Monday, May 17, 2010

17 May 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

17 May 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Ralph Thompson, President, Tom Orschell, and Jeff Hughes
Also present: Mike Witte, Attorney. Suellen Cauble covering for Pennington
ABSENT: Gayle Pennington, Auditor

Condolences were extended to county employee Linda Starker’s family by Ralph Thompson.

This meeting was preceded by an executive session at 6 PM on security systems and pending litigation on Langley Heights. Jack Gay served as attorney because Witte had served as judge for some of Langley Heights prior litigation.

County attorney was authorized to work on Langley heights issue at the regular meeting. No action taken on the security systems.


Surety Bond on Old Orchard Subdivision Phase 2- Letter received from Jeff Tucker to commissioners. Todd Listerman spoke with Schmeltzer on the design and will be on the June 21st tech review meeting to be sure that they comply with their requests. Tabled calling the bond on Old Orchard to allow Tucker to proceed on this plan.

[NOTE: I obtained a copy of Jeff Tucker’s letter to the Commissioners dated 17 May 2010. He stated that Joe Schmeltzer, PE will have a remediation plan ready for review by 28 May and if he encounters some unforeseen circumstances Tucker will contact Listerman with a revised schedule. If all goes as planned Tucker will present revised plan to Tech review on 21 June. Tucker expects to have all deficiencies remediated 60-75 days after revised plan is approved by Tech review. Tucker contacted McCormack at planning Dept to be tentatively on the 28 June meeting agenda for a waiver for Laurel Valley Sub’n. Tucker apologized in the letter for not having a proposal for Seldom Seen. Je is in the process of collecting bids from paving contractors and will have a proposal to the county in 2 weeks. ]


Suellen Cauble- Human Resources Discussion on PERF contribution- Four employees did not get the proper deductions for this. She received permission to request $9823 from council to make these current.

Bill Scharold- Zoning Ordinance-removed from agenda- already met with Planning and Zoning and Orschell.

Gary Hensley- Assessor- sent notice of an unfunded mandate from state to inspect properties within 60 days and is requesting permission to go to Council to get a car and/or funding for this purpose. Bill Ewbank said that 8-9 addition assessments per day will be added to their workload. OKd to go to Council for funding for new vehicle.

Animal Control- Marlene Underwood- unable to attend. Nothing new to report- same as they have been reporting per her comments to Thompson.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman gave an UNUSUALLY SHORT 6-minute report

Augusta Drive- 1.64 miles and Oakmont Court 0.12 miles were officially accepted into county maintenance in “as is” condition.

State Board of Accounts Annual Report -all 7 copies – were signed for 2009.

RR crossings done and grant money will be received from Feds for this.

Yorkridge Road nearly complete. Others on North Hogan and North Dearborn will start when weather permits.
Guilford town road was also completed along with Yorkridge Rd.

Auditor- Claims and minutes. One claim for $12,779.82 from Sidwell on GIS was held at Minzner’s and Kraus Jr’s request. Witte said they wanted to not have a lawyer involved yet to try to finish the training etc. Kraus Jr said they were going to write a letter to submit to Sidwell to get some of the deliverables done. They still owe about 3 days of training. There are some layers that are not finished yet. Out of $387,000 we are down to about the last $25,000 of it. Until they are settled on the finals the commissioners were advised to withhold the last payment. Minzner or Kraus Jr. will report at the next commissioner’s meeting. The claim was withheld for now.

Some of the minutes were held for review, some were approved, one with amendments from Hughes regarding the tax impact on the jail plans.

Attorney- Mike Witte- I’m probably going to be longer than Todd Listerman! That’s a first!

No new litigation or tort claims.

The billing dept received a 2nd letter from US Bank in Moore’s Hill regarding a structure next door as it is crumbling with bricks falling. US Bank is asking about condemnation process. There is no line item in the commissioner’s budget on this. Once we condemn- county has liability. Henry Alton (sp?) Brown is the owner of the crumbling building. He’s not likely to do anything about this. Moore’s Hill has no budget for this. Also a Health issue with pigeons and bats etc. First step is to notify the owner that there is an unsafe situation. You can go to Council with an estimate on how much it costs to tear it down. Then eventually the owner pays it back on their tax bill. It’s about a 180 day process. Thompson said they need to talk to Council – tabled until they could investigate the costs and options.

Letter prepared by Witte for them to use when they are negotiating with PAWS on the Animal Shelter.

Witte has the ordinance asked to draft several months ago regarding the grant application process and requiring the county attorney to review and commissioners to approve. That is ready and the next item will show why this is even more important.

Witte stated he’d like to start with a little civics lesson. In 1939 the US congress passed the Hatch Act and later the Little Hatch Act. This was about gov’t employees running for federal office. As far back as Jefferson there were discussions about conflict of interest if an office holder also works for the government.
The Hatch Act says- a state or local officer or employee (whose principle job is financed in whole or in part by federal grant money) cannot run for office in a partisan election.
There is standard language in these grants that we sign that says we agree to not violate the Hatch Act.

As examples:
We have $174,000 in federal funds for the Prosecutor’s Special Crimes Unit in a grant.
Victim of Crime Act grant- funds the DC /Ohio County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Advocate Office.
Edward Byrne Grant $57,951- for Special Crimes Unit.

The recipient must promptly refer to the Federal Office any violation of the Hatch Act. [NOTE: Who is the recipient of the grant? The Prosecutor’s Office? Are they obligated to report it also?]

Witte said-I am informing the Board of Commissioners that we are under obligation to obey it and report that we are not in compliance of the Hatch Act. We are not in compliance in the $50,998 for Bryan Messmore and he sits on Council. The Special Crimes Unit- has at least 3 federal grants totalling $246,996 and Shane McHenry is a candidate for Commissioner. We have to report this to be sure we are not fined. We cannot turn our head away.
[NOTE: What happens to the people in these two jobs? Are these the only violations in the county?]
If for some reason there was a criminal investigation we do not want to be accessory. That would be worst case scenario- I’m not saying that will happen.

Why bring it up now? I am doing it now to remove it from political process.

When I was made aware – the issue was solely Messmore. McHenry was not a violation until he won the primary. Being a candidate in the main election constitutes a violation. Challenge to an election is only good for 14 days. That ends tomorrow. Thompson is not involved and is not challenging the election.

Bryan Messmore’s dad interrupted Witte and was called out of order. He persisted saying it was his son they were talking about, until Marty Hon went over and talked to him privately.

Witte told commissioners – “Your duty is only to report that you are out of compliance. Their duty (the federal agency that oversees this) is to follow through. To notify people that they are ineligible or if that doesn’t get resolved, then impose fines.”
Witte said- “I will notify the office of the special counsel for Hatch Act.”

[NOTE: For more information on the Hatch Act- just Google it. The Special Counsel also will come up with FAQs on this law and answers to various issues local governments might run in to. ]

Witte continued: This brings us back to the grant ordinance. There are certain conditions we have to meet when we get these. All these conditions are in these grants. Federal grants are competitive. If we get labeled as a community that doesn’t comply, that affects all the cities and towns and schools in our county.

Lastly as you are aware I have been appointed as the Indiana Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary. I will be resigning effective June 7th.

County Coordinator- Bill Ewbank- Emergency Mgmt has been slotted to get assessed on threats to our jail and other facilities for both natural disasters and man-made threats in a couple days.

Late Arrival Information- none

Public Comment- Cathy Albert asked if $ amount had been submitted for Collier Ridge. Listerman will have that by 21 May.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

1 comment:

Observer said...

If Brian Messmore and Shane McHenry are in violation of the Hatch Act, isn't Mike Kreinhop in violation as well?