July 1, 2011                                                             NACO E-Line Archive 
Welcome to the new NACO E-Line!
With this issue, NACO has made changes to the format of news distribution to its members. The previous publications, CountyLine Magazine (published six times a year), and NACO E-News (published every two weeks), were combined to create a new electronic distribution newsletter, NACO E-Line, which, like NACO E-News, will be published every two weeks. We have found this distribution method to be very popular with our members. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact Larry Dix at 402-434-5660 or

Upcoming Events

Effective July 1, 2011, the standard mileage rate as established by the Internal Revenue Service will be 55.5 cents per mile.

Portland, Oregon

July 15-19, 2011


2011 North American Manure Expo


July 20, 2011


Assessors Workshop


August 30-September 2, 2011


Northeast District Meeting


September 16, 2011


Southeast District Meeting

Mahoney Park

September 22, 2011


Central District Meeting

Grand Island

September 15, 2011


Panhandle District Meeting


September 28, 2011


West Central District Meeting


September 29, 2011


Register of Deeds Workshop


October 12, 2011


Legislative Conference


October 13, 2011


NWCA Fall Training


October 25-26, 2011


NACO Annual Conference


December 14-16, 2011


AssocMembersAssociate & Sustaining Members
NACO Associate and Sustaining Members enable NACO to enhance its continuing education programs for county officials across the state. Visit NACO's complete associate and sustaining membership list here.



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EducationFoundationEducation Foundation Memorial Program
A gift to NACO's Education Foundation ensures that the children of county officials and county employees are eligible to apply for scholarships to continue their education at Nebraska's higher learning institutions. Whatever their passion - history, art, music, science, education, sports - the NACO Education Foundation will provide them an opportunity to fund their education beyond the K-12 level. Memorial gifts to NACO's Education Foundation are tax exempt and a lasting legacy in honor of your loved one's commitment to educating the children of Nebraska's county officials and employees. For more information about how to make a memorial gift, please contact Jon Edwards / 402-434-5660 ext. 227.

 In This Issue

ClerksWkshp201 1 Clerks, Election Commissioners and Register of Deeds Workshop

Workshop session - click to view more photos on NACO's Facebook page.

County clerks, election commissioners and register of deeds met in Grand Island at the Midtown Holiday Inn for their annual workshop June 15-17, 2011.  Attendance was high as an estimated 101 persons registered for this workshop.  In all, over nine hours of continuing education was conducted by speakers including, but not limited to, Nebraska Secretary of State's office, Election and Records Divisions, State Auditor's Office, US Census Bureau and NACO.  In addition, panel discussions were held dealing with register of deeds issues and microfilming and scanning.
A President's Reception was held on Wednesday evening honoring Chris Lewis, Adams County Clerk, as well as a banquet on Thursday evening.  Following the banquet, attendees were able to unwind, and relax by participating their own version of the popular game show, "Minute To Win It" where everything from cookies to pantyhose were used as props for the games.
The 2012 annual workshop will be held in Hastings at the Quality Hotel, June 13-15 so Clerks, Election Commissioners and Register of Deeds should mark their calendars.
DouglasDouglas County Treasurer's Office Receives National Association of Counties 2011 Achievement Award

Douglas County Treasurer, John W. Ewing, Jr. receives the NACo 2011 Achievement Award

Officials in the Douglas County Treasurer's Office received notification on June 10, 2011 that their office is being recognized by winning the National Association of Counties 2011 Achievement Award.   Begun in 1970, the National Association of Counties annual Achievement Award Program is a non-competitive awards program that recognizes innovative county government programs. Each application is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.
Douglas County Treasurer, John W. Ewing, Jr., submitted a program entitled "Douglas County Nebraska Treasurer's Business Model" that outlined the steps he had taken to reduce the treasurer's office budget in February of this year to the National Association of Counties.  The document outlined the hurdles and successes the treasurer's office had experienced over the last two (2) years in order to cut their budget by 4% per year for the last two years.  The personnel and benefits savings for Douglas County citizens will approach 1 million dollars per year.  The document also discusses the innovative approaches taken to provide the citizens of Douglas County with additional ways to pay property taxes and register motor vehicles. 
Click here to read more about the program the Douglas County Treasurer's Office implemented to make the budget cuts a reality, thus qualifying them for the award.

