Wednesday, March 18, 2015

17 March 2015 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

 17 March 2015 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

Present: Randy Lyness, President, Dennis Kraus. Sr., Dan Lansing, Liz Morris, Charlie Keyes, Ryan Brandt, and Bill Ullrich. 
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Teresa Randall, County Administrator

Summer Art Program- Ruth Ann Batta- Not here and she wasn’t at commissioners either.

Aurora Public Library- Board Appointment- Mary Alice Horton- tabled as she was not present.

Clerk- Rick Probst- Transfer Funds Election- Pennington was here for Probst. These are funds of$2480 from election board clerks into part time services. Approved.

Solid Waste Management- BJ Ault- Recycling Programs and Vehicles- Mindy presented in Ault’s absence. $18,877 for recycling and $80,593 for vehicles. It is out of their grant funds and the county is a pass thru for this. Approved.

SERCC- (SE Indiana Regional Community Corrections)- Superior Court Probation- Steve Kelly:
Parent Training- evidenced based treatment class. Parenting skills. This is part of home detention program. $3,000 to be trained for this. Approved. These had been approved by Dept of Corrections and Community Corrections Board. Approved. Morris sits on that Board- thinks is a good program. 
Power Consulting- is partnering with SERCC. Combining Probation and Community Corrections. This will get data. $12,600 is the cost and it is paid for out of user fees, They have a $300,000 balance in that account. This consulting is for one year only. This will measure the results of their programs. Approved for $12,600.
Salaries JCAP and Salaries SERCC-Kelly said that in grant programs they are requesting additional JCAP counselor for the additional 32 beds in program. Additional funds also requested for more work release. This will help with  the expansion of the jail requiring more help. Ullrich said they can keep work release separate from jail population. The work schedule is all over the map including weekends for these work release inmates. They need that extra person.[NOTE: Thought the new jail was to be Staff neutral???] Pennington said she has to send this up to DOC and so Council has to vote on doing that. 

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman- Bright I-74 Study- Randall presented for him as he is on vacation. $40,000 transfer out of MvHA funds to match the Federal funds to study the connector. $160,000 is from INDOT for a $200,000 for the study. Kraus said that this is a $54 million project and if it is 80/20 our share would be $11million. We can’t afford this. This is part of OKI 2040 plan. Discussed more. Approved with Kraus Nay. 

Sheriff- Mike Kreinhop- Purchase Spillman System- Most of the Council had seen the presentation or were familiar with it. They decided to skip the presentation. They opened up for questions. Kraus  asked questions about the money saved. He questioned the amount they said they were saving money. He said that the $45,000 they would pay the current company is not a savings. It turns out it is a $10,000 savings. Per the Commissioners meeting- the contract is total cost $797,604 and $518,443 comes back to us. County share is $281,000 about.There is a maintenance cost to this also of $94,000 annually. This is a savings of $11,000 per  year on maintenance per Sheriff Kreinhop. Kreinhop said that Spillman has been in business since 1978. The old company we use now has not had an upgrade and we have had it since 2003. The upgrades with this new system are included. Kreinhop said- the maintenance could increase- that he wanted them to know that. Lyness asked about the life of the system. They have one in Lake County since 1982. They had to get a new server but all updates included. [NOTE: Wonder what the server costs?] Lansing asked Brandt what he thought- He and Ullrich both gave high marks to Spillman. Kraus said he liked the system and what it could provide with data. Lansing asked how long to pay- 30 days. And that’s for the municipalities. Asking that the entire amount be approved tonight. Council decided to take it out of Riverboat Savings. It is the only account that has enough. Then the Municipalities will reimburse to that account also. Half is due now and half will be due in 14-16 months. Approved for $797,604 out of Riverboat savings.

Auditor- Gayle Pennington- Minutes- approved.When asked by Lyness they did not do anything about Terry Stephens party affiliation on Park Board- decided to let it alone. Pennington also did some housekeeping items.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Chris Mueller addressed 3 items: 

The contract with Maxwell Constructiion for the Construction Management of the jail was for $359,900 and the actual payments out of that account and fund total $564,000+. That is about $200,000 over the flat fee contract. I had also addressed commissioners on his at the meeting just before Council. I advised them that the Council budget has not been exceeded yet, but that it is hard for the Auditor’s staff to track the contracts if they are mixed in with the total construction budget. I suggested they might need to separate contract agreements into a line item with nothing else in them  so staff can stay on track in the event that the vendor or the dept. submits more bills than Council and Commissioners had publicly agreed to pay. 

I asked about having so many day meetings ( like the 10 AM annex committee meeting last week) and noting that the public cannot make them. It excludes them from the process. Dan Lansing said that it excluded some of the Council too as they had jobs. Council noted that and some also commented that the public rarely attends the night meetings even. I said that it would be more encouraging to know that they can come, than that they are being excluded. That just makes people give up. The county has some big projects and the taxpayers have a right to know what is being decided and to participate if they want.

I asked Randy Lyness about the nepotism issue and if he had addressed it regarding his relationship with Maxwell Construction and the annex project that was in process. Terri Randall said she could address that, but I stayed at the podium as I was not finished and want ed to hear what Randy said. Commissioner McHenry quietly told her to let the lawyer address that. Lyness went on to say that he had heard about the issue in Florida and called his brother-in-law, John Maxwell to see if Randy’s sister was an owner in the company- NO. And then he came to find out that his son, Jeff Lyness, is a part owner in the company. Randy said that he had not known that. I told him, well our kids don’t always tell us everything. ( There are nephews and brother there too)  He said, “Nothing I did was ever about Maxwell.” 
I told Council the bottom line is that I wanted to pre-empt a problem, and since the nepotism law has two parts to it, the county has them sign off on the part relating to county employees as relatives. But they also need to consider the part about contracts with relatives and funding relatives. Lyness said that perhaps he had been naive and that he wanted to be open and honest. He will stay as far back from the issue as he can and probably not vote on it. 
That prompted Liz Morris to say that she had consulted with attorneys in the past on conflict of interest law and that as long as they publicly disclose the relationship they can vote if they choose to vote. She also said that everybody knows about the relationship. I told her that new people to the county may not know. And Randy is in a leadership position now. 
Council members discussed the options and Ullrich mentioned they had to look at potential financial gain.  Lyness does not personally gain- but his son Jeff is listed in both jail and annex contracts for construction management as the Project Director. 
Lyness said he did not know we had contracted with Maxwell for the construction management of the annex already. He thought they were just doing a study. Neither did Lansing. Lyness will get with the attorney regarding this.  Ullrich said then there will be an official opinion. 

[NOTE: After the meeting Lyness shook my hand and we talked briefly about this. I have no argument with the choice of Maxwell for managing this ,BUT I wanted to get this right before it became an issue, not play “gotcha” later. We also talked about how the Plan Commission handles these conflicts of interest. They do everything they can to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest including leaving the room- not just sitting back and not voting. Lyness is President- he has a lot of influence on what happens in Council.]

At the end of this McHenry told Council he would be sitting in with Gayle to get the info on my first question and he would get back to them regarding Maxwell’s overpayments. I corrected him- to say that it may be for work he actually did- but it was more than the flat fee stated at the beginning of the contract or in the meeting approvals.

Meeting adjourned at 7:50PM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Give 'em hell, Christine!