Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19, 2013: Human Services Board and County Board of Commissioners Meet

Cook County Human Services Board Meeting
Human Services Board Chair, Sue Hakes, along with Board Members Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Jan Hall (9:10 am), Carla LaPointe, Jerry Lilja, Bruce Martinson were all present for today's Human Services Board Meeting.  Also present were Sue Futterer, Jan Parish, Alison McIntyre, and Janet Simonen.

Committee Reports
No reports were given for Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, Arrowhead Health Alliance, Community Health Board, Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee or North Shore Collaborative as these Boards and Committees have not met since the last Human Services Board Meeting.

Garry Gamble reported that Arrowhead Regional Corrections (ARC) is currently in union negotiations.  He also reported on preliminary discussions being held at ARC regarding the dire conditions at the Northeast  Regional Corrections Center (NERCC).  Gamble and Jan Hall, along with other ARC Board members toured the NERCC facility.  Gamble reported the needs for significant facility improvements, describing the current conditions as "dissettling".

Bruce Martinson reported on the most recent meeting of the Health Care Planning Committee noting that the relatively new and highly popular "Living Well With Chronic Conditions" class is proving to be successful.  Doctors at the Clinic are noticing measurable improvements in their patients that participate.  Martinson also reported that the Hospital Board held a special meeting to discuss renovation plans for the Hospital and the Care Center.

Family Home Visiting Program--Allison Hereen, BScN, RN, PHN
Allison Hereen came before the Board to give an overview of her role in Maternal Child and Family Health which she explained is working with parents for positive, safe and healthy outcomes for children and their families through an individualized, strength based, holistic approach.  The greatest portion of this program is the Universal Prenatal and Postpartum Home Visiting which is described as an "arm into the community".  This home visiting program is voluntary and available to all families, regardless of income.  Other pieces of Maternal Child and Family Health include a) Child Health and Development, b) Community Collaboration and Interagency Relationships, and c) Education and Injury Prevention.

Hereen brings great enthusiasm to her job, as well as a wealth of Public Health nursing experience from other counties and from ISD166.  When asked what she sees as being unique to Cook County, she said that Cook County's geography creates large distances between families with young children and can cause feelings of isolation.

Fiscal Updates--Jan Parish, Income Maintenance & Fiscal Supervisor
Jan Parish gave a complementary presentation to Hereen by talking about the funding for the Home Visiting program.  The majority of the funding comes from the Arrowhead Health Alliance grant; other funding comes from a County Health Board grant and two other smaller grants.  Parish explained that Public Health does bill private insurance and medical assistance whenever possible.  The cost to the client is free.

Director's Report--Sue Futterer
-Region 3 Redesign has been delayed, but electronic documentation should be in place by the end of 2013.  A meeting with the Region 3 County Commissioners and Staff is being scheduled for April 30, 2013.
-Futterer gave the Board an overview of Child Support in Minnesota and in Cook County.
-Futterer explained MN Choices, a standardized assessment tool under development to determine eligibility for health care and other services.  She also provided information on potential changes to Counties with the coming Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange.
-The Department of Health Services is conducting a routine review of Cook County's Wilderness Outpatient Treatment today.

Items for Action
The Board approved a Purchase of Service Agreement for the Women's Health Center and authorized the Engagement of Ron Michaels Consulting for the project definition phase of Regional Electronic Document Management Systems for Child Support Units.  The Board also approved the 2013 Assurance and Agreements Between the Community Health Board and Cook County, as well as the Addendum to the Joint Powers Agreement between Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis Community Health Boards.

Cook County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Board Chair Jan Hall, along with Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Sue Hakes and Bruce Martinson were all present at today's meeting.  Also present were County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
No members of the Public came before the County Board.

Office of Planning & Zoning (OPZ)--Tim Nelson, Director
Tim Nelson and David Demmer came before the County Board to recommend termination of the Wetlands Management Plan committee process that was just getting underway.  Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the level of support OPZ had been led to believe would exist from the Army Corp of Engineers through their participation in the process can not be counted on.  The Board supported the recommendation to terminate.

