The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met on Monday, November 12, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Chippewa County Courthouse.
Present: Commissioners Ted Postula, Don Cooper, Rita Dale, Bernard LaJoie, Aaron Hopper, Earl Kay and Chairman Gary McDowell
Also Present: Tim Dolehanty, Controller, Dave Carpenter, Finance Director, Diane Cork, County Clerk, Ron Cross, Don and Chris McLean, Sam Harma, HBH, Tom Farnquist, Great Lake Shipwreck Society, Jim Moore, Scott Brand, Evening News, Lisa Wilcox, Dick Carmody, Whitefish Concerned Citizens, various individuals from HBH and Whitefish Concerned Citizens (a complete list is on file in the County Clerk's Office)
It was moved by Commissioner Postula, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to acknowledge correspondence received in the Clerk's Office and if necessary forward to the appropriate committee. On a voice vote the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Kay, to approve the County Board minutes of October 14, 2002 with the following correction:
Page 1, paragraph 7, reads as follows: "It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner LaJoie, to support future endeavors of the Great Lakes Historical Shipwreck Society. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously."
"It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner LaJoie, to consider future endeavors of the Great Lakes Historical Shipwreck Society.
With this correction, the motion carried unanimously.
With so many people in attendance, Chairman McDowell explained the bylaw rules for public comments. He asked that each individual who wished to address the Board keep their comments to a maximum of fifteen minutes for one topic and three minutes for each individual.
In place of Bridget Nordurft, who was scheduled on the agenda, Dick Carmody spoke on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Whitefish Township.
Mr. Carmody stated the purpose of attending the Board meeting was to inform the Board and asked for their assurance in informing the Township of Whitefish of things that impact them.
The following letter, addressed to the County Board, was read into the minutes:
TO: Chippewa County Board of Commissioners
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Bay Mills Tribe of Ojibway Indians
SUBJECT: Proposed Acquisition of Property Adjacent to Whitefish Point
Dear Sirs and Madams:
A proposal had been made in the spring of 2002 that Whitefish Township acquire approximately 1,300 feet of beachfront property adjacent to Whitefish Point. The intended goal of the purchase was to create a waterfront park for visitors and residents to enjoy. On April 4, 2002 the Whitefish Board passed a resolution authorizing the Township to acquire these lands.
Since the passage of the April 4, 2002 motion several things have come to the attention of the Board that necessitated a reversal of the resolution. These include the following issues:
A. The use of the land as a waterfront park has taken a dramatic turn. The proposed uses now include an International Port of Call for Great Lakes cruise ships.
B. The covenants that are in effect on the land, which the Townships had wanted to use for the Marina, preclude the use of the land for that purpose. One of the covenants states that the land shall be used for residential purposes only.
C. An undated, unsigned letter on Township letterhead was sent to Township residents stating that the Township was going to purchase this land and proceed with the development of the parkland, this letter was completely unauthorized. To further complicate the matter, we have since found out that the letter was sent to the printers by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) and subsequently mailed by the GLSHS without Township knowledge. This type of interference in Township operations by outside activities cannot and will not be tolerated. The Board is currently reviewing its options as they pertain to this wrongful use of official stationary and the fraudulent impression that was passed on to the residents.
D. A Township meeting was conducted on August 8, 2002 and the topic of the land purchase was again revisited. The general consensus from everyone in attendance was that the Township should drop the project and not pursue the purchase of the land. Points noted in the discussion included:
1. Any construction would require an environmental impact study.
2. The infra structure to support the process is non-existent and the addition of the infra structure would place large fiscal burden on the Township.
3. The covenants on the land will be impossible to combat and would require costly legal expenses.
A request was made to the Township Board to pass a resolution that would in fact reverse the April 4, 2002 resolution. A motion was made and seconded and the Board unanimously passed the motion.
To that end and in order to give the residents of the Township closure on this matter a second request was made that the Township Board convey the results to the August 8, 2002 vote to the County Board and the two Indian Tribes and request that the afore mentioned groups not pursue this initiative either. This motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed. This letter is a result of that motion.
