Tuesday, February 02, 2010

1 February 2010 Dearborn County Commission Meeting Notes

1 February 2010 Dearborn County Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Ralph Thompson, President, Tom Orschell, and Jeff Hughes
Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, and Mike Witte, Attorney

The executive session that preceded the meeting decided to meet Feb 9 at 9 AM to discuss employee leave in the Health Dept. Rodney Dennerline represented the health Dept.

OLD BUSINESS

Commissioners decided to have Witte rewrite the county Purchasing Agency ordinance to match the state code. The bottom line is no contracts should be signed that are not reviewed by commissioners and the county attorney to be certain the county is protected and it adheres to the budget. The commissioners are the only ones who can bind the county to a contract. Witte will bring this back to commissioners when rewritten.

NEW BUSINESS

Andrea Conroy- discussed her “What’s Happening” magazine. She said it has a 16-page minimum and comes out 3 times a year. They do non- political, non-profits. They send to all 21,918 households and businesses in the county for about 4.8 cents each per issue. She works with 75 different organizations in KY- looking to penetrate the Indiana market. She wants the commissioners to call a meeting of all county agencies to see if they are interested. Commissioners took it under advisement.

The nurse agreement was signed for juvenile, but the doctor agreement waits to see if the doctor has malpractice coverage. Witte to check on this.

Orschell was selected as alternate to executive session meetings at OKI when Hughes cannot attend.

COUNTY COORDINATOR POSITION

Tom Orschell brought up the option of combining positions to get a county coordinator, but provide high enough pay required by the candidate (Bill Ewbank.)The proposal is to combine a hybrid of the coordinator salary ($45,000) and the Veteran’s salary ($33,000). This totals $78,000. Ewbank will do both for $56,000, SUPPOSEDLY saving $22,000.

It would require that he have a secretary answer his calls in the veteran’s office. The secretary’s salary is listed as $26,638. She would be moving from the building inspector’s office to help cover phones as there is not enough work there for her due to economic slowdown.

The Veteran’s Officer HAS TO BE A VETERAN. So Ewbank has to be in charge still- as the secretary is not a veteran. This means the veteran’s office is running at $6362 LESS than before and the coordinators position is running at $11,000 MORE than budgeted. The secretary cannot perform all the duties of the Veteran’s office.

[NOTE: Not sure where we are SAVING anything here. Looks more like we are SPENDING to GIVE Bill Ewbank a job at the salary HE needs. Pickens- the Auditor- was pushing Ewbank heavily throughout this discussion. Pickens is a veteran also. Throughout this discussion- he was acting like a 4th commissioner.]

Pickens said that historically the Building Inspector’s secretaries were often used as floaters throughout the building to help out when needed. And that 2 years ago Council proposed floaters. Orschell said this was on a trial basis and if Bill Ewbank was overwhelmed they could redo it. [NOTE: How can one person do two FULL TIME jobs in an 8- hour day?]

Hughes said Bill is qualified and asked Witte if they could do that?

Mike Witte- Attorney- cautioned them greatly about having 2 separate jobs and 2 separate paychecks to the same entity. He talked to other county attorneys for advice also. Similar to the issues of being a county employee and drawing a check for Council or Commissioners- other attorneys warned him that it is hard to keep from double dipping or being accused of ghost employment. If the person is working at their day job and taking calls or answering questions about Council or Commissioner business during that time- how do they sign off and on the clock?
Pickens said it will be one paycheck. Witte reminded Pickens that as attorney he answers to the commissioners not to Pickens. Witte went on to say- legally- the county coordinator is “boss” over the Veteran’s Office.

Orschell suggested maybe splitting the schedule by days. Coordinator 3 days a week and Veteran’s Officer 2 days maybe. [NOTE: Is the Veteran’s Officer paid out of county funds or federal funds ? Is there a problem with mixing these, if the feds expect a full timer for their pay?]

Thompson asked if this would require a new salary ordinance from Council. Pickens said Council approved up to $65,000. Hughes was also concerned about County Council being consulted on this.

Witte cautioned further about confidentiality on litigation and personnel issues and the secretary who floats between offices opening up channels… He said- you have to think beyond just saving $22,000. Witte stressed- he was not giving legal advice for just these candidates- this would apply to any person and any jobs in the county. He was not weighing in on WHO you choose- just pointing out the legalities no matter who you were combining the jobs for.

Thompson asked -should we be going through this without the interview process? Orschell said maybe they should go through the resumes. Hughes said- the Veteran’s Officer has to have certain specifications- he has to be a veteran who is honorably discharged. We should look at this more.

Pickens said there is a written description for coordinator.

Orschell said we NEED a coordinator- we cannot even talk to each other legally- this would help get things done. Thompson said- that would be a serial meeting- not legal. Witte- said that was correct. You cannot use the coordinator to pass information that way to get around the open door laws.

