Wednesday, March 12, 2014

11 March 2014 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

 11 March 2014 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes
see discussion under the Redevelopment and Administrator duties.

Present: Dennis Kraus. Sr., President, Dan Lansing, Liz Morris, Randy Lyness, Maynard Barrett, and Bill Ullrich.

ABSENT: Charlie Keyes- out of town

Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Teresa Randall, County Administrator

Mark McCormack-Planning Director-  Troy Frazier, Assistant planner- gave 2 weeks notice- going to Tennessee for better pay.  $16,200 for city’s and town’s work is included in his salary. Advisory Committee gave a favorable recommendation to replace him. Council approved to seek a replacement for this position.


Redevelopment Commission , County Administrator increased duties, and new title for Commissioners Ass’t.- tabled from previous meeting, Andy Baudendistel and Shane McHenry presented with Terri Randall speaking at times. Baudendistel said there was an agreement between redevelopment and commissioners to let Randall and Hayden assume some duties for their board. [NOTE: This agreement was done retroactively. Economic Development Title was added to the administrator retroactively also. ]

$30,400 requested- 12,020 for last year and 18,020 for this year for Randall. This is to cover the work she did in 2013 beyond her administrator duties. [NOTE: there was no evidence at the meeting of hours worked or calculated as based on last year’s assumed redevelopment duties.]

4,810 for Hayden for her Redevelopment duties and Executive Ass’t title?

48,750 plus 15,000 for 2014 plus 3,020 for benefits for Randall = $66,770 salary for 2014.

Lansing asked how many hours a week spent on redevelopment. – Varies per Barrett.

County commissioners and redevelopment to work closer together- to make sure they are on same goals.

Morris- said the revolving door of DCEDI and Redevelopment. This is better serving the county by doing this in house. We actually got results when she (Randall) came in. Sewer there got more interest. Now we got someone- and no one at EDI to get to this when Mills project people were there. [NOTE: Maxwell is actually the power behind the scenes here. He has the knowledge and skills to get the project off the ground.]

Shane McHenry- assured them she has gone above and beyond her duty.

Lansing said- you are compensating two positions. Sue (Hayden) is getting more work because of things Terri Randall can’t do.

Barrett said that he sees both side of this. They considered hiring someone and when he came back after missing a Redevelopment Commission meeting they had decided to use Randall and Hayden.

McHenry said we want it over here so we can see how they are spending the money. This is one central location for the contacts. They may have been putting the business other places. [NOTE: The auditor will see how the money is being spent. The Commissioners can request the Redevelopment minutes and financials at any time. There is a commissioner and a council person sitting on the Redevelopment board. Meeting on the county campus saves money- but it does NOT ensure close control over Redevelopment decisions.]

Lansing- no matter where the business is in the county- the county still gets the taxes. All agreed. [NOTE: So why worry about whether the city, town, or unincorporated county gets the business? One reason is that whoever gets the business gets to pick the bidders and contractors in some cases. They get to be the new business’s eyes in the area and help smooth the transition to the county. This all gets paid.]

Baudendistel- goal is to make county more efficient.

Kraus- asked who authorized the $10,000 check that was written- and we wouldn’t have known about it because it was stopped. Barrett- It was decided by the Redevelopment Board to pay it this way. The auditor questioned it. Kraus said there is no line item for salaries in the budget. Barrett said they thought of it as purchasing a piece of equipment. [NOTE: Barrett sits on the redevelopment board as council’s rep. How does a council person who sits through budget hearings every year not know that salary cannot be paid out of any line item that is not designated as salary? Redevelopment has no salary line item in their budget. This was hurried along like many of the Redevelopment requests this past year- and they were not adhering to the laws governing the expenditure of money. The auditor held this up as she knew the SBOA would require this to be repaid.]

Kraus said- Compensatory time is not allowed for exempt employees!!! Randall is salaried- and an exempt employee. So they are not paid for overtime.

Two different departments- should be kept separate in his (Kraus’s) opinion. Should be two different jobs. Talked to Deddins (Chair of Redevelopment) yesterday. Lansing and Kraus said that is not enough work for full time.

Ullrich- no one would say Terri hasn’t gone above and beyond. Now this position has not had as wide a scope as now. Thinks we are getting more for our money now. Need to maintain the forward movement. Reluctance to have two different things from an accountability standpoint. Still thinks we should bring salary up to what it deserves.

Looked at administrator’s pay across the state- many don’t have one- per Lansing and Kraus.

Morris- said Deddins signed off on this- and we brought Redevelopment Commission in house- on this campus.

Lyness- is there enough time for her to even do both jobs? Kraus said- this is at least a job and a half.

Morris said- Sue Hayden was underutilized and now she can use her skill sets. She has a college degree. She’s a hard worker. [Note: So her pay increase doesn’t look like she’s getting a new title and that much work.]

Lansing said- people always say it is no new money.

Baudendistel- Sue and Terri would do the work for over half of what it cost for Rozow etc. before. Sue is $27,851 now.

