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Governing Board Meeting Minutes

Kansas Association of Counties

March 13, 2008

Anton Room, Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library

Topeka, Kansas

 

President Shannon Francis called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. Board members present were as follows:

 

Michele Abbott-Becker, Marion County Emergency Management Director; Terry David, Rice County EMS Director; Joe Connor, Unified Government Health Department Administrator; Gary Doane, Osborne County Commissioner;  Steve Garten, Barber County Commissioner; Shannon Francis, Seward County Commissioner; Tom Winters, Sedgwick County Commissioner; Dale Phillips, Barton County Noxious Weed Director; Dick Works, Allen County Commissioner; George Pogge, Jefferson County Road Superintendent; Mark Low, Finney County Appraiser; Dennis Peterson, Riley County Noxious Weed Director; Tom Wagner, Atchison County Commissioner; and Sheila Biggs, Dickinson County Commissioner.

 

Board members absent were: Larry McAulay, Johnson County Director of Legal Services.   

 

KAC Staff and others present:  Randall Allen, KAC Executive Director; Judy Moler, KAC General Counsel; Kansas Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon and her grandson, Theodore.   

 

The agenda was presented. Randall Allen asked that the printed agenda be amended to include a discussion and award of the 2012 KAC Annual Conference, as item “7-A” following discussion and adoption of an entertainment policy for the KAC annual conferences. Steve Garten moved, seconded by Joe Connor, to accept the agenda as amended. Motion carried.

 

Minutes for February 11, 2008. Terry David moved, seconded by Tom Wagner, to approve the minutes of the February 11, 2008 meeting as presented. Motion carried.

 

Approval of Bills and Payroll for March 13, 2008.  Tom Winters, Finance Committee Chairman, indicated that the Finance Committee met prior to the meeting to review the invoices and there were no items of special concern.  Tom Winters moved, seconded by Mark Low, to approve the bills and payroll dated March 13, 2008. Motion carried.

 

Monthly Financial Report for January, 2008.  The Executive Director reported that during the month of January, 2008, the Association received $248,856.31, or 27.7% of our budgeted 2008 revenues and expended $58,290.78, or 6.5% of our 2008 budget of $897,131. Allen noted that personnel costs (salaries, wages, and employee benefit costs) have been reallocated in the 2008 budget to various program budgets, based on staff’s estimates of their total time devoted to various programs. Joe Connor moved, seconded by Dick Works, to receive and place on file the Monthly Financial Report for January, 2008.  Motion carried.

 

Discussion and Adoption of an Entertainment Policy for the KAC Annual Confer-

ence.  Randall and Sarah Meyer presented a revised draft policy, as follow-up to a discussion at the February board meeting, indicating that “violation of this policy may (formerly read ‘will’) result in denial of registration and participation in future confer-

ences” so as to give the board greater discretion in determining appropriate actions and responses in the event the policy is violated. Sarah indicated that in visiting with her peers at other state associations, they have a similar policy. Commissioner Winters asked how exhibitors and sponsors will be notified of the policy. Sarah indicated that the policy will be included in the exhibitor packet and that exhibitors already under contract will be notified of the new policy statement. Gary Doane moved, seconded by Dennis Peterson, to adopt the amended entertainment policy for the Association as presented. Motion carried.

 

Award of 2012 Annual Conference.  Randall presented a memorandum prepared by Sarah Meyer, KAC Conference Planner. He explained that Veterans Day will be observed on Monday, November 12, 2012 and that the following Sunday through Tuesday (November 18-20, 2012) is the same week of Thanksgiving, which the Board had previously decided to avoid for all future conferences. As such, Randall recom-

mended that the KAC adopt a new mid-week format in 2012, holding the conference on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, November 13-15, 2012. The conference will be held in Topeka, as previously decided.  Dennis Peterson noted that the November 13-15 schedule would probably mean that the board would need to arrive on the holiday. Terry David moved, seconded by George Pogge, to award the 2012 annual KAC confer-ence to Topeka/Shawnee County on November 13-15, 2012.  

 

Commissioner Doane asked that in the future, when the KAC staff makes recommenda-

tions for the 2013 annual conference and beyond, the mid-week conference format be presented as an alternative along with the more traditional Sunday – Tuesday format.

 

Introduction of Guests. Kansas Revenue Secretary Wagnon and her grandson, Theodore, stopped by the room to say hello. Randall thanked her and her staff for being such a vital part of the Late Winter Regional Suppers throughout Kansas, held at seven locations around Kansas. Gary Doane said that several people had told him how much they appreciated Secretary Wagnon and her staff coming to Hays for the supper there (the previous night).  KAC President Shannon Francis told Secretary Wagnon that he appreciated the fact that we are able to have dialogue on issues that are important, even when and if it is difficult. 

