County Offices, Courts and Landfill will be closed on Monday, July 4 for the Independence Day Holiday. Critical services at Larimer County are not disrupted by closures.
EAB Meeting Minutes
March 9, 2004
Ramon Ajero Tom Bender
Jim Skarbek Speakers
Marcia Van Eden Neil Gluckman, Asst. County Manager
William Zawacki Staff
Ray Herrmann Cheryl Kolus, staff liaison
I. Citizen Comments
II. Chair's Comments
III. Commissioner's Comments
IV. Approval of February Minutes
The minutes were approved with several minor changes mainly to page 5 regarding board members’ comments about West Nile Virus and the Environmental Responsibility Policy.
V. Amendments to the Agenda
A board discussion on West Nile Virus was added. The Environmental Responsibility Policy discussion was removed from the agenda. [It was later discussed, however. See notes below.]
VI. Discussion Items
Neil Gluckman, Larimer County Assistant Manager, Board and Commission Training
Neil Gluckman offers board and commission training to members and staff liaisons of the county’s boards and commissions. Larimer County has 23 boards and commissions (hereafter referred to simply as “board”).
Neil explained that the county has only those powers given to it by state statute. Board members cannot lobby as a representative of the board, but can do so as an individual.
Types of county boards include advisory (like the EAB), quasi-judicial and decision-making boards, as well as task forces. Each board has a staff liaison who is responsible for the “care and feeding” of the board. The liaison develops agendas, answers questions and orients new members. Each board also has a responsible official, which for the EAB is believed to be Stephen Gillette (this must be clarified, however), and a commissioner liaison (Tom Bender).
Recruitment of new members is initiated annually by the Commissioners’ Office, and the selection process includes the commissioners, the board chair and the staff liaison, with the commissioners having the final say on choosing new members. Members serve staggered, 3-year terms (unless filling a position that was prematurely vacated, in which case the new member’s term ends when that position’s term would have originally ended).
Boards are periodically reviewed every four years by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The EAB is due for its next review in 2006.
The EAB operates under its bylaws, which were last revised in 1999, and must also abide by Larimer County Administrative Policy and Procedure 100.1E: Larimer County Boards, Commissions, Councils and Committees. Board meetings should follow Robert’s Rules of Order.
Jack Coleman asked how board members could change the EAB’s bylaws. Neil explained that EAB members must approve the change through a vote, and then the change must be approved by the BCC.
To increase board efficiency and effectiveness, Neil offered several guidelines. The board chair and staff liaison should meet about two weeks prior to meetings to review the agenda and be sure the board is heading in the right direction. The chair needs to actively facilitate the meeting and remain impartial during heated discussions. He or she must treat all board members equally, and keep the meeting moving along yet not cut people off in their discussions.
Boards have authority only when acting as a group. Neil said the board has one voice. John Bartholow pointed out, however, the benefit provided to the BCC from different individual perspectives, which are reflected in meeting minutes. Commissioner Bender agreed that it’s important to list reasons for dissenting votes in the minutes.
Open meetings require a public notice; currently EAB meetings are posted in advance at the Larimer County Courthouse Offices and on the county’s Web site. The public notice requirement only applies when a quorum of members is present. Committee meetings are also public meetings, as long as at least three members are present. When a quorum is expected to be present, meetings must be publicized in advance; if fewer than a quorum is expected (for example, a committee meeting) no prior public notice is required.
An exception to the open meeting rule is an executive session. An executive session, considered a closed meeting, may be called for specific purposes but must meet state statute requirements. Neil suggests contacting the county attorney prior to scheduling an executive session to be sure that we are meeting all requirements. Such a session must be announced and recorded, but need not be open to the public.
Neil went on to explain the open records policy. All of the EAB’s records are most likely open to the public, including meeting minutes, projects and e-mails. Neil stressed that anything sent to EAB members via e-mail is subject to public access, including any attachments to e-mails. The only exceptions would be anything that is still in process; i.e. proposals or recommendations that are not yet completed.
Board members may have a conflict of interest if a financial or personal benefit may occur to the member or the member’s family. If this is the case, the member must excuse themselves from taking part in relevant discussions and actions. Board members cannot accept gifts more than $20 in value if the giver does business with the county or the EAB. Commissioner Bender also pointed out that board members can’t represent the EAB on other boards or committees, but can participate as individuals.
Environmental Responsibility Policy
Commissioner Bender commented that the Environmental Responsibility Policy (ERP) was originally developed in 1996, then reviewed and revised in 2002. The commissioners had brought it to the EAB and other boards for input. Commissioner Bender stated that there is no policy saying that once a policy is developed, it must be brought back again to the boards that reviewed it.