The Township Board and the residents of Whitefish Township believe that based on past practices of the GLSHS management that the County and/or the Tribes will also be asked to pursue this initiative. We the duly elected representatives of the residents of Whitefish Township want to make it perfectly clear that we do not want the proposed parking our Township. However, if it was preserved, with Township restrictions, we would be interested in such a proposal in the future. We sincerely hope that the County and Tribes will fully support our decision and we can put this issue behind us.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
The Whitefish Township Board
Currently, Whitefish Township and GLSHS are involved with two different grants, one of which was being closed out tonight. Mr. Carmody thought it was unfair that the closing of the grant was being held outside the Township of Whitefish.
Mr. Carmody explained that the residents of Whitefish Township only want the land and environment to be treated with the utmost respect and that the residents of Whitefish Township did not want to be bypassed in the process of issues dealing with their township. They wanted clarification as to the County Board's position.
In response to the concerns of Mr. Carmody, Tom Farnquist, GLSHS, responded.
Mr. Farnquist stated he was not sure whom all these people represent, they have never attended a GLSHS Board meeting nor have members of GLSHS been invited to any of their gatherings to discuss any of their issues.
Mr. Farnquist stated that GLSHS has worked with Whitefish Township and the County of Chippewa for over 20 years and it's only been the last year or so that objections have been raised with what GLSHS has tried to accomplish in Whitefish Township.
Mr. Farnquist went on to say at no time was the 1,000 feet of beachfront ever going to be developed as port of call for Great Lake cruise ships.
Chairman McDowell asked the two entities if the County Board could facilitate a meeting between the two groups to come to some understandings. He felt as if there was a lot of misunderstanding.
Commissioner Hopper reiterated by saying he and the County were willing to help both groups.
Sam Harma, HBH, addressed the County Board concerning the resolution that was prepared for tonight's meeting. Mr. Harma explained that in 1997 a merger took place between Schoolcraft, Mackinac and Chippewa County for mental health services. At that time, the new board would have equal representation set at five members from each county for the initial three year time period following the merger. This representation continues to this time.
Mr. Harma presented some statistics related to Chippewa County's attendance at HBH meetings. He did not feel that the County was being fully represented and with Chippewa County' proposed action, Mr. Harma felt that as director of mental health services for Chippewa County it was his duty to inform the public that this proposed action will have serious financially consequences for the tax payers of this County that would result in the reduction of mental health services and would mean the loss of good jobs in the community.
Mr. Harma was asking the County Board to set aside the proposed resolution and meet with his board to discuss any concerns they may have.
Several employees of HBH addressed the County Board explaining the services provided by HBH to the community, courts and schools and what the impact would be if these services were not available.
Commissioner Cooper stated that he thought there was a misconception that services were going to be cut and he wanted it known that that was not the case.
Don McLean read the following statement:
We are here again tonight as we have been for the last 20 months.
We are not here as employees of Hiawatha Behavioral Health with a vested interest in our jobs.
We are not here as outside experts who really have some connection or vested interested in HBH.
We are here, as always, as residents of Chippewa County and our vested interest was our daughter, Karen, until here death on February 14, 2001.
Our vested interest now is the 1260 residents of Chippewa County who signed our petitions last spring.
Our vested interest now is in changing the top management of HBH so what happened to our daughter will not happen to any other residents of Chippewa County.
Our efforts have involved contacting our congressman, our national senators, our state senator and our state legislator.
As a result of those efforts a bill should be soon introduced in Lansing that will correct the problem officials had when the CEO of HBH refused to share Karen's records with the Chippewa County Medical Examiner, even after we as the personal representatives of her estate had signed the authorization.
We have filed recipient rights complaints only to have them referred to the HBH CEO for action, even though the CEO was part of the complaint.
We have filed formal complaints against the probate judge with the Judicial Tenure Commission.
We have filed complaints with the Michigan Dept. of Consumer & Industry Services against the HBH psychiatrist and caseworker.
We have attended every monthly meeting of HBH for the last 21 months and have made short presentations at each of the last 18 meetings.
During those presentations we have explained a number of examples of how HBH mishandled Karen's case and how it resulted in her death.
We explained how HBH repeatedly failed to provide the long term inpatient dual diagnosis treatment by eight psychiatrists HBH had evaluate Karen during the five years she was under their care.
We explained how HBH filed a petition in probate court to terminate our guardianship of Karen because we kept advocating for treatment instead of simply warehousing her in an AFC home in Battle Creek.
We explained the situation of when in 1999 we had found a program in Florida and had taken Karen there at our own expense and she was being successful in the program. Medicare had been paying for the entire 5 weeks of treatment, then it was up to HBH to approve Medicaid funding for Karen to continue in the treatment program. Unfortunately, HBH never came thru with the Medicaid funding and Karen was thrown out on the streets of Naples, Florida.
We explained the situation when just 9 months before Karen's death, here HBH caseworker, one of 12 caseworkers Karen had in 5 years at HBH, came to our home and asked us to become Karen's guardians again because the caseworker feared for Karen's safety. However, someone at HBH cut off the efforts of the caseworker and Karen was left on her own.
We explained the situation where just 2 months before Karen's death when the HBH psychiatrist interviewed Karen for 35 minutes while Karen was in jail and determined that Karen was a person no longer needing mental health services. This after 8 reputable psychiatrists, HBH had selected over a 5 year period, had all found Karen was suffering from severe depression, anorexia, bulimia, borderline personality and alcoholism.
We explained the situation when after Karen's death the HBH CEO refused to meet with the Chippewa County Medical Examiner to discuss how situations like Karen's could be prevented in the future.
For 18 months the Board has just sat thru our presentations and then went about their other business.
I have copies of those 18 presentations if you are interested in them.
HBH has a very important responsibility to the residents of our county.
We are not talking about the successful Special Olympics program for the 20% of the HBH clients who take advantage of that fine program.
We are not talking about maintaining an agency so all of these fine people can have some place to work.
We are talking about services for the mentally ill people in our community who make up 80 % of HBH clients.
The mentally ill who are the most vulnerable of all people in our community; people like our Karen was. HBH top management intervened and Karen was not provided the treatment she desperately needed. Since her death I know of 3 other people from Chippewa County who have died because of mishandling by HBH.
I believe it is time tonight to start the process to change things so what happened to Karen does not happen to anyone else.
I ask you to start that process tonight.
This concluded the public comments.
CONTROLLER'S REPORT - Tim Dolehanty
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to approve Resolution 02-22 as follows:
RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT
THE 2003 EASTERN UPPER PENINSULA
COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
WHEREAS, the E.U.P. Regional Planning and Development Commission has the function of developing the annual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) report; and
WHEREAS, Chippewa County is an active participant in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy; and
WHEREAS, the Chippewa County CEDS Committee (EDC) and the E.U.P. Regional Advisory CEDS Committee have developed this economic development program and recommended its adoption; and
WHEREAS, the County Board finds the CEDS to be consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of Chippewa County and the tri-county region; and
WHEREAS, the County Board concurs with the County and Regional Priorities and finds them to be in full accord with our short and long-range goals and objectives for economic development; and
WHEREAS, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners actively supports and currently participates in the economic development district activities of the EUP Regional Planning and Development Commission.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED as follows:
1. That the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners does hereby endorse and concur with the updated CEDS report for the Eastern Upper Peninsula.
2. That the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners supports the E.U.P. Regional Planning and Development Commission's application to the Economic Development Administration for planning funds.
On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Kay, to accept the applications of interest from nominees for various board/committees/agencies and close nominations at this time. These applications will be considered in thirty days.
On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Dolehanty stated the paperwork for the self insurance program was received for the Blue Cross. Commissioner Kay preferred to see the documents before any action was taken. Commissioner Cooper asked if the Board were to approve the self-insurance, when would it take effect. Mr. Dolehanty replied, January 2, 2003.
OLD BUSINESS: None
Personnel Committee - Aaron Hopper - 11-04-2002
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner LaJoie, to recommend adding Nicholas Vaught and Erin Johnson to the roster of part-time dispatchers, as recommended by the OES/9-1-1 Director. On a voice, vote the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to accept the Personnel Committee report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Equalization and Apportionment - Bernard LaJoie - No meeting
Health and Social Services - Ted Postula - No meeting
Building, Grounds and Jail Committee - Earl Kay - 10-16-2002
Informational purposes only, no action items needed.
