The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met at 7:00 p.m. on June 14, 2004 in the Courtroom of the Chippewa County Courthouse.
Present: Commissioners: Ted Postula, Don Cooper, Rita Dale, Aaron Hopper, Jim Moore and Chairman Earl Kay
Absent: Richard Timmer
Also Present: Don and Chris McLean, Scott Brand, Brian Peppler, Prosecuting Attorney, Ron Cross, Jeff Moran, Sheriff, Barbara Fortin, Mary Susan Nelson, Tina Ojala, Jim Lucas, MSU Extension Agent, Lisa Wilcox, Jeannie Goeschel, Mary Piralli, Norma Osborn, Cindy Morley, Vicki Gage, Cheryl Jones, Sharon Kennedy, Register of Deeds/Equalization Director, Lowell Ulrich, Probate Court Judge, Gail Shunk, Tim Dolehanty, Controller and Diane Cork, County Clerk
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Postula, 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 Postula, to approve the County Board minutes of May 10, 2004 with the following correction:
Page 6, paragraph 4 should read “On discussion, Commissioner Cooper asked if these individuals were County employees and if so, he felt it looked bad that the Commissioner was asking departments to cut their budgets and turned around and gave the dispatchers a 20% raise.”
With this correction, the motion to approve the minutes carried.
Don McLean read the following statement:
last month’s Hiawatha Behavioral Health meeting here in the Sault, the board reviewed and reapproved the Agency’s Code of Ethics.
This was of particular interest to us as we have continually questioned their ethics as they have diverted money intended for treatment of the mentally ill into college tuition for employees, employee bonuses, staff recognition luncheons, landscaping, staff retirement parties and SUV’s for the top management; to mention just a few.
Their policy mentions the highest standards of accountability for administration, personal behavior, detection of fraud and includes board members.
Using this criteria we formally asked the HBH board to see:
(1.) if the HBH manager violated this Code of Ethics, when at a public meeting of the HBH board she accused someone of lying.
(2.) the Code of Ethics was violated when a former HBH board member, and chairman of Finance Committee, individually and independently negotiated what some would consider a lavish, unnecessary and untimely retirement package for the HBH CEO just before this member was not reappointed to the board.
(3.) the HBH CEO violated this Code of Ethics when he refused to provide the Chippewa County Medical Examiner with the mental health records for our daughter, Karen McLean; even though we as personal representative had signed the proper release. We ask this since the HBH record release policy indicates it was adopted n May 14, 2001 exactly three months after Karen died of untreated mental illnesses.
We are very interested in these Ethics instances and ask the Chippewa County representatives on the HBH board to inquire as to the progress of inquiry.
Also, in a conversation with Sheriff Jeff Moran, he mentioned the difficulties he was having maintaining services in the county when he had to transport HBH clients to Marquette to the Caro facility.
We would suggest that our HBH board members, or this county commission, ask HBH to place Chippewa County residents in the McDonald Lockwood Hospital in Petoskey instead of Marquette General.
Our daughter, Karen, received care from both Marquette General and the Petoskey unit and we found them to be equal.
This accommodation would cut travel time in half for both types of placement; thus, reducing the county’s cost and the strain on the sheriff’s department in their effort to provide services for the county.
In our dealing with HBH, we have found the top management to be less than honest. We believe both the check on the Ethics violations and shifting our county residents to Petoskey would be progress in improving HBH management operations and improving services to Chippewa County residents.
Norma Osborn, 4-H leader, addressed the board stating that she realized the County was in a financial situation that calls for drastic action and she understood that cuts had to be made to balance the budget, but what she did not understand was the process to determine what actions are going to be taken. By reading the minutes on the County’s website she noticed that positions were being filled and raises had been given.
Ms. Osborn informed the Commission that 4-H has been in the area since 1928 and has been funded through the County and MSU. Ms. Osborn was urging the Board to find someway to fund the 4-H Program for the youth of Chippewa County.
