A regular meeting of the County Advisory Board was held on February 4, 2002 at 12:00 noon in the Conference Room of the County Administration Building, notice of such meeting having been posted as required by law.
Members Present: Ted Morgan, Chairman (Edgartown – 31.58)
John Early (West Tisbury – 14.18) Richard Combra (Oak Bluffs – 15.15)
Warren Doty (Chilmark – 20.48)
Tristan Israel (Tisbury – 13.58)
Absent: Carl Widdiss (Aquinnah – 3.30)
Also Present: Carol Borer, County Manager
Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant
Noreen Mavro Flanders, County Treasurer
William Weibrecht, Airport Manager
Sean Flynn, Assistant Airport Manager
Leonard Jason Jr., County Commissioner
Leslie Leland, Chair, County Commissioners
Robert Sawyer, County Commissioners
Robert Culbert, Recreation & Water Lab Director
Dianne Powers, Register of Deeds
George Balco, Airport Commissioner
Marc Villa, Chair, Airport Commissioners
Carol Grant, Assistant Treasurer & Parking Clerk
TJ Hegarty, Rodent Control Officer
David Kann, Wastewater Treatment Plant Director
Sarah Kuh, Vineyard Healthcare Access Program
Stephen Berlucchi, County Engineer
Chairman Morgan opened the Regular Meeting at 12:07 PM. County Treasurer, Noreen Flanders, reviewed Revenue history. The County Manager reviewed the Revenue Report dated 2/04/02, and then reviewed the line item transfers line by line as enumerated in the FY02 Supplemental Budget. Tristan Israel asked for explanations of movement of funds from Retirement lines, and John Early asked about unpaid bills in Civil Defense. Warren Doty questioned excess funds in Health Insurance lines, and the County Treasurer explained that employees take different policies or sometimes do not participate in County Health coverage. John Early asked for an explanation of the Cost Allocation Plan. Noreen Flanders reviewed the Cost Allocation Plan that has been approved by auditors, the County Commissioners, FAA. The County Manager explained that all County Departments are charged Cost Allocation based on a formula. Discussion followed.
Warren Doty questioned the amount of money in the telephone line of the Airport’s budget transfers. William Weibrecht, Airport Manager, explained that a new system was installed, and these amounts would be reduced now that installation has been completed.
Discussion followed about the change in cleaning at the Airport, from a cleaning contract for janitorial services, to staff coverage. William Weibrecht explained the changes in staffing and subsequent need for line item transfers.
Discussion moved on to the transfers to cover increases in salary and adjustments for the Airport Manager, William Weibrecht, and Assistant Manager, Sean Flynn. The Board took a few moments to read the memo from George Balco, Airport Commissioner, dated November 29, 2001, received January 31, 2002, explaining the increases (adjustment of $29,777.08 for Manager, and $18,159.66 Assistant Manager.)
Chairman Morgan said that he had a problem with the Airport’s requests and that until there was an act of the Legislature separating the Airport from the County, the Airport had to abide by the County’s Wage and Classification Plans and accompanying job descriptions. He said he found these figures arbitrary and that the Airport had to work with the County. Airport Commissioner Chair Villa stated that clearly, the two bodies were in disagreement. He maintained that the Airport Commission had the right to negotiate with the Union, and the Airport Manager and Assistant Manager. He added that these were professionals and therefore they did not fit into the County Classification Plan. Chairman Morgan asked if the Airport Commission had considered a Contract and Marc Villa replied that they had contracts. Chairman Morgan said there were two choices, either get together with the County and adjust the grades, or use contracts. Marc Villa said that both the Assistant Manager and Manager were presently working beyond their contracts as negotiated. Chairman Morgan said he thought the Airport was going in one direction, and the County, the other, and, ‘never the twain shall meet.’ Chairman Morgan said the contract had to be in place. Marc Villa said there is no contract at present, and the contract would be created when the funds were in place.
Tristan Israel said the Manager and Assistant Manager may deserve raises, but there was a process and the Advisory Board members had to be part of it. Discussion continued with Marc Villa insisting that the Airport had the right to negotiate these contracts. George Balco agreed that the County’s Classification did not take into account that these were professional positions. He added that September 11th made the job descriptions obsolete.
Noreen Flanders noted that there was no previous contract. The County Manager suggested looking at the job descriptions and the Classification Plan and adding grades.
Commissioner Sawyer voiced his concern that this issue had not been brought before the County Commissioners before this. He added that he didn’t think this was the way to approach this problem, that the Airport was part of a community and salaries had to fit accordingly. Richard Combra noted that the Manager’s increase was not just salary, that there were other adjustments included.
Marc Villa said that the Airport supports itself and brings money back to the Island. He said it’s an $8 - $13 million business, and stressed that the Manager and Assistant were professionals.
Tristan Israel compared the issue to Town business and said he could not support working outside the Classification Plan without a contract. Marc Villa said the Airport would present a contract. He asked that the funds be transferred to pay for it.
Noreen Flanders voiced concern about the mechanics, saying both the Manager and Assistant Manager were exempt employees on a salary plan, so they were not eligible for things like overtime. She asked how payment would be presented, on a payroll warrant or contract?
Chairman Morgan reiterated that he thought this submission was arbitrary. Marc Villa said the County Manager had been informed, but he did not seek her counsel. He said the fundamental argument needed to be addressed, who is allowed to negotiate union and management contracts? Chairman Morgan said the problem was the Airport and County attorneys would disagree. The two bodies needed to get together and resolve the issue.
The County Manager noted that she had not seen any contracts, that the Airport Manager had a letter offering employment. She did not read this as a contract. She added that she was only informed of the increases the previous Thursday, January 31, 2002.
