RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS

OKANOGAN COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

June 13, 2017


The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on June 13, 2017, Chairman Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board present. Commissioner Hover away attending personal business.

Discussion Superior Court Staffing – Judge Rawson, Judge Culp, & Dennis Rabidou
Dennis Rabidou via telephone conference.

The Judges discussed the issue and wished for it to be fair across the board so the board wasn’t answering different requests. The clerk’s office cannot provide the service that is expected. This particular situation will change sooner or later and the employee will move on. The judges are trying to figure out how to continue the service but approving resolutions that put it out every six months is not the solution. The benefits and classification has been an issue of discussion. The board didn’t want to continue it that way, but if it could work without the benefits portion then it would be in line with other county part time employees who do not have the same benefits. The Finance Committee, Clerk’s office and the Board of Commissioners met and discussed the two issue from the policy stand point and the finance standpoint. Judge Culp reiterated the issues as he sees them, one is the benefits and now the grade 18 being a second issue. Commissioner Branch stated the biggest problem he sees is the full benefits issue. Judge Rawson replied this has been developed over 3 years ago and asked how frequently it comes up in other offices. Commissioner DeTro stated they are following the policy so it hasn’t been an issue, but now it is because of this expectation. Commissioner Branch replied, for him, something could work if a policy was in place that dealt with this issue. Certain circumstances arise, like retirees working as part time employees to help the county with succession due to lack of workforce, like Public Works mechanics, with two or three mechanics out and coverage becomes a difficulty.. The equity and budget standpoint must be considered overall. The situation says there is many going out of the system but those employees have a lot of value. The unions are also to be considered. Judge Rawson asked if other counties have been consulted so as not to reinvent the wheel as they may have a policy that covers this type of situation we might use as a model. It might dealt with by a personal contract. Commissioner Branch expected the court to come up with some language for a policy that would fit these circumstances. Mr. Craig stated most counties she has spoken to do not approve full benefits for part time employees. Those counties are part of the Risk Pool. She would reach out to other counties on this if it is desired. Judge Culp stated there is not time as the current resolution is terminating in two weeks. If the commissioners extend and provide time to consider the policy. He doesn’t believe a policy is needed for this circumstance. He stated this is clearly and exception of the policy and within the boards prerogative and only after the fact that department heads complained. It is up to the court and the board to explain to them the rationale and in the end it is a difference of opinion. They hoped this board recognizes that there is an exception to the policy and now doing what the original resolution did which was paying out of current expense. After Sandy Ervin retires is when the commissioner would say they aren’t going to do it that way again. Judge Short stated the Sandy would still be the district court administrator and took the jury manager position knowing she would get the benefits and isn’t about someone retiring. The other thing is why the position was created to begin with and the board should look at the bottom line in so far as tax payer funds this person has saved tax payer money. He stated there was a reason this was put into place due to jury funds being wasted and why this exception was made. Commissioner Branch stated he didn’t get it as the jury position was full time under the clerk. Judge short stated she only took this position because of the full benefits, she would not have done so otherwise. Commissioner DeTro explained one thing that Commissioner Branch might not be aware of is the fact the way the system was working out of the Clerk’s office with the hope the problem it fixed that this situation would end at some point. The Clerk’s office did have some staffing changes to address their issues and at that point she was not interested in going back. The other elected became involved because we were not following our own policy. Now, the current board has looked at the situation and the best avenue going forward they do not wish to make an exception for one person. They understand how valuable the person is. Judge Culp stated it is nothing personal; Mr. Rabidou shared the savings over and above the cost of the full time benefits. Commissioner DeTro stated it is affecting the whole system and isn’t fair to have miss trials but what they were trying to address are the problems that existed like before. Judge Rawson stated there have been enough jurors for the trials since Ms. Ervin has been managing the juries. There have been no miss trials. They have run out of jurors for some cases but not because of there not being enough show up. Ms. Craig stated she is quite a ways from retirement and is it the intention of the Court to keep her until then? Judge Culp stated she has typed a statement to that affect. Mr. Rabidou said she did type a statement last year to the previous Board. No one here has seen it and neither has Ms. Craig. Commissioner DeTro asked if that could be provided to Ms. Craig and then Ms. Craig reach out to the Risk Pool. Mr. Rabidou stated they are not violating anything and it is within the GR 37 court policy and it is within the discression of the board. Commissioner Branch realizes that he know the board can change the policy and he acknowledges the savings. Mr. Rabidou explained each office has its own policy for employees and the court is merely asking the board for the money to administer its courts functions. Judge Culp stated would the board be more comfortable with a policy that allows this. The departments would make their pitch and board decides.

The position is funded through the year out of trial court improvement fund Judge Short was aware of that. Judge Culp wondered if they continue this through another resolution through the tci with a short time solution then use the time to develop the policy then discuss as part of the 2018 budget cycle. That way the board has a certain comfort level. Commissioner DeTro stated that was a good solution but he doesn’t think it is fair to rob peter to pay paul and should be addressed in this situation so District Court doesn’t suffer any budget loss due to TCI funds being used. Judge Short stated it is budget neutral since the whole year was budgeted for in TCI. Commissioner Branch stated the resolution January 4 is when that was approved right after the board came into office. Judge Culp stated it does provide some long term vision. The policy change would allow. He would hope this person would be grandfathered in once the policy is set, and not have to come forward to discuss the situation for approval of full time benefits like other departments to discuss. Ms. Craig explained a concern about contingencies being in place if Ms. Ervin were to get sick and asked if there is other staff able to perform the jury duties. Are we setting up one person who can do the job. Judge Rawson stated there are some short term contingencies and so another employee took over. The ins and outs they do not make the calls to people as Ms. Ervin does that and enters the data, their staff doesn’t do that. The do check the jurors and check them in. They have not stuck anyone in her office to learn all the ins and outs alongside Ms. Ervin. Is there not the capacity to do that? There isn’t to take someone away from their work for any length of time to go over the process as Ms. Ervin does. Commissioner Branch stated there are interns that could. Judge Culp stated the idea for moving forward is in place. The commissioners’ staff will work on a draft resolution and this will be discussed with Commissioner Hover and all three commissioners will consider the situation as discussed. Judge Culp would discuss this further but court security is also a topic that needs to be discussed.

Commissioners’ Staff Meeting
Josh Freel, Joe Poulin, Perry Huston

Mr. Poulin explained his son graduated so he has been out the office for that. He has received employment applications for the soon to be open position of Maintenance Tech. His hope is to have someone selected by the end of the month. He discussed the energy project progress. The injection well issue could be resolved once it is hooked into the system and once water runs through the pipes it should take the extra water away and relieve the over abundant water. The second well was more of a reserve because the first one tested better so it is just a matter of supply water to it the pressure should be able to resolve the issue. 60 psi pushing on the casing might be difficult, explained Director Huston. If it is just a down pipe that is another issue but it should have the pressure in order to push the water down.

Albert Lin arrived at 9:20 a.m.

Mr. Freel explained the bathroom project is up and going. The plumbers have come the blocks are going in and everything moving forward. The refrigerator was ordered and should be here in a day or two. The electric stoves are working for the most part, but one stove is really bad and the griddle is useless. He wants to switch to gas when new stoves are purchased. He would like to get a six to eight burner and two griddles. He is trying to keep the grass green but there just isn’t enough water to maintain the whole grounds. He can do 24 sprinklers on at one time but more than that affects the pressure. He would like to put the system on timers starting at the RV Park as those are underground then slowly go from there. Right now the arena is not watered, but he will be doing that as the Sheriff’s posse is coming soon. The grounds are sand so the soil soaks up the water quickly. The system should only be on for about 20 minutes or so otherwise the water soaks up and isn’t effective.

Commissioner DeTro explained the Forest Service set up a road block and harassed several attendees of the Conconully Jamboree which was planned by the city for over a year. The Forest Service officer, out of Winthrop, told the riders/visitors lies about the Forest Service roads being closed. He ambushed the groups riding on Forest Service roads. The tried to take the travel management rule and apply it as law. Commissioner DeTro stated he knows those roads are open, but the officer writes tickets anyway and called in ten other officers from other jurisdictions. The roads are open to WATV and ATVs. They even stopped a jeep and told that driver to get off the road. Commissioner DeTro stated this should be articulated to the secretary.

Salley Bull, member of the public came in at 9:27 a.m.


Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Branch moved to go into executive session at 9:50 am for 10 minutes inviting DPA Albert Lin to discuss legal matters to which the county may be a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive session ended at 10:00 a.m.

