Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Carlene Gatting called the County Commissioner's meeting to order at 5:12 p.m. Commissioners Tristan Israel, Lenny Jason and Melinda Loberg were present.
Not present: John Alley, Les Leland, Tom Hallahan.
Also in attendance were Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant to County Manager, Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer, Marc Hanover – SSA representative, Sean Flynn – Airport Manager, Joanie Ames of MV TV.
Minutes: The 2008 minutes were deferred to the next meeting (no quorum).
After brief discussion it was agreed that the executive session minutes would be approved in executive session and also have discussion if they are ready to be released. At the next meeting we will start with executive session.
SSA Representative Marc Hanover - update
The Oak Bluffs terminal is done on time, on budget and it is a user friendly facility. The issue with taxi cabs was resolved by moving the bus stop further away from the SSA property, so they are now where the bus stop was. Marc asked the SSA to create an etiquette rules for taxi drivers on SSA property. If a taxi driver does not follow the rules he will be banned for the rest of the season. Tristan asked to forward the rules to the all island selectmen’s meeting once done. Memorial Day weekend was up 14% in passengers. The boats were all sold out. Trucks are up 5% as of May. Reservations are up again. A boat from Manhattan, NY (Seastreak) will run this summer every weekend. It takes 5 hours and it is fun. They would like to run sunset tours and tours to Edgartown over the weekend. The schedule for the ferry should
stay the same as last year in the summer. Refurbishing of the Eagle will be postponed until next year and they will add the lift decks. The Nantucket Athletic Department asked for a boat for the Island Cup again. Marc will recommend paying half of the expense by SSA. SSA implemented the supplemental fairs for people with chemotherapy and comparable treatments that are not offered on the island. More people are using the medical issues to get on the boat and bumping people with reservations, which starts to be a problem. The Island Home is out for 10 days for cleaning before the season. There will be a canine search utilized in different ports this summer as part of the security, they are trained for explosives. SSA has a right to search any vehicle.
Airport Manager Sean Flynn – FY11 Airport Budget
Tristan asked why is there such a big difference between the Supplemental budget in FY10 and new FY11 Budget. Sean explained that it was due to capital improvement projects (two snow removal equipment purchases, which were later 80% reimbursed by state, and the entrance road project). Carlene asked what are currently the amounts of the loans guaranteed by the County. Sean said that it is about $300K and it is being paid from the Airport’s stabilization fund and the payments dropped to $50K for the next seven years. The runway shifting is 95% grant funded from the FAA, 2.5% is paid by the State and 2.5% by the Airport. Currently the balance is $350K. Tristan asked about the increase in employee cost and if it already calculates the health insurance at 75-25. Sean said that it is still at 90-10 level. They are
preparing a supplemental budget. Melinda asked about the water usage. Sean said that the water usage is down due to water conservation at the Airport Business Park, all tenants are metered. Fuel revenue projections are good. Texaco stopped delivering fuel after 37 years. Sean found another fuel provider with good marketing and quality control. Carlene asked about the COLA. Sean said that The COLA is part of the 3-year union contract. In FY09 there was a small increase, in FY10 it is zero and we are still negotiating it for FY11. The effort to tie it down to an index for all island towns was unsuccessful due to the fact that towns want to make the decision on the town meeting floor. There will be inflation in the near future and giving no COLA is not the best policy from the employees’ point of view. Carlene asked if the on individual bases some employees are getting a 7% increase. Sean explained that this is in comparison with the original FY2010 numbers, which were not
accurate to begin with. There is also another new position – second Assistant Airport Manager. As revenues are consistent and there is an increased demand on management work due to the amount of projects currently under way and planned. This budget was approved by the Airport Commission. Noreen said that the Airport budget is part of the County budget and there is no reason why it could not be voted on tonight. We need to publish it and set a public hearing, which is usually done after the Commission approves it and recommends it to the County Advisory Board.