Tristan Israel suggested contracts and classification plans, that Tisbury had both. Chairman Morgan explained that in Towns, when positions go beyond the classifications, rather than adding grades, separate contracts are set up.
Noreen Flanders asked what was outside the classification system, only salary? What about sick leave, etc.?
The County Manager asked if the Board had an interest in looking at both options?
Warren Doty said he thought the Airport Manager and Assistant Manager were underpaid, but that increases had to be in phases, like in Towns, not all in one year.
Marc Villa disagreed, said the two had to be brought up to professional levels. He said all he was asking was for the Board to determine if the money was there.
County Manager, Carol Borer, said the Airport’s budget was subject to appropriation, and the Advisory Board did that. Marc Villa said this wasn’t appropriation, it was Airport money.
Chairman Morgan suggested working up a three-year contract. Marc Villa said they had negotiated a two year contract in good faith at this level and the Manager was not willing to go into a long term contract.
Tristan Israel repeated that the Board needed to see a contract, that there was a process, that there needed to be parameters. Marc Villa said they had that.
Chairman Morgan asked why the Airport Commissioners couldn’t sit down with the County Commissioners and communicate with them and the County Manager before this? Marc Villa said they could, that the County appointed them and they had an obligation to do their process. Chairman Morgan said that was right that the County Commissioners appointed them, and so they should have the courtesy to let the County Commissioners know what was going on. Discussion continued with Marc Villa saying the County Commissioners did not oversee the Airport Commissioners.
Sean Flynn said to be fair, the Board members should be educated on Statutes. He said they only hear one side. Chairman Morgan objected, pointing to process and lack of communication.
Tristan Israel said he was not prepared to approve this without something more to support it. Marc Villa objected, saying it was spelled out. Richard Combra mentioned again the percentages for other adjustments, not just salary. George Balco said the worksheet was attached, but they would provide the details the Chairman requested.
(Sheriff, Commissioner Leland left 1:20 PM.)
The County Manager continued with the transfers. The Airport stipends were explained, as was the need in the Registry of Deeds for a new copy machine. Maintenance of effort was also explained.
Interdepartmental transfers were reviewed. Warren Doty asked that the Rodent Control Program be well funded.
County Manager Borer explained that the auditors confirmed an Unreserved Fund Balance of $325,810.00, and $284,908.91 would be used (including the $10,000 for the Veterans’ Agent that was added.) $60,000 was reserved for FY 2003. Other lines were explained, such as $50,000 for Courthouse renovation. Warren Doty asked why the COLA increase was part of the Supplemental Budget, not the regular Budget. Noreen Flanders explained that for many years, the County couldn’t afford COLAs in the Annual Budget and so it was done during the Supplemental.
The County Manager reviewed the Ion Chromatography system that was going to be purchased. Rob Culbert, Water Testing Lab Director explained that this equipment would update testing and enable better service to towns, that it was EPA approved, as opposed to outdated equipment presently used.
Other lines were reviewed; Veterans’ Agent (available for more hours should they be necessary,) Rodent Control Department truck, etc. The County Manager added that the Health Council had requested $55,000 but the auditors recommended that no more funds be appropriated at this time.
Warren Doty asked if free cash was reduced, how would it grow again? The County Manager explained the process that differs from Town government. Richard Combra suggested that some funds be returned to the towns if not used.
Sarah Kuh said she had requested computers for employees in her program. The County Manager explained that the request was denied at this time because the employees were not County employees but funded through a grant, and it was not clear what would happen to the computers should the employees leave. Richard Combra asked that Board members see all requests. Tristan Israel added that those kinds of requests should be handled at the Annual Budget Hearing. Commissioner Sawyer supported Sarah Kuh’s request and noted the success of her Program. Warren Doty asked the County Manager to consider funding the computers. Chairman Morgan said that the employees needing them work for the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) grant.
Airport requests to use $408,000 were reviewed. Noreen Flanders explained the retirees’ funds, that it’s the Airport’s share of retirement funds for former employees. Airport capital expense transfers were discussed. These included the Master Plan Update, Security fences I and II, Fire truck, Tractor, Terminal and Security, and Infrastructure.
Richard Combra asked about County funds for the rotary that Oak Bluffs was planning at the blinker. Stephen Berlucchi explained that his time was the County’s contribution. Richard Combra said the Airport Business Park added to the congestion and should contribute towards the solution.
Chairman Morgan entertained a Motion to approve all transfers except the Airport Manager and Assistant Manager lines until the Airport presented more specific information to justify the changes, and added that the Advisory Board would meet then to consider the question.
John Early Moved to withhold voting on lines 51017 and 51021 (Airport Manager and Assistant Manager) and vote on all other lines. Richard Combra Seconded the Motion.
Chairman Morgan added that he wanted to see a firm proposal and contract or amended Classification Plan, and hoped that the Airport Commission would discuss this with the County Commissioners and County Manager and come back with a proposal. Marc Villa asked if the Chairman was asking the Airport Commission to create job descriptions for the Manager and Assistant, illustrate numerically the rationale behind wages and create an unsigned contract and present it to you to be ratified by the County? Chairman Morgan said he wasn’t saying it had to be ratified by the County first, but the Commissioners should see it. He stressed communication and added once he had that, he’d call a meeting and expedite it. He added this wasn’t just the salary, but the breakdown of other items too. Marc Villa said fine. He would bring it to the County Commissioners.
Chairman Morgan called for the Vote.
John Early – West Tisbury - aye
Tristan Israel – Tisbury - aye
Warren Doty – Chilmark - aye
Richard Combra – Oak Bluffs - aye
Ted Morgan – Edgartown - aye
John Early asked the County Manager look into computers for Sarah Kuh’s Program for the next meeting. The Meeting Adjourned at 2:02 PM.
Ted Morgan, Chairman
County of Dukes County Advisory Board