What is the recommendation from the advisory committee? Kraus read it- and it was not clear that they wanted two jobs here.

The county needs somebody like this- Lyness.

Salary study showed we weren’t paying people what they deserve in this area. Barrett

Morris- a lot of people aren’t putting in the extra time.

Add a line item to Redevelopment budget to go to salary is what the agreement is asking for. Morris said they (redevelopment commission) have the money. [NOTE: TIF money cannot be used to pay salaries. So the money they have is money that the county and Lawrenceburg gave them for land and incentives etc. They talk about being self-sustaining but the money actually “earned” by the Redevelopment Commission is in the TIF. ]

Kraus – letter from Siemers from Whitewater Mill company- $4,728,000 package- how long to get a return on this? No answer. He’s getting a 50% per year abatement on property taxes.  Council just skimmed past this comment.

Randall spoke: $25,000 from the county goes to Redevelopment and $75,000 from CVTB goes to Redevelopment budget in the past. Now we give them $100,000- now have $700,000 now in TIF etc. They do have the payback info on it. And you can get that from us. [NOTE: Why haven’t they brought that in to the public?] The 2nd company will be here in 2 years. Rick Siemers from Whitewater Mills was there and I showed up- he said if she hadn’t showed up he wouldn’t be there today. This agreement with Redevelopment and Commissioners is finite- if I am not doing the job they can let me go. Don’t want 2 jobs. But it has to be done. I am not double dipping. I just stepped up and did it. The more we partner with L-bg the more likely they are to give us another million to do more economic development.

Randall still - When this was priced out by the firm we use- this job I am doing was priced out at what highway engineer is making. And we asked for less. [Note: Not much less. The highway engineer has a PE and years of experience with the state. What is Randall’s experience and educational background?]

Baudendistel said the TIFs were just renewed again in West Harrison and Aurora. Plat maps of TIF will also be in these from now on. Each city has its own Economic Development person. This is giving the county a point person for Economic development. [NOTE: The city and town people are doing one job- not more than one job.]

Gayle Pennington- Auditor-- clarifies-the money has not been moved- the $10,000 claim from Redevelopment was not paid. IRS checklist said this had to be done differently. She has to protect the county and pay this correctly. There was no transparency. SBOA said to bring it to council. The money will come out of redevelopment. NOT county general.

Glen Wright- DC Recorder- had a difficult time with $10,000- it’s a big number compared with other paychecks here. Others do a lot of extra work. Snow plow- maintenance staff- police- volunteer firefighters. Many go above and beyond their job descriptions. They have satisfaction to make the county better. TIF districts invested heavily and it will take years to see the effects. I do not believe a single individual brought this econ dev here. No one pays any attention to the drummers who keep the band in step in a parade. Consider the effect this has on your other employees.

Steve Renihan- (Chairman of sewer board and also paid extra for work for supervising projects)- as a private business owner – don’t make the county penny wise and pound foolish- for $10,000 to keep increasing our tax base. Important to recognize. Cities have a highly compensated person to do this. More than half land mass is unincorporated in county. We need to have people to represent this. Think from a long term perspective. We put a lot of money in W Harrison to get the sewer there in W Harrison. Protect our interests. We did the W Harrison at request of commissioners. Revenue is going down from casino. [NOTE: It is more than $10,000- it is $18,020 annually.]

Chris Mueller- two points- in summary I asked them to consider what happens to the administrator duties- the ones Randall was HIRED to do originally. We keep talking about Redevelopment, but the administrator job is the main job. If this is really a job and a half and if the administrator works long hours and meetings in the evening, there is risk of burnout as well as the job not being done well at times. Adding more money does not miraculously create more hours in the day to get things done. It would be a shame to set talented people up for failure. The second point was that I believe in the checks and balances of government. Council checks commissioners and vice versa. WHO CHECKS THE REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION? And if they are joined so tightly with Commissioners and/or Council then that party of the system is not going to work.

Lyness- Randall has been doing this job since March 2013-knows how much time it takes. He assumes that some of those duties will go to Hayden.

Chris Mueller- perhaps take the time to spell this out in job descriptions and pay scales that match up. It doesn’t look like Hayden’s pay increase will match her new duties and title.

Lyness asked Randall about her job time spent and how it was going.

Randall – I think I have been doing it “and I have been doing it pretty awesome.”

Kraus- -you know where I stand on this

Lyness- $10,000 – choking on that. That should have come up before November. [NOTE: Was that claim presented in November?]

McHenry brought up at budget time and was told not to bring it up for more money. Barrett- and there wasn’t any enthusiasm for it at budget time.

Barrett- has voted for it twice on Redevelopment Commission and Personnel Advisory Board. He motioned to accept Redevelopment recommendation and include the $10,000 in the total of $30,040 [NOTE: Where did $2,020 get added here? See above numbers whne this first proposed at beginning of meeting.] for both years for Randall. $4810 for Hayden. Ulrich 2nd it and want to revisit this at budget hearings to work a better solution. Votes- 2 Nays Kraus and Lansing.  Rest ayes (4) and so fails- It takes 5 for salary ordinance.

