The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, September 8, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Chippewa County Courthouse.
Present: Commissioners Don Cooper, Rita Dale, Richard Timmer, Aaron Hopper, Jim Moore and Chairman Earl Kay
Absent: Commissioner Ted Postula
Also Present: Susan Short, Probate Court, Scott Brand, Evening News, Jeff Moran, Sheriff, Bernard LaJoie, Michalene Sullivan, Don and Chris McLean, Dave Carpenter, Finance Dept., Robert Atherton, Mike Macfarlane, Frances Hoholik, Bernita Sibbald, Debra Green, Tim Dolehanty, Controller, and Diane Cork, County Clerk
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to acknowledge the correspondence received in the Clerk’s Office and if necessary, forward to the appropriate committee. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to approve the County Board minutes of August 11, 2003 as presented by the Clerk. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
The following statement was read into the record by Don McLean:
My wife and I have been attending the meetings of the local mental health board since early 1996 when the Eastern Upper Peninsula Mental Health board still existed.
Those meetings were very straightforward and easy to follow as there was open discussion and public input and involvement was accepted.
We watch as Mr. Harma took over and reorganized the board the meetings.
One of the steps involved was the process of board member training and education.
The meetings soon changed from the easy to follow open format to a very complex, confusing process with very little discussion and minimal public input and involvement.
It was only about 4 months ago, after attending every meeting for over two years, that a board member accidentally mentioned that we could get a copy of the board agenda and packet that would be helpful at the meetings.
Nobody during the previous 24 months had bothered to mention that fact even though most of the time we were the only public present.
In attempts, over a five-year period, to get proper care and treatment for our desperately ill daughter, we approached a number of HBH board members.
We were promptly told by these newly trained and educated board members that the board and its members could not be involved in the clinical aspect of patient care.
We were put off.
We continued to strongly advocate for our daughter in any way we could think of, but our efforts were futile.
We were surprised when a HBH board member at the December 2002 workshop with this county commission, stated that any family encountering a problem with HBH could simply contact an individual board member for help. We know from experience that this is a lie.
The meetings of HBH have continued with HBH management educating the guiding the board.
There is virtually no discussion, very few votes that are not unanimous, very little public input that is acknowledged and it is simply business as usual.
The board member training and indoctrination for the most part has worked.
The agency continues to build new buildings, pay college tuition for employees, pay for staff recognition luncheons, pay for bronze plaques, provide expensive board retreats, pay for unnecessary out of state travel, provide luxury automobiles for top management personal use, and pay for unnecessary landscaping.
This continues as mentally ill people in the three county area die because they are systematically screened out, refused services or suddenly declared no longer in need of mental health services.
We observed Mr. Kay’s efforts, during a recent HBH meeting to ask questions about a Chippewa County resident who had requested services at HBH.
Mr. Kay is the first board member to bring a resident’s problem before the board.
It was amazing to see the other board members close ranks to shut down discussion and defend the status quo.
They have been well trained to ask no questions and to simply sit there, not their heads, and vote yes on whatever the management proposes.
We urge this county board to continue your efforts to bring true representation to HBH and bring true service, care and treatment to the mentally ill of Chippewa County.
Chris McLean read the following statement into the record:
At the July 2003 HBH board meeting those in attendance were subjected to a lengthy history lesson concerning how bad off Chippewa County was in 1996 and how wonderful things now are for mental health in Chippewa County. I believe the history lesson was simply another inflated accumulation of partial data designed to make the present HBH management look good at the expense of others, particularly the clients.
There is just so much money in any budget and if monies are spent on bronze plaques, employee luncheons, unnecessary out of state travel, college tuition, luxury personal automobiles, smoker hideouts, lavish buildings, elaborate interior decorations, expensive office furniture, expensive board retreats, unnecessary landscaping, and sweatshirts then there are less monies for client care and treatment.
