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Commission Board Meeting on Wed, November 29, 2017 - 6:00 PM

Meeting Agenda: 


6 p.m.

(1) (a)  Consider approval of Commission Orders;
(b) Consider approval of Notice to Township Board for Cereal Malt Beverage License for Flamingo Enterprises (Clerk’s Office);
(c) Consider approval of Notice to Township Board for Cereal Malt Beverage License for Clinton Marina (Clerk’s Office);
(d) Consider approval of Notice to Township Board for Cereal Malt Beverage License for Clinton Submarina (Clerk’s Office);
(e) Consider approval for Class “B” Club License for The Bird of Lawrence (Clerk’s Office);
(f)   Adopt report of 2017 annual review of Solid Waste Management Plan (Keith Browning);
(g) Consider recommendation to purchase equipment for Public Works (Doug Stephens); and
(h) Consider accessing State of Kansas Contract to replace a tractor for Public Works   (Doug Stephens)

(2)  Discussion of Jail alternatives and possible decisions (Gary Bunting)-No backup

(3) Consider approval of administrative structure of Community Corrections (Robert Bieniecki)-

(4) (a) Consider approval of Accounts Payable (if necessary)  
 (b) Appointments  
 -Board of Zoning Appeals (1) positions 10/17
 -Building Code of Appeals Board (2) positions 12/16
 -Community Corrections Advisory Board (1) position 
 -Senior Services Board of Directors (3) positions
 (c)  Public Comment
 (d) Miscellaneous

(5) Adjourn

Related Document(s): 
Meeting Location: 
County Courthouse
Street Address: 
1100 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Meeting Minutes: 

November 29, 2017

Gaughan called the work session meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 with all members present.

Gaughan moved approval of the following Consent Agenda:
►  Commission Order No. 17-046 and 17-047 (on file in the office the County Clerk);
►  Notice to Township Board for Cereal Malt Beverage License for Flamingo Enterprises (Clerk’s Office);
►  Notice to Clinton Township for cereal malt beverage license for Clinton Marina, 1329 E 800 Road;
► Notice to Clinton Township for cereal malt beverage license for Clinton Marina, 1329 E 800 Road;
► Class “B” Club License for The Bird of Lawrence;
► Adopted report of 2017 annual review of Douglas/Jefferson Counties Regional Solid Waste Management Plan; and
► Authorized staff to access the MODOT and the City of Kansas City contracts with Westfall GMC for the following purchase of three dump trucks:

2019 Mack GU713 Truck


Mack Engine Protection Plan

$  12,900.00

Mack Exhaust After treatment System

$    2,925.00

Special Equipment


Less Deduct


Total Cost


Motion was seconded by Thellman and carried 3-0.
Gary Bunting, Undersheriff, discussed jail alternatives with the Commissioners. Bunting reviewed the Classification In Custody Study and explained the various plans for jail expansion: Plans A1 and 2, and Plans B1-5.

Discussion included the need to make changes to the female unit. Currently the jail has the female special management, female maximum and minimum inmates are in the same unit. The separation is imperative as there are some inmates that try to hurt themselves. The only plan, according to Bunting, that they find no issues with is the original Plan A. However, the Commissioners in past meetings asked to see operational costs.

Sarah Plinsky, Assistant County Administrator, discussed operational costs and mill levy impacts.

Gaughan commented the expansion, if approved, would not be operating with staff at full capacity when it opens. The staffing numbers would increase as staff is hired and trained.

Bunting said there would be a gradual increase in personnel including nursing and medical staff. We couldn’t hire and train all at once. Some personnel would also be under contract. Plinsky added that hiring would start before the building is open so we have personnel trained when the doors open.

Gaughan said he would like to have a consensus from the Board tonight on which option is preferred.

Gaughan opened the item for public comment.

Graham Kreicker, 1421 W 2nd, stated he knows we are spending about $1.2 million to house prisoners in other county jail. He asked if the $1.2million was included in the projected operating costs of the jail expansion options. Plinsky answered it is in net of the operation numbers. Kreicker asked what you call the personnel that work in the jail. Bunting replied there are a number of different titles such as, there are four different levels of correction officers who provide security, deputies and master deputies, sergeants, lieutenants and captains. Kreicker stated the expansion will require 100 new personnel. He asked how many employees the jail has currently. Bunting responded we have approximately 94 employees total. Kreicker asked Bunting to provide a breakdown of employees by race and gender. Bunting stated he would provide that information to Kreicker at a later time.

Greg Robinson, 3116 Trail Road, asked what the breakdown of inmates is between county and municipal detainees. Gaughan responded the daily average of inmates coming from municipal court is 25%. Robinson asked why he read in the paper the construction costs of the jail are increasing. He asked what we are basing this information on. The costs appear to be several million higher than when we started discussion on this process. Gaughan responded we are quite a ways away from bidding. The initial cost four years ago was about $30 million. What we are looking at now is $37million. The population changes has forced the County to look at plan changes. There is a cost for waiting. However, waiting has allowed us to have a better understanding of the population and our needs. It would have been a mistake to have built an expansion 3-4 years ago. Robinson asked if the County has considered adding green space to its expansion so those incarcerated can go outside. Gaughan stated he is in agreement. The existing designs do call for greenspace.

Bunting went back over the design options for the public.

Bill Simons, 2708 W 27th Terrace, asked how many beds will there be in the crisis center. Thellman responded we are close to knowing what the crisis center will be. The County will have information on the Crisis Center at the December 13, 2017 meeting. We are currently looking at a small square footage plan but the core services will remain. Simons asked how much space there will be for mentally ill and alcohol abuse patients. Thellman stated the original idea has morphed into a center, plus housing and core services. We don’t have square footage numbers at this time. Simons asked how the crisis center can not affect the numbers at the jail. Gaughan responded according to Johnson County who has similar services, they don’t affect the jail. However, there will be more services.

Gaughan said there are a number of options before us with a lot of Commonality between them. He stated his favorites are A- and B+. He prefers to have the special management for females with minimum and maximum units.

Thellman stated it helped to get the five options with the cost. She stated option B does not have the therapeutic management unit for the females like the men. Thellman said she also feels we are short changing our ability to quickly grow as a county and the quickly rising criminal activity. We’re seeing more need for space. There is a concern in our desire to be as careful and conservative as possible and not make the mistake of underbuilding and short changing the community. She said Plan A- gives us essentially everything, short of one shell space on the first floor. It has a design that flows well with optimized green space. If there is a need for further expansion, the shell can be utilized with a minimized cost. Thellman said A- is the “best bang for the buck.” It treats women equally and doesn’t have much difference in cost between A- and B+ which doesn’t have the female unit. Option A- makes sense. We would still be able to dedicate funding and effort to the mental health side.

Derusseau said there is not much difference between A and A-. She said she would like to do it right from the beginning. It’s nice to know the space is there if there is a necessity. Option B won’t give us what we need. Derusseau said Options A or A- would best serve our needs.

Thellman said she keeps leaning to plan A- with 365 total beds with shell space if needed. 
Gaughan stated he supports the A- version because it reinforces the vision of the Sheriff to develop space for people with mental health issues in jail. He is most impressed with the need for classification and how that impacts inmates, and staff. Gaughan said until he walked through the jail, he didn’t understand the imperative need for classification for people to get the rehabilitative services they need to go back into the community.

Gaughan moved to asked staff to move forward with Option A- giving deeper and more comprehensive information. Thellman added she wants the public to remember and understand that most of our re-entry candidates are being farmed out to other counties rendering our services unhelpful and to remind the public of the pictures of inmates housed on the floor in the jail by the washing machines because of the overcrowding. Motion was seconded by Derusseau and carried 3-0.

RECESS 11-29-17
At 7.25 p.m., the Board took a five minute break to return to regular session at 7:30 p.m.

RECONVENE 11-29-17
The Board returned to session at 7:30 p.m.

The Board considered the approval of placing the administrative structure of Community Corrections under the responsibility of Douglas County. The item was presented by Robert Bieniecki, Criminal Justice Council Coordinator.

On October 10, 2017, Douglas County Community Corrections (DCCC) and Youth Services Advisory Board passed a unanimous vote to support bringing DCCC back under the County supervision. Resolution 01-20 states that either the Board of County Commissioners or the Chief Judge may terminate the delegation of duties by giving written notice. If this change is approved, there would need to be time for the administrative functions of the transition.

On October 18, 2017, Bieniecki discussed the oversight of Community Corrections and returning the management back to the County from the District Court. Doing so would require the following:
1.  Realign DGCO with K.S.A. 75-5291/Community Corrections Programs are the responsibility of County Government & K.A.R. K.A.R. 44-11-111;
2.  County Administration will have direct oversight of the program, personnel files and liability information;
3.  Transfer the DCCC staff to the County pay scale allowing for future pay increases and longevity benefits, $6,000 initial budget impact;
4.  Allow for all KDOC grants for Community Corrections to be managed by one entity, Director Pam Weigand; and
5. Direct oversight of the Community Corrections supplemental budget.

Judge Peggy Kittel stated she feels it is in the best interest of the court and community safety for Community Corrections to remain under the supervision of the District Court. The entire bench, all six judges and protem are opposed to a transfer of supervision. Kittel said this all started in 1985 when the County Commission formed a Corrections Advisory Committee to study establishing a Community Corrections Program. It was determined that Community Corrections needed to be under the courts. Criminal sentencing is the function of the judicial branch of government, probation is an independent criminal sentence imposed and administered by the judge, and citizens also look to the judge if something goes bad. With court oversight there would be greater efficiencies and coordination over staff. It is the judge that retains jurisdiction over the probationer. Citizens look to the judge if something goes astray. Originally the decision to move Community Corrections under the authority of District Court was due to great efficiencies offered.

Linda Koester-Vogelsang, Courts Administrator, reached out to other judicial districts. She found that the majority felt it was in the best interest of the court and the public safety that the court supervises or has direct control of those performing court ordered supervision. Complications that would come about by separating the two includes: 1) no access to the full court management system by the State and 2) loss of efficiencies other Community Corrections do not have, like e-filing affidavits and being able to view certain types of information. If separated, the County cannot take advantage of state contracts on collections.  

Gaughan asked if there was any reason why these things wouldn’t continue if supervision changed hands to the County. Koester-Vogelsang responded the Department of Corrections has their own goals. When trying to meet their needs, it’s not always what the court wants which can provide a conflict. Community Corrections has to focus on all the things DOC requires of them. One of the things DOC wants is for people to not go to prison. They want a success rate of 75%. Success for them is not putting a person in prison, but they can go to a local jail. There may be conflict with what the court orders versus what Community Corrections is required to provide.

Gaughan stated it sounds like the day-to-day operational things will need to be worked out; just like we did when we moved the supervision under the courts. He asked if the courts feel the County will not provide things we previously provided? If that is what we’re talking about, Gaughan said he wanted to get that information out on the table so we can work through them.

Judge Kittel expressed concerns with the following: pursuing collections, on who will be in charge of seeking restitution for victims, the separation of power and operating free of political pressures, Community Corrections being outside the authority of the court, when to file for probation revocation by probation officers, conflicting standards between court offices, and disparity in pay creating animosity between departments.

Thellman asked if all of the judges saw the PowerPoint and know about the details of this proposal. Kittel said Mr. Bieniecki sent the PowerPoint to her, but she couldn’t remember is she forwarded it on to the judges. However, the proposal was discussed at the monthly judges meetings a few times.

Derusseau asked if there is a reason why the courts can’t continue with Community Corrections to make this work. She said it almost sounds like if we make the change there will no longer be a working relationship with Community Corrections or communication. Judge Kittel said she does not know if it will because she will no longer have a say in the process. She said we have already moved a couple of programs from under the Court supervision and she is already hearing concerns about the surveillance level dropping, and that a court surveillance office will no longer be available to the courts. The State will not give the courts money for that. She questioned whether the courts will be allowed to use the Community Service office.

Derusseau stated there must be a way for the County to seek restitution for victims if the State statute holds the County responsible for Community Corrections. 

Judge Kittel asked if there were questions regarding the Court Trustee issues because they actively pursue collections. If the District Court isn’t pursing collections it will fall on the Community Corrections office.  

Pam Weigand said they use the Trustees Office for juvenile collections currently for community corrections. Koester-Vogelsang said juveniles were a different matter that falls under at a different section. Community Corrections was a contract that had to be approved by the State that took a lot of work.

Gaughan asked how Community Corrections did it before getting approved by the State. Koester-Vogelsang stated under the AGs contract.

Koester-Vogelsang said the courts have worked hard at expanding community service initiatives like moving community service work out from under Community Corrections authority and placed it under the Citizens Review Board, which is a volunteer operation, expanding the opportunities for individuals who are ordered for community service. She said she would hate to see all the work that has gone into building this department go away.

Thellman said there is a resolution that mandates the Chief Executive Probation Officer, but that has been vacant since 2011. She asked who fills that position.

Koester-Vogelsang responded currently there is no Chief Executive Officer position. Ron Stegall held that position and retired. The court felt that the money from DOC could be better used by hiring someone to supervise individuals submitted to Community Corrections, for Court Service Officers and a Director of Corrections. 

Thellman said she would like to hear the comments made by the Community Corrections employees and asked Bieniecki to give a brief overview in favor of the change in supervision.

Bieniecki said the courts or the County Commission have the ability to terminate the current arrangement. The resolutions that established Community Corrections gives the County Commission a say in who is hired for the Chief Executive Probation Officer positon. If a decision is made outside of that resolution, it was done outside of the Board input. The same thins goes with moving Community Service under the Community Corrections guide. Bieniecki said the Advisory Board was in agreement to make this change in supervision. The 10 employees of Community Corrections support this change and welcome it. If approved, we would revert back to the Resolution 87-01 and Home Rule 88-2-2. The reorganization would hope to create efficiencies with the juvenile community corrections and some new opportunities to increase programs which would fall under Pam Weigand with the opportunity to create some chain of command and supervision that is available 24/7. Community Corrections employees would receive pay scale increases that other County employees receive. Grants would be applied for and managed by the same entity. We’d have direct access to information on the supplement budget and a closer look at the oversight of Community Corrections because employees would be running it. Currently the CC employees are not recognized by the Office of Judicial Administration (OJA). If there is a Human Resource (HR) problem the County does not have the HR files. Other positive impacts would be collaborating with the jail, increasing programs, not duplicating programs, increased training, and access to necessary reports.

Derusseau asked Sarah Plinsky to elaborate on the administrative issues.

Plinsky responded it’s important to know the employees are in limbo. They are not recognized under OJA for professional liability and Human Resources. They are covered under the County’s liability policy, though we have no records. If there is a concern, we would be liable without management and the employee is left in the middle. Plinsky stated concern about FMLA Guidelines and Practices. We don’t have the Human Resource information or training records on those employees yet the County Commission is responsible for the accuracy of the records, not the courts.

Thellman asked staff to respond to the comment about the potential dangers of Community Corrections officers going off and making arrests without acknowledgement from the courts. Weigand said she was surprised by that comment. The department works at the direction of the court and takes into account their desires. She said she feels there is no reason they cannot continue to work well together with the courts in the future. There will be some unforeseen changes. We don’t have access to e-filing but we will find a different process. It can be worked out. There will be some things we haven’t considered yet.

Gaughan said we need to understand we are a team. The County Commission is here to help you and try to find ways to be supportive.

Gaughan opened the item for public comment.

Greg Robinson, 3116 Trail Road, stated professionals will be able to work together. He said the problem he sees is the workers. The State is holding them back economically. It’s not fair to keep people economically repressed because the state won’t pay. We’re getting less qualified people and are losing people because of the difference in benefits.

Gaughan said he is supportive of making the change in supervision. He is sympathetic to the concerns of the Judges, but we have to be able to trust our partners. He said he sees the inefficiencies and hears concerns by employees about pay and inequities. He said there will be growing pains but he is confident we can navigate through the concerns mentioned today.

Gaughan moved to reassume the supervision of the Douglas County Community Corrections program and revert back to the administrative structure of the provisions of HR 8-1-1 which established the Douglas County Department of Community Corrections and HR 88-2-2 which added the Douglas County Community Service Work Program as a responsibility of the DCCC staff effective January 1, 2018.

Thellman said she supports the change and trusts everyone working in public service will do their best to operate on a professional level, with the publics’ best interest in mind. The change will be a system better for the employees and will give comfort with statute and liability issues. It makes sense and she trusts everyone to make it work.

Derusseau said she feels it is important to get County employees back under County supervision.

Motion was seconded by Thellman and carried 3-0.

Gaughan moved to approve accounts payable in the amounts of $305,383.85 paid on 11/22/17, and $126,017.51 to be paid on 11/30/17. Motion was seconded by Derusseau and carried 3-0.
Gaughan moved to adjourn the meeting. Motion was seconded by Thellman and carried 3-0.

____________________________  ____________________________
 Michelle Derusseau, Chair               Patrick Kelly, Vice -Chair
 ____________________________ _____________________________  
Jamie Shew, County Clerk                Nancy Thellman, Member