The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, April 15, 1996, at 2 p.m., in the Board Meeting Room, Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Rhonda G. Gerber; and G. Richard Swartz, Jr. Staff members present were: Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Sue Whittle, County Manager; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, stated that the purpose of the workshop was to review the latest in the series of MAGIC reports, with today's report being the review of the Department of Planning and Development. It was noted that the Board members had a copy of the report. Ms. Whittle stated that this was one of the most positive and thorough review reports that she has ever had in a department, and she saw it as a great beginning and new direction for the department. Ms. Whittle explained that the MAGIC Team talked to external users, internal users, and every employee within the department, in order to determine its recommendations. She introduced the MAGIC Team members, as follows: Bruce Thorburn, Kathy McDonald, Craig Haun, Ava Kronz, Sarah LaMarche, Mike Anderson and Wayne Hamilton.
Ms. Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager, explained that the MAGIC Team not only talked with the employees, and other counties, but looked at the law of Florida and the Florida Statutes in its review. She stated that, when talking to the external users of the department, the members felt that the County had very dedicated and hard working employees; however, there was a concern that there was a general need for staff training and education, that regulations should be uniformly enforced, and that there was a lack of cohesive direction and communication in the department. They also felt strongly that the internal problems of Lake County should not affect them doing business with Lake County.
Ms. Kronz stated that the comments of the internal users were incorporated into the report by division, and the MAGIC Team members would be presenting an overview of each division, with time being allowed for questions by the Board members.
Mr. Craig Haun, Senior Director, Fire and Emergency Services, presented an overview of the Building Division and reviewed the recommendations made by the MAGIC Team, as presented in the report.
Commr. Good asked that the record reflect the information in the report which indicated that the permit technicians, in the South Lake Office, were issuing 140-150 permits monthly of which 50-70 were single family homes, and that these employees were spending 15-20 percent of their time on work for Constitutional Officers.
Discussion occurred regarding the existing computers in the Building Division, with it being noted that the Division Director would be reviewing the recommendations coming from the START Team and would be planning implementation.
Ms. Whittle informed the Board that Mr. Chris Greco, Public Services, was present to answer questions of the Board, because a lot of the recommendations in the MAGIC Team report, and the report being made by the START Team, were inter-related.
Ms. Kathy McDonald, Program Coordinator, explained the process currently being used by the Building Division, in terms of the Building Counter, and the hours of operation.
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Planning and Development, addressed the internal user comment suggesting that a representative from the Building Division be present at the Technical Review Committee (TRC) meetings.
Ms. Sarah LaMarche, Director of Budget, presented an overview of the Code Compliance Division and reviewed the recommendations made by the MAGIC Team, as presented in the report.
It was noted that the County Attorney had looked into the legality of the request for a Special Master to hear code compliance cases and had recommended against it. The County Attorney's Office has begun presenting the cases to the Code Compliance Board, in an effort to assist in the enforcement process.
Mr. Mike Anderson, Director, Facilities and Capital Improvements, presented an overview of the Planning Division and reviewed the recommendations made by the MAGIC Team, as presented in the report.
Commr. Good addressed the organizational chart in the report and stated that he wanted to make sure that the MAGIC Team, based on its comments, was building an organizational structure that would expedite the communications for grant writing through the Board, and to have the Board somewhat involved in the process.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director, Public Services, addressed the recommendation being made to move the Transportation Disadvantaged Program to Public Services, in order to have all transit together in one area.
Mr. Bruce Thorburn, Information Services Director, presented an overview of the Development and Regulations Division and reviewed the recommendations made by the MAGIC Team, as presented in the report.
Ms. Jean Kaminski addressed the Board and stated that staff had done an excellent job on the report, and she understood the process being proposed for One Stop Permitting.
Ms. McDonald discussed the Summary, which included a recommendation for a "Software Team" of employees involved in the development review process to be appointed to meet with Perconti, the company that supplied the Building Division software to develop a plan and costs for multi-agency implementation of the software.