At the last board meeting one Chippewa County board member raised the question as to the need for anti-stigma expense now: another member stated that the anti-stigma funds were not about what was going on in Chippewa County. Yet, that board member was present at the October 2002 HBH board meeting when Sam Harma stated he needed to hire a professional public relations person to “fight what’s happening in Chippewa County.” To date over $14,446 have been spent on anti-stigma in 2003. $14,000 that could have gone for client services. What is even worse was the selective memory of the board member concerning that anti-stigma expense.
Staff recognition luncheons have already cost the agency over $3,317 which is already $1651 over budget.
Bronze plaques honoring former board members cost the agency about $2670 in the last year. I’m not sure how that expense was written off. Then there is the expense of the oak dry sink that sits idly under the plaque.
How about the $1,000 it cost to erect the smokers hideaway for employees at the Sault HBH office.
Landscaping $10,000 for the Sault Office alone this year. If the building had been designed properly there wouldn’t have been a need to hide air conditions units, vents, or smokers.
General Office Expense is already $34,894 over budget.
Equipment and Furniture is $18,981 over budget for year with a couple months left to go.
All this while client services are being scaled back; while clients within the City of Sault Ste. Marie are faced with $12.00 taxi fares ($3.00 if you can get Transpo) to get to and from the mental health building.
This past spring the board okayed employee tuition grants for three employees $4,000 each. That’s $12,000 just for those three employees for this year. The grants totaled $32,000 for over three years. Another $12,000 tuition grant was made in June. And another $12,000 grant was given in July. $56,000 of tax-payer monies to five employees for college tuition. Tax payer monies that most tax payers give to mental health thinking those funds are going for the care and treatment of mentally ill or handicapped people when in reality they are going to fund further education for those already able to care for themselves.
Transportation expense which ran $8,600 last month is within $6,600 of the $98,000 budget for the year. If the trend keeps up it will be double digit over budget.
Where will the funds come from to balance the budget?
It would take too long to go over the history lesson to present the rest of the story so I will just give you a copy to read and judge for yourselves; also some other data to back up what I have covered.
CONTROLLER’S REPORT – Tim Dolehanty
Resolution # 03-25 was offered by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Dale, as follows:
RESOLUTION IN APPRECIATION AND SPECIAL RECOGNITION
OF TOM MCBRYDE
WHEREAS, Tom McBryde began working for Chippewa County on September 5, 1974 as a Deputy, was promoted to Road Patrol Sergeant in 1992, and was appointed Undersheriff in 1996; and
WHEREAS, Tom McBryde has also served the Sheriff’s Department as an accident investigator; and
WHEREAS, Tom McBryde has faithfully served the citizens of Chippewa County for the past 29 years, and serving the citizens of Whitefish Township as a Resident Deputy; and
WHEREAS, Tom McBryde has chosen to retire from service with Chippewa County effective September 12, 2003.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as follows:
1. That the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners respectfully dedicates this document to honor and thank Tom McBryde for his many years of public service and particularly for his work in Chippewa County.
2. That the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners extend their best wishes to Tom McBryde for many years of good health and enjoyment in his retirement.
On a voice vote, the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to reappoint Merrill Lewis to the Hiawathaland Library Cooperative Board for a one-year period. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Moore, to re-appoint Delores Swick, as the Democratic representative, and John Osborn, as the Republican representative, to the Chippewa County Canvass Board with a term to expire October 31, 2007. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to approve the following Resolution:
UPCAP’S 2-1-1 APPLICATION FOR THE UPPER PENINSULA
WHEREAS, 2-1-1 is a national initiative to make health and human services more accessible to individuals through a single phone number, and
WHEREAS, 2-1-1 call centers are in place or are presently being developed throughout the State of Michigan: and
WHEREAS, the 2-1-1 State Office has indicated a desire to designate a 2-1-1 call center for the Upper Peninsula, and
WHEREAS, the developmental and operational funding for 2-1-1 will come from private sources and will not infringe on 9-1-1 or county government funding, and
WHEREAS, UPCAP Services, Inc. is in the process of submitting a 2-1-1 application for the Upper Peninsula, and
WHEREAS, a resolution supporting UPCAP’s 2-1-1 Application has been adopted by the Upper Peninsula Association of County Commissioners.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Chippewa County supports UPCAP’s submittal of a 2-1-1 application to serve the 15 counties of the Upper Peninsula.