Tristan/Lenny moved to recommend the FY11 Airport budget to the County Advisory Board. So voted. All in favor.
FY11 budget was presented at the last meeting with a surplus of $10K. Noreen said that the expense increase is 1.05%. Melinda said that there is still a question about salary increases for County Manager and the two elected officials. Carlene suggested that the Personnel Committee comes with a recommendation to the full board regarding this issue. Noreen said that it would be then part of a supplemental budget.
Tristan/Lenny moved to approve the FY11County Budget and recommend it to the County Advisory Board. So voted. All in favor.
Lenny asked how much free cash we have. Noreen said about $100K. Lenny wants to give some back to the towns. Tristan said that the recommendation was to keep about $100K in the reserve fund and that is why County went to towns looking for support for some of its services. Noreen said that we are in transition year and we don’t know how things will shake down after Sheriff’s transfer over to the State. We received a quote for the insurance of $76K, last year it was $82K. The quote is not proportional reduction of amount last year allocated to the Sheriff. In middle of August we will have an idea where we stand. Tristan said that the increases in expenses are due to employee expenses, insurance and other liabilities, not by decisions made by the County Commissioners. Carlene said that we will revisit this issue in mid
Personnel Committee Report and recommendation
The Personnel Committee is recommending approving a resolution as presented (see attached at the end of the minutes with two amendments:
1. – add word “COLA” in paragraph j) after “percentage”
2. – add new paragraph ”k)” after j) and the current paragraph k) will become “l)”. The new paragraph k) will be worded as follows “Salary reviews and increases for elected officials and the County Manager will be the responsibility of the Personnel Committee of the County Commissioners subject to the Count Commissioners’ approval.” Russell added that the two elected officials have done their salary revisions through the budget process and the county manager was on a contract so now it clarifies the process. Lenny said that he supports it but if the finance committee is created, he would prefer to have the decision done by that committee. Melinda said that the evaluation should be done by Personnel Committee and then recommend a salary increase to the Finance Committee. Carlene agreed with that process. The
Personnel Committee further recommended a different set up of the Personnel Board in order to prevent the county employee supervisors being on the Personnel Board and to allow the recruiting of people with personnel expertise from the community at large. They recommend as members: one County Advisory Board member, one Airport Commission member, one member of a town personnel board (to rotate between towns) and the representative from the employees. Tristan said that it sounds good but we still need to go to these parties to see if they are interested in participating. All agreed that Russell should find out and report back. Carlene asked how often the board would meet. Melinda said about 4 times a year. The revision of the Personnel Bylaws would still be done by people chosen by the County Manager as an ad hoc committee. The Personnel Board would be an appellate board for County Manager’s decision regarding employee grievances and the Personnel Board’s decision would be
Russell sent a Letter to Mass Dept. of Transportation regarding the safety issue with the guard rail between the road and the sidewalk on the big bridge. There is agreement with representatives from the towns of Edgartown and Oak Bluffs and the interest groups like Friend of Sengekontacket that there needs to be a temporary fix for this summer, before the bridge is finished next winter. Their latest suggestion is to use a temporary metal fence until a final decision is made on the solution.
Animal Shelter update
Russell passed a Profit & Loss statement for the year (May 1, 2009 – April 30, 2010). $122K income, $75K expense, $47K balance left. We exceeded the projected income thanks to fundraising efforts of the Animal Shelter Board and spent less then budgeted. We helped 110 animals (mostly owner surrendered), brought them up to medical standard (shots etc.) and adopted them out to new island families. We received a letter from the MSPCA informing us that they will subdivide the property and are planning on give us the shelter building and selling the front building and Ms. Foot’s house to the veterinarian upfront. Once we get the building, we will do capital improvements that we were holding off until we secure the building like fixing the heating system and incinerator.
US Dept. of Agricultural – Rural Development Division presentation
The County cosponsored with Rep. Delahunt’s office an USDA presentation from Rural Development and invited variety of people that might be interested in federal funding. They offer funding for “bricks and mortar” type projects in rural communities. It was very well attended.