Editor's Note: Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in E-Line. Prepared by members of the NACO legal staff, Legal Line is not intended to serve as legal advice. Rather, it is published to alert readers to court decisions and legal or advisory matters important to county government. For a specific opinion on how the information contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or your personal counsel.

Employment Grievance Failed to Comply With Jurisdictional Requirements


In Turnbull v. County of Pawnee, 19 Neb. App. 43, -- N.W. 2d -- (2011), a county employee used an administrative grievance process to challenge the discipline his employer had imposed. The employee was dissatisfied with the result of that process; therefore, he brought an action in district court. The district court dismissed the employee's action because the employee was required to comply with the petition in error statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1901 et seq.).  The district court determined that the employee had failed to provide a record of the proceedings held before the administrative body, as required by 25-1905. Based on the record provided to it, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's conclusion that the employee had failed to comply with the jurisdictional prerequisites of 25-1901 et seq. 

The district court, following various grievance proceedings, ultimately concluded that the employee's complaint should be characterized not as an original breach of contract action, but, rather, as seeking a review of disciplinary action taken by his employer. 

In this case, the employee had been accused of violating a safety provision. There were various grievance proceedings that occurred in the process.  The employee first received an informal hearing and then suspended without pay for 30 days after the hearing.   As provided for in the collective bargaining agreement, the employee filed a grievance. The employee's grievance was heard first by his supervisor and then by the Board. Throughout the grievance process, the Court of Appeals did not have a formal record of what had happened at the proceedings.  However, the questions to be resolved at each stage involved the employee's alleged actions and pertained to questions of what he did, where, when, how, why, and with what motive or intent; the questions concerned whether the employee violated a safety provision, whether there was any mitigating evidence, and the appropriate discipline to be imposed. It was stated by the Court of Appeals, "[T]he questions being resolved at each stage of the grievance process were adjudicative in nature."

Since the questions being resolved were adjudicative in nature and because the Board was engaging in a judicial function in hearing the employee's appeal of the denial of his grievance related to the discipline imposed, the petition in error statutes were applicable and dictated the proper steps for perfecting jurisdiction in the district court.

A petition in error is to be perfected by following 25-1903 that directs the petitioner to file the petition to the district court setting forth the errors complained of. (Citations omitted.)  Additionally, 25-1905 directs the petitioner to file with his or her petition a transcript of the proceedings or a praecipe directing the tribunal, board, or officer to prepare the transcript of the proceedings. (Citations omitted.)  

The Court of Appeals noted that the process advocated by the employee would arguably render meaningless the grievance process agreed to by the parties in the collective bargaining agreement. The court commented, 

[The employee]  has attempted to frame his proceedings in the district court as an original law action for breach of contract, requiring no review of the lower tribunal proceedings and no deference to the administrative conclusions concerning his discipline and his grievance. In a proper petition in error proceeding, the district court determines whether the lower tribunal acted within its jurisdiction and whether the tribunal's decision is supported by sufficient relevant evidence; the review accords substantial deference to the administrative body." (Citations omitted.) To permit [the employee] to simply disregard the entire grievance process and start entirely anew with an evidentiary trial before the district court would be tantamount to encouraging grievants to simply go through the motions of the grievance process and then seek to litigate employee disciplinary matters in the district court. 

The Court of Appeals concluded not only that such action would ignore the intent of the grievance process set forth in the collective bargaining agreement, but also that it would endorse a legal course of action that does not appear to have ever before been endorsed in our jurisdiction.  The Court further concluded that the employee's "breach of contract" action was more properly characterized as an attempt to appeal the administrative denial of his grievance concerning discipline imposed for his violation of safety policies. The employee failed to satisfy statutory prerequisites for perfecting jurisdiction in the district court through petition in error proceedings. The district court was found to have properly dismissed the employee's action for want of jurisdiction and the Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision. 

NACoWebEducationNACO Web-based Education
Using Hazard Mitigation Funding Opportunities to Strengthen Your Community
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CDT
The Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs provide funding for your eligible mitigation activities that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Join this webinar to learn how your county can use its Hazard Mitigation Plan to apply for funds to strengthen the community against future disasters. Register here.
For more information on these and other upcoming or previous webinars, visit the NACo Web-based Education page.
Nebraska Association of County Officials
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