Director Huston discussed OCC 20 as there have been more and more requests for short plat and different land uses as people are concerned about the water adequacy and water supply rules that are being established. He suggested a statement be created which are attached to the title. The Whatcom Hirst thing is certainly popping up. The Hearing Examiner requested a standard for determining a standard process when no well exists. The well logs for some areas do exist but some do not. He would like a discussion with the Board to either require a well be drawn without the guarantee of water, but it gives everyone a chance to beat it up. He looks at the well logs given and those are mapped but by quarter section quarter section so there is some educated wild guesses. Wet lands are reviewed to determine water adequacy. The Hearing Examiner did want to discuss this issue with the board. A memo could be created to address this. Commissioner Branch explained there are a whole host of issues that wil come up due to not knowing which strata it falls into. The proposed well is in the proximity of another well is a tough way to reason with an exception. Director Huston explained the easiest solution is to poke a hole and then address when and if someone appeals. This issue is being picked up in more earnest as people come in and explaining their issue.

Update-Human Resources/Risk Management – Tanya Craig and/or Debi Hilts
Cancelled due to Eden Training.

Update – Auditor – Laurie Thomas
Laurie Thomas, Mila Jury, Albert Lin

Auditor Thomas explained the laws that changed this year and the bill requiring the county to provide ballot drop boxes in rural incorporated areas. Eleven more boxes must be added for a total of sixteen. There is also the issue of snow removal around the boxes to allow public access also lighting for safety and security. There are currently four drop boxes located in Tonasket, Twisp,

There must be someone at each box to open the boxes in the morning then close the box on election night until 8:00 p.m. There is certain logs that must be kept. The new law goes into effect July 23, 2017. Ms. Thomas said if the county is not interested in signing on to the litigation then we must provide for the requirements. Commissioner Branch explained. Ms. Thomas explained she map out the route where the boxes would need to be placed and it was over 420 miles. It was discussed that the bill suggested the ballot boxes be placed at post offices. Ms. Thomas was approached by the tribe to place a box by their main office where many members go, but the bill requires the box be placed in Nespelem. Commissioner Branch was curious about ballot box definition because is there are technicalities in the language we should go after that. The first set of boxes the county placed used HAVA funds, with each box meeting the requirement in the WAC 29.18.360. Commissioners agreed that Okanogan County would join the suit. Ms. Thomas explained WSAC also disagreed with this unfunded mandate. We are at the point of challenging it. The option of just saying no isn’t an option. Ms. Jury explained another point of providing postage paid envelopes. Ms. Thomas explained we also need to build a reserve in order to replace our aging election equipment which would be over $100,000.

Emily Sisson, member of the public, arrived at 11:00 a.m. taking notes.

Update Public Works-Josh Thomson & Ben Rough

Mr. Rough provided his administrative agenda and went through each topic with the board.

Mr. Rough explained Public Works finance staff requested the emergency petty cash fund that was created in 2015, but since that time there has been staffing turn over and the fund has come up short $39. He discussed this with the auditor, but now a treasurer’s check is needed to bring the fund back up to $300. At the same time there was found in the safe some extra cash in the amount of $100 and that will be deposited. Two separate issues. A resolution was drafted addressing the petty cash shortage and authorizing the Treasurers check.

Motion Resolution 97-2017 Authorizing repayment of Solid Waste Emergency Petty Cash
Commissioner Branch moved to approve resolution 97-2017 authorizing repayment of the Solid Waste Emergency Petty Cash fund in the amount of $39. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Mr. Rough further explained he and Human Resources are still working on temporary worker wages.

He further explained temp positions that need to be filled. The permanent positions will be interviewed next week. There are only two positions of those. Commissioner Branch discussed the mechanic positions being difficult to fill. Mr. Rough stated the experience level is really low although applications are being received. They will need a lot of training and retention after that is a concern.

In House CDL endorsements were discussed with the Union and they were in support of that. They believe it is supporting the work force and they had no issue. Douglas county has a similar program and Mr. Rough will inquire of them for a draft of their policy and it must be in compliance with DOT requirements.

Rental Storage space spreadsheet will compare the rates and provide categories for the different agreed upon rates depending on what is included.

Solid Waste leachate lagoon will be discussed this week. They will ask SWAC to authorize construction of another lagoon with recommendation for approval to be submitted to commissioners. A ball park estimate for a 1.5 million gallon lagoon for $489,000 was given, which is less cost than expected. Public Works will meet to ensure the capacity is adequate for future planning. There is a space issue too so another lagoon might not fit.

Snow grooming memo was received by Mr. Rough, but it notices us by the State Parks and Rec that our snow parks funding is unfunded at this time for 2017/2018 season. Mr. Rough did reach out to the state and he was told it is standard procedure to give notice if there is a possibility of the program not being funded. Licensing of snowmobiles is where the funding comes from. The funding appears to be dependent on the state budget being adopted.

Ellisforde Transfer station security was broken into a couple weeks ago. In less than a week law enforcement caught the person. The station houses Sunrise computer and ours and those systems were taken, however those were recovered. Mr. Rough stated everything is operational. He did go over security protocol with the contractor since this was the second time in a few years the station was broken into. He discussed some ways to help monitor the station such as fencing which could be cut. A security system was determined to be the best deterrent along with security surveillance signage. The commissioners agree a good system and signs would help.

Engineer Thomson provided his agenda and discussed the items listed.

Maintenance and road conditions were discussed. Peter Dan road emergency contract, survey and geotechnical agreements were discussed. It was recommended to build a ramp over the slide rather than cutting through it. Authorization was provided for that alternative. The standard language emergency contract was provided for signature.

Motion Emergency Contract Cates & Erb
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the contract between Cates and Erb for the emergency repairs on slide area on Peter Dan Road in the amount of $42,490. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried. One day notice is all that the contractor required for start date.

The survey will be completed. LIDAR can pick up more detail on the surface and that information will be provided to the Geotechnical DOT engineers. That will help with funding. Geotechnical borings will be provided as well.

MPO/RTPO meeting on June 8 was discussed. Engineer Thomson explained what RTPO’s are being reviewed and discussion of distribution of funds and who gets more than others. The majority of the RTPO weighed in during the meeting.

Engineer Thomson explained during the OCOG meeting last night the group adopted the regional transportation plan which enables us to become an RTPO. The lead planning agency would need to be designated and the county makes the most sense. It means the grant comes through us and provides for the fiduciary and administrative duties. We can use the funding from the state to fund the responsibilities. The COG was supportive of the county being the lead planning agency for the OCOG in support of the organization. He will write up the resolution for commissioner approval.

The Transportation Commission presentation will be done on June 20. Engineer Thomson asked the board if they wished for picture slides to be included. Commissioner Branch will review what he has in his file for presentation.

Highway 7 3R, Tonasket Bridge South ideas for scope changes are being worked out.

B-3 and -15 bridge replacements are open and done.

6-year TIP is being worked on and will be submitted for SEPA review. Projects can be added.

The Public Hearing on the Speed Limit Changes is scheduled on June 27. Have the commissioners received comments? Engineer Thomson has heard only positive comments so far on all of them.

WATV map Oroville meeting June 28.

Board of Health
Commissioner DeTro and Branch attended the board of health meeting.

Budget Work Session
Leah McCormack, Cari Hall, Perry Huston

Ms. Hall projected the county 2017 budget. The group discussed how to move forward with its review looking at expenditures and revenues. Each operating expenditure line was reviewed beginning with Current Expense departments. Many departments budgeted very close. Ms. Hall showed projected expenditures based on current expenditures and showed the difference.

Director Huston reminded the board that they initiated the ballot issue. He would be working on that issue on his personal time.

Ms. Hall explained a basic operational budget was developed. It was briefly reviewed. When the group gets to the point of realizing the number we must get to and that it might require reductions to line items then it was suggested we not go line by line to get there. Director Huston commented that if reductions are being considered then a revamp of organizational structure should also be discussed. The budget instructions should be clear and should inform the departments what is to be accomplished.

Approve Consent Agenda
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the consent agenda items 2-4 excluding item 1. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

1. Meeting Minutes June 5 & 6, 2017
2. Special Occasion Liquor License – Tonasket Rodeo Grounds – Curtis
3. Contract – Solid Waste Roll-Off Bins – Solid Waste Systems
4. CDBG Housing Rehab Grant – Request # 4

Motion CDBG Public Services Grant Request #8
Commissioner Branch moved to approve CDBG Public Services Grant Request #8 in the amount of $11,350.28 Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Oroville Rural EMS District
Commissioner Branch moved to adjourn as the BOCC and reconvene as the Oroville Rural EMS District. Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch moved to approve the Oroville Rural EMS District vouchers for the month of May in the amount of $9,680.00. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch moved to adjourn as the Oroville Rural EMS and Reconvene as the BOCC. Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.