Chris McLean read the following statement:
My husband and I have been coming to these meetings since 1997. We have not missed a meeting in the past 39 months. We have asked, petitioned, given legitimate facts and support to substantiate the fact that Hiawatha Behavioral Health is not using tax payer dollars in a manner that provides quality services of Chippewa County residents. From the very start, we contended the agency is self-serving and that contention hasn’t changed.
Last month tax payers received another slap in the face by HBH management, when the agency decided to purchase 2 new vehicles. It was reported, a Ford mini-van for $21,495 was being purchased for use with clients; the other vehicle, a Ford Luxury Expedition for $28,278 was needed for employee use.
When a board member asked why they needed luxury vehicle instead of a lesser expensive model, tax payers received slap number one when it was explained that the Expedition provided more safety for staff. We can put clients in a lesser vehicle but not staff???? Most taxpayers can’t afford luxury 4X4’s. When Mr. Keilhorn from the DCH visited in April, he and his co-worker traveled from Lansing in a Chevy Cavilier provided by the State of Michigan. This non-luxury, tax payer type car seemed acceptable to him.
Another board member asked if this purchase was adding vehicles to the agency fleet and the taxpayers received slap number 2, as it was explained the HBH was simply replacing aged vehicles, that one car had been traded in and the other was going to be used at the Drop In Center. HBH started with two vehicles, only one was traded in and HBH ended the deal with three vehicles. There was an addition to the agency fleet. Now when the Drop In Center van, which is already too dilapidated for regular agency use, is completely shot it will have to be replaced.
Only three board members, Mr. Kay, Mr. LaJoie, and Mr. Beadle had the foresight to see what was going on and vote no. The rest of the HBH board simply okayed the nonsense without a second thought.
At a time when nearly all tax supported agencies are tightening their budgets, HBH spends exorbitant amounts on frivolous frills as new furniture, landscaping, interior decorations and staff parties.
It is time this board initiated some action to formally communicate with the County Commissioners in Schoolcraft and Mackinac to see that HBH serves the residents of the three counties in a comparable manner in which they serve the managerial staff.
Mr. Keilhorn led us to believe the Commissions don’t have any control over HBH as it is an agency, but that is simply an easy out. The Commissioners place members on the HBH board to represent the residents of their county; it is time the Commissioners insist that these board members look out for those county residents who are unable to take care for themselves rather than go along with feathering the managerial nest of a tax supported agency.
Margaret Merchberger read the 4-H motto and stated that 4-H teaches children to make valuable choices and develops their minds to grow up to responsible adults. Ms. Merchberger was encouraging the Commission to use their ability and wisdom to find the funds to support the 4-H position.
CONTROLLER’S REPORT – Tim Dolehanty
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Dale, to support the U.P. Area Agency on Aging FY 2005 Annual Implementation Plan as presented to the Board. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Through a memo, Dave Carpenter, Finance Director, requested permission to set up an account through the Chippewa County Credit Union to be used for electronic transfer of payments for the Swanson products used by the Chippewa County Correctional Facility. Swanson has gone to this payment system country wide.
It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Dale, that an account be opened at the Chippewa County Credit Union to be used for electronic transfer payments for the Swanson products utilized by the Chippewa County Correctional Facility. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Discussion was held on the proposed revenue sharing proposal. Commissioner Cooper thought the County Board should go on record opposing this proposal.
OLD BUSINESS: None
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Personnel – Rita Dale – No meeting
Equalization & Apportionment – 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 – Meeting of May 19, 2004
This report was for informational purposes only. The agenda items included potential 2004 budget rescissions for the Register of Deeds/Equalization Department, Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff and Circuit Court. No action items necessary.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to accept the report of the Finance, Claims and Accounts Committee meeting of May 19, 2004. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
May 27, 2004
This report was for informational purposes only. The agenda items included potential 2004 budget rescissions for District Court, Probate Court/Circuit Court Family Division, County Clerk and Public Defender offices. No action items necessary.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Moore, to accept the report of the Finance, Claims and Accounts Committee meeting of May 27, 2004. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
June 7, 2004
This report was for informational purposes only. The agenda items included potential 2004 budget rescissions for the County Treasurer, MSU Extension, County Surveyor, Drain Commissioner/Building Inspections, Veterans Affairs and Controller. No action items necessary.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to accept the report of the Finance, Claims and Accounts Committee meeting of June 7, 2004.