On discussion: Commissioner Cooper asked if by passing the resolution, the County would be obligated to submit funds. Commissioner Hopper stated that funding will come from private funds.
On a voice vote, the motion carried.
The last item under the Controller’s report was that of appointing an employee representative to attend the MERS Annual Conference in Grand Rapids. By a vote of the employees, Barbara Fortin was elected as their representative.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to approve Barbara Fortin as the employee delegate to attend the MERS Annual Conference in Grand Rapids. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
OLD BUSINESS: None
Chairman Kay noted the Chippewa County flag placed in front of the bench. This flag was given to the 1437th National Guard to take with them when they went overseas. The flag was flown in Al Kut Iraq on April 2, 2003 by the soldiers of the 1437th Multi Role Bridge Company and will be placed in the Courthouse for display. The frame was made by a former Commissioner, Chum Leask.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Personnel – Rita Dale – August 14, 2003
The Committee reviewed a letter from Hon. Nicholas J. Lambros, Chief Circuit Judge, regarding contested language in the AFSCME Circuit Court Unit labor agreement. Judge Lambros suggested calling a meeting of all interested parties for the purpose of reaching consensus on the matter.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer to schedule a meeting of interested parties at a time and date convenient to Judge Lambros.
On discussion: Commissioner Dale stated that the issue did reach closure and the contract was signed. Commissioner Cooper disagreed and thought the issue was negotiated but if it was not, how did it get there and how can we prevent this from happening again.
On a voice vote, the motion failed.
Register of Deeds/Equalization Director Sharon Kennedy appeared before the Committee to review the draft position description for the newly created Data Entry I position. It was explained that the proposal used language from the current Data Entry position as a starting point, and was modified to meet the needs of the proposition.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend approval of the Data Entry I position description as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting no.
Chief Public Defender Elizabeth Church reviewed her correspondence recommending appointment of Ms. Jennifer J. Miller to the previously approved part-time attorney position. Ms. Church reminded the Committee that Ms. Miller would handle only state prisoner cases, and that the State will reimburse the County for expenses related to such cases.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend Ms. Jennifer J. Miller be appointed t the part-time attorney position in the Public Defender’s Office. On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting no.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to accept the Personnel Committee meeting minutes of August 14, 2003 as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Personnel – Rita Dale – September 8, 2003
Register of Deeds/Equalization Director Sharon Kennedy nominated Gail M. Tinker to fill the Data Entry I position. Ms. Kennedy stated Ms. Tinker possessed the correct mix of professional and life skills necessary to become a stellar public servant.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend the appointment of Gail M. Tinker to the Data Entry I position subject to the 90-day probationary period and contingent on completion of background and reference checks. On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting no.
County Controller Tim Dolehanty said he received 34 applications for the vacant PC Specialist position. Based on the results of the candidate selection process, he nominated Jennifer Lipponen for the Grade 9 position.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend the appointment of Jennifer Lipponen to the PC specialist position subject to the 90-day probationary period and contingent on completion of background and reference checks. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Mr. Dolehanty stated he received 15 applications for the vacant Animal Control Officer position and 25 applications for the vacant Animal Shelter Attendant position. He said the candidate selection process was complete and that he was prepared to offer a recommendation, but he has proposed elimination of one Animal Control Officer position in the fiscal year 2004 budget.
