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Commission Board Meeting on Wed, April 24, 2019 - 4:00 PM and 5:30 PM

Meeting Agenda: 

ADDRESSING THE COMMISSION:  Public comment will be taken for each regular agenda item as each item is discussed.  Individuals will be limited to one comment per agenda item.
Individuals are asked to come to the microphone, sign in, and state their name.  We ask that you sign in so that we can get the spelling of your name correct in the minutes of the meeting. Speakers should address all comments/questions to the Commission.


4:00 p.m. - WORK SESSION
(1) 2018 Criminal Justice Services and Juvenile Detention Center use update (Pam Weigand)

-Approval of the minutes for March 27, April 3 and April 10, 2019

(1) (a)  Consider approval of Commission Orders;
 (b) Accept the base and alternate bid from Spurling Mechanical in the amount $60,256 for heating and a/c system upgrades for the Hillcrest Wrecker building. (David Sparkes); (TABLED)
 (c) Consider approval to authorize the Board of County Commissioners to sign and hourly-rate agreement with a not-to-exceed cost of $3,448.25 with Finney & Turnipseed, Transportation and Civil Engineering LLC, to provide engineering services for Project No. 2019-3, Bridge 1180-1300 repairs. (Keith Browning);
 (d) Consider approval of a resolution directing the County Counselor to institute a judicial tax foreclosure action in the District Court of Douglas County (Paula Gilchrist);
 (e) Consider approval of minutes from May 17 and November 29, 2017; and
(f) Accounts payable

(2) Adoption of the 2019-2020 Employee Health Plan (Sarah Plinsky)

(3) Appointments:  
• Community Corrections Board Advisory Board (1) position open (Social Services)
• Douglas County Food Policy Council (2) positions open (Local food system/Ag Producer)
• Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council (2) positions (Lawyer/Architect) 05/31/19
• JAAA Advisory Council (2) position
• JAAA Board of Directors (1) positions
• Lawrence-Douglas County Advocacy Council on Aging (10) open positions

(4) General Public Comment

General Public Comment will be at the end of each meeting with a limit of one comment per person and keep their comments brief. Individuals may not give unused time to other speakers. As a general practice, the Commission will not discuss/debate these items, nor will the Commission make decisions on items presented during this time, rather they will refer the items to staff for follow up, if necessary.

(5) Committee Reports

(6) Commissioner and/or Administrator Miscellaneous

(7) Adjourn

Meeting Location: 
County Courthouse
Street Address: 
1100 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Meeting Minutes: 

April 24, 2019

Derusseau called the Work Session to order at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 with all Commissioners present.

Attendees included: Sarah Plinsky, Interim County Administrator; Pam Weigand, Director of Criminal Justice System (CJS); Leigh Housman, Assistant Director of Juvenile Probation for CJS; Bryant Barton, Assistant District Attorney for Juvenile Offenders and Truancy; Bill DeWitt, USD497 Adult Education/Alternative Programming Principal; Charles Branson, District Attorney; and Linda Koester-Vogelsang, Court Administrator.

Pam Weigand, Director of CJS, stated our programs are successful because Douglas County has excellent staff and agencies in the community that help provide excellent services. Weigand provided 2018 juvenile intake and assessment statistics, discussed truancy and diversion programs, an offender program overview and diverting youth from the Criminal Justice System.

Some of the intervention programs Douglas County offers to help keep juveniles out of the criminal justice system include officers giving youths Agreements to Appear (ATA) instead of taking youths to juvenile intake; Conditions of Release where youth are allowed to remain under house arrest until their court hearing, and Juvenile Intensive Supervision Probation (JISP).
It was noted that the daily population of the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) is small with 227 youths total in 2018.

Discussion also included beginning July 1, 2019 the JDC will no longer be allowed to house juveniles at risk, the need to keep juvenile offenders in our community with Douglas County services, and the success of day school.

RECESS 04-24-19
At 4.55 p.m., the Board recessed until the 5:30 p.m. meeting.

RECONVENE 04-24-19
At 5:30 p.m., Derusseau called the Regular Meeting of the Board of County Commission to order.

MINUTES 04-24-19
Kelly moved to approve the minutes for March 27, April 3 and April 10, 2019. Motion was seconded by Thellman and carried 3-0.

Derusseau moved approval of the following Consent Agenda:
►  Commission Order No. 19-028 on file in the office of the County Clerk;
►  Authorized the Commission Chair to sign an hourly-rate agreement with a not-to-exceed cost of $3,448.25 with Finney & Turnipseed, Transportation and Civil Engineering LLC, to provide engineering services for Project 2019-31, Bridge 1180-1400 repairs;
►  Resolution 19-10 directing the County Counselor to institute a Judicial Tax Foreclosure Action in the District Court of Douglas County, Kansas;
►  Back minutes for May 17 and November 29, 2017; and
►  Accounts payable in the amount of $477,548.82 to be paid on 04/25/19.

Motion was seconded by Thellman and carried 3-0.
Pulled from the agenda:
The item to consider approval of the base and alternate bid from Spurling Mechanical in the amount $60,256 for heating and a/c system upgrades for the systems at the fairgrounds and the Hillcrest Wrecker building was tabled for a future meeting.

Keith Browning, Director of Public Works, requested approval from the Board of County Commissioners to work on Grant Township roads. Browning met with the Grant Township Trustee regarding a request for assistance from the County on an emergency list of road priorities. The Township will be required to pay for time and equipment estimated at $16,000.

It was the consensus of the Board for Browning to draft a memo of agreement on the labor and maintenance cost to the County.

Thellman moved to approve Douglas County Public Works to provide limited road work in Grant Township to fill potholes on some of the asphalt roads and a temporary fix to make roads safe. Motion was seconded by Kelly and carried 3-0.

The Board considered the adoption of the 2019-2020 Employee Health Plan. Sarah Plinsky, Interim County Administrator, presented the item.

After meeting with department heads, staff and WillisTowersWatson, benefits consultant, Plinsky brought several plan options with design changes for the Board to consider. Plinsky stated there was not a consensus recommendation from the department heads and employee groups on a preferred option.

Staff recommended Option 1 with the following changes:
• Prescription benefits to a Standard Formulary plan,
• Increased In-Network deductible to $500 for individual and $650 for family
• Increased the out-of-pocket maximum to $2,500 for individuals and $4,450 for family in network
• Increased the office visit copay for specialists to $50, as recommended by employees
• Increased prescription copays to $25/$50/$60/$80 and times three for a 90-day supply.
• Increased retiree cost share to 60%.
• The above changes would reduce the projected plan premium increase from 11.7% to 8% saving the County approximately $349,851.

There was discussion on an increased premium rate percentage for retired employees. The current plan was not designed to be a Medicare supplement plan. A large number of employees keep their County insurance plan after reaching Medicare eligibility in lieu of a supplemental plan through another company. Retiree contributions have outstripped what the cost of the plan has been. Most employers do not subsidize retiree coverage at all, but welcome them to continue their plan absorbing 100 percent of the premium. In the future, the County may look some plan design changes that modify the cost share of the plan.
Derusseau opened the item for public comment.

Cammy Owens, employee, asked the Board to keep in mind how premium and copay increases impact about 300 Douglas County employees at the lower end of the pay scale. Market pay does not absorb the cost of the premium increases. She is concerned some employees won’t go to the doctor or pickup medication because they won’t be able to afford them.

Scott Criqui, Human Resources Director at Bert Nash, stated he appreciates that Douglas County included Bert Nash in their insurance benefit plan. It is a great way to attract employees and keep them. He would like to work with Douglas County to figure out a way to lower costs in the future, such as implement a wellness plan at Bert Nash.

Derusseau said she was in favor of Option 1 as presented. She also wants immediately start looking at the future of the plan, look at how we communicate and work with our retirees on future planning, and look at ways to legally encourage retirees to move forward at a certain age with an outside supplement plan. Derusseau did say she does not want to discourage early retirement. She wants retirees to be able to take advantage of the benefit plan until they can get on Medicare. 

Kelly thanked Owens for her comments. He recognizes that plan changes can financially hurt lower paid employees. He feels we need to work together with Bert Nash, the Health Department and retirees to problem solve and start looking at ways to save costs, such as a tiered plan and higher deductible.

Thellman also appreciated staff’s comments and Criqui’s suggestions. She hopes the County will bring in a dedicated Human Resource (HR) person to focus on next year’s plan. Because she only heard from one retiree, she feels we need to increase our communications, especially when we plan to move to a more complicated plan. Option 1 is our best effort to keep things within reason, though it’s still not enough to fill the gap.

Plinsky said she does not take the plan decisions lightly. She understands this is a difficult decision. As the Interim County Administrator, Plinsky said she has the responsibility over the total County budget and how we are able to set a budget to provide services for our taxpayers and at the same time she is also the current HR person and understands the importance of benefits. We don’t want to discourage people from using their resources. Plinsky said there has just been a difficult set of increases for us to manage and we are not alone. It is a state and federal issue as well. We are still in  line with regional benchmarks. She hopes in the future we can design a plan with options.

Derusseau moved to approve Option 1 as outlined in the packet, as well as an increase in the retiree cost share to 60%. Motion was seconded by Kelly and carried 3-0.

Ken Fangohr, retired Douglas County employee, stated his health insurance through Douglas County is really good. He asked if retirees could be on an email list so they can attend the insurance meetings. Fangohr said his wife retired from the Public School District who pays all health benefits for their retirees for seven years or age 65 whichever comes first.


1) Sarah Plinsky, Interim County Administrator, asked the Commissioners to save the date of May 14, 11:00 a.m., on their calendar for the Stepping Up event at the Cider Gallery; and also May 14 at 3:00 p.m. event in the County Commission room for the first graduation for the Women’s Substance Abuse Disorder participant.

2) The County Commission agenda for the May 22 meeting will be light with a Work Session at 4:00 p.m. The County Commission meeting for May 29 has been cancelled.
3) Plinsky plans to get the upcoming May and June calendar to the Commissioners within the next week.
4) Derusseau was invited to be a County representative of the Heartland Works Board. It was the Consensus that the Commission agreed to the appointment.
5) Two or more Commissioners may be in attendance to the April 26 Friends of Lawrence Area Trails (FLAT) event at the Free State Brewing Co. 
Derusseau adjourned the meeting at 6:27 p.m.

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