February 11, 2008

Governing Board Meeting Minutes

Kansas Association of Counties

February 11, 2008

Lower Level Conference Room

300 SW 8th

Topeka, Kansas


President Shannon Francis called the meeting to order at 6:31 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; Dick Works, Allen County Commissioner; George Pogge, Jefferson County Road Superintendent; Mark Low, Finney County Appraiser; Dennis Peterson, Riley County Noxious Weed Director; Larry McAulay, Johnson County Director of Legal Services; Tom Wagner, Atchison County Commissioner; and Sheila Biggs, Dickinson County Commissioner.


Board members absent were: Dale Phillips, Barton County Noxious Weed Director.


KAC Staff and others present: Randall Allen, KAC Executive Director; Judy Moler, KAC General Counsel; Kathleen Harnish-Doucet and Joel Wright, The Kansas Collaborative; Cliff Mayo, Finney County Commissioner and KCCA President; Jonathan Morris, KU Public Management Center; Mary Messamore, E-911 Director, City of Hutchinson.


The agenda was presented. Randall Allen recommended that the agenda be revised, by striking Agenda Item No. 6 (Presentation of E-911 Audit Report) and by adding “Award of 2011 and 2012 KAC Annual Conferences” as a sub-topic to Agenda Item No. 11 (Executive Director’s Report). Terry David moved, seconded by Steve Garten, to accept the agenda as revised. Motion carried.


Minutes for January 25, 2008. Dennis Peterson moved, seconded by Michele Abbott-Becker, to approve the minutes of the January 25, 2008 meeting as presented. Motion carried.


Approval of Bills and Payroll for January 25, 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 February 11, 2008. Motion carried.


(Commissioner Winters was excused from the meeting at this point to attend a legislative dinner with legislators from south central Kansas).


Introductions. Randall introduced several guests at the meeting, including Kathleen Harnish-Doucet and Joel Wright of The Kansas Collaborative; Cliff Mayo, Finney County Commissioners and KCCA President; Jonathan Morris, KU Public Management Center (and often an instructor for our Kansas County Government Institute workshops); and former board member Mary Messamore, who is now the Emergency Communications Director for the City of Hutchinson.


Kansas Collaborative Report. Kathleen Harnish-Doucet and Joel Wright, project managers for The Kansas Collaborative, presented the history as well as a status update for The Kansas Collaborative.


The beginning of the Kansas Collaborative dates back to 2003, from the convergence of the KAC’s interest in developing the same level of county intensity around health and human services as we have with transportation, and the work of the Governor’s B.E.S.T. (Budget Efficiency Savings Team) on health and human services. We found we had common interests (state and county). From these discussions, we planned the first-ever Health and Human Services Summit in the fall, 2003, at which some persons around the board table participated. After the Summit, there was a desire to not just talk about collaboration but do something as well. At that time, there was a budget-busting issue occurring in many counties involving commissioners and sheriffs, and it had to do with rising inmate medical costs. The issue was that counties were paying significantly different prices for the same pharmaceutical prescribed for jail inmates, and we wondered why. A Breakthrough Team on jail medical costs was launched, and the work of the Breakthrough Team brought forward several ways of saving significant monies in this area. The findings of the Prescription Drugs Breakthrough Team were disseminated at several “Sharing Approaches that Work” forums in April, 2005. At the same time, the team asked county officials: “if we were to tackle another problem, what would it be? What would this mean for counties?”


The success of the Prescription Drugs Team effort catalyzed the formalization of the relationship between the KAC/counties and the State, as well as the League of Kansas Municipalities/cities. In November, 2005, Governor Sebelius along with KAC and League leadership formally cemented the relationship as The Kansas Collaborative, as part of the KAC’s annual conference in Topeka.


A year later, in November, 2006, first-year accomplishments of the Collaborative were celebrated at the President’s Unity Breakfast at the KAC annual conference. By that time, the Collaborative had received recognition as an “Innovations Award” winner from the Council of State Governments. At that time, an interactive website was launched, and to the astonishment of the team, that website now generates about 25,000 hits each month, with hundreds of Collaborative documents downloaded monthly.


At the 2007 KAC Conference, the Collaborative was not the centerpiece of the Unity Breakfast. Instead, the efforts of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) breakthrough team and particularly the GIS accomplishments of Jefferson County government were demonstrated.  


Since the Collaborative’s inception, the state and counties have saved over $16 million, which is documented at the website. An e-newsletter describing Collaborative activities is now available and persons can sign-up at the website.




Recognitions for the Collaborative have continued since that time. Crawford County Sheriff Sandy Horton has made presentation at the National Sheriffs Association conference about HB 2893, which limits payments to medical providers for services to jail inmates to no more than the Medicaid rate. Sheriff Horton has received a lot of feedback and inquiries from persons outside Kansas about Kansas’ legislation.

and has received a lot of feedback and interest in what Kansas has done. Kathleen has been invited to participate in the Second International Conference of the Global Network of Government Innovators at Harvard in March and April, 2008.


Joel said that we need to continue to push the edge, by seeking more recognition of the processes of the Collaborative, more than the individual projects, as impressive as they are. He spoke about Coffey County’s work to document the $98,000 savings from utilizing KDOT’s 1-R project to minimize the mobilization (in-out) costs of contractors in doing a county project while they were in the county working on a state project. Joel said that Ellis County will be doing the same kind of documentation in the coming months. Joel said that Norm Bowers has been absolutely the right person to launch the Local Road Engineer Service, and that the recent contract with the south central Kansas homeland security council helps push GIS capacity further into counties. He said that we should be proud of what the entire GIS breakthrough team has accomplished in educating E-911 officials about aerial photography and how GIS/E-911 interrelate. Finally, he spoke to the work of Harvey County officials, through their Harvey County Council of Governments, in taking responsibility for healthy lifestyles.


Joel and Kathleen then summarized the funding for the Collaborative from its inception to date. SRS provided much of the seed money that enabled the Prescription Drug Breakthrough Team to work on saving monies on inmate drug costs. Since then, state monies have also been received from various other state agencies, including KDOT, the Information Network of Kansas, and now homeland security (through the south central Kansas homeland security region).


Randall interjected that he had met recently with Julie Lorenz at KDOT, and it appeared that $100,000 in KDOT funds would be available in 2008 for Kansas Collaborative projects, including $50,000 for the local road engineer program; $25,000 for transit; and $25,000 for the transportation breakthrough team. He said that future year funding for the Local Road Engineer Program from KDOT would likely be no more than $25,000, which means that the Collaborative will need to raise funds from other sources. Other possible sources include assessments to counties/cities benefiting from the service; contributions from the KAC, League, and perhaps the Kansas County Highway Association; and possibly other state agencies (such as the Water Resources Division) that stand to benefit from the program.


Finally, Kathleen talked for a couple minutes about governance of the Collaborative. She said that, to date, the governance arrangements/relationships have not been formalized. She said that, to date, funding has come on a project-by-project basis. If there is a desire to do more with the Collaborative, other steadier sources of revenue will have to be identified.

Larry McAulay complimented the report and said that it addressed some of the questions he had. The board requested that the report be published on the KAC’s website, and staff responded that this will be done.


Approval of 2008 Secretariat and Support Services Agreement with the Kansas County Commissioners Association. Randall presented the agreement, describing the duties of the KAC under the agreement as well as the KCCA’s compensation to the KAC for these services ($14,000) as well as some changes as suggested by Larry McAulay. Randall said that the compensation is $14,000, down from $15,750 last year, because the Commissioner’s pictorial directory is prepared and printed only in odd-numbered years after the election cycle. Larry McAulay’s comments and questions in Sections 2 and 4 of the draft agreement were as follows:


Section 2:


Subsection 1. The obligation to prepare a draft budget should more properly reflect the budget year (e.g. 2008) rather than saying the “ensuing year.”

Subsection 3. The roster of active members is updated by the KAC as we are notified of


Subsection 5. The KCCA has no staff, so the proposed language is appropriate.

Subsection 9. The spreadsheet-formatted directory of county commissioners is provided to the KCCA Executive Committee upon request (it contains cellular phone numbers, and so we are discreet in not widely disseminating this database).

Subsection 10. The Deskbook is now prepared only in CD format and no longer in print version, to save costs.


Section 4:


The word “termination” in line four should read “terminate.” This was a typographical error which can be noted and corrected prior to signature. In the event the agreement is terminated, the KAC can keep copies of the KCCA documents, since all are public documents.

Tom Wagner moved, seconded by Dick Works to approve the 2008 Secretariat and Support Services Agreement with the Kansas County Commissioners Association as amended to correct the typographical error on line 4 of Section 4 (“terminate” rather than “termination”) with the understanding that other changes or clarifications will be made in the 2009 agreement. Motion carried.


Approval of 2008 Partnership Agreement with the Kansas County Commissioners Association. Randall presented the agreement. He said that this agreement was borne out of a vision by former KCCA and KAC President Russ Frey for a curriculum to be designed specific to the duties and responsibilities of county commissioners. Under the agreement, the KCCA provides a subsidy for the Leadership Academy so that workshop fees are affordable for all commissioners. Randall said that one of the four 2008 workshops in 2008 (“Effective Citizen Communication”) is coming up on February 20 in Salina.



Larry McAulay questioned why the Partnership Agreement does not include termination language similar to the secretariat services agreement. Randall said that the probable reason is that the secretariat services and partnership agreements were at one time a single document.


Dick Works moved, seconded by Larry McAulay to approve the 2008 Partnership Agreement with the addition of termination section similar to the termination language in the Secretariat and Support Services Agreement previously approved. Motion carried.

Legislative Report. Judy Moler distributed a revised agenda for County Government Day. Judy distributed a copy of SB 539, a bill which would make grant awards from the Secretary of Corrections not subject to judicial review. Judy said that Riley County has asked the KAC to oppose this bill. Two members of the KAC Legislative Policy Committee (Commissioner Winters, and Kerry McCue, Ellis County) were not present at the board meeting to enable a decision to be made by the full Legislative Policy Committee. After discussion, there was consensus that if the bill receives a hearing, Judy will do some background research and then convene the KAC’s Legislative Policy Committee by conference call so it can consider whether to take a position.


Judy also made members aware of a new bill, HB 2543, concerning property taxation on on newly constructed properties not yet occupied. As of yet, a hearing has not been held on this bill. She then explained another bill, proposed substitute for HB 2018, which has been offered by Johnson County Representative Tim Owens with the assistance of Johnson County Appraiser Paul Welcome. The proposed substitute for HB 2018 would establish a Court of Tax Appeals to replace the current Board of Tax Appeals. There was board discussion about the terms of the appointments to the proposed Court of Tax Appeals. Mark Low said that the Kansas County Appraisers Association had not taken a position on this bill.


Executive Director’s Report. Randall presented a draft policy on entertainment at the annual conference. He read the draft policy as follows:


“Entertainment Policy


Sponsors and exhibitors are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Association’s annual conference. However, entertainment or hospitality by companies, organizations, or individuals during the Association’s meetings, educational workshops, or conference-wide social events is strictly prohibited. Entertainment or hospitality by companies, organizations, or individuals is limited to only those who are sponsors or exhibitors at the annual conference, at a time when no conference meetings or conference-wide social events are planned. No commercial exhibits are to be displayed in public areas or hotel lobbies outside the Exhibition or meeting areas. Exhibitors are expected to maintain their exhibit booths until the ending time of the Exhibition and not dismantle booths until the Exhibition has closed. Violation of this policy will result in denial of registration and participation in future conferences.”


Randall said that this was a follow-up to board discussion about the upcoming 2008 conference at last month’s meeting. He said that it was not imperative for the board to act on the draft policy at this meeting and action could be delayed until the March 13 meeting. Board discussion about the proposed policy ensued. Discussion focused on the last sentence of the draft policy and, in particular, the word “will” result. Steve Garten asked if there was a need to adopt such a policy, or whether the problem that occurred at the 2007 annual conference was merely a communications problem due to the format changes, making such a policy unnecessary. Michele Abbott-Becker said that she thought the final sentence should indicate that violation of the policy should possible read “may” or “could,” rather than “will” result in the denial of registration and participation in future conferences. Dennis Peterson asked if the policy would be entered into the contract documents with exhibitors. Randall said he thought it would, as well as be printed in the annual conference program. The board discussed the new format used in both 2007 and 2008, in which Monday night is open and free from conference events, allowing exhibit-

tors and sponsors to hold special events for their customers and clients.

Gary Doane asked if such a policy would be inconsistent with our invitation to these companies to be our guests at the conference, i.e. whether we are sending a mixed message to firms we want at our conference. Shannon said that he thought by holding a full night open for firms to do their hospitality should address the firms’ needs. Randall said that he thought we needed a policy, but was flexible as to whether the last sentence should provide some more flexibility, by using the word “may” instead of “will.” Joe Connor said that our conference has gotten big, and to avoid a sense of unfairness, we need to be as clear as possible.


The board agreed to put this on the agenda for the March 13, 2008 meeting.


Randall briefed the board on the status of 2008 membership dues. As of that morning, we have received dues from 92 counties totaling $305,797, which is 90.5% of the amount budgeted for dues ($337,881), and about 86.1% of the amount assessed in dues ($355,300). Randall explained the difference in the amount of dues assessed, and the amount of dues budgeted. Members from last year that haven’t yet paid their 2008 dues include Comanche, Decatur, Geary, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte counties. Randall also briefed the board on the meeting he and Judy had with the Board of Leavenworth County Commissioners, at the end of which the board voted to join the KAC Board.


Tom Wagner said he had been in contact with Brown County, urging them to join the KAC and asking them to invite Randall to make a presentation at one of their board meetings. He said he also intended to make contact with Wabaunsee County.


Randall updated the board on planning for the February – March Regional Suppers at seven locations. He encouraged board members to make their own reservations and attend one of the suppers. He said our goal is to have 50 persons at each supper. Secretary of Revenue Joan Wagnon and personnel from the Property Valuation Division will be speaking at all seven suppers. Sheila Biggs said that she thought a lot of appraisers and other elected officials in the Courthouse would be attending.  

Randall said that the staff would be filing a grant application, as requested by the Kansas Health Foundation, to hold a Summit Conference on the functional regionalization of public health services in September, 2008, and preceded by a focus sessions in late spring/early summer with a group including at least one health director and one commissioner from each of the 15 bioterrorism regions.


Randall distributed a news release from KDOT naming the members of the Kansas Local Bridge Task Force. The task force will identify options that local government and KDOT can take to improve the inspection and condition of bridges under local jurisdiction. County representatives to the task force include: Norm Bowers, Kansas Collaborative; Randy Braddock, Hamilton County Commissioner; Shelly Buhler, Shawnee County Commissioner; Neil Cable, Saline County Engineer; John Ellermann, Finney County Engineer; Pat Hageman, Rooks County Commissioner; Brian Kinzie, Labette County Commissioner; Clark Rusco, Barton County Engineer; and Donna Schmit, Anderson County Engineer. The task force’s first meeting is Friday, February 15, 2008 in Salina.


Randall said that Sarah Meyer, Conference Planner, requested board approval of her recommendation to hold the annual conference in 2011 and 2012 at the Capitol Plaza and Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. Conferences for 2008 (Wichita), 2009, and 2010 (both Overland Park) have already been awarded with contracts already signed. Michele Abbott-Becker asked about the cancellation policy for the conference facilities in Topeka.


George Pogge moved, seconded by Steve Garten, to award the 2011 and 2012 conferences to Topeka/Shawnee County and authorize the Executive Director to sign the documents. Dennis Peterson said that he could not support the motion for 2012 because the Monday of that week (November 12, 2002) was Veterans Day, and we should not hold our conference over the Veteran’s Day weekend. George Pogge amended his motion, agreed to by Steve Garten, to award the 2011 contract only to Topeka and Shawnee County. Motion carried. Action on the 2012 conference would be deferred to the March 13, 2008 board meeting.


Dennis Peterson said that if Thanksgiving week is the only week we can hold the conference for one year because 1) the normal week would include Veterans Day and 2) the week before Veteran’s Day (in 2012) would be General Election Day, we could justify having the conference on Thanksgiving week, for that year only.


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


Larry McAulay, representing county counselors, said that he cannot attend the March board meeting as he will be at an American Bar Association conference on law office technology.


Michele Abbott-Becker, representing emergency managers, said that incident management teams would be holding training for an entire week in Haysville at the end of February.


Mark Low, representing county appraisers, said that the Property Valuation Division had set the oil price for purposes of tax assessment at $74/barrel.



Steve Garten, NACo representative, said that he was concerned about some news he had received from his county’s staff about possible cuts in state matching funds for aging programs, or for senior centers, and wondered if anyone else had heard anything.


Dennis Peterson, representing county weed directors, said that March is a big training month for weed directors. He said that the CWDAK conference is the first week of March in Hutchinson, at which there is a program to recertify commercial applicators.

He said that landfill/recycling/household hazardous waste/composting operators would be interested in the annual Recycling Works! Conference in Overland Park, March 25-28, 2008.


Joe Connor, representing health departments, said that the maternal/child health bill (KAC’s low birth weight babies legislative priority) had been introduced in the Senate Ways and Means Committee last week.


Gary Doane inquired about who was planning to attend the NACo Legislative Conference in Washington in early March (Shannon Francis, Steve Garten, Randall Allen, Judy Moler, and Gary Doane). He also asked when the slider payments for the loss of property taxes due to the machinery and equipment (M&E) exemption would be mailed. Randall replied that they were required to be mailed by February 15, 2008.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:11 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,




Randall Allen

Executive Director







Sheila Biggs, KAC Board Secretary

March 13, 2008