The Committee discussed the proposal and considered the qualification of several candidates. It was agreed that the budget constraints had to be considered and that it would be best to make necessary adjustments at this time. The Committee also agreed that Holly Henderson was the candidate most suited to the position.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend the appointment of Holly Henderson to the Animal Shelter Attendant position subject to the 90-day probationary period and contingent on completion of background and reference checks. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to accept the Personnel Committee meeting report of September 8, 2003 as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Equalization – Jim Moore – No meeting
Health & Social Services – Ted Postula – No meeting
Building, Grounds & Jail – Earl Kay – No meeting
Transportation – Ted Postula- No meeting
Legislative & Natural Resources – Richard Timmer – No meeting
Computer Committee – Don Cooper – No meeting
Finance, Claims & Accounts – Rita Dale – September 4, 2003 Register of Deeds Sharon Kennedy appeared before the Committee to seek approval of additional hours for staff in the Equalization Department and Register of Deeds Office. She stated the additional hours were necessary in order to address an increased workload, and that increasing workweek hours from 35 to 40 for a ten-week period would cost approximately $6,290. Ms. Kennedy projected $6,420 was available between the two departments to offset the cost.
The Committee discussed workload statistics presented by Ms. Kennedy. It was also confirmed that funds were available because two part-time positions were unfilled for several weeks.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the temporary increase in workweek hours as presented for a period not to extend beyond December 1, 2003. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
The Committee reviewed a written request for Edward J. Sloan, Director of Pathways substance Abuse Services, requesting the County Board to take necessary action to capture the PA2 Liquor Tax Funds. Captured funds would be used to support substance abuse prevention and treatment programs in Chippewa County.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend that the Board of Commissioners act to capture PA2 Liquor Tax funds to support substance abuse prevention and treatment programs in Chippewa County. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Information Systems Department Operations Analyst Brian Bartlett presented the Committee with a broadband internet proposal. He explained how the proposal would benefit the County and supplement other projects such as the Local Government Network to be used by the Courts and the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN). It was noted that officials with LEIN require broadband service in order to assure network security.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend that Operations Analyst Brian Bartlett be authorized to take the necessary steps to implement the broadband internet proposal as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Prosecuting Attorney Brian Peppler presented a proposed agreement with Maximus, Inc. for assistance preparing and submitting documentation for reimbursement of funds from the Family Independence Agency.
Mr. Peppler reported the County received $57,000 through the cooperative reimbursement program in 2003, and projected Maximus would secure $71,000 for the County in 2004. He added that 75% of the $4,800 cost of the contract would be reimbursed.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend approval of the Maximus Inc. agreement as presented, and to monitor reimbursement rates resulting from the agreement. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Dolehanty presented the annual software/hardware service agreement with Manatrom, Inc. He explained the agreement was necessary because of the proprietary nature of the Manatron system. A contract to continue the mapping program was also included.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend approval of the Manatron agreements as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Chairperson Dale discussed a proposal to support a request to allocate $25,000 in two percent funds for the Chippewa Dialysis Center. She explained the Chippewa Dialysis Center is a joint venture established in 1996 between the Sault Tribe, War memorial Hospital and Northern Michigan Hospital to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis center in Sault Ste. Marie.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend authorization of $25,000 in local government two percent funds for the Chippewa Dialysis Center, as proposed. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Tim McKee, Director of the Office of Emergency Services, reviewed funding requests from local fire departments for firefighting equipment. He explained that the equipment would aid in providing emergency services in federal forest lands. Mr. McKee reviewed specific funding requests for the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Kinross Charter Township, Whitefish Township, and the Sheriff’s Department.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Moore, to recommend approval of the equipment requests as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend the approval of general fund claims totaling $151,848.87, other fund claims of $124,169.22, payroll of $518,909.27 and health department claims of $394,885.81, for a total of $1,189,813.17 and vouchers 34110 through 34240 and I-1 through I-189. On a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to approve the Finance, Claims and Accounts Committee meeting of September 4, 2003 as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
NEW BUSINESS: None
Having no further business, it was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion carried and the Board did adjourn at 7:51 p.m.
Diane S. Cork, County Clerk
Earl Kay, Chairman