Highway Department--David Betts, Highway Engineer
The Board authorized the Highway Department to advertise to solicit proposals for aggregate stockpiles as recommeded by Russell Klegstad and David Betts.

The Board awarded the snowplowing for Irish Creek to LaBoda Grading, Inc.  The Board also discussed the importance of written communication and following the proper legal steps for the Public Hearing already scheduled for June 25 at 10:30. This hearing was scheduled to discuss the potential for withdrawing the Irish Creek Subordinate Service District.

As presented by David Betts, the Board adopted the Town Road Account Allocation Policy and approved the distribution of town road funds accordingly.

Superior Cycling Association
Tim Kennedy came before the Commissioners to inform them that the Superior Cycling Association wants the County to act as the applicant for a project to extend both the Pincushion Trail System in Grand Marais and the Britton Peak Trail System in Tofte (2) miles each for a total of (4) miles of new trail.  The Superior Cycling Association will present the grant application and their formal request at the next County Board meeting.

Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP)
The scheduled discussion regarding the Biomass District Heating customer contract has been postponed to March 12, 2013.

Auditor-Treasurer--Braidy Powers
Several items were brought forward by Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers:
- The Board approved a Subordination Agreement between Cook County and Hedstrom Lumber Company for $152,533.72 and second position on the loan with first position to the bank.  It is the County's customary practice to hold the second position.
-  As required in the Cook County Investment Policy, Powers submitted the annual investment report for Cook County.  Objectives of the County investments are 1) Safety, 2) Liquidity, and 3) Yield.

Personnel Department--Janet Simonen, Director
Personnel Director Janet Simonen presented an updated draft of the Cook County Employee Handbook noting several changes including Comp Time accrual, limits to Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance eligibility, the addition of some employee groups and unions to pay toward their Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance premiums, shift differential pay eligibility, and out-of-class pay policy.

Simonen provided the Board with a copy of the Personnel Director/Board Secretary job description, information from the Association of MN Counties regarding various county organizational structures, and some guidelines to planning for executive transitions.  Simonen has given the Board a 6-month notice of her resignation.  The Board scheduled a Work Session for March 18 at 1 pm to discuss the replacement of Simonen and the potential for re-structuring.

One Percent Projects
Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers presented a change order addition for ~$64K for rebar, concrete and labor for the Cook County Family YMCA project.  This is work which was originally to be included in Phase 4 but has been changed to be done now in Phase 2.  The County Board approved this change 4-1 (Gamble opposed) to be paid for from the project contingency fund.

Commissioner Hakes gave an overview of the Skating Warming House project noting that the Hockey Association will be meeting Wednesday, February 20, to discuss their preference for location, style and size of the building.  The County has allocated $50K for this project; the Hockey Association has committed $28K of its own funding.

Powers and Hakes gave an update to the County Board regarding the Board's need to decide on whether or not to rebid all or portions of the Cook County Family YMCA project.  Powers and Hakes reported on a lengthy conversation they had with Attorney Ken Donovan of Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith and Frederick, P.A. of Duluth regarding the legal aspects of rebidding, analyzing each bid division separately. Ultimately, there is a cost to rebid, just as there is a cost to not rebid.  ORB Management and JLG Architects are working to identify all of the associated risk and cost for both scenarios so that the Board can make a sound decision about how best to move forward.  Powers stressed the importance of the Board making this decision on February 26 noting that cost to the project can be increased by delay in schedule, redesign expenses, delay in opening the Cook County Family YMCA, extending the construction time and impact to ISD166 need for the spaces.  The Steering Committee will meet Monday, February 25, to determine their recommendations for the County Board.

Cook County Airport Commission
Sue Olson was appointed as an alternate to the Grand Marais/Cook County Airport Commission.

Meeting Minutes
Official minutes for this meeting may be obtained by going to the Cook County website or by contacting Board Secretary Janet Simonen at 218-387-3602.  A video of today's meetings in their entirety may be viewed by going to Boreal.TV