The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, April 12, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Chippewa County Courthouse.
Present: Commissioners Ted Postula, Don Cooper, Rita Dale, Richard Timmer, Aaron Hopper, Jim Moore and Chairman Earl Kay
Also Present: Tim Dolehanty, Controller, Diane S. Cork, County Clerk, John Bosbous Don and Chris McLean, Sue Short, Don Holt, Rosemary Blashill, Chris Lundquist, Mike Guilmette, Floyd Rabineau, Sharon Kennedy, Register of Deeds, Manville Casey, Tye Purdy, Hayley Potter, Monti Martin, Carmen Anderson and Alyssa Bancroft
It was moved by Commissioner Postula, supported by Commissioner Cooper 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 unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Postula, to approve the County Board minutes of March 8, 2004 as prepared by the Clerk. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Don McLean read the following statement:
Once again I would like to address issues concerning mental.
At a Chippewa County Legislative Committee meeting last Monday, Mr. Mark Keilhorn from the Dept. of Community Health in Lansing was present: It was my impression from statements made that HBH is only responsible to provide mandated services: and as long as these services are provided HBH can spend our tax dollars on whatever they want.
Federal and state dollars come to HBH based on what our area is expected to need for its population to provide the mandated services. If clients can be screened out, re-diagnosed, or if there is a glinch in the delivery of services and there is unused client funds, it seems HBH has these funds available to play with.
Instead of providing additional mental health services to the residents with the tax dollars that haven’t been used, HBH has chosen to provide themselves with unnecessary policies that protect the agency from public scrutiny, lavish offices and furnishings, luxury vehicles for management, paid tuition for employees, employee and board parties, yearly bonuses for all employees, wage and benefit increases for employees and management, employee sweatshirts, lavish meeting facilities, decorative landscaping, smoker hideouts and expensive propaganda campaigns.
HBH refuses to help clients and their families with transportation costs to and from treatment: the sheriff departments are faced with huge expenses when they must transport HBH clients and are not reimbursed; clients are referred to other social service agencies for help even though HBH has budget surpluses; while other state and federal tax supported programs are facing layoffs and unpaid holiday time for employees, HBH is providing health wage increases, benefits and bonuses.
Is HBH able to provide these agency perks due to “good management” as one HBH employee cited at the Legislative Committee meeting; or are the residents, local county budgets and other area service agencies being used to provide the extra benefits for HBH management and employees.
Christine McLean read the following statement:
At last month’s meeting of HBH we expressed our concern about a policy called “Sentinel Events”.
Our concern centered around the separate, secret client file concerning information about possible mistakes made by HBH that might have resulted in injury or death of HBH clients.
The policy was re-approved although one of our Chippewa County representatives voted no.
We still have concerns abut the need for such a policy.
A new policy that was recently approved and is listed as “Team Building Benefits” is another illustration of HBH’s continuing lack of financial restraint and accountability.
The “Team Building Policy” authorized about $38,000 per year ($250 per employee) to pay for: staff recognition luncheons; Christmas parties and summer picnics; retirement parties; and various other employee and management snacks and meals. Two representatives from Chippewa County voted against this policy.
We believe that the management of HBH would better serve the residents of Chippewa County if they put their creative efforts into lifting some of the financial burden from the counties instead of providing another free lunch for HBH management and employees.
CONTROLLER’S REPORT: Tim Dolehanty
Controller Dolehanty stated that he had received a letter of resignation from Sylvia A. Murray, member of the Chippewa County Family Independence Board effective March 31, 2004. Ms. Murray urged the County Board to fill her unexpired term with Floyd Rabineau sighting his involvement with this board for many years.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Moore, to accept the resignation of Sylvia A. Murray from the Chippewa County Family Independence Board effective March 31, 2004. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Dale, to suspend the by-law process of advertising for this position and go forward with appointing an individual to this board. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commission Timmer, to appoint Floyd Rabineau to fill the unexpired term of Sylvia A. Murray, to the Chippewa County Family Independence Agency. Term to expire on October 31, 2005. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Dale, to re-appoint Robert Wilson to the Veterans Affairs Board. Term to expire on April 1, 2008. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to adopt Resolution number 04-07 as follows:
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE
CONSUMER PRESCRIPTION PROTECTION LEGISLATION
WHEREAS, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners is concerned for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the county and fully supports efforts to maintain or improve the care provided to residents of the county, and
WHEREAS, guaranteeing the opportunity for the residents of the county to choose the pharmacy of their choice is critical to maintaining quality health care; and
WHEREAS, keeping business in the county and the state is a high priority of the county, and
WHEREAS, this year $1.5 billion in prescription drug revenue was mailed out of this state, and the number is expected to exceed $2 billion in 2004; and
WHEREAS, local community pharmacies are willing to provide the same services for the same price as mail order pharmacies located outside the state with no increase in cost to the employer or to the patient; and
WHEREAS, the Consumer Protection Package (House Bills 4987, 5435, 5436, 5437 and 5438) has been introduced in Lansing, and the bills are currently before the House of Representatives’ Health Policy Committee; and
WHEREAS, the Consumer Prescription Protection legislation preserves consumer choice for prescription services, allows Michigan community pharmacies to provide a 90-day supply of medication for the same co-pay as mail order pharmacy, and assists small businesses to better evaluate pharmacy costs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners fully supports the Consumer Prescription Protection package of legislation.