Commissioner Bender explained that the BCC reads over policies and refers to them again usually only if questions arise about how an issue relates to a policy. Dave Swartz questioned the purpose of policies if they’re not referred to more often. Commissioner Bender said that the county has many policies, and that the ERP is mostly common sense. He reiterated that the commissioners do review it when questions come up.
Dave Swartz recommended that the BCC review the wording in the ERP. “Property rights” was added to the list of environmental issues on the revised policy, so the number of environmental issues should be 12 now, not 11 as stated. Also, Objective H should state “balance among the three” rather than “a balance of the two,” since a third factor was added here. Commissioner Bender said these would be simple administrative changes.
West Nile Virus
Cities and counties are meeting March 11 to make decisions about West Nile Virus and mosquito control. The commissioners will not be attending that meeting, but the EAB can make a recommendation to the BCC and have the BCC forward it to Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, health department director, who will be at the meeting.
Ramon Ajero moved that the EAB recommend to the BCC that Larimer County aggressively pursue an integrated pest management (IPM) approach consistent with the one recommended by the City of Fort Collins West Nile Virus Task Force, and that the county perform actions in ways that would optimize IPM efforts of other counties and municipalities. The motion passed unanimously.
John Bartholow also suggested that the BCC communicate to other western counties and municipalities (for example, Klamath, Ore. and California’s Central Valley) through whatever means available to help them develop an approach to dealing with the virus before it heads their way. Marcia Van Eden asked if the CDC already does that; John replied that it probably does, but it didn’t seem to help much in this area. Dale Lockwood noted that California has already had cases of WNV. A motion was made to make this another recommendation to the BCC. The motion passed unanimously.
Board members’ concerns about the EAB’s responsibilities, communications and operations
Board members discussed ways to improve meetings. One area of concern was the way in which citizen comments are handled. One standard approach is to have an agenda item presented and then take citizen comments related to that item. A suggestion was made for the chair to state formally at the beginning of each meeting how citizen comments would be taken, and to also put that information on agendas so late-comers would understand. After further discussion, the board agreed to change the current wording for No. 2 on the agendas to read, “Citizen Comments on Non-agenda Items” and also state as meetings are convened that citizen comments on agenda items can be brought up after item discussions.
The board also agreed to provide more information on the agendas about each topic of discussion. The chair and vice-chair will review each agenda before it’s distributed.
Another concern was the handling of late additions to the agenda. The more advanced notice board members get about additional items, the better prepared they can be. Commissioner Bender will get information to Cheryl Kolus, staff liaison, as soon as possible prior to meetings so that Cheryl can get information to board members. This is unnecessary, however, for simple FYI items.
BCC responses will be added to the EAB Web site.
Also at issue were efficiency and board members’ pre-meeting preparation. A more detailed agenda and having materials sent out to members beforehand will help in these respects. Status reports and updates should be distributed prior to meetings, and then discussions can be held during meetings only if there are questions. Speaker time limits must be decided upon, stated on the agenda and at the meeting, and enforced. The board can vote to extend the time allotted for a discussion or speaker’s presentation if necessary.
Dave Swartz noted that the EAB bylaws don’t say that the board’s recommendations must go only to the BCC. In county policy, it states that they can also go to county departments. Cheryl Kolus will check with Neil Gluckman about this. [Neil later confirmed that EAB recommendations must be directed only to the BCC.]
Ray Herrmann announced a March 10 work session on communication towers. John Bartholow suggested submitting the USFWS guidelines on siting communication towers to the BCC to pass along to the Planning Commission to help in decision-making. Commissioner Bender stated that he has the guidelines already and will take them to the work session.
Jack Coleman said that the recycling committee came up with criteria for an RFP, but it still needs some work. The committee is meeting March 10.
John Bartholow brought a map of Canada lynx habitat for board members to review and will bring it again to the meeting at which this is an agenda item. The map suggests that a significant amount of lynx habitat exists in Larimer County.
Bill Zawacki noted that the Loveland City Council recently toured the proposed Serenade Park area. Dale Lockwood has heard informally that getting sewer and water in and out of the area could be very difficult. Bill Zawacki and Marcia Van Eden agreed to write up an issue report for the EAB Web site with more details about Serenade Park. Ramon Ajero requested that the board find out the time frame of this project and if a Planning Commission hearing has been scheduled yet. Bill and Marcia will find this out and report back to the board.
The meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.