The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, January 11, 1994, at 9:00 a.m., in the Conference Room at the Lake County Welcome Center, Groveland, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Rhonda H. Gerber; Don Bailey; and Richard Swartz. Others present were: Frank Gaylord, Interim County Attorney; Peter F. Wahl, County Manager; Mike Anderson, Director of Facilities & Capital Improvements; Jim Stivender, Director of Public Services; Paul Bergmann, Director of Planning & Development; Eleanor Anderson, Director, Office of Budget; Dave Warren, Tourist Development Director; Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager; Frank LaFleur, Chief Deputy, Fire and Emergency Services; Alvin Jackson, Economic Development Coordinator; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
COMMISSION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Commr. Hanson opened the meeting and explained that the purpose of the Retreat Meeting was to give the Board the opportunity to get started on its goals early in the year. The first item to be discussed would be the Commission Policies and Procedures. Commr. Hanson stated that last year a lot of time was spent on team building. She felt that the knowledge obtained from those meetings should be carried over into this year, and future years, with a team effort being made by the Board to work together to carry out its goals.
Commr. Hanson addressed the issue of the Board members being involved in management. She stated that it was the County Manager's responsibility to be involved in management, with the Board setting the policy. If the Board was not satisfied with the Manager's decisions and actions, it would be up to the Board to take further action. Commr. Hanson stated that she did not feel it was the Board members responsibility to get involved with the employees on an individual basis, other than directly through the Manager.
Commr. Swartz stated that, in regards to Board policy, he would like to see the Board adopt a policy that would address the following: if an item is not on the Board agenda, action cannot be taken, unless it is an emergency item, in which case it would take a four-fifths vote by the Board to consider. This would allow the Commissioners, and the public, to know about the item coming before the Board.
Commr. Bailey questioned whether the suggestion made by Commr. Swartz would include Commissioner's Business. At this time, the issue of bingo was discussed, and the way in which this particular item was handled, after it was placed on the agenda under Commissioner's Business.
It was noted that the Board would address any item not on the Board agenda, if there was a four-fifths vote by the Board, in order to determine whether it was an emergency item. Otherwise the item would be placed on a future agenda.
Commr. Hanson addressed the issue of Team Effort and stated that the Board has spent several years in turmoil, which she feels has had an impact on the economic development in Lake County, and that the Board needs to remain as a team. She stated that this will not eliminate the difference in opinions.
Commr. Cadwell discussed the position of the County Manager, and the depiction the Board members may give of being non-responsive to the citizens, if they fail to personally address each issue brought to them by the public. He explained that the members have to be responsive to the citizens, by keeping the Manager informed of all issues brought to their attention, but that the Manager needs to be responsible for the management.
Discussion occurred regarding the procedures that some of the members use in contacting staff with issues brought to their attention, and the outcome of some of their encounters. It was stressed that there was a need for staff to inform the County Manager of items brought to them by members of the Board.
Commr. Swartz discussed the issue of the Board members dealing with staff members other than the County Manager and the County Attorney, and suggested that the Manager, or Attorney, bring to the attention of any member his opinion as to whether a member is working within his capacity to address an issue, or whether the issue should be within the constraints of the County Manager, or County Attorney. Commr. Swartz discussed problems that the County Manager has addressed with staff, including staff's communication to the public as to the abilities of a Commissioner, and suggested that a clear training program be given to the employees to alleviate these types of problems.
Commr. Hanson addressed the issue of the Board using Roberts Rules of Order. It was determined that the Board has not adopted these rules.
Mr. Frank Gaylord, Interim County Attorney, explained the Roberts Rules of Order, which provides a form for a minority to express ones interest, and creates an adopted form of procedures on which the Board can rely upon.
Commr. Swartz suggested that, for the most part, the Board has been conducting its meetings under Roberts Rules of Order. He suggested that the Board request that the rules be reviewed, if it is the desire of the Board to adopt them.
Mr. Gaylord informed the Board that there are three forms of Roberts Rules of Order, city, government, and general meetings. He stated that, if the Board deals with the rules as a general guideline and adopts them for a procedural guideline of the meetings, if there is a controversy, or a point of order, the Board would have something to fall back on.
Discussion occurred regarding some of the procedures that the Board has used in the past regarding the Chairman's position in voting on an issue.
Mr. Gaylord stated that he will provide the Board with a copy of the short outline of Roberts Rules of Order, which is available in reference form, and with additional information for the Board to consider.
Commr. Hanson addressed the issue of Public Relations/News Releases, and educating the County about government. She stated that the Board needs to find ways to let the people know of the good in government. Commr. Hanson discussed the news releases that have been prepared by the Board Office, and stated that, because of the negative feeling about government, it will be the job of the Board to inform the people of the good that the Board can do for the County.
Commr. Cadwell addressed the Speaker's Bureau that is made available by the County Manager, and suggested that each Commissioner notify the schools within his district about being available to talk about government in general. It was noted that the League of Cities has local government curriculum in the high schools.
Commr. Hanson discussed her involvement with the "Commissioner Corner" at Lake Sumter Community College, and stated that she has been taping two segments a month, for a cable television channel, about issues concerning local government.