On a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Postula, to adopt Resolution number 04-08 as follows:
RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE
ADMINISTRATIVE PILT PROPOSAL
WHEREAS, the State of Michigan executive budget recommendation on the payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) includes the recommendation that payments on property purchased by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) shall move from the responsibility of the DNR and be paid from the State’s statutory revenue sharing pot and that payments are frozen at 2003 levels; and
WHEREAS, the DNR currently owns several thousand acres in Chippewa County with a total tax bill of more than $35,000; and
WHEREAS, the DNR has not yet paid its obligation under PILT for fiscal year 2004, although the Legislature appropriated funding for this purpose; and
WHEREAS, the Administration’s proposal for revenue sharing this year includes total elimination of county revenue sharing. Linking PILT to this source creates an unstable base of funding for this program which is critical to maintain key County services; and
WHEREAS, freezing PILT payments potentially increases the tax burden of all other county residents and represents a real cut in funding for critical programs because of Headlee requirements; and
WHEREAS, the Administration’s proposal take away any incentive for the DNR to utilize prudence in deciding which parcels of property to purchase; and
WHEREAS, these two programs have distinctly different purposes, revenue sharing is needed to be utilized statewide for counties to conduct state-mandated programs, and PILT is used to offset pressures of providing services in those specific areas where state land is prevalent; and
WHEREAS, another component of this budget proposal is to cap commercial forest payments at 1994 levels, a proposal which is particularly difficult for Upper Peninsula counties
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners:
1. Officially opposes the Administration’s proposal for PILT funding and strongly urges the Legislature to maintain the current process of having the DNR make PILT payments.
2. Supports funding the payments by utilizing any and all possible DNR sources of funding, including restricted funds and revenue from the sale of state lands.
3. Supports efforts to streamline tax bills so the DNR gets just one tax bill from each county and supports giving local governments veto authority on future DNR land purchases, in their respective jurisdictions.
4. Directs that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Governor Jennifer Granholm, Senator Shirley Johnson, Senator Michelle McManus, Senator Jason Allen, Representative Mark Schulman, Representative John Pastor, Representative Scott Shackleton, and Michigan Association of Counties.
On a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Hospice of Chippewa County requested the County Board’s support with continued funding of their Faith in Action Bridging Program in the amount of $5,000.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to allocate $5,000 to Hospice of Chippewa County. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to appoint Diane S. Cork, Chippewa County Clerk, Grant Manager for the purpose of purchasing and contracting authority for HAVA (Help America Vote Act).
Ms. Cork explained that currently 3 townships within Chippewa County (Hulbert, Chippewa and Trout Lake) still use paper ballots for their elections. Funds have been allocated thru the State of Michigan for these townships to receive Accu-vote machines. This is Phase I of a three phase process to update the State of Michigan’s voting precincts.
On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
This concluded the Controller’s report.
OLD BUSINESS: None
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Personnel – Rita Dale – No meeting
Equalization and Apportionment – Jim Moore – April 6 2004
Register of Deeds/Equalization Director Sharon Kennedy presented the draft 2004 Equalization Report. She discussed various trends noted in the report. Ms. Kennedy also noted that the value of land in the County now exceeds $1 billion.
It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the 2004 Equalization Report as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
No further action items were necessary in this report.
It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Postula, to accept the Equalization and Apportionment Committee report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Health & Social Services – Ted Postula – No meeting
Building, Grounds & Jail – Earl Kay – No meeting
Transportation – Ted Postula – No meeting
Legislative & Natural Resources – Richard Timmer – April 5, 2004
Mr. Dolehanty presented the County Courthouse Emergency Plan on behalf of Tim McKee, OES/9-1-1 Director. Discussion was held on the need for the Plan and the agencies affected by this plan. It was noted that an emergency plan was required by the State Court Administrator’s Office for the Courts.
It was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to forward the County Courthouse Emergency Plan to the Board of Commissioners for final action. On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting no.
The remainder of the report was for informational purposes only but Commissioner Hopper suggested that the discussion of Mental Health issues be entered into the minutes.
