The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, August 9, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Chippewa County Courthouse.

Present: Commissioners Ted Postula (5:04), Don Cooper, Rita Dale, Richard Timmer, Aaron Hopper, Jim Moore and Chairman Earl Kay

Also Present: Barbara Fortin, Mary Sue Nelson, Mary Piralli, Marilyn McDonald, Tina Ojala, Ron Cross, Dave Carpenter, Finance Director, Chris McLean, Don McLean, Arthur Cooper, David Whyte, Debbie Sirk, Larry Cooper, Sue Short, Probate Court Administrator, Margie Hank, Jeff Moran, Sheriff, Brian Peppler, County Prosecutor, Julie Beck, Public Defender’s Office Jim Lucas, MSU Extension, Scott Brand, Evening News, Tim Dolehanty, Controller and Diane Cork, County Clerk

It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, 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 Hopper, to approve the minutes of July 12, 2004 (Public Hearing and regular Board meeting) and July 15, 2004 (Special Session) with the notation that Julie Timmer was listed twice in the attendance section of the regular meeting of July 12 and the word “tax” be added to Page 2, paragraph 5 (allocated tax) of the July 15, 2004 special meeting. With these corrections, the motion carried on a voice vote.


Marilyn McDonald, County Treasurer, explained the time frame for collecting summer taxes. She explained that the Governor set up a Joint Tax Force which consists of representatives from the Michigan Municipal League, MAC and the Michigan Township Association and feels that these organizations should not be telling the County how to distribute County funds. She explained that the County may have to foot the cost of sending out tax bills twice a year.

Chris McLean read the following statement:

As many of you are well aware the lawsuit Don and I filed against HBH, Sam Harma, Dr. Robert McElhaney and Maureen Phenix for their role in our daughter’s death has been dismissed by the Chippewa County Circuit Court due to a filing date technicality. This was made possible by a Michigan Supreme Court ruling on a different case last winter.

I would like to read to you “CHAIR’S COMMENTS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF MCLEAN LAWSUIT” which was read by Dan Yake, HBH Vice Chairman at last month’s HBH meeting. Patrick Rodman, HBH Chairman, was absent at the meeting.

It states: “I am pleased to report the dismissal by the Chippewa County Circuit Court of the lawsuit filed by Donald and Christine McLean as personal representatives of their daughter, Karen McLean’s estate. HBH again expresses its sympathy to the McLeans in their loss, but considers the dismissal to be consistent with the exonerations of HBH’s services to Ms. McLean as already determined by state and federal offcials who regulate such services. The dismissal leaves HBH able to concentrate all of its energies and resources on the delivery of quality mental health services to all eligible citizens in Chippewa, Mackinac and Schoolcraft Counties.”

The short paragraph is a prime example of how HBH management misuses events to cover their own tracks.

1. “I am please to report” How can the work PLEASED be used in any reference to our daughter’s death.

2. “HBH again expresses its sympathy” HBH has NEVER expressed sympathy to the McLeans regarding Karen’s death.

3. “consistent with the exonerations of HBH’s services to Mc. McLean” A filing date technicality dismissal is looked upon as an exoneration. The definition of exonerate in my Webster’s Dictionary is “declare or prove blameless”. When I brought this up to a HBH board member, he told me he understood the dismissal was based on a technicality. However, any one reading that statement would think HBH was proven blameless. That is not the case.

4. “determined by state and federal officials who regulate such services” Please talk to Dr. Terrian and ask how he was denied investigation of our daughter’s death by HBH management. Dr. Terrian only wanted to use the information to help in the care of future clients like Karen. The state agencies that supposedly investigated Karen’s death are all inner connected agencies to HBH thru the Michigan Department of Community Health. Federal Agencies???, I question that because when I, personally, contacted the Federal Department that is involved with funding I was told that they would could not investigate, it was up to the state.

5. “leaves HBH able to concentrate on all of its energies and resources on the delivery of quality services’ Concentrating its resources must mean making plans to board members may attend a two day Great Lakes Conference in Copper Harbor MI in September. According to someone who has been at this conference before, the time consists of 60% playing golf, 30% eating, 10% actual business. Rooms cost $114 a night for double occupancy, golfing is $18 for 9 holes, then meals, travel reimbursement and conference registration. Will the expense of this luxury get away, provide for the delivery of quality services? I think not. Or, it may concern the $800 bonus per employee that HBH management tried to pass at the last meeting. The motion did fail when it came to a vote which should have ended that policy, but then it resurfaced immediately and is being table for further study. How does a motion fail, and then be tabled?

6. “all eligible citizens” This is the most crucial part of that whole statement, because this is how HBH managed to eliminate my daughter from care. Who decides eligible? Money? Psychiartrists? Clients? Power? Spite? Maybe you should ask Phyllis and Carol Huffman, Delores Griggs, Linda Sayles or Jackie Benson about how eligibility is decided. These are just four families who lost loved ones after Karen didn’t meet the criteria and died.

I ask all commissioners to keep working for the changes necessary that will make HBH an agency that serves the residents of the three county area rather than providing luxury accommodations and services for the management. I request this with respect for the 1260 Chippewa County residents who expressed the same desire in a petition to the commission in May 2002.

CONTROLLER’S REPORT – Tim Dolehanty – No action items necessary



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 – August 5, 2004

The Committee received the monthly Treasurer’s report, monthly travel report, and a correspondence from the Michigan Association of County (MAC) concerning an early tax collection proposal and its effect on state revenue sharing. It was noted that MAC asked that a resolution be passed in support of the early tax collections proposal.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend approval of Resolution of 04-16 to support the proposal to collect county general fund taxes in July and to continue county revenue sharing.