Hughes said- the county is not just a business- it is a service and Bill Ewbank does know the county government. Orschell- he knows health insurance too.

Pickens- it gets you a coordinator, keeps vet services open, and if a vet is hired, reduce Bill to the Coordinator’s pay. It is just a formality to Council.

Hughes said- “I’m not so sure it’s just a formality with Council.”

Orschell- try it on a trial basis?

Hughes motioned and Orschell 2nd to appoint Bill Ewbank as county coordinator and also have the duties of the veteran’s office and to go to Council to see if they will accept the combined duties at $56,000. Two ayes- Thompson did not vote.

Orschell- we need to get with these folks to tell them exactly what we expect.

[NOTE: I asked for clarification about getting Council’s approval.]

Pickens told them Council doesn’t meet until May.

Hughes said- they can’t meet to decide this?

They then rescinded their motion and redid it to LEAVE OUT THE PART ABOUT GETTING COUNCIL’S APPROVAL. THEY ALSO DID NOT MENTION THE ACTUAL SALARY IN THE REDONE MOTION. Two ayes- Thompson again did not vote.

[NOTE: Let me get this straight- we opened up the coordinator position- took in resumes from the ads. NO ONE WAS FORMALLY INTERVIEWED for this position, including Bill Ewbank. We say this is saving money- but it looks like it is saving jobs, not money. It puts one person in charge of himself in the other part of this job. The bottom line is- Ewbank should apply for, interview, and be hired for the one job and resign the other. It appears the salary of coordinator at $45,000 is already a $12,000 raise for him. Instead he has to do two jobs for a $23,000 increase in his current pay. This looks bad and sets a bad precedent.]

Brett Dodd- gave an update on charettes and commissioners approved him setting up Saturday meeting for charettes to get it done in a more timely manner. Judges gave earliest weekday dates in late May and early June- (conveniently after the primary) Dodd will get the judges to approve a date. Hughes joked- that if they had a coordinator already- he could do that for him. [NOTE: The prosecutor and judges and other courthouse offices have been pushing for more space- now they are dragging their heels. If it’s needed you would think they’d be more cooperative.]

Todd Listerman- Highway Dept- gave a 10-minute report.

Listerman will attend a conference in Seymour at INDOT for Yorkridge resurfacing on Tuesday and on Wednesday for INDOT’s projects with stimulus money.

Commissioners signed supplemental to the George St Bridge securing more federal dollars to a total now of $619,600. Local share is $190,000. If it went stimulus it would be 100% federal.

Commissioners signed IC639 accepting Bells Branch Bridge repairs.

Listerman received Commissioners approval to take down the high water gates in the county as they do not comply with the MUTCD (Manual of Uniform Traffic Control) They will be replaced by appropriate signs. These are federally approved. Resident’s will be notified of gate removal.

Pickens – Auditor- Claims signed. Minutes signed. For Jan meetings, The question about the Happy Hollow Road motion was resolved to state that the old county owned ROW would remain on Happy Hollow as stated at that meeting.

EMS contracts for $40,000 each were signed for Aurora, Moores Hill and Sunman.

Attorney- Witte- carried over from Jan meeting- the YES HOME contract was reviewed and commissioners signed it.

He also noted that Hensley submitted a personal services contract for software for the tax appeals for him to review.

Tom Orschell- Thanked Ralph Thompson for being overseer and volunteering his time for a year for the Animal Control Shelter. Thompson had resigned from overseer effective Friday Jan 29.

Marlene Underwood has been interim director over the weekend. Orschell motioned for her to become the interim director with director’s pay starting Feb 1 and that she be directly responsible to the Commissioners. Thompson suggested Underwood report to Commissioners at their morning meeting each month. All three agreed. Approved.

Ralph Thompson- gave sample copies of accident reports to Witte to review for all accidents by county employees. There was a question of not writing them up when a dump bed on a snowplow got into some lines. Insurance requires these be filed. Witte to look this over.

LATE ARRIVAL- Lt Davis- Harrison Fire Dept advised Commissioners of EMS certification discussion with state regs in Indiana. He wanted them to be aware of this until they can get their waivers to cover us with their new cert status in the NE end of the county. Bill Black is helping him get the Indiana waivers.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

25 comments:

national enquirer said...

Does Pickens want to become the next Veteran's Officer?
He's eligible after he completes his term, which is over this year.

Good Ole Boy Club said...

More small town B.S.

"Connected" buddies looking out for their other "connected" buddies.

People are hard up for jobs in this county and these good ole boys want to give ONE good ole boy two jobs and two paychecks?

F'ing nonsense!

Why have a county attorney if these good ole boys don't want to listen to his advice?

This is not going to set well with the electorate.