Discussion of Mental Health Issues
Chairman Kay introduced Mr. Mark Keilhorn of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCG). In response to questions posed by Mr. Dolehanty, Mr. Keilhorn discussed how mental health agencies are funded through Medicaid, State government, and the counties. He also spoke about the relationship between the State, HBH and Pathways Mental Health Authority, the Medicaid agent for the entire Upper Peninsula.
Mr. Keilhorn discussed the statutory process the County would have to follow in order to establish its own mental health program. He explained that the program would have to be certified as fully operational before State funding could be provided. Prior to that time, Mr. Keilhorn said the County would be required to fund the entire program.
Participation in another community mental health (CMH) authority was discussed by Mr. Keilhorn. He said joining an adjacent CMH might require changes to CMH agreements in other counties. Mr. Keilhorn also cautioned that joining another CMH might result in less representation than the County currently has on HBH Board.
In regard to services provided by HBH, Mr. Keilhorn said HBH does not have much flexibility. He said Medicaid and the State will not provide funds for services that exceed minimum requirements. However, local funds could be used to provide additional services. He also explained that state, federal or local funds could be used to provide employee bonuses, depending on how the bonuses were structured.
Lindsley Fernette, Chairman of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners, asked about local match dollars. Mr. Keilhorn said four counties have asked for hardship consideration, and that only the Chippewa County request has been granted so far.
Bernie LaJoie, an HBH Board member from Chippewa County, asked whether money used to pay for employee bonuses and administrative pay raises could be used to supplant funds required from the counties. Mr. Keilhorn said this was not possible because the funding may have come from the state or Medicaid.
Peter Markham asked about control the counties have over HBH funding, and whether the counties could collectively decide to reduce that funding. Mr. Keilhorn stated counties do not have the ability to set funding levels for mental health. He added that any of the counties could opt out of participation in HBH. If this occurred, the State would be required to assume responsibility for the mental health program. As a result, the counties would be required to pay for mental health programs under the statutory formula.
Mr. Markham referred to a recent situation in which a Schoolcraft County employee was fired based on reports created by HBH. He said the employee was denied access to the HBH reports in question, and then asked about the authority exercised by HBH to sequester the documents. Mr. Keilhorn said the reports could possibly be recipient rights reports protected by client confidentiality rules, but he had no way of knowing the circumstances of the situation.
Commissioner Cooper said the amount of effort put into recent investigations of mental health service options should have been undertaken before the decision to join HBH was made. He added that it did not seem right that the County should have to cut employee positions because it must provide funds to HBH while HBH holds over $2.5 million in fund balance.
Mr. Keilhorn said there appeared to be some confusion over the roles of the different governmental bodies associated with HBH. He said Chippewa County may have concerns, but the Board of Commissioners is not the proper forum to raise those concerns. He added that there is no mechanism to bring issues to the County with the thought that they would easily translate to another governmental body such as HBH. Mr. Keilhorn said the only recourse is through the courts.
Chairman Kay said he understood earlier statements to mean the counties could disband HBH, which Mr. Keilhorn then confirmed.
Christine McLean clarified that the County would have to provide a one-year notice of its intention to leave HBH. Mrs. McLean asked whether Medicaid dollars could be used to pay for the costs associated with a number of recent HBH expenditures. Mr. Keilhorn said he was not able to answer in detail.
HBH employee Fran Hoholik asked about the definition of a contiguous county as it pertains to the membership in CMH. Mr. Keilhorn said the current definition includes counties within 50 miles of a county boundary, but pending federal legislation might change the definition.
Mr. Markham asked if surplus funds held by HBH could be transferred to the member counties. Mr. Keilhorn said such a transfer was not possible.
Committee Chairman Richard Timmer expressed concern about persons in need of assistance who are left out of the system. He said there is a need to establish a method for getting care to these persons. Mr. Timmer also cited a need to address those with drug and alcohol issues in a more consistent manner. He concluded by stating the County was not getting answers from HBH.
This concluded the Legislative and Natural Resources Committee report.
It was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to accept the report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Computer Committee – Don Cooper – March 16, 2004
Hardware Operations Analyst Brian Bartlett reviewed the draft Internet Access Policy. He stated the policy was necessary in order to maintain a high level of security for the county computer network. Mr. Bartlett said he would advise county vendors of the policy if it were adopted.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Dale, to forward the draft policy to the Board of Commissioners for consideration. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Barlett presented a network map showing all workstations and servers on the network. He also presented a five-year technology plan for all county systems.
