June 18, 2020

June 18, 2020

Commissioners Scott Blain and Bill Bullock; Commissioners’ Secretary Barbara Daniel; and Scott Miller were present.

8:30 Pledge of Allegiance

Cottonwood Road, from Clarks River Road to the Cottonwood Equestrian Center, is undergoing a paving project; this will greatly improve that road because of the high volume of traffic that it supports.

Commissioner Bullock moved to approve claims for the accounting period May 20, 2020; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

Commissioner Bullock moved to approve Commissioners’ Proceedings for June 2nd, 4th, and 9th of 2020; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

Commissioner Bullock moved to appoint Joe Yedlicka for the position of Trustee for the Fromberg Fire District #3; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

9:00 Commissioner Blain departed to the Courthouse; 9:10 he returned.

Commissioner Bullock moved to approve Resolution 2020-19 Request for Prosecutorial Assistance; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

Commissioner Blain signed the renewal Memorandum of Understanding with the Montana Woolgrowers Association (in accordance with the terms of a Cooperative Services Agreement between the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services program) for the protection of sheep from destructive animals.

9:30 Red Lodge Mayor Bill Larson joined the meeting for his weekly update. City staff are working on the Resort Tax Ordinance since the ballot was successful earlier this month. Discussion regarding the COVID-19 Sentinel testing conducted last weekend; results are expected today. Independent of the Sentinel testing, there are two new cases in the County in the past 24-hours with possibly one more. 9:35 Red Lodge City Council President Dave Westwood joined the meeting. Discussion regarding the City’s Weed plan which is conducted in conjunction with the tall grass program; it is mostly complaint-driven. Commissioner Bullock reported on a conversation with Red Lodge Chief of Police Jason Wells that campers are starting to illegally set-up in City parks. Commissioner Bullock reported that chip-seal and painting on Ski Run Road up to the parking lot is nearing completion. Westwood inquired about the canceling of the 4th of July parade; Commissioner Blain and Mayor Larson replied that organizer Glory Mahan decided that it was impossible to conduct it safely within COVID-19 guidelines. Discussion regarding the Beartooth Rally organizer’s desire to have a street closure and whether it would help or hinder compliance with COVID-19 guidelines; Public Health is meeting with organizers to determine feasibility. 10:50 Westwood departed the meeting. Larson reported that the Hell’s Angels are still in communication with Chief Wells regarding potentially holding an event at the end of July. 10:55 Mayor Larson departed the meeting.

Commissioner Bullock moved to approve Resolution 2020-18 To Establish Salaries for Elected Officials for the 2020-2021 Budget Year; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

Newell reported that she’s been in communication with ChemNet who will write an Employee Drug and Alcohol Policy for the County since they are already a contractor. Discussion about designating minimum dollar thresholds for accidents to trigger testing. There will also be a 60-day waiting period for implementation for existing employees. The County will be required to have a trained and certified Reasonable Suspicion Officer; this would be separate from the training for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) detection received by law enforcement.

11:00 Clerk and Recorder Christine Stovall joined the meeting. Newell discussed Sheriff Josh McQuillan’s request to amend his budget shifting $8k within accounts to purchase weapons. Justice Court Judge Kevin Nichols joined the meeting to discuss his 2020-2021 Preliminary Budget. Justice Systems Inc training in New Orleans is now on-line due to COVID-19 so there will be travel cost savings; otherwise everything remains even. He is satisfied with his department’s funding level. Discussion regarding COVID-19 precautions being taken in Justice Court. Jury duty summons are coming back with citizen comments communicating concern about COVID-19.
Discussion regarding clerk salaries. By statute, Judge Nichols is not permitted to have a Deputy. He communicated that his top Clerk, who is at 72.5% (vs the 90% for Deputies) of elected official pay, is being held back and doesn’t have equity with District Court. This Clerk officially acts as pro tem Judge when he is absent. Commissioner Bullock replied that according to the job descriptions in MACo’s Model of Essential Functions, the Clerk in the Justice court doesn’t have the same higher level responsibilities as the Deputy Clerk in the District Court, and that a higher base salary would not be appropriate nor allowable by statute, but that a stipend would be appropriate when his Justice Clerk acts as pro tem. Stovall added that her Clerk and Recorder Deputies are by law allowed to do everything she can do when she’s out of the office. Commissioner Blain stated that he’s in support of a stipend for pro tem time, but not a pay raise for the Clerk scale. Newell stated that she will create job code in TimeClock for pro tem timekeeping. Commissioner Bullock cautioned about perceptions with making changes for one person/position. Judge Nichols will return to Commissioners with a proposal.

12:15 Adjourned.

1:00 Meeting resumed to discuss Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) / Geospatial Information Services (GIS) department structures and attended by DES Coordinator Tom Kohley, Sheriff Josh McQuillan, and Scott Miller. Kohley reported on the overage on the costs of the generator switch for the Bridger tower; the vendor will reduce the labor charges and the grant will pay the rest; therefore no charge to the County. Despite the overage, the tower still came in significantly under budget and the rest must be spent by June 30th. He’s looking into a backup generator and power monitoring. 1:05 Stovall returned to the meeting.

Kohley recommended keeping a full-time DES Coordinator and replacing the half-time Deputy DES Coordinator with a .8FTE GIS/Rural Address Coordinator. Kohley stressed the importance of grant administration in the role of DES Coordinator; Newell echoed that approximately $700k has been received in grants in the past 4 years. Discussion regarding Deputy Kelly Carrington’s role managing the County’s radio systems and Sheriff’s office technology. Commissioner Blain supported compensating the Sheriff’s Department for radio work and retaining Kohley as the DES Coordinator and Fire Warden while hiring for GIS. Discussion whether the DES Coordinator should be managed under the Sheriff’s department. Commissioner Bullock recommended hiring a civilian to manage radios and technology thereby relieving Carrington to resume patrol duties. In order to backfill a Deputy, Newell shared that a .6FTE would cost $56k with wages/fringe. The discussion ended without decision or resolution; the topic will be revisited in the near future.

3:10 Adjourned