 

Presentation of Audit Report for the Wireless Enhanced 911 Local Fee Fund for the year ending June 30, 2007.  Brenda Flanagan from Summers, Spencer, and Callison, CPAs presented the audit report and management letter to the board.  She said that the financial statements are presented on the cash basis.   Steve Garten moved, seconded by Mark Low, to receive and place on file the audit report for the Wireless Enhanced 911 Local Fee Fund for the year ending June 30, 2007, as presented.  Motion carried.

 

 

 

 

 

Report on the Late Winter Regional Suppers.  Randall updated the board on registration for the seven regional suppers, including the three already held in Abilene, Leavenworth, and Hays. The remaining suppers are scheduled for Kingman, Garden City, Oberlin, and Chanute. Randall reiterated how important he thinks it is for the KAC to present information about the KAC, in contrast to allowing others to define our organization. He said that registration has been strong both within the ranks of county commissioners, but also the “row officers” in county government. The topics (Computer Aided Mass Appraisal, VIPS, and erosion of the tax base) have significantly contributed to the strong attendance at the suppers.

 

National Association of Counties Report.  Steve said that five persons at the board meeting also attended the NACo Legislative Conference held in Washington earlier in the month. He said that Sen. Brownback and Rep. Moran both attended the KAC’s legislative breakfast during the NACo Legislative Conference. Steve said that there were a lot of discussions about energy, and the farm bill.  He said that the NACo President Eric Coleman’s initiative/emphasis this year is on foster care. Steve continued to urge the board to consider attending the NACo Annual Conference this summer in Kansas City.

Gary Doane reported on his attendance at several workshops, where he learned that the farm bill contains a lot of rural development programs in addition to support for commodity programs. He also attended a workshop on rural hospitals, where he learned that “rural” is defined much more broadly nationally than it is in Kansas. Commissioner Winters spoke to the issue around the Air Force’s award of the new tanker aircraft contract and our congressional delegation’s response to the Air Force’s decision.  Shannon said that he was struck by the broad diversity of opinion at the conference about what the real problems are around the country, i.e. that it looks different depending on where you are. 

 

The board discussed holding its July board meeting in Kansas City as part of the NACo annual conference, to save travel time and costs.  It was a consensus that the Executive Director should explore options for holding a KAC Board meeting in and around the NACo conference in Kansas City.

 

President’s Report.  Shannon said that his comments during the discussion about the recent NACo Legislative Conference would suffice for his President’s Report.

 

Legislative Report.  Judy Moler briefed the board on the serial meetings (Open Meetings Act) bill, which as introduced would remove “interactive” from the definition of what constitutes an open meeting. This is totally unworkable and impractical. She also discussed the status of bills which 1) would make the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA); and 2) would provide new monies to help reduce the incidence of low birth weight babies (SB 653). Judy also brought up the issue of the surveyor’s legislation passed a couple years ago, which has caused problems for several counties. She said that she planned to bring together a group of interested parties after the session to see what actions should occur. Randall briefed the board on SB 409, a sentencing bill which would grant judges discretion to divert fifth-time substance abuse offenders to state operated substance abuse treatment in the State Department of Corrections. This would have the effect of reducing county jail populations. About 265 people (statewide) currently fall into this category. Randall said a vote in the Senate was due in the next couple days, and he urged board members to call senators asking them to vote for SB 409.

 

Executive Director’s Report.  As of last count, 99 counties have joined or are going to join the KAC in 2008. The six counties not joining this year include Montgomery, Chautauqua, Kearny, Wichita, Brown and Wabaunsee.  Since last year, we have picked up three counties which did not join in 2007, including Kiowa, Ottawa, and Sumner.  

 

Randall asked for feedback about the annual fee for businesses and organization to participate in the KAC’s new Business Partners program. He said that in some states, the annual fee is $250 and in others it is $500. Randall asked for feedback about which amount - $250 or $500 annually - is most suitable. Admittedly, the amount of the fee can and should be considered in the context of the value of services received by the Business Partners. Shannon Francis and Tom Winters both spoke to their preference for the higher fee. No one spoke with preference to the lower fee.     

 

Randall told the board that as of October 1, Judy Moler would be retiring as our Legislative Services Director/General Counsel. Randall said that there is a job description for the position which would be updated as necessary. Randall said that in the next 30 days, announcement of the vacancy would be made to give interested persons time to  submit their resumes and credentials for consideration. He said that he intends to utilize a small group of persons from the KAC Board and outside the board to lend expertise to help him in the interview process. He said that he thought it was important to him that persons involved in the selection process are knowledgeable about the totality of the duties of the position. While the appointment of the person is the Executive Director’s decision, he wants to make sure that there is a high comfort level among the board with the new person. Randall anticipates a period of overlap with both Judy and the new person in the summer.  Mark Low asked whether this would be national search or a statewide search. Randall said it would be a statewide search, because persons would need to be aware of the Kansas legislative process. Tom Winters asked for clarification about the requirements of the job. Randall said that we will be requiring a law degree, with the person involved both in the legislative process and also in responding to legal inquiries from Kansas counties, particularly from county counselors and county commissioners.  Tom Wagner inquired about whether the job is a full-time position; Randall replied that it is.

 

Randall next briefed the board about an Action Packet for City and County Officials for a new Comprehensive Transportation Program (CTP) which is being prepared by the KAC and the League of Kansas Municipalities, to be distributed to city and county elected officials, city and county public works/road and bridge department heads, and economic development officials. The purpose of the Action Packet is to encourage local officials to develop local consensus around local/regional transportation needs and then communi-

cate them to legislators, Governor Sebelius, the KAC and League, and members of the news media. Randall said that the document would be mailed soon (within the next couple weeks) to the parties listed above.

 

Randall reminded the board about details for the joint KAC/League board dinner at the Brick Oven Restaurant in Topeka that evening.

 

 

 

Affiliate/Associate Information Sharing.  Below is a summary of the various topics discussed during the affiliate/associate reports:

 

George Pogge, representing county highway officials, said that the Kansas County Highway Association would be meeting in Manhattan on May 5-7, 2008 and that Judy and/or Randall would be making a presentation there. George announced that he is retiring from his current position with Jefferson County as of April 26, 2008, and would therefore be stepping down from the KAC Board. This meeting is actually his last one as a KAC Board member. George said that he appreciated his time on the board and wanted to have a smooth transition to the next board person, who will be selected by the KCHA President. He thanked the board for the opportunity to share and work together over the past couple years. Shannon thanked George for his leadership with the Learning Committee as well as his other contributions to the KAC. 

 

Terry David, representing emergency medical services, said that everyone certified in the State of Kansas to work in the EMS area is currently covered by statute. He said that he is participating as part of a group of thirty persons in Kansas, representative of large and small communities, who are meeting monthly to review the national scope of practice and how it might apply to Kansas. This would include deciding what each level of EMS professional is licensed to do. Terry said that this work will have a far-reaching effect.   30 people looking at national scope of practice

 

Dennis Peterson, Past President, said that he had just returned from Washington, D.C. for a farm bureau conference. Topics discussed there included enactment of a new federal farm bill, the award of the tanker contract by the U.S. Air Force, and the siting of the proposed coal-fired power plants in Kansas.   

 

Dale Phillips, representing noxious weed directors, said that the County Weed Directors Association of Kansas had held its annual conference the week before, with many noxious weed employees earning recertification at the conference. He spoke about the significant increase in chemical prices, in large part attributable to higher demand for these products in other countries.

 

Michele Abbott-Becker, said that the KEMA Board had met in Topeka in the lower level of the League building recently, and that she appreciated Randall and Judy being present and interacting with the Board. She said that work on the south central Kansas regional homeland security project was continuing, with completion targeted for May, 2008.

 

Joe Connor, representing local health departments, said that SB 653 (the maternal-child health bill which targets new monies for mothers of potentially low-birth-weight babies) would be heard the next day. He also expressed some concern with a couple immigration bills under consideration by the Kansas Legislature, particularly as they define “public benefits.” He said that there were all kinds of potential ramifications to public health services and though they did not have a position on immigration per se, they are watching the bills closely with respect to their impact on local public health services.

 

Tom Winters, representing south central Kansas, briefed the board about Sedgwick County’s efforts to encourage the Air Force to rescind its earlier action awarding a contract for new tankers to the Airbus/European coalition instead of Boeing. They are working with the Kansas congressional delegation, as the contract affects many jobs in Wichita and Sedgwick County and thousands of jobs in the State of Kansas. Commis-

sioner Winters also stated that Sedgwick County has decided to implement a drug court for district court felons. These are criminals who have been in a state correctional facility and have come back to the community and then violated the terms of their probation. Instead of going back to jail (as is currently done), under the new program these people will be required to enter an intense drug treatment program and see a judge on a regular basis. He said that Shawnee County already has a drug court established.

 

Mark Low, representing county appraisers, said that county appraisers across Kansas are in the process of mailing notices of valuation. He said that statewide the number of hearings is down from prior years.

 

Gary Doane, representing northwest Kansas counties, said he had the privilege of accompanying several high school students from Osborne County to Topeka and the Statehouse. Rooks County has announced that even though a mobile home plant had closed in Plainville earlier this year, a new mobile home manufacturing company is going to be located in Plainville. Rooks County and their economic development team have assembled a package for the new manufacturing facility in a very compressed time frame.   

This is good news for northwest Kansas.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:36 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

___________________________________.
Randall Allen

Executive Director

 

 

Approved:

 

 

___________________________________.

Sheila Biggs, KAC Board Secretary

May 23, 2008