PC Specialist Jennifer Lipponen distributed and discussed the PC inventory. She estimated the county could comfortably eliminate 25 printers. Ms. Lipponen said there are enough network printers conveniently located throughout the county to serve all offices. It was noted that the elimination of these printers would result in savings of consumable items such as ink cartridges.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to accept the Information Systems Plan and to forward the Plan to the Board of Commissioners for consideration. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
This concluded the Computer Committee report.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Postula, to accept the report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Finance, Claims and Accounts – Rita Dale – April 8, 2004
The Committee reviewed a request from the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority for $30,000 in 2% funding for public bus service. Commissioner Hopper, a member of the EUPTA Board, said the agency has serious financial concerns and the addition funds would help.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of Resolution number 04-10 as follows:
RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT
E.U.P.T.A. REQUEST FOR FUNDING
WHEREAS, Chippewa County is a public body corporate charged with the responsibility of protecting the health, welfare and safety of its citizens; and
WHEREAS, Chippewa County is a member of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA), which has as its mission the responsibility to provide essential transportation services to the residents of Chippewa County for work, medical, school and other essential transportation purposes; and
WHEREAS, EUPTA has applied to the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians for financial assistance to continue with vital essential transportation services.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that:
1. The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners supports the application of EUPTA and expresses its willingness to assist in any way possible to distribute and utilize any funds provided by the Tribe for essential transportation services for the residents of Luce and Chippewa Counties; and
2. Directs its staff to distribute and make known to the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians the support of the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners.
On a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper to recommend approval of Resolution number 04-09:
RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE
WHEREAS, the State of Michigan is considering legislation that would allow “racinos” to be developed at race tracks located in Michigan; and
WHEREAS, a racino is a combination horse track with Internet betting and video lottery terminals (slot machines); and
WHEREAS, a passage of racino legislation would create a new gaming industry by allowing up to 2,000 slot machines to be placed at the site of a facility that has an active track license; and
WHEREAS, opening of 15 racinos in Michigan will cause a significant drop in gaming revenues at existing casinos, causing economic hardship for established businesses; and
WHEREAS, this pending legislation will harm the nearly two dozen communities across Michigan that depend on Native gaming to help them attract tens of thousands of tourists; and
WHEREAS, this pending legislation will decrease revenues that tribes use to provide two-percent distributions to local governments throughout northern Michigan by about $2 million per year.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners:
1. Officially opposes legislation that would allow “racinos” to be developed at race tracks located in Michigan.
2. Directs that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Governor Jennifer Granholm, Senator Shirley Johnson, Senator Michelle McManus, Senator Jason Allen, Representative Mark Schulman, Representative John Pastor, Representative Scott Shackleton, and the Michigan Association of Counties.
On a roll call vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Health Department Bioterrorism Coordinator Leslie Askwith petitioned the Committee for authorization to travel to Anchorage, Alaska to attend a conference. Likewise, Home Health Nurse Nancy Mongene sought approval to attend a conference in Tampa, Florida. Commissioner Kay stated this expense was excessive, given the current financial condition of the County. Commissioner Cooper said the County was not paying travel expenses, just attendance at the conference.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend the request for travel to Anchorage and Tampa, Florida be denied. On a voice vote, Commissioners Postula, Dale, Timmer, Hopper, Kay voted yes. Commissioners Moore and Cooper voted no. The motion carried 5-2.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the out-of-state travel request for Christina Minnich to attend a conference in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Chief Public Defender Elizabeth Church appeared before the Committee to discuss the arrangement for providing public defender services to the Sault Tribe. She stated 2% funds are used to compensate her for work performed outside of her county responsibilities. Ms. Church said the work is performed as a second job, but is accomplished during County work hours.
Commissioner Cooper stated the arrangement was not consistent with the Board’s intentions in 2001 and made the following statement:
“I would like the minutes to reflect my opposition to giving additional compensation to two employees of the public defenders office. They are compensated at the rate per the DMG Maximius study. One receives an additional $12,000 per year and one receives an additional $5,000 per year on top of their regular pay. In essence they are working a part time job while they are on the County Payroll. That is unfair to the other county employees and the taxpayers of the County”.
The Committee reviewed civil process server proposals received in response to a request for quotations.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend approval of the proposal submitted by Birddog Services for civil process service. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously. It was noted that this contract is for a 3 year period.
The committee reviewed a proposal for purchase of a microscanner through the Register of Deeds technology fund.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the proposal submitted by Commercial Equipment Company for purchase of a microscanner at a cost not to exceed $12,080. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously. These monies will come from the Technology Fund.
Finance Director Dave Carpenter presented a budget amendment for the Child Care Fund. He stated the amendment would not increase general fund obligations.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend approval of the Child Care Fund budget amendment as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend the approval of general fund claims totaling $229,892.74, other fund claims of $223,847.85, payroll of $524,680.66 and health department claims of $349,656.49, total claims of $1,398,077.74, vouchers 35538 through 35799 and D-1 through D-184. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
This concluded the Finance, Claims and Accounts Committee report.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to accept the report as presented by Commissioner Dale. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
NEW BUSINESS: None
Having no further business, it was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Timmer to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion carried and the Board did adjourn at 7:53 p.m.
Diane S. Cork, Clerk
Earl Kay, Chairman