It was moved by Commissioner Kay, supported by Commissioner Dale, to accept the Building, Grounds and Jail Committee report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Transportation Committee - Ted Postula - No meeting
Legislative and Natural Resource Committee - Earl Kay - No meeting
Computer Committee - Don Cooper - No meeting
Finance, Claims and Accounts - Rita Dale - 11-07-2002
Controller Tim Dolehanty reviewed supplemental information provided by Dr. Mary Beth Skupien regarding the physical therapy joint partnership. In response to an earlier inquiry from the Board of Commissioners, it was noted that the beneficiaries of the project would be tribal members, non-Tribal spouses, family members, Tribal employees and Medicaid patients. The Controller also quoted from Section 8 of the Consent Judgment that established two percent payments stating, "Each tribe shall determine which local unit or units of government shall receive payments and the amounts thereof; provided, however, the guidelines governing the tribes in making said determinations shall be based upon compensating said local units of government for governmental services provided to the tribes and the impacts associated with the existence and location of the tribal casino in its vicinity."
The Committee questioned the appropriateness of describing this request as a county project. Chairperson Dale observed that the contract included with the supplemental information had more to do with War Memorial Hospital than it did with the County. Commissioner Kay observed the $49,544 project includes $41,544 for costs to renovate and equip the Chi Mukwa facility, which is owned by the Tribe.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend returning the check submitted for the physical therapy joint partnership to the Tribe because the project does not fulfill the intended purpose of payments to be made to local units of government under the Consent Judgment. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the uniform Resolution for Adopting Benefit Program "E" Increase to be effective on adjustment date of January 1, 2003. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Controller Dolehanty reviewed several proposals submitted by insurance carriers interested in providing short term and long-term disability insurance.
The Committee discussed various components of the recommend insurance plans. It was confirmed that both of the proposed programs complied with the provisions of County labor contracts.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the short-term disability and life insurance policies proposed by the Baltimore Life Insurance Company, and the long-term disability insurance policy proposed by Unum Provident. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Controller Dolehanty asked the Committee to consider the method by which accumulated sick leave would be paid out to applicable employees. He stated the County could make a single, lump sum payment to the employees or may pay in three equal annual installments.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale to recommend providing accumulated sick leave compensation to applicable employees in three equal annual installments. The motion died for a lack of support.
Commissioner Kay thought the Board was misinformed of the intent of the employees and he felt it was not going to adversely affect the County by giving the employees a lump sum.
It was moved by Commissioner Kay to recommend providing the accumulated sick leave compensation in one lump sum to applicable employees. Motion supported by Commissioner LaJoie. On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Hopper voting nay.
After discussion, Commissioner LaJoie withdrew his support for the above mentioned motion and Commissioner Kay amended his previous motion to say the accumulated sick leave compensation pay out be at the discretion of the employee, either in a one lump sum or in installments for three years at their current rate of pay for the year 2002. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
The committee reviewed carpet purchase and installation quotes gathered by the County Clerk. Proposal from Shunk Furniture, The Carpet Mart, Northern Hospitality and Floors & More were considered.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the quote submitted by the Carpet Mart for $1,300.73 as the most complete proposal. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Controller Dolehanty presented the results of a request for proposals (RFP) for ten personal computers. Bids were received from five prospective vendors.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend acceptance of the proposal from National Office Products for ten personal computers at a cost of $16,999.70. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
A resolution to continue Chippewa County's participation in the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement program was considered by the Committee. It was noted that the County already approved a contractual agreement to continue its participation.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend approval of the Resolution to Approve the Intergovernmental Task Force Agreement to continue participation in the Straits Area narcotics Enforcement program. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of general fund claims totaling $165,279.23, other fund claims of $628,389.41, payroll of $484,097.66 and health department claims of $408,806.74, vouchers 32215 through 32394 and K-1 through K-163, with amended totals to be presented at the regular Board meeting scheduled for November 12. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Kay, to approve the AFSCME contract with the County Health Department Unit. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner, to accept the Finance, Claims and Accounts Committee report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Postula, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to approve the Finance Work Session Minutes of November 4, 2002 as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Moved by Commissioner Postula, supported by Commissioner Kay, to approve the October 25 and October 26, 2002 County Board Work Session Meeting minutes as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner LaJoie, supported by Commissioner Postula, to recommend Resolution 02-24, Hiawatha Behavorial Health Resolution, be tabled until the next County Board meeting. The motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting nay.
NEW BUSINESS: None
Having no further business, it was moved by Commissioner Kay, supported by Commissioner Postula, to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion carried and the Board did adjourn at 9:05 p.m.
Diane S. Cork, Clerk
Gary McDowell, Chairman