Baudendistel is big on the out clauses in the contracts and stated that again.

Mueller- But you don’t want to set up something that pretty much makes you use them- it’s a failure then.

Morris referenced the county attorney’s email on simple majority. Much discussion on precedence- now Baudendistel gets with Kramer who was the attorney Council asked about the 5 vote salary rule. Kramer hadn’t answered yet. [NOTE: Council has been using 5 votes for salary ordinance approvals over 30 years. I know personally they used it all the time I have been attending meetings since mid 1995. In the blog notes the earliest record of it is Nov 2004 and again in Jan 2006. Both of those stand out as the board was not unanimous. There are many counties in the state who use this supermajority rule as a protective measure to keep payroll costs from expanding too much. It also helps to keep the decision from being a partisan vote, as it generally requires more than one party to approve. At least it does in counties that are more politically balanced than ours is. That is how it was explained to me years ago.]

Review and vote to add two salary line items to the budget and amend the Salary Ordinance- approved pending the result of Kramer and Baudendistel talking. Lansing Nay and Kraus Nay- rest Ayes

Review $10,000 gross adjustment to the County Administrator’s salary for work performed in 2013- included in the above agreement.

Accept job description changes to the County Administrator and Administrative Secretary change to an Administrative Assistant- included in above agreement.

[NOTE: This is not an official approval unless Kramer says the 5 votes rule is not allowed for salary ordinance. If he does- the council can then meet and vote by simple majority to change that rule – the same way they changed the one on spending riverboat savings account to simple majority. Expedience seems to be the name of the game now. Rules that get in the way get changed. Titles and job descriptions and pay get done retroactively to cover jobs that just expand without a job description or pay scale or designated supervisory board. I am not sure why the Redevelopment doesn’t hire a person and the administrator stays separate. There are items in the county that are not finished that were started two years ago. There are also signs of work overload, when notices get posted just barely by deadlines and sometimes meetings changes as deadlines were not met. Too many last minute items lead to mistakes. More planning is needed for this to possibly work. And even then, doing it right will probably lead to burnout in my opinion.]

Lawrenceburg Loan- Lawrenceburg will forgive 25,000 of the 256,000 loan. On the table for 30 days. Lansing reported this. Voted to pay off the whole amount to Lawrenceburg after Pennington advertises it. Pennington will advise Jackie Stutz of our intention.

Dearborn County Community Foundation Letter- signature approved at the February meeting- Fred MCarter prepared the letter and sent it over, $84057.35 $75,000 stays with the foundation in our Quality of Life Endowment Fund. The rest comes back to the county. Signed.

Aurora Lion’s Club- Council Benevolent Fund- $1000 for Payback the Clown at the Farmer’s Fair- lost the casket company support- council approved. [NOTE: The Council gets dinged by SBOA for this charity donation type item every year. With the Riverboat Revenue declining, perhaps this needs to be stopped.]

Dearborn County Regional Sewer- Steve Renihan- no addition- just a transfer- Hrezo and Fehrman also present. 70 % done with N Dearborn rd and 25% done on Guilford study. Going nowhere on Guilford so they want to spend money elsewhere and Briarwood and Outer Drive off 148 needs a study. It is densely populated and it will give them more customers. The folks want it and they can afford a sewer bill. They will continue to look at Guilford. Lawrenceburg and Aurora support doing 148. Sewer ends at Springdale area. Not financially self sustaining yet- but Renihan says they are getting there. Interlocal agreements are how the county gets the existing sewer companies to pick up the sewage for treatment. We help set rates so the county residents are represented. Morris motioned to transfer the funds of $8925 for the study of Outer Drive area. 2nded and Approved.

Auditor- Minutes approved. Created a fund for 911 dispatching funds received from Aurora to do their dispatching. Approved.

Council probably changing budget hearings to August 25th week at Barrett’s request.

Hensley requested position to replace and they decided in personnel committee to NOT fill it at this time per Kraus. Hensley is not happy about this he said.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township



Anonymous said...

Randall if you got so much talent getting new business in the county Why dont you go to the chamber of commerce there is a job open.See ya

Anonymous said...

From the meeting report: NOTE: This is not an official approval unless Kramer says the 5 votes rule is not allowed for salary ordinance.

What if Kramer says 5 votes are not needed?

cebmueller said...

Then Council will have to decide how to handle their 12 years of using it after the state changed the minimum standard in 2002.
If they do nothing- then any person who had a simple majority in that time frame could perhaps sue the county for back pay. Deciding to accept the fact that I know they used it in Jan 2006 (Liz Morris's first meeting, in fact) and Nov 2004 (see blog entries)and other times sets a precedent for it, whether or not they created an ordinance. People's jobs were affected by this. To change this long time custom should take an ordinance. Council may not like to be perceived as lowering their standards that protect taxpayers funds. But they've already done it once with the Riverboat savings. These customs or rules were put there for a reason. And it was a good reason. If they want to change it for all times- then do it right.

Anonymous said...

Good point..