mental Health Center Foundation”
• Change the Legislative Matters Scheduled Day/Time to “As Needed”
• Add “MN Rural Counties” to the listing
• Add “Trailblazer Joint Powers Board” to the listing
• Add “Wright County Area Transit Joint Powers Board” to the listing
MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT RATE FOR 2018
L. Kelly said the County is required to set the mileage reimbursement rate. The IRS has set the standard mileage rate in 2018 at 54.5 cents per mile. The Board discussed the budget impact of raising the rate. It was the consensus that this should be discussed again during budget sessions in 2018.
Potter moved to continue with the mileage reimbursement rate of 50 cents per mile. Husom seconded the motion with the caveat that this is discussed during 2018 budget sessions. Staff should provide information at that time on what an increase would equate to and how much the County is paying for mileage reimbursement. L. Kelly said the County Motor Pool is run at 40 cents per mile. However, there are staff that are reimbursed at 50 cents per mile when using their own vehicle. The motion carried 4-0.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE / ADVISORY BOARD UPDATES
1. MnDOT Variance Committee. Potter attended a meeting on 12-14-17. The next one is in March.
2. Courts Executive Committee Meeting. Potter provided an overview of discussion items. One thing that will be explored is whether to move the retention pond to county owned land across the road to the north. This is being considered to allow for further expansion at the site if desired. It will cost much less to do this at this point. The timing of the move to the Justice Center is the first quarter of 2020 versus the last quarter of 2019.
3. 7W Transportation Meeting. Potter attended a meeting on 12-15-17 in St. Cloud. More legislative proposals are being drafted. The goal is to have the same priorities as the League of MN Cities and the Transportation Alliance. The group discussed the Corridors of Commerce Program, and the MET Council’s effort to move to a 60/40 split versus a 50/50 split.
4. TH 55 Coalition. Potter was unable to attend the meeting but reported that he was elected Chair of the Coalition for 2018.
5. MEADA. Husom attended a recent meeting. Husom stated that there is funding available to local schools for anti-drug awareness efforts. The Governor has also created a State opioid oversight project.
6. Public Works Labor Management. Husom attended a meeting on 12-14-17. The 49er’s has a new Business Agent. The railroad bridge in Howard Lake has seen 16 crashes this year because of vehicle height.
7. Safe Communities of Wright County. Husom attended the 20-year celebration held on 12-15-17.
8. Foster Care Holiday Extravaganza. Vetsch extended thanks to the HHS staff members for a great event.
9. TH 25 Coalition. Vetsch said additional details will be provided in January on the open house being planned for February on preliminary plans.
The meeting adjourned at 11:20 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Jan. 5, 2018.