Letter to Edgartown Waste Water to support their grant program to do study on chemicals in aquifer after leaving the treatment plant.
Tristan asked if Russell is working on how to structure the regional services under the County. Russell talked to Marcia Cini today and she is looking into the legal questions. As far as the Animal Shelter, the County will operate it for another 6 months and then report to the all island selectmen. Carlene suggested going to the all island selectmen before the acceptance of the building. She also asked if we could also get the Ms. Foot’s house. Russell said that the wishes of Ms. Foot were to keep it for the care of the animals here. This condition was however not part of the deed to the MSPCA. We did ask for the benefit from Ms. Foot’s house to stay for use of island animals but we do not have an answer on this.
Carlene asked to look at the objectives for the coming year. Tristan suggested looking into governmental - municipal grant writing for the island. We could also be a clearing house for what grants are available. Melinda mentioned that the MV Donors Collaborative is helpful in providing assistant with grant writing to the non-profits and access with searching for grants.
Tristan asked for Peter Hefler to report to County Commissioners.
Melinda/ Tristan moved to adjourn the meeting at 6.45p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts
Resolution (before amendments)
WHEREAS, the Dukes County Commissioners received recommendation by their Personnel Sub-committee to create a County Personnel Board;
WHEREAS, the Commissioners believe that the Personnel Board will improve the County’s personnel policies and procedures,
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Commissioners of the County of Dukes County that the Personnel Board will be created as follows:
The Personnel Board shall consist of five persons. Four of these shall be recommended by the County Manager and appointed by the County Commissioners from persons not subject to the County Personnel Bylaws and at least one of these four shall be a registered voter of the County at-large and not a County employee. The fifth shall be a full-time employee of the County, elected by full-time employees. All shall serve for a three-year term, commencing at the start of the fiscal year; however the terms of the initial members shall be staggered in the following way: two shall serve for a three-year term, two shall serve for a two-year term and one shall serve for a one-year term. In the event of vacancy, for any reason, prior to the expiration of the term of appointment, that vacancy shall be filled in the same way as soon as
reasonably possible. These appointments are subject to Section V. of the County Administrative Code.
The Board shall meet at least once a month. A quorum of the Personnel Board shall be fixed at three (3) members.
The Executive Secretary to the County Manager shall serve as the Administrator of the Board and as an ex officio non-voting member of the Board.
The Personnel Board shall be responsible for the administration of the County Personnel Bylaw. Any changes to the Personnel Bylaws shall be subject to the County Commissioners approval. The responsibilities of the Personnel Board shall be as follows:
(a) Ensure that the County maintains an effective personnel system, monitor the effectiveness and implementation of the bylaw, procedures and practices; and prepare an annual report.
(b) Perform periodic review of the County Personnel Bylaw and make recommendations for changes to the County Commissioners.
(c) Formulate and review the Classification Plan and the Compensation Plan at least every (5) years.
(d) Evaluate and classify positions, review requests for reclassification, and cause a review of all positions in the Classification Plan at appropriate intervals in accordance with proper personnel practices.
(e) Provide advice and assistance to Department Heads, supervisory personnel and employees on all aspects of personnel management.
(f) Supervise and maintain a centralized personnel record keeping system.
(g) Evaluate the effectiveness of forms used in the administration of the County Personnel Bylaw and update as necessary.
(h) Administer the Sick Leave Bank.
(i) Approve step increases as recommended by the Department Heads and appointing authorities.
(j) Review and recommend the annual wage adjustment percentage, as appropriate, subject to the County Commissioners approval.
(k) Act as the County Appellate Board for grievances.
The Personnel Board may incur expenses, as it deems necessary, subject to appropriation of funds.
Passed this ____ day of _______ by a vote of the Commissioners including ____ yea votes and ______ nay votes and ______ abstentions.
Carlene Gatting, Chair
Dukes County Commission