The Board of Commissioners of the South Walton County Mosquito Control District held its Regular Board Meeting at the Walton County Courthouse Annex, 31 Coastal Centre Boulevard in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida at 9:30 a.m.
The Commissioners attending the meeting were Robert Hudson, Timothy Norris and John J. Magee. Also attending the meeting were Director Ben Brewer, Office Manager Geraldine Via, Attorney Rene Youell, Pat Magee, Billy McLean, Thomas Smith, Ronnie Faulk and Steve Youell.
The meeting opened with a Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
A motion was made by Commissioner Magee seconded by Commissioner Hudson to approve the minutes of the September 18, 2014 Special Board Meeting. Motion passed unanimously.
A motion was made by Commissioner Magee, seconded by Commissioner Hudson to approve the minutes of the October 21, 2014 Regular Board Meeting with the correct spelling of the word “vote”. Motion passed unanimously.
Director Brewer presented the Financial Reports for October 2014. He informed the Board that the auditors are working with us to figure out why the balance sheet does not balance. Office Manager Geraldine Via stated hopefully next month the balance sheet will be correct. Commissioner Hudson stated we still don’t know what the ending fund balance at the end of September.
Commissioner Norris explained that an elevation certificate is needed and the good news is the district building is in a flood zone AE7 which is 7 feet or above sea level.
A motion was made by Commissioner Magee, seconded by Commissioner Hudson to approve the October 2014 expenditures. Motion passed unanimously.
Attorney Youell presented her report. The litigation on Mr. Liles pre-suit letter is outstanding. There was a public records request addressed to her from Mr. Liles, which she turned over to Director Brewer to address. Mr. Schyed, attorney for Mr. Liles, has not responded to her emails regarding the surveys that had been submitted. She is still working on the purchase and procurment policy. There is no change on the BP claim. Florida League of Cities has not returned her call regarding the chemical spill policy. She was asked to look at compensation for commissioners. She found that the commissioners get $4,800 per year and reasonable reimbursements. Commissioner Hudson asked Attorney Youell about the policy for using licensed contractors for repairs. Attorney Youell stated she does have that. She had sent it to Director Brewer. She apologized that she did not put it in her letter. She would like to see the District’s policies as resolutions. A motion was made by Commissioner Hudson, seconded by Commissioner Magee to have future changes to policy done by resolution. Motion passed unanimously. She stated the resolutions could be required to be on the website.
A motion was made by Commissioner Hudson, seconded by Commissioner Magee to approve payment of Attorney Youell’s monthly statement. Motion passed unanimously.
Director Brewer presented the Activity Report for the month of October 2014. He stated it was a slow adulticide month, but there were some calls about mosquitoes. The training has begun on the mobile app used to track storm drain treatments. There are 18 mature birds and 28 more that will be ready very soon. We just purchased 53 biddies that will be ready by spring. He stated the roosters will be removed this winter.
Director Brewer gave an update on the 2014 Florida Mosquito Control Association Annual Meeting. Anastasia Mosquito Control is spending approximately $60,000 for an app that tracks their larviciding efforts. The 2015 FMCA Annual Meeting will be in St. Augustine. Commissioner Magee stated it was an excellent meeting and he wishes everyone could have attended. There are new chemicals being tested that are more environmentally friendly. He announced that he will be the Vice Chairman on the FMCA Commissioners Caucus.
Director Brewer mentioned there are District’s using vehicles with a right side steering wheel so larviciding can be done with only one technician. He would like to purchase a similar vehicle this year. Commissioner Hudson has a real concern about going to right hand vehicles and having that person drive the truck as well as spray larvicide out the window. Commissioner Magee mentioned the availability of conversion kits. Director Brewer mentioned Jeeps being an option. Commissioner Magee suggested looking at government options on used postal vehicles that are already equipped. Commissioner Norris suggested Director Brewer look into the options. Director Brewer presented a tactic that a district in California is using for gaining access to private property. They are getting warrants and are able to access the property in 24 hours in times of disease outbreaks. Commissioner Hudson prefers the educational program rather than having employees serving warrants. Director Brewer will contact North Walton Mosquito Control to dicuss their future procedure for entering private property. Commissioner Magee directed Attorney Youell to draft an idea, then meet with code enforcement and the sheriff’s department for their input, then parlay all that information so we will have a policy that is easy to implement.
Director Brewer reported that MC12 has had damages during the previous two FEMA events. The District is hoping to receive FEMA reimbursement to improve the pipes. The District has paid Engineer Scott Jenkins $1,500 to do a hydrology study to suggest possible improvements. Director Brewer stated that Mr. Jenkins suggested to go with larger, more expensive pipes and FEMA has already stated they could not cover the cost of those large pipes. Director Brewer estimates it will cost $11,000 or more in materials. He stated FEMA told him to repair it the way the District normally would and they cannot answer whether or not the funds will be reimbursed.
Commissioner Magee stated that he had asked Attorney Youell to contact Commissioner Elect Ronnie Faulk and consult with him to bring him up to date with any issues going on with the District. He also asked her to emphasize the fact that once Commissioner Elect Faulk was elected he now comes under the Sunshine Law.
Commissioner Norris stated he had a brief meeting with the employees yesterday. He asked to task Attorney Youell, Director Brewer and himself to have a meeting to present the policies and procedures to the employees along with job descriptions and the organizational chart so we will all be on the same page. Commissioner Norris stated that the employees agreed that probably 50% of the issues we have is the headquarters has been damaged and we are having to operate out of the vehicles.
Commissioner Magee asked if there is a need for another office trailer during the construction time for the employees. He stated he is asking Director Brewer about securing the district property, chemicals, etc. during the construction with workers and citizens coming in and out.
Commissioner Hudson stated a nature trail has been herbicided and the District broke it and it needs to be fixed. He asked Director Brewer if he had contacted the master gardener about repairing the nature trail. He mentioned the need for a policy stating when to spray or not to spray.
Commissioner Hudson stated last month he brought up an issue that had to do with him personally and Health Insurance Portability and Accountabilty Act (HIPAA), which protects employee information. He asked Office Manager Geraldine Via for the Supplemental Insurance Reimbursement Program policy and was given a policy with a handwritten overlay. He wonders if all the employees really understand HIPAA and the responsibility we have as the Board. It can be criminal in nature and finable up to $250,000 and this District has exposed itself to a claim. He asked if anything has been done to try and discover what happened because he was told the building had not be broken into. Attorney Youell recommended contacting the sheriff’s office because this is a potential criminal issue. It is involving a public entity with HIPPA violations and dissemination. Commissioner Hudson stated he does not know if it should be pursued to that degree. Commissioner Magee stated that other employee information could have been exposed. A motion was made by Commissioner Magee, Commissioner Norris passed the gavel to Commissioner Hudson. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Norris for discussion. Commissioner Norris asked Commissioner Hudson if there were paper copies of his information. Commissioner Hudson answered, “Yes”. Motion passed unanimously with Commissioners Magee and Norris voting yes. Commissioner Hudson did not vote. Commissioner Hudson passed the gavel back to Commissioner Norris.
Commissioner Hudson has read the section of the employee handbook and the minutes of the August 20, 2013 Board Meeting that dealt with the changes to employee benefits. He stated that yesterday he asked to hear the tape of the meeting and what was done. The tape could not be located. There was a motion made August 20, 2013 which was intended to say, new employees hired after November 1, 2013 would not be eligible for paid medical and other insurances. The other portion of the intended motion was that commissioners newly elected after November 1, 2013 would not be eligible for any benefits other than those outlined in FS388.141. He said the minutes do not reflect the intent of the Board. A motion was made by Commissioner Hudson, seconded by Commissioner Magee to amend the Employee Handbook, section 6.9 and any other section that pertains to benefits for elected commissioners to state that any commissioner elected after November 1, 2013 is not eligible for any benefits other than those provided by Florida Statue 388.141. Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Hudson stated that motion has far reaching impacts. The Board years ago declared itself in some local legislation to include commissioners in the benefits program of the county. Attorney Youell stated she does not believe there is a legal issue with the motion made today but she can write a legal opinion letter and research it further or she can go to the Attorney General’s office and ask for a legal opinion. The Board agreed.
Commissioner Norris asked if Director Brewer would restate his action items. Director Brewer stated he would be contacting Brenda Hunt, the Director of North Walton Mosquito Control about gaining access to private property in the future. He will speak to Scott Jenkins in regard to MC12. Director Brewer stated he would look into the code of conduct policy.
Attorney Youell stated that she had been tasked to develop a resolution process, also to write a policy for public health emergencies, to meet with Commissioner Faulk to discuss issues, also to meet with Commissioner Norris and Ben regarding policy procedures fine tune the job descriptions, organization charts and chain of command. She stated she is to contact the Walton County Sheriff’s Department to initiate an investigation on the potential theft of employee information. She is to ask for the Attorney General’s opinion concering the motion to suspend any newly elected Commissioner’s benefits as under FS388.141.1.
The Board agreed to have a holiday party after the Board Meeting on December 16, 2014.
A motion was made by Commissioner Hudson, seconded by Commissioner Magee to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 11:49 a.m. Motion passed unanimously.
John Magee, Secretary
Timothy Norris, Chairman