January 27, 2012                                                     NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

NACO Legislative Committee Meeting
NSEA Building, Lincoln
January 27, 2012, 9:30 a.m.


NWCA Annual Conference

North Platte

February 6-9, 2012


County Board Workshop


February 8-10, 2012


To view all upcoming events click here



















AssocMembersAssociate and 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.


 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 deductible and will be 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 Larry Dix  / 402-434-5660 ext. 226.

In This Issue

Early Registration Ends Today for the 34th Annual County Board Workshop 

Profile: LeRoy Janssen, 2012 NACO President

County Board Handbook & 2011 Supplement Update

2012 NACO Institute of Excellence

2012 NACO Scholarships Available

Legal Line

News Across the State

News from NACo

NACo Web-based Education

Legal Calendar

County Classifieds

Associate & Sustaining Members

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program


CountyBoardWkshpEarly Registration Ends Today for the 34th Annual County Board Workshop

Issues that affect all 93 Nebraska counties will be discussed at the 34th annual County Board Workshop to be held in Kearney on February 8-10, 2012. Presenters will cover topics that have a current and future impact on our counties statewide. View the agenda.


Tentative plans call for the workshop to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8 with a review of legislation. Following a breakfast buffet on Thursday morning, plans for Thursday's agenda tentatively include general sessions for all board members from 8:00 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch at noon and several break-out sessions from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. General session will again be the order of the morning on Friday. The workshop will conclude at approximately 11:00 a.m. and a box lunch will be provided. Attendees will be able to take their lunch with them as they leave the workshop or enjoy it leisurely in an informal atmosphere with their peers before heading home.


The advance registration is the same as last year - $80.00 for those registering today. After today, the fee increases to $90.00. Register now.


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn at the rate of $80.95 single/double. If you have not made reservations, you are encouraged to do so by contacting the Holiday Inn at (308)237-5971. When making reservations, be sure to indicate you will be attending the NACO County Board Workshop to receive the contracted rate.


ProfileProfile: LeRoy Janssen, 2012 NACO President

LeRoy JanssenName: LeRoy Janssen


County: Wayne


Years of County Experience: Received my Associates Degree in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Northeast Nebraska Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska and started working as an officer at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Wayne Police Department. I started as a Deputy Sheriff at the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and was promoted to Chief Deputy six years later. I became Wayne County Sheriff in 1983 and have served in that capacity ever since.


Professional Experience: I am an active member in the Nebraska Emergency Management Association and have served as an officer and President of the Nebraska Sheriff's Association.


Family: Wife: Judy, Sons: Ryan, Eric and Paul


Hobbies and or Leisure Activities: Include traveling and reading a good book.


Reason for Running for NACO Board of Directors: I was the Sheriff's representative on the Board of Directors when it was first voted to allow other offices to run for the Officer's positions. It was a goal that I kept in the back of my mind until I was allowed the opportunity to successfully run for the Secretary-Treasurer position in 2008. I currently serve as NACO's President and have enjoyed the opportunity to share ideas with everyone involved in County government over the years and look forward in 2012 to continue everyone's efforts to keep NACO at the forefront of the Legislature and to develop a strategic plan to lead NACO into the future with foresight from its many members.


Words to live by: Keep a job that you enjoy so that you might enjoy every day that you go to work.


HandbookCounty Board Handbook & 2011 Supplement Update

The County Board Handbook and 2011 Supplement order form is available online. Pre-order for pickup at the County Board Workshop and save shipping and handling. To download the order form, click here or visit the NACO website.


Institute2012 NACO Institute of Excellence 

The 2012 NACO Institute of Excellence is open to all elected and appointed county officials. Deadline for registration is February 20, 2012. To register, click here. For additional information, contact the NACO office at 402-434-5660.


Scholarship2012 NACO Scholarship Applications Available

Nebraska High School seniors who are the children or stepchildren of county offiicals or employees are encouraged to apply for one of twelve $1000 NACO scholarships. Additional information and the downloadable application can be found under the 'Services' tab on the NACO website. The scholarship deadline is March 1, 2012.


LegalLine Legal Line
Editor's Note: Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in NACO E-Line. This edition has been prepared by Elaine Menzel, a member 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 personal counsel.
In Ginapp v. City of Bellevue, 282 Neb. 1027, -- N.W. 2d -- (2012), a registered nurse was injured on the job in an assault committed by a patient who had been admitted to the hospital after he was taken into emergency protective custody by a city police department. The Supreme Court considered whether the City's duty to control the assailant's behavior ended when he was admitted to the hospital and whether the City breached that duty by taking him to the hospital in the first place.
The Court explained, "When a person is taken into emergency protective custody by [city] police, the protectee is handcuffed and is not free to leave police custody. But emergency protective custody is a medical issue, and the protectee is neither under arrest nor charged with a crime. Any final determination as to whether the protectee is a threat is made by a mental health board." It was the City Police Department's policy, when leaving a protectee in an emergency room, not to leave until the officers believed the protectee was under control; however, if the protectee later became disruptive and law enforcement support was required, the hospital was to call police in a nearby community, because of the location of the hospital.
The registered nurse sued the City in district court pursuant to the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, alleging that her injuries resulted from the City Police Department's negligence. The City moved to join the health system that the hospital is a part of as a necessary party for purposes of both apportionment of negligence and workers' compensation subrogation. The court denied the City's motion as it related to apportionment, but added the health system as a party to protect its workers' compensation subrogation interest.
After a bench trial, the lower court found that the patient was still in police custody while at the hospital, so the City had a duty to prevent the patient from injuring third persons. The court also found that the City knew or should have known that the patient was a substantial risk to cause serious harm. The court found that the City's Police Department was negligent in transporting the patient to the hospital, which had no psychiatric ward. The court refused to allocate negligence to the health system, and entered judgment for the nurse against the City in the amount of $350,000. The City appealed the lower court's decision.
Following discussion about the duty of care, the Supreme Court stated, "There is little question in this case that when [City] police took [the patient] into emergency protective custody, they assumed a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent him from causing harm to others.[Citation omitted]. The questions presented in this appeal are when that duty ended and whether it was discharged sufficiently before it did.
The Supreme Court reiterated that as they have previously explained, the duty of a custodian to prevent a person in custody from causing harm to others is premised on the degree of control afforded to one who "'takes charge'" of another. [Citation omitted.]
As further explained by the Court, under the Nebraska Mental Health Commitment Act, a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that a person is mentally ill and dangerous may take such person into emergency protective custody. The person taken into emergency protective custody "shall be admitted to an appropriate- and available medical facility," and the officer executes a written certificate alleging the officer's belief that the person in custody is mentally ill and dangerous and summarizing the behavior supporting such allegations.  A copy of that certificate is immediately forwarded to the county attorney. The administrator of the medical facility then has the person evaluated by a mental health professional as soon as reasonably possible but not later than 36 hours after admission, and the person is released from emergency protective custody after the evaluation unless the mental health professional determines, in his or her clinical opinion, that the person is mentally ill and dangerous. A mental health professional reaching that conclusionŽ also completes a written certificate that is immediately forwarded to the county attorney. And if the county attorney elects to petition for involuntary commitment, the subject of the petition is held in the "nearest appropriate and available medical facility." [Citations omitted.]
The Supreme Court determined that the procedure was properly initiated by law enforcement in this case.
The Court found that there is no basis in the record for finding that the City was liable for the nurse's injuries. While the nurse's injuries are clearly substantial, her remedy is from her employer for workers' compensation or from the patient himself. The Supreme Court found the district court erred in concluding that the patient was in the City's custody at the time of the assault and that the City law enforcement acted unreasonably in transporting the patient to the hospital and permitting him to be admitted. The judgment of the district court is reversed, and the cause is remanded with directions to enter judgment in favor of the City.
Court of Appeals Decides Wrongful Termination Case
In Teetor v. Dawson Public Power District, 19 Neb. App. 474, -- N.W.2d -- (2012), a terminated employee appealed an order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the employer in this action for wrongful termination of employment. On appeal, the terminated employee assigned numerous errors challenging the court's grant of summary judgment and its finding that there was no genuine issue of material fact concerning his employment status and concerning there being sufficient grounds for terminating his employment. The Supreme Court found no merit to the issues, and affirmed the lower court's decision.
The Court stated, "The general rule in Nebraska is that unless constitutionally, statutorily, or contractually prohibited, an employer, without incurring liability, may terminate an at-will employee at any time with or without reason. Under the public policy exception, however, an employee can claim damages for wrongful discharge when the motivation for the firing contravenes public policy."[Citation omitted.]
The terminated employee asserted a number of causes of action to support his claim that his employment was wrong fully terminated. They were based on his assertion that his employment was terminated:

* in retaliation for his filing a grievance against his supervisor (the Court concluded that while  the terminated employee was able to show a proximity in time between his claim and discharge, he was unable to demonstrate any additional evidence which would support a finding that the termination was in retaliation),
* in retaliation for his filing a workers' compensation claim (the Court found that the terminated employee failed to satisfy his burden of establishing pretext and that he failed to point the Court to any evidence suggesting a causal connection between his filing of a claim and the employer's decision to terminate the employee),

* in exchange for the District employees' not forming a labor union (the Court did not find sufficient evidence in support of the terminated employee's claim that the termination was close in time to the employee vote rejecting the creation of a union),

* in contravention of the terms of an employee manual (the Court found that there was no evidence in the record creating any genuine issue of fact concerning whether the employee manual somehow altered the terminated employee's employment status or obligated the employer to impose progressive discipline prior to termination), and

* in contravention of a requirement of good faith and fair dealing (the Court found  the employee manual specifically did not create an employment contract that altered the terminated employee's at-will employment status, and there was no evidence that any portion of the manual created a covenant of good faith and fair dealing). The Court commented, "Such a covenant is not implied in Nebraska relating to the termination of at-will employees." [Citations omitted.]

Additional causes of action included assertions that:

* there was interference with a business relationship (the Court cited Neb. Rev. Stat. § 13-902 and § 13-907(7) and found no issue of material fact concerning the ability to bring suit against the employer and the terminated employee's supervisor for alleged interference with contractual rights), and

* the termination of his employment was in violation of federal law (the initial allegation pertained to a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974; however, this issue was not challenged on appeal).

In summary, the Court of Appeals found no merit to the terminated employee's claims on appeal that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on these claims.

StateNewsNews Across the State

Links are to outside sources and may not be available indefinitely


New Colfax Co. coordinator has passion for Hispanic issues

Columbus Telegram, January 22, 2012


County wary over proposal to eliminate inheritance taxes

Nebraska City News Press, January 24, 2012


County board opposes ending inheritance tax

McCook Daily Gazette, January 24, 2012


Death penalty for death tax?

North Platte Telegraph, January 25, 2012


Supervisors oppose bills in tax plan

Fremont Tribune, January 26, 2012


County responds to proposed inheritance tax legislation

York News Times, January 26, 2012


Pierce, Heineman at odds on tax cut

Kearney Hub, January 26, 2012


Plan to drop inheritance tax ripped

Omaha World Herald, January 27, 2012


Debate opens on Heineman's tax cut plan

Kearney Hub, January 27, 2012


NACoNewsNews from NACo 

NACo_LogoNACo 2012 Western Interstate Region Conference


Santa Fe County, New Mexico is hosting NACo's 2012 Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference, May 16-18, 2012.


NACo's WIR Conference focuses on public lands and other issues critical to the western region of the United States. This year's conference will feature Dr. Lowell Catlett, a regent's professor/dean and chief administrative officer at New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. An exciting futurist, Catlett's knowledge of technologies and their implications on the way Americans live and work is addressed in his upbeat presentations.


For additional information about the conference and to register, click here.


Online Achievement Award Applications Now Available


Applications for the 2012 Achievement Award program are still available. The annual program is non-competitive and recognizes innovative county government programs.


Application deadline is February 13, 2012. Click here for additional program information.


National County Government Month


National County Government Month, celebrated each April, provides an outstanding opportunity for you to talk proudly about programs and services that help the residents of your county.


The theme this year is Healthy Counties, Healthy Families.


To see all the resources provided by NACo to help you plan activities, click here.


NACoWebEdNACo Web-based Education 
Enhancing Local Criminal Justice Practice with a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
Thursday, February 2, 2012
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CST
As counties face budget deficits, local criminal justice systems are being forced to use increasingly limited resources as widely as possible. A criminal justice coordinating council (CJCC) is a great resource for counties that want to gain a better understanding of their local criminal justice system, to develop greater cooperation among agencies and units of local government, and to establish more effective resource allocation. Join this webinar to learn how to develop a CJCC or enhance your existing CJCC. Register here.
Developing a Social Media Policy That's Right for Your County
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CST
More counties are utilizing social media communications tools every day. But what are the rules? Explore the issues your county should consider when developing a countywide social media policy, such as employee access and conduct, content, security and legal matters. Learn directly from county representatives who have developed social media practices for their county. This is a NACo members only webinar. You must log in to the Member Center to register.
Health Coverage for Your County Jail's Pretrial Population
Thursday, February 23, 2012
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CST
Through the Affordable Care Act many uninsured, low-income individuals - some of whom will be involved in the criminal justice system - will become eligible for Medicaid and subsidized private health plans in 2014. Learn about the possible opportunities for individuals being held pretrial in county jails to gain health coverage, issues counties may face enrolling people in custody into appropriate plans and the potential fiscal relief this may offer counties. Register here.

For more information on these or other upcoming or previous webinars, visit the NACo Web-based Education page.
Nebraska Association of County Officials
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