Thursday, January 04, 2007

3 January 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

3 January 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Jeff Hughes, Chairman, Rick Fox, and Ralph Thompson
Also Present: Bob Ewbank, Attorney, Cary Pickens, Auditor, and Bryan Messmore, Administrator

[Note: Vieste President and Level 5 Engineering rep- Dick Robertson were meeting with county officials just prior to this meeting in Messmore’s office.]

Hughes opened the meeting and requested a moment of silence in honor of former president Gerald Ford.

Hughes was reappointed chairman- unanimously. Hughes thanked the 2 commissioners for reappointing him and complimented Thompson on his victory.

All current county dept heads were reappointed unanimously. They are:
Bryan Messmore- County Administrator
Bob Ewbank- via contract- County Attorney
Todd Listerman- Director of Transportation and Engineering Dept, County Engineer, and County Highway Supervisor.
Don Townsend- Building Inspector
Margaret Minzner- GIS Specialist
Jeff Smith- Weights and Measures
Cheryl Lohmiller- Animal Control
Bill Black- Emergency Mgmt.
Charlie Ashley- 911 Director
Bill Ewbank- Veteran’s services Officer
Eric Hartman- Maintenance

Reappointment of Committees and Boards:

[NOTE: Two changes of significance with no explanation given for the changes occurred in DCRSD Board and in Plan Commission/BZA. There was also discussion on the “in futuro” appointments on the health board.]

Thompson suggested at the beginning of this part of the process that the commissioners consider resumes for these positions as Hughes had asked about in past years. Thompson said that in his research with Stephanie’s help that there were gaps in requirements, records of qualifications for the boards, ordinances reflecting who has appointing authority, etc.
Hughes said he doesn’t disagree with that idea and that in fact OKI in their reorganization tried to do just that. Thompson said the people essentially hire us. Fox retorted – asking Thompson if he was saying that the people don’t think we are doing a good job.
Thompson said that it was not a personal attack, just a way of doing things in a professional and business like manner.

Appointments went as follows:

OKI- on both Board of Directors and Executive Board- Fox and Hughes to serve. Thompson Abstained on this vote.

SIRPC- Hughes to serve.

Convention and Visitor’s Bureau- Messmore to represent the Commissioners seat and three citizens are: Dave Lorey, Charlotte Hastings, and Debbie Morris.

Redevelopment Commission- Fox to take Benning’s seat. Thompson Abstained.

County Farm Board- Originally tabled, then they decided to have Fox remain on it and the 2 citizens reappointed were Mike Heffelmire and Rick Bauer.

Plan Commission- Thompson to serve, as Hughes no longer wants to be on it. Thompson Abstained.
Rick Fox turned in Ken Nelson’s resume at the meeting and Hughes and he commented that the resume indicated he’d be a good choice. Nelson was appointed with Thompson Abstaining. [Note: Nelson’s 3-page resume apparently does not list his previous stint as a member of the PC back in the 1990s nor the reason he no longer served on it.
No reasons were given for not reappointing Jane Ohlmansiek to this position.]

BZA- Ken Nelson appointed with Thompson Abstaining. No reasons were given for not reappointing Jane Ohlmansiek to this position.

Health Board- Fox complimented Thompson saying it was a good catch that he realized these appointments made in the fall were “in futuro” and then Fox motioned to legally appoint Rodney Dennerline and Mike Hankins to the Health Board. Thompson abstained.
[NOTE: It’s always amusing to see politicians feign no knowledge of their previous “errors”]

Historic Hoosier Hills- Dan Stroup reappointed.

Alcoholic Beverage Board- Jim Dole reappointed.

Solid Waste Board- all three commissioners serve per state law.

Common Construction Wage Board- Fox motioned for Thompson- who voted Nay. Motions were rescinded and then Hughes was appointed.

Regional Sewer District- Thompson read part of the letter and the draft minutes from the sewer board. The DCRSD by consensus had directed Benning- their secretary – to draw up a letter stating that DCRSD recommended reappointing Pat Holland to that board. Thompson noted the letter did NOT reflect what the DCRSD board had directed- only stating that Holland currently served- but NOT stating their recommendation. He also noted no letter head- no signature- and the generally lack of professional appearance to the letter.
Fox said the sewer board hadn’t had a vote on it and wanted to appoint Jimmy Adams to the board. Adams appointed- Thompson Abstained.
[NOTE: Benning had wanted to be in this spot originally, but previous commissioners decided a citizen rep would be a better choice. Benning apparently can’t be paid secretary to the Sewer Board and on the Board as well. Jimmy Adams and his wife Reann were major contributors ($400-500 each time) to Benning’s campaigns in 1998 and 2002.]