Commr. Cadwell addressed the issue of Public Relations/News Releases and stressed that the Board needed to be aggressive about providing information to the newspapers.
Discussion occurred regarding the Board members being informed of matters, whether they be good or bad, in particular anything that is not consistent with the Board's policy, or direction.
Commr. Gerber indicated that she would like to have periodic updates on ongoing problems of the County.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Services, addressed the Board and explained the memorandum process that his department uses to inform the County Manager of issues, which the Manager copies for all of the County Commissioners.
Discussion occurred regarding ways in which issues should be made available to the Board members, either to the Board as a whole unit, or through the Chairman and the liaison Commissioner, and whether it would be beneficial for the County Attorney's Office to produce a bi-monthly list of issues for the Board to review.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Director of Facilities and Capital Improvements, stated that his office used to submit a monthly report to the County Manager on the departmental business for his review, and the County Manager would then take issues of concern to the Board and report on them.
Commr. Hanson informed the Board that plans are being made for a "State of the County" meeting and reception, with no costs to the County, and donations being made, and stated that she would like to have the goals in line, so they can be presented to the public at this time. It was noted that possible dates will be brought to the Board members at the regular meeting.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this should be made a part of Board policy to have the "State of the County" meeting each year.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would like to have each Commissioner participate in the meeting.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:05 a.m., the Chairman announced that the meeting would recess for 15 minutes.
COMMISSION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES (Continued)
Commr. Hanson stressed that the notice of meetings, such as the one being held today, needs to be released to the news media as soon as possible.
Discussion occurred regarding the possible goals (priorities), which Commr. Hanson had distributed to the Board members for consideration. The first to be identified was Economic Development/Tourist Development, which would include the following: 1) Economic Summit; 2) Economic Element; and 3) EXPO Center.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would like to include, under the development of the EXPO Center, the revitalization of the existing fairgrounds.
Mr. Alvin Jackson, Director of Economic Development, presented an update on the Proposed Action Plan of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA). It was noted that the plan would begin in February, with a full update coming before the Board. Mr. Jackson stated that the Summit should be in place by June or July, with a recommendation being submitted to the Board in November on the Economic Development Element. Mr. Jackson informed the Board that Florida Power has agreed to assist in facilitating the process.
Discussion occurred regarding the Board setting achievable goals, and the effort and determination needed by the Board to reach them, once they are established.
Commr. Swartz stated that a short term goal, that would be important to economic development, would be planning for and completing the infrastructure on the County's industrial property.
Mr. Anderson stated that this year the Board would have the adopted master plan for utilities, and the beginning of the contract for processing the construction of that master plan, and that this would be an obtainable goal for the Board.
Discussion occurred regarding agriculture, and the need to select short term goals that would have a definite impact upon it.
Reference was made to the property at O'Brien Road and discussion occurred regarding the citrus trees on the property, and the need for the County to become more aggressive with the pine tree program. It was noted that Economic Development would include agriculture and tourism, with both being incorporated into the Economic Development Element.
Commr. Hanson discussed the active stand that the Agriculture Committee has taken in putting together an agenda for the next year, which will address some of the important issues brought forth today by the Board. She stated that the Committee has decided to make a report to the Board every six months on the progress it has made.
Commr. Bailey stated that an update should be given to the Board from each of the committees on a quarterly basis.
It was noted that it was the consensus of the Board for each committee to provide an update of their progress to the Board every six (6) months.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board needs, in its economic outlook, to promote those things which are logical for Lake County, and which fit in with its resources. He stated that it is essential, under economic development, that some of the Tourist Development Council (TDC) funds, or some other County funds, be utilized in assisting to clean up the lakes, and to improve the fishing in the lakes. He discussed the position of Rails to Trails and how it has helped with these problems, and stated that the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), because of cutbacks in funding from the State, has had to reduce some of its studies involving these issues.
Commr. Swartz stated that, within 60 days, the Ocklawaha Chain of Lakes Restoration Committee will probably be providing to the Chairman a copy of the results and recommendations from the Committee, with regard to what Lake County government needs to do in order to help alleviate the problems being discussed.
Commr. Hanson addressed the next issue listed under Possible Goals, which was "Streamlining Government". She felt that the public was looking at the County to provide more services with less money, and the only way to attempt to accomplish this would be to become more efficient.
Commr. Swartz stated that it is important, on the Commission level to begin with, and through staff, that every recommendation that comes forward to the Board be considered. He addressed different issues, including the C C & A Act, which is mandated by the State.
Mr. Wahl explained that the Board needs to recognize that there will be a financial impact on almost every issue considered by the Board.
Commr. Bailey suggested that anything that comes before the Board from now on will have the economic impact information with it, in order to assist the members in their decision making.
Discussion occurred regarding Code Enforcement being used in the past to deal with neighborhood disputes. It was noted that this problem was addressed by the Board, and restrictions for filing complaints were developed and placed into County law. It was determined that there may be other rules and regulations established by the County that need to be considered again, and perhaps rewritten to accommodate the current needs of the County.