Good Ole Boy Club said...

"Does Pickens want to become the next Veteran's Officer?
He's eligible after he completes his term, which is over this year."

Are you suggesting that this could be some kind of smelly backroom political deal in order for Black to hold the seat open for Pickens?

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Corrupt to the Core said...

Hell, why not also make Ewbank Director of the Animal Shelter too. This is political corruption pure and simple. Do these corrupt assholes forget who they work for? Or do they think OUR government is set up only too feather their beds? Corrupt assholes!

Genetic said...

What is it with the name of Ewbank and this slimy stuff?

A. Citizen said...

All "Anonymous" posters need to re-post under a pseudonym. The current "Anonymous" comments will be deleted before I go to bed this evening.

The Management

shp said...

they will too they dont like hearing the truth.

durrr... said...

I don't agree with how the commissioners motioned and seconded the position with Ewbank. I'm disappointed in the process. Witte offered "advice" and it was not considered. I also don't agree with how the meeting is run with Cary Pickens being allowed to sit "up" with the commissioners and offer his opinion at anytime. He should sit off to the side and only address the commish if they ask him questions pertaining to his department. Can something be done about this?

??? said...

Thompson needs to go to the press with this foolishness.

We voted for him because he seemed to have a real moral compass and was not associated with the local lowlife Republican cadre.

??? said...

"Anonymous shp said...

they will too they dont like hearing the truth."

How hard is it to read and follow one simple rule, dingleberry?

Sadly, the truth is, you are just too damn stupid to read and follow one rule.

cc said...

turns out the budget doesn't allow for Coordinator salary to be over $45,300
So I bet they DO have to go to Council to get money approved via salary ordinance.
Unfortunately Pickens vouched for something that couldn't (and SHOULDN'T) be done. Normally his advice isn't bad. Red flags should have popped up when he and the attorney were in disagreement. Couldn't have hurt to research further....
What's the hurry?

Ghost said...

The "ghost" employment issue came up in August of 2009 at a Commissioners' meeting. Witte advised the Commissioners of potential conflicts at that time and they chose to avoid the situation--which seemed like a good idea. How and why did they change course so drastically in that time span?

Questions? said...

Let's ask this question: If any other department or office--other than the courts, where there are no protocols--had hired an employee in this manner, would that be acceptable? The best-qualified and best-suited individuals should get the jobs--or at least a shot at them! It is no wonder that people won't even apply in Dearborn County...even when they do, they don't get a fair shot!

TheMath said...

Just doing the math.
Ewbank's current salary = $33,000
Ewbanks's proposed salary = $56,000

That's a $23,000 increase.
+
Ewbank's new secretary = $26,638.

That's $49,638 of new salary PLUS benefits PLUS the conflicts of ghost employment, unfair hiring practices, and potential countless conflicts of interest (and one unnecessary, big headache)!

mmm said...

Nothing new in these patronage jobs- Vera Benning was made sewer secretary post her commissioner loss, Bryan Messmore was made Victims Advocate Coordinator post termination from County Adm (plus a spot on Council) The Republican Party takes care of their own. At least the ones that are "loyal" to the party ruler...

Lowlifes said...

I wonder who our local corrupt Republican leadership will support in the Commissioner primary?

Hey Shane, these are the lowlifes you are about to saddle up with.

durrr... said...

I don't think the "Republicans" are acting Republican. To associate these guys with that name isn't right. They don't deserve to have that party affiliation. How can a real person vote "Democrat" when that side favors abortion rights? I don't think you want to be associated with the Democrat baby killers do you? The whole Dearborn county government is pretty much corrupt. It's the individuals doing this not the "republican party".

rotting fish said...

The typical republican is light years away from the country club arrogant assholes that make up the thieving and conniving RINO republican leadership.

Pissed Off said...

Simply amazing...Thanks Christine for the info...
[NOTE: Let me get this straight- we opened up the coordinator position- took in resumes from the ads. NO ONE WAS FORMALLY INTERVIEWED for this position, including Bill Ewbank. We say this is saving money- but it looks like it is saving jobs, not money. It puts one person in charge of himself in the other part of this job. The bottom line is- Ewbank should apply for, interview, and be hired for the one job and resign the other. It appears the salary of coordinator at $45,000 is already a $12,000 raise for him. Instead he has to do two jobs for a $23,000 increase in his current pay. This looks bad and sets a bad precedent.]

Pissed Off said...

How can I get a job with the local government?...I guess I can "learn" how to double-dip...
Should I start at UDF?

Sell Out said...

"Pissed Off said...
How can I get a job with the local government?...I guess I can "learn" how to double-dip...
Should I start at UDF??


I think you need to speak with the republican leadership. They have special knee-pads they will give you for the low price of your dignity and soul.