USDA Service Center
Jefferson city, Missouri
May 12, 2009
Bill Wilson, DNR Program Acting Director
Kathryn Braden, Soil & Water Commission
John Knudsen, MDC
Chris Terry, District Employees Association
Wendy Bowen, Caldwell Co. SWCD
Deneen Jenkins, Greene Co. SWCD
Debbie Gudgell, Livingston Co. SWCD
Charlie Perkins, St. Charles Co. SWCD
Debbie Niederer, Warren Co. SWCD
Kim Williamson, Ray Co. SWCD
President Steve Radcliff welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 11:10 a.m. No quorum established by roll call, will conduct voting with one member on the telephone to establish quorum.
The minutes from the March 11, 2009 will be held for the next meeting for approval.
David Dix distributed a treasurer report. David reviewed the list of the districts that have paid state dues. There are 94 districts who have paid dues for 2009 and 19 who have not and 1 that has paid $300. David stated a CD will mature shortly and he is hoping the interest rate will get higher before re-investing the funds. David mentioned that due to the increased mileage rate the cost just for mileage to hold a board meeting increased by $200 from $1400 to $1600.
MDC REPORT: John Knudsen attended representing Bill McGuire. Brad McCord is now with NRCS as an RC&D Coordinator. MDC is trying to get their budget back down to the level of the revenue from the sales tax, they plan a staff reduction of 130 mostly by attrition by the end of the summer.
They currently have about 1600 full time employees. MDC is actively pursuing the feral hog situation on public lands, would like to do more on private lands but must have the permission of the landowner first.
NRCS REPORT: Roger Hansen was unable to attend due to a prior commitment. He has agreed to be one of the judges for the speech contest at the Training Conference this year. Steve Radcliff reported that he, Beverly Dometrorch, Kenny Lovelace and Peggy Lemons had met with Roger and Diane Gelburd Acting Regional Assistant Chief of NRCS to discuss the desired skills and abilities of the next state conservationist. Also at this meeting was Mike Wells, Davis Minton, and Bill Wilson of DNR, and Leon Kreisler of the Soil and Water Commission.
COMMISSION REPORT: Kathryn Braden was in attendance representing the Soil and Water Districts Commission. She reminded everyone that at the end of the Commission meetings there is a time for public comment. The Commission meeting scheduled for tomorrow is cancelled due to lack of a quorum. They had planned for a 2-hour work study to discuss the info/ed funding allocation and the needs assessment funding. They had asked for more information on number of students per grade to possibly target certain grade levels for program funding (i.e. grades 3 through 6 and maybe high school). Ms. Braden indicated she would really like to see the funding help encourage participation in the Envirothon for high school students. She also stated she had received calls on a few other issues: 1) cost-sharing on least-cost fencing in a grazing system and those who want barb wire costs them more out-of-pocket, 2) supervisor health insurance along with the employee insurance, 3) election rule changes. She elaborated on some of what was being discussed on election policy changes instead of a rule change which included additional notices in the local newspapers and possible reimbursement for advertisement costs. She also stated they are looking at proposing various ideas which include incentives to follow. Ms. Braden stated she felt there should be some way to allow Districts to put the funds in the category they need it in. Bill Wilson stated they had been in touch with Missouri Consolidated concerning the issue of supervisors on the health insurance plan. MCHCP has indicated that in order to do that they would have to get completed health information statements from all board supervisors. Also right now they are looking at the group as a whole for the 75% compliance, if the supervisors were added then there would be more than 3 people per county and that would require them to look at each county individually for the 75% compliance. Also when the supervisors are added in, the rate would most likely change for the entire group. He also reported that Missouri Consolidated is very concerned about the issues everyone has been experiencing with Mercy. MCHCP is in the process of re-bidding for the plans they will offer for 2010, they should have plans and rates in early August. Bill Wilson stated that through March the revenue from the sales tax is down 5.5%. The next Commission meetings will be May 27 and July 8, probably will not have the one on June 10.
DISTRICT EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION REPORT: Chris Terry stated they had received questions or comments from Districts on the allocation of administrative funding, combining the 02 and 03 funds, yearly increases to district assistance allocations, and addressing the reductions in funding received by some districts in 2007. Bill Wilson indicated he is looking at the allocation of administrative funding and considering allocating half in July and half in January hoping to cover the times of Training Conference and annual meetings when most of the funds are used. He indicated he is looking at the 02 and 03 fund issue, but would like a full year of expenses before making that decision. The main thing the Employee Association wants stressed is what alternative is there for Districts who are out of funds before the end of the fiscal year. They are asking MASWCD’s help in bringing these issues before the Commission. With the Commission meeting for this week being cancelled, they are hoping to get it on the agenda for the May 27th meeting.
Sharon Gifford joined the meeting by telephone at 1:05 p.m. which established a quorum.
The topic for the speech contest was discussed. The Board felt it should relate to soil and water. A motion was made by Sharon Gifford, seconded by Kenny Lovelace, to have the topic for the speech contest be “Sediment’s Impact on Water Quality”. Motion carried unanimously (5-0).
With the CD’s coming due soon, David Dix had requested some guidance on how to re-invest the funds. Interest rates are less now than what the rate is on the CD’s coming due. A motion was made by Tom Lambert, seconded by Beverly Dometrorch, to allow David the flexibility to re-invest where he feels he can get the best interest rate. Motion carried unanimously (5-0).
The dates for the Area Meetings were discussed. The proposed dates are the weeks of August 24 and August 31. This puts them after the State Fair and just prior to Labor Day weekend. There was some discussion about extending the time of the meetings to allow for separate sessions for employees and supervisors and possibly have some training. Employees have been asking for some training on how to do 1099’s in light of the health insurance reimbursement and W-2’s due to the cafeteria plan. If a 5 hour time frame is used with a meal, this would possibly mean all the meetings would need to be during the day from 10 am to 3 pm. Since there are no elections this year the agenda for all the meetings could be the same. A motion was made by Beverly Dometrorch to accept the weeks of August 24 and August 31 for holding the Area Meetings. This was seconded by Tom Lambert. Motion carried unanimously (5-0). No decision was made on the time frame of the meeting itself, the Area Directors indicated they may want to check with their Districts before deciding.
At the last meeting the Board had decided to request Pam Pullman to speak at the Opening Session at the Training Conference. She did a couple of workshops at this past Training Conference that were very highly rated. She submitted a proposal for a total cost of $4500 to do the Opening Session and 2 or 3 workshop sessions. A motion was made by Kenny Lovelace to accept her proposal. Beverly Dometrorch seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously (5-0). The theme for the conference was then discussed. There were several examples for the Board to look at. After reviewing, a motion was made by Ben Gorden, seconded by Tom Lambert, to use the “It Takes Teamwork” theme with the artwork which includes the puzzle pieces. Motion carried unanimously (5-0).
In the past MASWCD has provided the cost for registration and airfare for Peggy Lemons to attend the Canon Envirothon. Missouri Envirothon normally provides the funding for a rental car if needed. A motion was made by Kenny Lovelace to make a policy of providing this funding for Peggy to attend the Canon Envirothon each year as long as she is Executive Director. Beverly Dometrorch seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously (5-0).
The NACD Legislative meetings will be July 18-21 in Washington, D.C. Steve Radcliff asked the Board who would be interested in going. No one other than Steve and Beverly indicated a desire to attend. MASWCD has traditionally paid for 3 people to attend. Peggy Lemons normally attends with the NACD delegate and alternate when possible. After discussion a motion was made by Tom Lambert, seconded by Ben Gorden, to approve sending the NACD delegate Steve Radcliff, alternate Beverly Dometrorch, and Peggy Lemons to the meeting. Motion carried unanimously (5-0).
Sharon Gifford left the meeting at 1:27 p.m., there was no longer a quorum.
Peggy reviewed the legislative bills being watched. The wording from HB 428 has been incorporated into SB 539 which has been through the Senate but will need to go back to the Senate for approval of the House changes after the House approves it. The legislative session ends this Friday so there is not much time left for action on the bills not passed yet.
Peggy also updated the Board on the statewide retirement potential. After the last meeting contact was made with LAGERS. They are not opposed to soil and water districts joining LAGERS, but the state statute for either LAGERS or soil and water needs to be changed. They suggested the soil and water statute be changed and provided examples of other organizations that had done this. It was determined that this legislative session was too late to do this, so it will need to be done next legislative sessions which starts January 2010.
The Board discussed the 2009 Training Conference plans further. Steve Radcliff stated he would like to see the color guard bring in the flags as had been done in the past. The Employees Association said they were wondering at what level they would be involved this year. The consensus of the Board is that they wanted to have their involvement same as this past conference. A list of potential workshop topics was reviewed. The evaluation forms indicated they would like to see the photography workshop again, and the workshops on employee benefits and board roles received very favorable comments. The workshop topics will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting. Steve Radcliff stated he wished more supervisors would attend the conference, the only cost to the district is the supervisor mileage as all the other costs for registration, hotel and meals is reimbursed. Beverly Dometrorch encouraged the other Area Directors to bring door prizes for the conference. The letter asking for resolutions will need to be sent to the Districts by the middle of July. This can be finalized at the July meeting.
The presentation to the Commission on the issues brought forward by the District Employees Association was discussed. Steve Radcliff indicated he will plan to be the presenter.
Tom Lambert stated he had contacted the districts in his area that had not paid MASWCD dues. Most indicated they did not remember seeing the dues notice so he requested that be sent to them again.
Kenny Lovelace said things have been pretty quiet, he feels everyone is waiting for the new leadership for the Soil and Water Program to see what changes may be coming.
Beverly stated she had attended some of her Districts’ annual meetings. There is still a lot of mistrust for the Commission and DNR. She said she serves on the regional Envirothon committee and encouraged the other Area Directors to get more involved in Envirothon.
Ben Gorden stated there is not much going on in his area, nobody seems to know what is going on. He stated it seems like the process to select a new program director is moving quite slowly.
Correspondence/Other Business: Kenny Lovelace thanked Steve Radcliff for all his work in getting the funding for the speech contest.
Peggy reported on the Missouri Envirothon competition. The state winner is Pembroke Hill High School from Kansas City. They will now be going to the Canon Envirothon in North Carolina to compete against teams from across the United States and Canada.
Peggy also mentioned that she had been contacted by the DNR computer staff asking for the links to the district web pages other than those through DNR be removed from the MASWCD page on Districts on the Web. Since there was no quorum there could be no vote on this now. Consensus of the Board was that they did not understand why this was necessary as the pages those links go to are still maintained by the Districts.
Beverly Dometrorch indicated the By-law committee has completed their work and waiting for Ronnie to double check it before presenting the suggested changes to the Board. The idea of presenting these suggested changes at the Area Meetings was brought up.
The next regular meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 7, at the USDA Service Center in Jefferson City starting at 1:00 p.m. There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m.
Peggy Lemons, Executive Director
Steve Radcliff, President