PTA-BOA (Tax appeals board) – Fox wants to keep current appointees as the PSEG negotiations are still going on. Phil Hartwell and Vera Benning reappointed. Thompson Abstained.

Chamber of Commerce- All 3 serve ex-officio. Non – voting. Messmore appointed to represent commissioners.

Animal Control Board- tabled.

Juvenile Advisory Board- Thompson appointed and Thompson Abstained.

EMA Board- Hughes appointed. Thompson Abstained.

Cemetery Board- Art Wenzel appointed to finish Tony Gilb’s term. Gilb desired to resign.

Ed Opp of Aurora EMS- asked commissioner’s blessing to go to council to seek and increase from $12,000 to $20,000 per ambulance for 2008 budget.
Approved to go to Council.

Sheriff Lusby opened commissary bids from Ellenbee Leggett and Gordons. Lusby asked to accept both bids, as they are equally qualified. Approved.

Margaret Minzner GIS- opened two sets of bids for commissioners.
IT services- Hi-Tech- for $54,144
Midwest Data- $50,400
Kroger Tech- $59,720
Commissioners asked Minzner and Ewbank to review bids for compliance and give recommendation later.

Second bid set for other GIS services ranged from $48,000 to $315,000 with JDJ Survey, Ball State, 39 degrees North, WTH, Sidwell, Bayer Becker, Hrezo, and Schneider. These will also be reviewed and a recommendation made at a later date.

Ewbank told commissioners that bids DO NOT have to be opened in their meeting- they only have to be opened in front of a witness. Todd Listerman informed them that highway always puts in their public notice when the bids are due and when the public opening will occur. Hughes said maybe the rest of the depts. can follow that pattern.
[NOTE: The awarding of the bid and the reason for the choice should still be public- it would protect the county from allegations of favoritism etc from competing bidders.]

New Business: EMS contract with Lawrenceburg for 2 ambulances for 2007 was presented by Pickens and signed- $24,000.

Claims and Minutes- Thompson abstained as these pre-date his term. Pickens said there would be no more big greenbar sheets just a small summary sheet for signature. [NOTE: How do commissioners inspect claims?]

Messmore- presented the recommendation for the property and liability insurance as Hylant Group ( using Argonaut Insurance. He said Hylant was one of the top 10 big firms in the country. He said we get more insurance coverage – cheaper. Their bid was $257,000. Seitz bid $332,000 and Booher and Taylor bid $263,000. Hughes asked about local business vs. out of the area and service issues. [NOTE: It’s unfortunate that this large a contract is going out of the county, particularly at a time when we are trying to attract new business and support existing ones.] Messmore stated these people have a whole dept. of people to serve us. Thompson- abstained as he had no background on this issue to make the decision. Hylant was approved and Fox asked Messmore to get Thompson a copy for his peace of mind.

Ewbank stated there were no new lawsuits filed this month. He did state there was a need to get an attorney to represent them in Tampa, FL for the Anchor Glass bankruptcy hearing, which seeks to eliminate all previous taxes owed by the company. Fed courts have jurisdiction over this.

Thompson brought up the idea of reinstating public comment in the commissioner meetings. He said he feels like the public is our employers and they should have a right to speak. He cited campaign comments from both Fox and Hughes from their newspaper write-ups and also Hughes idea of town hall meetings even. He said it would of course have to be in a respectful and concise fashion, similar to what Plan Commission requires, maybe even with sign in cards.

Fox said- we have never refused anyone wanting to get on the agenda. We like to handle the meetings professionally. If people just come in with road questions we can’t answer them, unless we know what they want so we can look into it. In the last 2 years people lose site of a lot of what we’ve done here. Todd has a road inventory, we have an equipment replacement schedule. People wanted a park and now county farm will be one. We’ve saved $77,000 a year in insurance. I like to either answer or fix the problem, even if they don’t always agree with it.
Fox went on to cite Cook Road and Barber Road. He said some people get their problem fixed and don’t even have to come to our meeting here. [NOTE: Why not solve the problem publicly? Do commissioners meet and decide road issues outside public meetings?]
Thompson said- apparently you disagree with having public comment. They nodded that they disagreed.
Fox continued to go on and on about all that they’ve done. He said he ahs gone to people’s houses and Jeff has too- in the middle of the night sometimes- [Note: Middle of the night? YIKES! ] This job entails a lot of time- I think you’ll be surprised.
Thompson- This is not a personal attack.
[NOTE: Fox seems to think this is all about roads. People desire to speak at meetings for other reasons. Sometimes they have information or historical background that might help. It seems foolish to close the meetings to new ideas or thoughts.]

Hughes asked about Messmore being able to sign payroll claims if Hughes was unavailable.
Ewbank thought that it was not a duty that could be delegated to anyone other than another commissioner. Pickens thought he could use Hughes name stamp maybe. Ewbank to research.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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