Commr. Good stressed that he wanted to make sure that staff was monitoring the fiscal impact on the computer networking and the new software upgrades.
Ms. Whittle explained that she did not ask the MAGIC Team to cost everything out, and that this would go back to the management of the department. She further noted that the Team would not be monitoring the implementation and results of the recommendations, as outlined in the report.
Ms. Kronz presented an overview of the Division of Environmental Management and reviewed the recommendations made by the MAGIC Team, as presented in the report, which included six positions being abolished, and six positions being transferred to other areas.
Commr. Good addressed Page 20, which recommended the following: "A complete review should be made of the Law and policies established which provide stated parameters of operation." He stated that he did not see a recommendation pertaining to this issue.
In response to Commr. Good's comment, Ms. Kronz stated that the members felt, as a committee, it should not be establishing those parameters as a team.
Ms. Whittle stated that the review was being done by the department head and the County Manager. Because there was a lot of work being done in the environmental area, in reviewing the mission and defining the mission of the division, Ms. Whittle wanted to schedule this as a topic at the next Board Retreat. She stated that the mission and the programs established for Environmental Management were policy issues, and she would be bringing the Board those policy recommendations.
Commr. Good addressed the organizational structure, as outlined in the report, and stated that there seemed to be a significant change in function of Environmental Management as a department, and it appeared that environmental management would only occur in the regulation of development. He felt that Environmental Management was being made a subset of long range planning of code compliance and water quality coordination.
Mr. Anderson explained that the MAGIC Team did not go into the depth defined by Commr. Good, which was growth management versus environmental development, and to try and streamline or eliminate anything. He explained that the organizational structure, as defined today, had been structured from the current indepth review of the departments, with proposed plans being made by the Team, but it would continue to be modified, as other plans were reviewed and approved by the Board.
Commr. Hanson commended the MAGIC Team for its very objective approach at looking at a way that a job could be done in the most effective means. She explained that the outcome of the Team's effort would then come to the Board for it to make changes regardless of what was being recommended, but the Team had not been charged with making choices other than looking at how the job could be done as efficiently as possible.
Ms. Whittle explained that the recommendations would place individuals, who actually perform environmental management tasks, in other areas where they would continue to perform such tasks, but where there would be more coordination of duties, more effectiveness, and would reduce duplication of services. Ms. Whittle clarified that the recommendations being made by the MAGIC Team were recommendations to her, and it was a point from which to begin to discuss and define what was needed for the future.
Commr. Swartz noted that a report had been presented to the Board on operational issues, some of which had already been implemented, and some of which were going to be implemented. He stated that some aspects of the report would start dealing with the organizational chart and individual employee positions, at which time, during the Retreat, the Board would be discussing these issues and looking at them from all different perspectives, one of which was brought forward by Commr. Good. He explained that the MAGIC Team had found the reason why the Environmental Management Division was ineffective and inefficient, and it did not have to do as much with organization, as with the difficulty in determining what they should be doing and marshalling the resources from different departments into one. He liked the concept of the Department of Growth Management, because he felt that all issues come underneath that umbrella, whether it be environmental issues, development review, zoning, or long range planning. Commr. Swartz stated that he had seen the organizational structure every way possible, and this may be an approach that would work well short term, and maybe even long term, and could be discussed at the Retreat. He would like to get from the County Manager whatever resources she had available, in order to get some understanding of how design graphics, mapping graphics, and GIS would be coming together in the near future. Commr. Swartz stated that the report was unlike any previous effort that had been attempted and was clearly a review, and a study of substance, and it was clear that it worked toward helping the employees, but it was oriented toward helping the customers that the department served. He commended the Team members for their efforts, and the County Manager who had taken employees in County government and asked them to work with other employees to determine how it could best be organized rather than bringing people in from the outside to tell the County how it needed to be organized.
There being no other business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:48 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK