Tuesday, March 26, 2013

County Board Meeting: Broadband Commission Annual Report, Proclamation for Child Abuse Prevention Month

In the absence of Board Chair Jan Hall and Vice Chair Bruce Martinson, Sue Hakes chaired today's County Board Meeting.  Also present were Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk, Commissioner Garry Gamble, County Attorney Tim Scannell, and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.  County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers was absent.

Public Comment
No member of the public opted to come before the County Board.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
The Board supported Public Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer's request to proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Child abuse is an issue that affects all members of our community and finding solutions depends on involvement among many people throughout the community.  If you know of any child or family that needs help, contact Cook County Social Services at 387-3620, Child Protection Worker Beth Faraone at 387-3608, or Law Enforcement at 387-3030.

Aimee Luick, Chief Deputy Auditor-Treasurer
The County Board approved appointing Lisa Sorlie and Jeanne Smith to the Cook County Deferred Compensation Committee replacing Ann Zellner and Tim Scannell respectively.  Garry Gamble replaced Fritz Sobanja in January 2012.

Highway Department
The Board approved awarding the aggregate stockpile project to low bidder Edwin E. Thoreson for $175,450.

The Board authorized (3) capital purchases for the Highway Department including a) Deckover Trailer for $11,900.53, b) Fine Aggregate 8" Tapping Shaker with Sound Compartment for $3741.00 and c) Survey Levels and Rods for $2476.29.  Each of these equipment purchases was included in the 2013 Budget and in the Capital Equipment Bond.

Information Systems, Director Danna MacKenzie
The County Board approved an amendment to the tower space lease between Cook County and Verizon Wireless.  This agreement permits Verizon Wireless to replace the tower recently acquired by the County from WDIO-TV with a new one of the same height for the purposes of building, operating and maintaining a cell site that serves the Grand Marais area.  Once the tower is completed, it is Verizon's responsibility to dispose of the old tower.  The new tower will belong to the County. In exchange for building the tower, Verizon will be entitled to a 50% lease abatement for 240 months.

Paul Harvey, Chairman of the Cook County Broadband Commission, joined Danna MacKenzie to present the Cook County Broadband Commission 2012 Status and Activity Report.  This 4 page report gives a high level overview of the accomplishments of the Broadband Commission in areas of both Access and Application to prepare for being able to take full advantage of this new utility when it becomes available.  Commissioner Hakes complimented the Broadband Committee for its hard work and success noting that although she and Commissioner Martinson serve on this Committee the "heavy lifting" is done by the almost all volunteer committee members including Chair Paul Harvey, Vice-Chair Pat Campanaro, Terry Meath, Paula Sundet-Wolf, Jim Boyd, Bob Pranis, Jack McDonnell, Danna MacKenzie.

Emergency Management, Director Jim Wiinanen
At the request of Emergency Management Director Jim Wiinanen, the Board voted to support the "Forest Service - Eastern Region Hazardous Fuels - Federal Assistance Proposal FY2013" in the amount of $200,000.  For this proposal, treatments will focus in the Two Island Area Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) and will include landowner involvement, mechanical fuel reduction treatments and a prescribed burn. Cook County will act as the fiscal agent for this grant.

The Board approved Michael Valentini Property Services as a vendor to install waterfront sprinkler systems under the 2011 PDM Wildfire Mitigation Grant as recommended by the Cook County Firewise Committee.

One Percent Project Updates
Wade Cole of ORB Management came before the Board to present an update on the Cook County Family YMCA project budget.  The current cost projection is $9,768,595.33 with (3) bids unknown at this time due to rebidding:  structural steel, earthwork, and aluminum storefronts/glazing.  Cole also noted that there is $409,992 in the project contingency fund, $106,200 which is allocated.  The work continues to bring the project to within the $9.5M allocated.

Cole also informed the Board that YMCA Project Manager, Mark Kragenbring of ORB, has resigned to take another position.  Cole will be taking over as Project Manager.  Kragenbring's last day with ORB is Friday, March 29.

County Coordinator/County Administrator
The Board discussed what they had learned regarding the pros and cons of hiring a County Coordinator or a County Administrator from their individual and recent discussions with others at Association of MN Counties Workshop.  A Special Meeting of the County Board has been scheduled for April 15 from 1-3 pm to discuss this further.  County Administrators Trish Klein (Itasca) and Tim Houle (Crow Wing) will be guests at this meeting to help the Board's understanding of the pros and cons and how to ensure a successful transition to any decision made.

Meeting Minutes
Official minutes for this meeting may be found by going to the Cook County Website or by contact Board Secretary Janet Simonen at 218 387 3602.  A video of this meeting in its entirety is available on Boreal.TV.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 Local Government Legislative Conference

A significant part of a County Commissioner's job is to advocate for new laws and policies that benefit our local County Government.  This is important work as the decisions made at the State Legislature directly impact the services Cook County government is able to provide and the taxes Cook County property owners will pay.

Advocating for Cook County is done by partnering with County Commissioners and Staff from other Counties, most often from NE Minnesota as we share common problems and concerns. We also work statewide through the Association of MN Counties.

The Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) is a voluntary, non-partisan statewide organization that has assisted the state’s 87 counties in providing effective county governance to the people of Minnesota since 1909.  The association works closely with the legislative and administrative branches of government in seeing that legislation and policies favorable to counties are enacted.  Combined, MN Counties are a powerful force.

Governor Dayton at 2013 Conference
Every March, AMC holds a Local Government Legislative Conference in St. Paul. This conference gives County Commissioners an opportunity to meet directly with State Legislators to discuss policy issues.  The Conference also provides an opportunity to join with other Counties to work on common issues, lobby as a group, get updates on hot policy issues, network, learn and share.

Below is a list of some of the issues I advocated for this week with Senator Tom Bakk, Representative David Dill and other legislators for the financial benefit of Cook County:

(in no particular order)

a)  Exemption of public safety radio equipment purchases (ARMER) in all counties from sales tax.
b)  Restoration of inflationary adjustments to PILT payments.
c)  A change in state statute to allow Medical Assistance reimbursement for inpatient hospital treatment of inmates, taking the burden of these health care costs off of the local property tax levy.
d)  Replacing the obsolete DOS based technology in the State's Health and Human Services to improve efficiency and avoid catastrophic technical failures in this complex arena.
e)  Offset the certain increase in costs to Counties resulting from the changes in Health Care by passing Federal Funds through the State and to the Counties.

The descriptions of these important issues are brief.  For more information, please call me at 218 387 2111 or email me at susankayhakes@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Human Services Board Meeting and County Board Meeting for March 19, 2013

Human Services Board Meeting
Human Services Board Chair Sue Hakes, and Board Members Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Jan Hall, Carla LaPointe, Bruce Martinson were all present at today's Human Services Board Meeting.  Jerry Lilja arrived a bit late due to being snowed in at his home.  Also present were Public Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer, Personel Director Janet Simonen and Case Aid Alison McIntyre.

Committee Reports
Committee Reports were given by the individual board members that serve on those committees:  AEOA - Sue Hakes, Arrowhead Regional Corrections - Jan Hall & Garry Gamble, Community Health Board - Jan Hall, Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee - Carla LaPointe, Health Care Planning Committee - Bruce Martinson, North Shore Collaborative - Sue Hakes.

In Home Support Program, Social Worker Martina Williams
Martina Williams, Licensed Social Worker, gave a thorough overview of her work on the Cook County In-Home Support Program.  The Cook County In-Home Support Program (IHS) assists individuals in need of in-home care by providing specific services so that they may remain living safely in their homes and function at their highest capacity.  IHS services County residents with a permanent or temporary disability.  It also serves individuals 65 and over in need of in-home care whether or not they suffer from a disability.

The Cook County IHS program is staffed by 14 part-time providers; Williams serves as the Coordinator. Referrals to the program come from many sources including PHHS Staff, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, North Shore Hospital, North Shore Home Care, family and friends, or the individual seeking assistance.

Williams reported that there are currently 34 In-Home Support Clients.  Coordinating and providing these vital services is getting more and complex as costs increase, funding decreases, financials become more complex, and the need to coordinate with other programs grows.  In addition to this work, Williams is also a Social Worker for the County.  She is well suited to the position and enjoys the work.

February Financial Report - Sue Futterer
The February Financial Report was presented by Sue Futterer in the absence of Jan Parish, Income Maintenance and Fiscal Supervisor.

Director's Report - Sue Futterer
The Board discussed in some detail the Home Health Care program (different from the In-Home Support Program) provided by the Cook County North Shore Hospital and supported by Cook County.  This discussion was prompted by County resident Tamara Rude, who was also present at today's meeting.  In an email to the Human Service Board, Rude had expressed her concern about the County's 3% annual reduction in support funding for this program.  Rude's concern about how we will provide critical support to our elderly population is valid; her concern is shared by the Human Services Board, Public Health and Human Services and the Cook County North Shore Hospital.  

Home Health Care used to be provided by the County.  Several years ago (circa 1997) the program was taken over by the Hospital.  At that time an agreement was made between the Hospital and the County for the County to provide some financial support to the Hospital for Home Health Care.  Budget constraints on the County led to the current plan to reduce funding for this program by 3% annually.

Recently, PHHS Director Sue Futterer, and Cook County North Shore Director Kimber Wraalstad have discussed the importance of this program and the funding challenges for this non-mandated program.  It is anticipated that Wraalstad will come to the Human Services Board and the County Board to ask for stabilization of the ~$40,000 in funding paid by the County to the Hospital for Home Health Care.  This request will be included as part of the 2014 Budget discussions.  Commissioner Doo-Kirk, County liaison to the Hospital Board, reported that the Hospital Board considers this program a high priority and has no plans to discontinue it.

Futterer and Hakes both thanked Tamara Rude for expressing her concern and for attending the meeting to be a part of the conversation. 

Futterer updated the Board on Region 3 Redesign, noting that Cook County's date to implement E-Docs has been pushed to September 2014 due to lack of broadband services in Cook County.

The Board approved Futterer's request to hire Michael Garry as the full-time replacement for Wendy Danielson as the Cook County Child Support Officer.  The Board also authorized Futterer to move forward with a Redesign Pilot project with Carlton County for shared supervision and working with the established Carlton County child support unit team.  This should have no adverse implications to Cook County clients for these services.  Futterer is moving forward to determine the full financial implications and legal issues.

Futterer expressed concern about the workload increases that are coming to MN counties as a result of the changes in Health Care.  It is anticipated that extra county staff will need to be hired sometime late summer or early fall 2014 to process client applications that used to be processed at the State.  Futterer requested that County Commissioners work with our legislators to seek some portion of the Federal reimbursement funding going to the State to at least offset some of this additional expense to counties.

Board Actions
The Board passed a motion to provide $4500 in support of Cecelia Bloomquist's training as a Parent-Child Interaction Therapist (PCIT).  PCIT is an evidence based treatment designed to improve the relationship between a parent or other caregiver and the child 2 1/2 - 7 with diagnosed severe disruptive behavior.  This work is part of the larger strategy for early intervention in an effort to avoid out-of-home placement of children.

The Board approved hiring a temporary replacement for a Case Aid/Office Support worker going on Parenting Leave.

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

Public Comment
Tod Sylvester came before the County Board to express his concern over remarks posted to Facebook by Cook County Visitor's Bureau Director, Sally Nankivell regarding Cook County culture.

North House Folk School
North House Folk School Director Greg Wright and North House Board Member Buck Benson came before the County Board to give their annual report on North House.  Wright shared that North House is celebrating its 16th Birthday this year, and that student enrollment is up significantly.  Members of the County Board expressed their thanks to North House for being a great community asset in a multitude of ways. 

Information Systems, IT Director Danna MacKenzie and Sheriff Mark Falk
The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of MN for the 2011 Homeland Security Cyber Security grant participation.  The purpose of this grant is to improve the monitoring of state and local government computer networks for cyber security risks and threats.

The Board authorized proceeding with the purchase of a Motorola MCC7500 Radio Console and integration services from St. Louis County for a project cost of ~$170,000.  This console will provide Cook County full integration with the state-wide ARMER radio system.

MacKenzie and Falk were extremely pleased to announce that Cook County was successful in obtaining a FEMA Grant in the amount of $648,000 for ARMER radios for Cook County firefighters.  The County is committed to providing $34,000 in matching funds.  MacKenzie and Falk recognized Jim Boyd and Jetty St. John for their grant writing work in this achievement and the Board concurred.

The Board made a motion to designate the Cook County Communications Committee as the entity that will review requests and make recommendations to the County Board regarding the ARMER radio system.

Office of Planning and Zoning, Tim Nelson Director and Solid Waste Officer
The Board authorized publishing a notice to fill the position vacated by the resignation of Roger Michaelson at the Tofte Transfer Station.  The Tofte Transfer Station Attendance is a permanent part-time position that fluctuates between 12 and 18 hours per week depending on the season.

Hedstrom Lumber
Company President Howard Hedstrom, Accountant Chris Hegg and Attorney Baiers Hereen came before the County Board to request that the County release all non-operating properties owned by Hedstrom Lumber from being collateral on their $150,000 County Revolving Loan.  Hedstrom reported a steady recovery from the market forces that created the recent financial challenges for Hedstrom Lumber.  The County Board had no reservations about changing the collateral from non-operating properties to the actual Mill property.

Hedstrom was happy to report that Hedstrom Lumber Company will be celebrating 100 years in 2014.

One Percent Projects
Commissioner Hakes reported that the ISD166 School Board approved the change in the Cook County Family YMCA floorplan to a) leave the existing Girl's Locker Room as one locker room and b) restore one of the Elementary Gym locker rooms back to a locker room instead of a storage space.  Because of this change, the ISD166 School Board also requested that the County pay for a Security Door.  The estimated cost for the locker room renovation is $10,000 and the security door is $6,000.

Braidy Powers is investigating whether or not One Percent Funds may be used for the locker room restoration.  The Board passed a motion 3-2 (Doo-Kirk and Gamble opposed) to use the County Building Fund to pay for this if it is not possible or reasonable to pay this from One Percent Funds.

The Board passed a motion 4-1 (Gamble opposed) to pay for the Security Door from the Building Fund.  Braidy Powers reported that the Building Fund has enough money in it to support these needs.

This change to the locker rooms was made to reduce the cost of the Cook County Family YMCA project by ~$75,000 and bring it to within the $9.5 million budget.

Veterans Support Project
Commissioner Hakes reported that she has met with Will Surbaugh (11 year old student at GES), his father Steve Surbaugh, and County Veteran's Service Officer Clarence "Clinker" Everson regarding Will and Steve's idea to promote the pursuit of a fellowship from "The Mission Continues".  This fellowship program is intended to ease the Veteran's transition to the civilian world by empowering Veterans to serve and lead by working with a local not-for-profit.

North House Folk School has agreed to help raise funds and to provide this 20 hours/week for 26 weeks fellowship opportunity should a Cook County Veteran be successful in receiving this grant. This opportunity is available to post 9/11 men and women veterans.  

Will Surbaugh is making posters to announce the opportunity and find applicants. The team is also hoping for an article in the local newspapers and an interview on WTIP.  Stay tuned as this opportunity evolves. 

You may remember that Will Surbaugh raised over $15,000 for The Mission Continues by doing over 600 push ups in just one hour! 

HOME Consortium
Commissioner Hakes reported that she and EDA Housing Director, Nancy Grabko, had success at the HOME Consortium  meeting last Friday in Virginia, MN.  The Cook County EDA was awarded $30,000 in rental rehabilitation funding and $70,000 (through AEOA) for the Grand Marais Apartment rehabilitation project currently underway.  In addition, Hakes and Grabko met with AEOA to discuss a potential construction project for Affordable Rental Housing in Cook County.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the approved meeting minutes will be made available on the Cook County website or by calling Board Secretary Janet Simonen at 218 387 3602.  A video of this meeting is available for viewing on Boreal.TV.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 12 County Board Meeting: Blacksmith Shop, Courthouse Security, Staffing

Board Chair Jan Hall was absent due to illness so Vice-Chair Bruce Martinson called the meeting to order.  Also present were Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble and Sue Hakes, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Personnel Director Janet Simonen and Assistant County Attorney Molly Hicken.

Public Comment
No member of the Public opted to address the County Board.

Cook County Historical Society
The County Board voted 4-0 to work with the Cook County Historical Society  to purchase Bill Bally's Blacksmith Shop, an historical landmark in Grand Marais.  The Board approved a purchase agreement offer for $130,000 hopefully to be paid with grant funds from the MN Historical Society.  In an effort to minimize any liability from environmental contamination on this site, the County had a Phase I  Environmental Site Assessment done per MPCA protocol.  As a result of this test, the Seller has agreed to remove all known outside tanks on the property and seal & cap the existing well.  Both Tim Nelson, Director of the Office of Planning and Zoning, and Tim Scannell, County Attorney, provided a written summary for the County Board in which they stated that they "remain confident that the County would be adequately protected in the future should we determine to accept the Phase I report and continue with the property acquisition in partnership with the Historical Society without requiring a Phase II assessment".  It is the County's intention to transfer ownership of this property to the Historical Society in 5 years.

Law Enforcement, Sheriff Mark Falk
The Board voted to accept the 2013 State of MN Annual County Boat and Water Safety Grant Agreement in the amount of $12,944.  These funds will be used for personnel costs, supplies and equipment related to boat and water safety and patrol.

The Board approved the purchase of (5) squad cars at a cost of $154,539 plus ~$10-15,000 per squad for equipment and upfit.  This purchase is consistent with the Law Enforcement policy to trade cars with over 85,000 miles and will be paid for from the Sheriff's car reserve fund.  This purchasing policy has been in place for several years, allowing for consistent budgeting and ensuring that equipment meets necessary performance standards for Law Enforcement.

The Board approved the purchase of 12 Tactical Shields to enhance officer safety in tactical responses including situations with active shooters, barricaded suspects and high risk entry.  The cost for the shields is $34,200 and is in the 2013 budget.

The Board authorized Law Enforcement to use the Cook County Courthouse April 5-7 (after regular work hours) for active shooter training with the US Border Patrol.  Friday evening would include classroom instruction and April 6-7 would be hands on training with simunitions.  Special notice will be given to all employees of this event, the building will be locked and notices will be posted on entrance doors.

Sheriff Falk and IT Director Danna MacKenzie gave the Board an update on the progress of implementing ARMER in Cook County.

Cook County Courthouse Security
A Courthouse Security Committee was formed after the December 2011 shooting in the County Attorney's office.  Many recommendations from the Courthouse Security Committee were implemented in 2012 including:  enhanced security in the County Attorney office, enhanced security in the Courtroom and access hallways and conference rooms, limiting entrance to the Courthouse to one door, signage disallowing weapons, employee safety training and drills, adjustments to the floorplan, lockers in Probation, etc.

In addition, Steve Swenson of the Center for Executive Judicial Security (CJES), was contracted to do a Safety Assessment for the Cook County Courthouse.  Based on many hours of discussion and deliberation on the CJES recomendations, the Security Committee recommended again on 3/12 the following security enhancements for the Courthouse:  X-ray Metal Detector at the Courthouse entrance, duress buttons and security cameras, county-wide paging system, keycard access control system.  In addition the Committee recommended duress buttons and security cameras at the Community Center and the Highway Department.

The County Board discussed these recommendations and authorized Brian Silence to proceed on all recommendations with the exception of the X-ray Metal Detector at the Courthouse entrance.  Installation of an X-ray Metal Detector will be discussed at an April 9 Work Session of the County Board.  Installation of an X-ray Metal Detector was the #1 recommendation from Steve Swenson of CJES, but it is also the most expensive because it requires the attendance of additional law enforcement personnel.  However, it was also noted that the December 2011 shooting incident was very costly to the County in a multitude of ways; any future incidents would be very expensive as well.

PUBLIC HEARING:  Schroeder Property Survey
A public hearing was held for all interested parties to appear and be heard regarding the assessment of resurvey costs in Sections 7, 8, 9 17 and 18 all in Township 58 North, Range 5 West.  After the hearing, the Board moved to establish the costs at $600 for 10-20-30 acre lots and $17.6556/acre for landowners with 40 combined acres of more.

Firewise Committee
Based on the recommendation of the Firewise Committee, the Board approved George Carlson as a vendor to install water-front and non-water front sprinkler systems under the FEMA grant for this work.

Irish Creek Winter Maintenance Subordinate Service District
The Cook County Board of Commissioners will hold a Public Hearing to consider a resolution to withdraw the Irish Creek Winter Maintenance Subordinate Service District and to discontinue the snowplowing service provided within the service district.  The Public Hearing will be held on June 25, 2013 at 10:30 am in the County Commissioner's Room at the Courthouse.  Notice of this Hearing has been published and sent to each property owner paying a share of the costs.

Cook County Local Energy (CCLEP) Project
George Wilkes and Paul Nelson of CCLEP, along with Mark Spurr of FVB Energy came before the Board to ask the County Board to do two things:  1) release funding for the Step 2 Study for Biomass District Heating in Grand Marais, and 2) provide a letter of intent that expresses the County Board's non-binding interest in becoming an Initial Customer of the prospective district heating system for the following County buildings:  Courthouse, existing Community Center, new YMCA facility, County Garages 1 & 2, and the Law Enforcement Center.  After an overview and discussion of the Step 1 Study results, the Board approved 3-1 (Gamble opposed) the release of $243,000 of One Percent Sales Tax Funds that had been reserved for the Step 2 Study.  It should be noted that this decision was NOT to approve or disapprove of a Biomass District Heat Plant in Grand Marais. That decision will ultimately be made by the City of Grand Marais PUC as they are currently slated to build and manage the facility should it prove viable.

Maple Hill Gravel Pit Operations
Highway Engineer David Betts and Maintenance Supervisor Russell Klegstad presented their report regarding the operations and environmental impacts of the Maple Hill Gravel Pit.  This pit consists of upper and lower pits that are joined by a steep and dangerous roadway.  Current access to both pits is from the north on CR54, just past the Maple Hill Church. The Maple Hill Pit is an important clay mining operation for Cook County and has been in operation since circa 1980. Betts and Klegstad are recommending the County purchase a ~10 acre parcel of land to build a road that will provide safer and shorter access to the lower Maple Hill Pit.  The current plan has been presented to the MPCA and verbal go-ahead given.

Vice-Chair Bruce Martinson opened the discussion up to several members of the Public for comment:  William Kloster, Rob Nelson, Mike Gilquist, George Humphrey and Steve Benson. Most of the public comment expressed was concern about erosion, potential contamination of the water table, runoff into the feeder creeks for the Little Devil Track River, and costs.

CLOSED SESSION:  Land Purchase Agreement
The County Board held a closed session to discuss the potential purchase of ~10 acre parcel from Hedstrom Lumber Company for building a new access road to the Maple Hill Pit.

After the closed session a motion was moved forward by a 3-1 vote (Doo-Kirk opposed) to approve a purchase agreement for the purchase of ~10 acres from Hedstrom Lumber Company for $45,000 subject to the Seller providing a survey at the Seller's cost, an acceptable appraisal, marketable title, and review by the County Attorney.  A second motion was passed 4-0 to hire Forsythe Appraisals to do the appraisal of this property.

Rocksteady Running Fall and Spring Trail Races
The County Board approved special event permits for both the Spring and Fall Rocksteady Running Trail Races.  These events will be held May 18-19 and September 6-7, all in 2013.

Cook County Water Plan Advisory Committee
The Board approved the citizen appointment of Chuck Futterer to the Water Plan Advisory Committee as recommended by the Committee.

County Assessor's Staffing
The County Board authorized a new 35-hour week Assessor's Technical Clerk position subject to a job description review.  The vote passed 3-1 (Doo-Kirk opposed).  The MN Department of Revenue has requested a 5-year plan that demonstrates how Cook County will come into compliance with the assessing requirements of the Department of Revenue.  The mandate for doing an on-site review of each property every 5 years is not being met in Cook County, a situation that needs to be corrected to ensure fair and equitable assessments of private property and avoid possible intervention by the Department of Revenue. This new position was approved for 5-years with the potential to add a 6th year based on a 5-year review.

The Board also passed a motion to assess the overall staffing of the County and will use counties with similar demographics as one comparison tool in this assessment.

Courthouse Office Space
The County Board created a Space Subcommittee several months ago to recommend a Courthouse Floorplan that would accomodate two major goals:  1) Safety enhancements, and 2) Creating a space for the IT Department.  The County Board approved the Space Committee's recommended Courthouse Floorplan and authorized Maintenance Director Brian Silence to get quotes and begin the work.  In an effort to minimize the disruption to the business of the County, these changes may take several months to complete.

Cook County Family YMCA Project
The Board voted to accept ORB's recommendation to engage in a contract with Fabcon Precast.  Fabcon Precast was the only company to submit a proposal for the Precast rebid.  This contract will be reviewed by the County Attorney.

Meeting Minutes
A complete copy of the official meeting minutes is available on the Cook County website or by calling Janet Simonen at 218/387-3602.  A video of this entire meeting may be viewed by going to Boreal.TV.