Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Human Services and County Board Meetings

The County Board meets on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Tuesdays of every month at 8:30 am.  On the 3rd Tuesday, the Human Services Board meets from 8:30 - 10:00 am as part of the County Board meeting.  These meetings are open to the public; County Board Meeting agendas and minutes are posted on the Cook County website.

Human Services Board Meeting

The Human Services Board consists of all members of the County Board plus (2) representatives from the Public Health & Human Services Advisory (PHHS) Committee.  The PHHS Advisory Committee Reps are Diane Fitzgerald and Carla LaPointe, Chair and Vice Chair of the PHHS Advisory Committee. 

I was pleased to be elected Chair of the Human Services Board; Jan Hall was elected Vice-Chair.  My role as the Chair complements my being the liaison to the Public Health and Human Services Department and other related committee assignments (North Shore Collaborative, AEOA, Arrowhead Health Alliance, PHHS Advisory Board).  Each of the Human Services related committees is assigned to a County Commissioner and reported on monthly.

Julie Myrhe, Community Health Board Director, reported on the revised recommended language for the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC).

Jan Parish, Income Maintenance and Fiscal Supervisor, gave a Financial Report for PHHS. 

Sue Futterer, Director, provided the Board with 2011 Legislative Initiatives as recommended by the Minnesota Association of County Social Services Administrators (MACSSA) which basically include a) simplifying human service programs, b) aligning funding with outcomes for vulnerable populations, and c) investing in technology to assure efficient administration of publicly funded human services.   Sue also gave her Alternative Work Site 4th Quarter Report.

There were several Board Actions taken, the most significant being a commitment to be involved in the Region 3 Human Services Redesign Income Maintenance Project.  Other actions taken included approving several Purchase of Service Agreements between Cook County and various service providers.

County Board Meeting

A couple of changes were made to the Agenda.  The annual review of Conditional Use Permits for designated gravel pits was moved to next week's County Board Meeting (1/25/11).  And, Tim Scannell requested the meeting be closed for ~5 minutes for Board to discuss a threatened litigation. 

Open Forum
Two members of the Public opted to address the Board during the Open Forum.  Mary Manning requested the Board include the Public in discussions and decision-making regarding the communications towers; she specifically noted the Hovland tower.  Bob LaMettry addressed the Board with concerns about the speed in which the 1% Sales Tax funds are allocated and suggested the Board move forward with careful thought toward future needs for infrastructure projects.  He also noted Arrowhead Electric Cooperative's proposal to the Fiber Optic Commission for $1.8M to fund up to $400/residence for in-home wiring to connect fiber optics and suggested that the Board consider low interest or no interest loans for this purpose. 

Community Center Project Update from ORB Management
Tom Wacholz, President of ORB Management, gave a detailed overview of the overall project process for the Community Center.  ORB Management is the Construction Manager representing Cook County in the Community Center project.  Wacholz reviewed the project directory, organizational chart, master activity schedule, stakeholders, users, interested parties, project history, guiding principles, and communication tools for the project.

Wacholz then detailed the solicitation process for the design team and the design team selection process.  14 firms requested the Request for Proposal (RFP) with 6 firms submitting proposals.  At next week's County Board Meeting, ORB Management and the Community Center Steering Committee will be making a recommendation to the County Board for a single firm to be the Architect of Record for the project.  A decision from the County Board is anticipated January 25.

To streamline the process of the Community Center, the County Board unamimously approved (2) motions:  1) The County Board directed the Community Center Steering Committee to formalize the existing ad hoc committee to include between 15-18 members, elect a chair and secretary, and adopt organizationl documents and bylaws, and 2) The County Board will hold regularly scheduled 1% Project worksessions for project managers (or advocates) to meet with the County Board to update the Board and receive direction from the Board

Lastly, Wacholz outlined the design phase for the project which will include soliciting input from stakeholders, staff, and the general public.

County Board Worksessions
The Board agreed to set aside time each month from 1:30-3:00 pm the 4th Tuesday of each month for Worksessions.  The first worksession will be held January 25 regarding communications/tower issues and was requested by Sheriff Mark Falk, IS Director Danna MacKenzie, Attorney Tim Scannell, County Engineer David Betts, Planning Director Tim Nelson.  Other possible Worksession Topics include Budget, 1% Project Planning & Prioritizing, Broadband, others as necessary.  These worksessions will give the Board and Department Heads an opportunity to plan and problem solve for some of the more complex issues facing the County.