On discussion, Commissioner Cooper clarified that the 4-H position was not eliminated and there is still some funding.
On a voice vote, the motion to accept the report carried.
June 10, 2004
Health Office/Medical Director Dr. James Terrian presented a revised draft copy of the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance. He noted changes made on page six and the supplemental footnote that exempt the specially-constructed smoking lounge at the Chippewa County International Airport from the provisions of the ordinance. The procedure to formally adopt the ordinance was also discussed.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Moore to recommend the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance be forwarded for adoption consideration, following the proper procedures.
On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting no.
The Committee reviewed an amendment to the Friend of the Court Title IV Cooperative Reimbursement Program contract that would increase the cumulative total amount of the current agreement by $12,241.00
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the Friend of the Court title IV Cooperative Reimbursement Program contract amendment as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Controller Tim Dolehanty presented a summary of sealed bids received for the sale of surplus vehicles maintained by the Sheriff’s Department.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Moore, to recommend acceptance of the quote submitted by Aaron LaMay for the purchase of four surplus vehicles at a price of $5,026.00. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
A request for support of a grant for treatment services for felony drunk drivers, submitted by Community Corrections Coordinator David Murray, was reviewed by the Committee.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to recommend approval of Resolution 04-12 in support of the felony drunk driver services grant. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF GRANT APPLICATION FOR
COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS FELONY DRUNK DRIVER PROGRAM
WHEREAS, the Eastern Upper Peninsula Community Corrections Advisory Board (EUPCCAB) seeks to receive additional grant money for treatment services for felony drunk drivers for fiscal year 2004 and fiscal year 2005; and
WHEREAS, the EUPCCAB has been approved to receive $7,965.00 to pay for treatment of certain felony drunk drivers for fiscal year 2004, with approximately $10,800 earmarked for the program in fiscal year 2005; and
WHEREAS, funds under this program will supplement funds already received for the Community Corrections program.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners records its support for this grant program to reduce the number of drunk drivers who endanger our lives, and respectfully requests that the Application be approved as presented.
Controller Dolehanty briefly discussed the fiscal year 2003 audit report. He stated the auditor was not able to meet before the board meeting, but the audit must be accepted before June 30. Mr. Dolehanty suggested that the board receive the audit report, and that a subsequent meeting be scheduled with the auditor to review the report.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Moore, to recommend acceptance of the audit report and that a meeting be scheduled with the auditor to review the report.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper to make an amendment to the above motion to accept the audit report and to add, put a copy on reserve at the Bayliss Public Library and also post a copy to the website. This amended motion was supported by Commissioner Moore. On a voice vote, the amended motion carried.
On a voice vote, the original motion with the amendment carried.
Controller Dolehanty presented recommendations for amending the 2004 budget to assure expenses do not exceed revenue at the end of the year. He noted the proposal avoided lay-off of current employees, but would require employee five furlough days and a 50% reduction in the cash value of sick days. Mr. Dolehanty added that the courts would have to approve the plan, and the sick day reduction would require concurrence with the AFSCME collective bargaining units. He added that state law prohibited reduction of salaries paid to elected officials at this time.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to recommend acceptance of the fiscal year 2004 budget amendments as proposed
Commissioner Cooper asked if this motion was approved, would it include new fees as discussed for building permit travel, animal adoption fees and the cat relinquish fee. Mr. Dolehanty stated these fees would be included. Commissioner Cooper stated that the Commission asked all departments to cut 8.05% from their budgets, some departments did and some did not. Now we are asking employees to take 5 furlough days on top of the cuts that some departments made. He didn’t feel that this was fare and what happens if the furlough days are not taken.
Mr. Dolehanty pointed out that Commissioner Cooper sat through all the presentations made by the departments and heard that some departments had nothing to cut except employees and he felt the proposal submitted was fair.
Discussion was held on departments going over budget without approval and being noted as a weakness in the audit report.
Judge Ulrich reiterated what had already been said. His department with revenue enhancement and/or reductions exceeded the requested cut in the amount of $72,875 and now he was being asked to add to this a 5 day furlough. This seemed fundamentally unfair. He felt that the County Board, from the standpoint of leadership, should set an example.
Brian Peppler, Prosecuting Attorney, was unclear as to what figure needed to be cut from his budget. It was his understanding that $33,900 was to be cut from his department and now he finds that the figure is closer to $50,000 and that his people must take 5 furlough days each and a secretarial position was not going to be filled. Mr. Peppler was asking for equity and asked the Commissioners to allow him to run his office the way it should be run.
It was noted to Sheriff Moran that the 5 furlough days did not include any 24-7 offices.
Sharon Kennedy, Register of Deeds/Equalization Director, stated she had a shared position in her offices that had not been replaced and both offices had been working a 40 hour week. Originally Ms. Kennedy submitted a proposal to give up her $5,000 Equalization salary along with monetary cuts to maintain the 40 hours and not replace the position. With the mandatory furlough days on top of this, she was withdrawing her proposal.
Diane Cork, County Clerk, responded to Commissioner Cooper’s concerns about revenue generated in her office. She stated she will accept the furlough days, but if the staff is cut, the work will not get done and any revenue generated by collection of past due fees will not be collected.
Jeannie Goeschel, County Clerk employee, expressed her concern with loosing a day’s work per month and not being able to keep up with job responsibilities and felt that all employees should be treated equally when determining hours of work. She reminded the Commissioners that we all work for the public and services needed to be there for them.
Discussion was held on Commissioners travel, per diem, furlough days and layoffs
On a roll call vote to adopt the 2004 budget amendments as proposed: Commissioner Cooper, no; Commissioner Dale, no; Commissioner Hopper, no; Commissioner Moore, no; Commissioner Postula, yes; Chairman Kay, no. The motion failed.
Finance Director Dave Carpenter reviewed a request from Judge Nicholas Lambros and Judge Lowell Ulrich to create a separate cost center for the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court. Although the Juvenile Division would have its own cost center, it would remain under the supervision of the Circuit Court in order to remain consistent with State statues. Mr. Carpenter presented a budget amendment to accomplish this request.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to concur with the recommendation of the Finance Director to create the Circuit Court Juvenile Division cost center as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to recommend the approval of general fund claims totaling $211,645.55, other fund claims of $302,792.09, payroll of $516,669.09 and health department claims of $373,385.79, total claims of $1,404,492.52, vouchers 35958 through 36181 and F-1 through F-186. On a voice vote the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to accept the report of the Finance, Claims and Accounts Committee meeting of June 10, 2004 as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried.
Chairman Kay made three appointments to the Audit Committee as follows: Rita Dale, Chairperson, Don Cooper and Earl Kay
Chairman Kay made four appointments to the Judicial and Board Liaison Committee as follows: Aaron Hopper, Earl Kay, Richard Timmer and Lowell Ulrich. This committee will establish lines of communication between the Courts and County Board. Commissioner Hopper asked if the County Board should appoint the Prosecuting Attorney to this committee. Mr. Dolehanty will research this request.
Commissioner Postula stated one hundred years ago a piece of property was given to Chippewa County and about 15 years ago, it was given to the Raber Sportsman’s Club with restrictions that the property cannot be sold. With everybody looking for money, Raber Township assessed the property and the property is going delinquent for about $1,000 and before it gets out of hand he would like the Prosecuting Attorney to look into this.
Having no further business, it was moved by Commissioner Postula, supported by Commissioner Hopper to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion carried and the Board did adjourn at 8:55 p.m.
Diane S. Cork, Clerk
Earl Kay, Chairman