Commissioner Hopper believed that this motion should be turned down explaining that a representative from the State Treasurer’s Office will be attending the MAC Conference and perhaps more information will be obtained from this meeting.

Commissioner Cooper stated that he was going to oppose this motion for 1.) city, villages and township representative on the Governor’s committee all have a constitutional protection for a portion of the revenue sharing so naturally they will want the county to give up their share and 2.) in the Lake County Board of Commissioners Resolution, there are a couple things. Moving of the County property tax collection to July 1st will create a hardship on many citizens by requiring property tax payments a mere six months after having paid their property taxes. The effect of this proposal is to shift and shuffle the burden of the State’s budget shortfall onto county government, placing a new tax on the counties by requiring counties to find their own revenue sharing. Those two things are specific around the State.

Commissioner Hopper had a conversation with Representative Johnson, Leader of the House, saying there is no more money, this is the deal. Commissioner Hooper believes that senior citizens and farmers will be exempt and pay taxes in December.

Commissioner Dale stated that there still has not been a determination on the PILT money.

On a voice vote, the motion failed with all Commissioners voting nay.

The Committee received a request from the Prosecuting Attorney to new the Title IV-D Cooperative Reimbursement Contract.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend renewal of the title IV-D Cooperative Reimbursement contract, as presented. On a voice vote the motion carried unanimously.

The committee reviewed a draft resolution in support for the establishment of an assisted living center, as recommend by the Board of Health. Committee members agreed on the need for more information regarding the proposal, and on the potential need for a closed session to discuss property acquisition.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to schedule a meeting with Health Department officials to discuss the assisted living center concept, and to hold a closed session if necessary to discuss property acquisition. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

Controller Dolehanty reviewed the most recent invoice for expenses associated with the City-County Building. He noted that previous discussion about the air conditioning project led to a suggestion that annex renovation cost center funds be used to pay for the project, but no motion to that effect was offered. It was noted that this is a general fund cost center and that these funds were not earmarked for a specific purpose.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of the use of funds in the Annex Renovation cost center to pay for the City-County Building air conditioning project. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

Controller Dolehanty presented a situation where an employee wished to be considered for a position at a lesser pay grade, but would like to maintain an hourly wage above the maximum for that grade. The Committee agreed that the matter should be taken up by the Personnel Committee.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to recommend that the Personnel Committee consider the proposal regarding internal transfers to a lower pay grade. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

Controller Dolehanty presented a draft agreement from Hiawatha Behavioral Mental Health Authority (HBH) regarding deferral of mandatory payments. He said HBH payments were included in the most recent budget projections for payment in 2004, so there was no need for a deferral agreement.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend the mandatory payments be made to HBH and that the draft agreement for deferred payment be rejected.

Controller Dolehanty reviewed a memorandum from the finance Director about establishing Fund 502. The County Treasurer requested that the fund be established in order to record the retention of the State Education Tax per parcel fee and related expenses.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend establishing fund 502 as requested. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend the approval of general fund claims totaling $133,591.11, other fund claims of $163,115.43, payroll of $527,353.07 and health department claims of $396,053.11, total claims of $1,220,112.72, vouchers 36379 through 36586 and H-1 through H-152. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

Having completed the report, it was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to accept the report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.


Discussion was held on a proposed operating millage proposal to be placed on the November 2004 ballot.

Commissioner Cooper was opposed to having a millage proposal placed on a ballot until the Commission shows that they are good stewards and make some changes in spending patterns.

Commissioner Timmer expressed his desire to put the proposal on the November ballot so if it was turned down, there will be time to make the cuts that will be needed to have a balanced budget. He felt that the public needs to know that there could be a snowballing if cuts are made with personnel which would in turn effect revenue.

Commissioner Postula stated that in the future, there will be a need to replace revenue sharing.

It was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Moore, to approach the voters with a ballot proposal for 1 mill for 2 years to help the county establish other revenue sharing/funding options.

On a roll call vote: Commissioners Postula, Dale, Timmer, Hopper, Moore and Kay voted yes. Commissioner Cooper voted no. The motion passed 6-1.

Chairman Kay stated that the Evening News held their Annual Best of the Best in different categories and at this time he presented certificates to Rita Dale, best politician, Diane Cork, best civic leader, Nicholas Lambros, best Judge and Sheriff Jeff Moran, best law enforcement officer.

Commission Postula asked if the County every offered an incentive for the employees to retire like the City did.

In response, Chairman Kay this option had been discussed, but one department, Register of Deeds, would have the most to loose.

Commissioner Timmer said options for insurance with a cafeteria style policy would reduce costs along with increasing the dollars for those who do not take the insurance.

Chairman Kay thought that the School Board found a new health care carrier.

Commissioner Cooper stated when someone leaves the position should not be filled.

Commissioner Dale didn’t believe the County had an over abundance of employees in each office.

In other business, it was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Moore, to declare impasse in negotiations with Teamster Local 328 representing Health Department home health care nurses, to implement health insurance benefits consistent with other County employees as described in the proposed appendix B, Benefits-at-a-Glance for Chippewa County Employees, and to continue wages as stated in the expired collective bargaining agreement. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

Having no further business, it was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Posutla, to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously and thereupon the Board did adjourn.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane S. Cork, Clerk

Earl Kay, Chairman