Under the item "Reevaluating reason for government", Commr. Hanson explained that it was her understanding that the government should be a facilitator in helping to establish public-private partnerships and not a government that provides all of the service for a county.
Discussion occurred regarding staff investigating thoroughly all tasks required of the County, in order to determine whether a consultant would be needed to perform such task, or if it could be done in-house, or whether it would be a duplication of services. A determination would then be made as to what would be most cost effective for the County.
Commr. Swartz addressed the issue of Economic Development and stated that he would like to include an Education Element as part of this goal, and to see the Board approach the School Board on this issue.
The issue of evaluating the County budget was addressed, and Ms. Eleanor Anderson, Director, Office of Budget, commented on the process currently being used to do this. Mr. Wahl commented on the role that the management staff plays in the budgetary process.
Discussion occurred regarding impact fees, with Commr. Swartz stating that he hopes to see the impact fee back before the Board for adoption, because this would be one way to hold the line on taxes.
The issue of One Stop Permitting was addressed, and it was noted that this item would be placed under Streamlining Government.
The next issue involved "Environmental Protection", which included Storm Water Management on a basin by basin basis, and collaborative efforts to clean up the lakes and rivers, with the possibility of a grant. After some discussion, the Board agreed to add "joint efforts" and "education" as additional means of striving to clean up the lakes and rivers, and to include "other counties (adjoining)" and "Ocklawaha Chain of Lakes Restoration Committee" under Joint Efforts.
Discussion occurred regarding the issue of "Crime", in terms of juvenile delinquency, and establishing neighborhood resource centers using the Children's Commission. Commr. Cadwell suggested that an emphasis be made on "parental responsibility".
Commr. Swartz discussed the We Care Program and stated that the Board will want to consider some of the health care taxing commissions. He suggested that, from an accountability basis, the Board should look at whether or not, once We Care is in place, there will be results to the funding from the County level. Commr. Swartz stated that he would like to see some in-kind costs be provided by the County, and let the hard costs be more out of the taxing districts monies.
Commr. Swartz suggested an item "F" be added to the proposed list of goals, to include continuing to improve the Comprehensive Plan, and working toward Land Development Regulations (LDRs) that not only implement the Plan, but further the goals that the Board is ultimately trying to accomplish. He also suggested that, with regards to the LDRs, the Board try to keep from going back to an Administrative Hearing.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would like to include a statement to indicate that the Board feels, even though all of the goals are important, the number one goal is economic development, and that the Board feels all of the goals that have been set out in every category lead back to the number one goal.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would prefer to use the word "priorities" rather than "goals", because goals should be measurable, and consist of a time frame.
Commr. Bailey suggested that the information discussed today be placed into a report form, with a follow up meeting being scheduled.
Commr. Hanson stated that the information will be brought back to the Board before the State of the County meeting in February. She stated that she would like to see the "retreat" meetings scheduled on a regular basis within the first two weeks of January every year, and, if the Board makes the State of the County a regular event, it needs to be scheduled in mid-February.
Commr. Swartz stated that he would like to see a management style in the County where implementation flows up the chain, as well as down the chain, and a system whereby not just supervisors rate the quality of work of the employees, but there is a system whereby employees also get to rate their supervisors. He stated that he would like to see employees' ideas and efforts rewarded, because he does not feel that the County fully utilizes the resource of its employees. He discussed issues including the turnover of employees, and stated that he would like to see something that would improve the employees' moral, and for an "employee friendly system" to be created. Commr. Swartz stated that he would like the employees to become partners in what the Board is attempting to do. He then discussed the merit raise system and stated that he would like to see this changed.
Commr. Hanson stated that the issues brought forth by Commr. Swartz were the same as those that she brought to the Board her first year on the Commission, to set up a system whereby an employee could make suggestions, and if there was a cost savings, or an increase in efficiency, he would be rewarded. She stated that an incentive is needed to make a person strive to become more efficient and have better ideas. Commr. Hanson suggested that this item be placed under "streamlining government".
Mr. Stivender informed the Board that the employees he is in contact with have expressed that they would like to be contacted by a Commissioner on an occasion other than when information is needed.
Discussion occurred regarding items that may assist in the interaction between the employees and their superiors, such as the renovation of the government buildings, and methods that are currently being used by the County to increase moral, including making funds available to those employees who wish to further their education, and a newsletter that is distributed once a month to employees, which includes their input.
Commr. Swartz suggested that the newsletter include a section entitled "Ask the Chairman", or "Ask the County Manager", where an employee may ask questions, or make suggestions, without having to reveal his name.
Mr. Anderson discussed the "team work" session that the Board had last year, which he felt was very productive, and questioned the status of the "Mission Statement".
Ms. Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager, presented the "Vision Statement" and the "Mission Statement", which were developed by the Board at the Visions meetings held last year.
Mr. Anderson stated that he would like to see the Board take some action on the statements.
It was noted that the statements would be distributed to the members, in order to get additional comment before they are formally adopted.
Ms. Kronz stated that the Board did not formulate specific value statements at the meetings last year.
The next Retreat Meeting was scheduled for February 8, 1994, at 9 a.m., at the Welcome Center.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.
CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK