August 24, 2012                                                       NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events



August 27-30, 2012

Holiday Inn, Kearney



Southeast District County Officials Meeting

September 7, 2012

Camp Carol Joy Holling, Ashland



Panhandle District County Officials Meeting

September 12, 2012

Civic Center, Gering



Central District County Officials Meeting

September 20, 2012

UNK Student Union, Kearney



Northeast District County Officials Meeting

September 21, 2012

St. Benedict Center, Schuyler



NACO's 7th Annual Legislative Conference

October 11, 2012

Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center, Kearney



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

Make Plans to Attend NACO's 7th Annual Legislative Conference

Conference Matters

Governor Heineman Appoints Tami Schendt of Broken Bow to County Court Eighth Judicial District

Legal Line

Purchasing and Credit Card Use by Government Entities

Updated County Government Day PowerPoint CD Available

2012 Directory of County Officials

News from NACo

News Across the State

Legal Calendar

County Classifieds

Associate & Sustaining Members

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program


Legislative_ConferenceMake Plans to Attend NACO's 7th Annual Legislative Conference
NACO's 7th Annual Legislative Conference will be held in Kearney on October 11, 2012.  If you haven't already done so, be sure to mark this date on your calendar because you won't want to miss this educational opportunity.

Over five hours of educational sessions and networking have been planned for this year's conference.  To view the tentative agenda for this conference, click here.

You may register on-line at NACO's website by clicking here.   The registration fee for this conference is only $40.00.  The registration fee includes two breaks, a luncheon and all  handout materials.  A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center in Kearney.  Rates for lodging are $78.95 single/double.  You may contact the Holiday Inn at (308) 237-5971 for lodging.  Be sure to mention that you are with the NACO Legislative Conference to receive the contracted rate.

At this conference you will have input into establishing NACO's platform and legislative priorities. Take a look at the tentative agenda and you'll see that this conference is a very important part of each elected and appointed county official's continuing education, not to mention your opportunity to have input into the legislation that affects county government as a whole. 
conference_matters_2012Conference Matters 

Lodging Reservation Date

NACO has received numerous inquiries regarding the date that county officials will be able to contact the contracted hotels to acquire lodging reservations for the 2012 Annual Conference to be held in Kearney at the Younes Event Center.


County officials may begin contacting hotels for conference lodging on August 30, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time.  Reservations must be made by using the published phone numbers to receive the contracted rate for the conference.  No reservations (on-line or other) will be accepted at the contracted rate prior to August 30th.  For a list of contracted hotels, their rates and the reservation phone numbers, click here.  On August 30 or after, those officials making reservations for the conference must use the phone numbers published by NACO to received the contracted rate.  The contracted rate will not be available with on-line reservations.


Affiliate Groups' Agendas

NACO has sent planning material to each affiliate group president to enable them to begin planning their individual agendas for the annual conference.  County officials who have ideas or suggestions for their group's agenda are encouraged to contact their affiliate group president as soon as possible.

Tami_Schendt_AppointedGovernor Heineman Appoints Tami Schendt of Broken Bow to County Court Eighth Judicial District
Governor Dave Heineman announced his appointment of Tami K. Schendt of Broken Bow, to serve as County Judge in the 8th Judicial District.  This district consists of Blaine, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Holt, Howard, Keya Paha, Loup, Rock, Sherman, Valley and Wheeler counties.  To read more,click here.
Legal_LineLegal 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 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 conatined in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel.

Supreme Court Rules on PSTCA Case

The Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA Neb. Rev. Stat. sections 13-901 to 13-927)was deliberated by the Supreme Court in Connelly v. City of Omaha, 284 Neb. 131, --- N.W.2d --- (2012). Two children were injured in a city park which could be used and was free of charge for recreational purposes, when their saucer-type plastic sled collided with a crab apple tree. Actions were commenced against the City under the PSTCA (1) by the parents to recover medical expenses and loss of services based on their daughters' injuries and (2) by the daughters, by and through their parents, for injuries incurred in the accident. Damages were awarded in both actions by the district court after it found that the accident and resulting injuries were proximately caused by the negligence of the City. Additionally, parties challenged the constitutionality of the one million dollar cap on damages imposed by Neb. Rev. Stat. sec.13-926.


The Supreme Court evaluated issues associated with (1) the determination of liability by utilizing negligence elements, (2) a comparative fault apportionment, (3) measure of damages for in-home nursing care and (4) the damage cap.


The City asserted that the district court erred by finding it liable. With some exceptions, "in all suits brought under the [PSTCA] the political subdivision shall be liable in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual." Section 13-908. Therefore, a negligence action brought under the PSTCA has the same elements as a negligence action against an individual, i.e., duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The Court determined that this was a premises liability case and it cited the basis for proving such a case. The Court addressed several aspects of tort law and some of its reasoning is summarized below.


After viewing evidence in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs, the evidence related to the sled accident in which the sled hit a tree it was found by the Supreme Court that the district court did not err in finding that the City should have realized the crab apple trees posed an unreasonable risk of harm to sledders.


The Supreme Court then analyzed the City's arguments related to comparative fault. It recognized that there was credible evidence to support the district court's apportionment of fault and that the apportionment bore a reasonable relationship to the respective elements of negligence proved at trial. The City, as the owner of a public park historically used for sledding, knew that the crab apple trees posed a risk to those who used the park for sledding, yet took no action to decrease or eliminate the risk. It was shown that the district court carefully considered the City's factual arguments regarding the father's comparative responsibility for the accident, but determined that it was significantly less than that of the City.


Section 13-926 of the PSTCA was an issue that was also weighed extensively by the Court. The parties to the lawsuit argued the applicability of the damage cap of (1) One million dollars for any person for any claims arising out of a single occurrence; and (2) Five million dollars for all claims arising out of a single occurrence.


One of the children injured challenged the constitutionality of the damage cap provided in sec. 13-926. The Court had upheld the constitutionality of the damage cap established by sec. 13-926 in Staley v. City of Omaha, 271 Neb. 543, 713 N.W. 2d 457 (2006) and again in the Connelly case. The Court was not persuaded by an argument that the Legislature lacked a rational basis for including Omaha with all other political subdivisions to which sec. 13-926 applies. The child's contention was that the Legislature's concerns regarding insurability and fiscal stability of political subdivisions which led to the enactment of the damage cap did not apply to Omaha, due to its size and ability to self-insure. The Court stated, "But that is a determination best left to a legislative body, not a court... We will not second-guess the decision of the Legislature to treat the City in the same manner as all other political subdivisions with respect to capping damages recoverable under the PSTCA. We conclude, as we did in Staley, that the Legislature had a rational basis for enacting sec.13-926."


In evaluating, the City's assertion that the district court erred in determining that one of the child's injuries triggered three separate damage caps, one for the child and one for each of her parents, the Court determined the child's claim and her parents' claims are subject to separate damage caps. The Court was then required to determine whether both the mother and father were each entitled to recover up to $1 million for their claims against the City under sec. 13-926(1), or whether their combined claims were subject to a single one million dollar cap.


The Court stated "Clearly, [the mother and father] are both "persons" having "claims" resulting from [the daughter's] injury, but their claims for medical expenses and loss of services are not separate and distinct. Rather, these claims are joint in nature. The parents' joint claims were based on the same proof, and the parents could not each separately recover the full amount of damages for medical expenses and loss of services." Based on the Court's interpretation of  sec. 13-926(1), it concluded that the parents' claims were subject to a single damage cap of one million dollars.


A remaining issue was how to apportion the father's comparative fault against the single damage cap applicable to the joint parental claim, given that the mother was not found to be at fault. The Court agreed that a statutory limitation on damages such as that of sec. 3-926(1) "applies to cap the total recovery after the reduction of the plaintiff's damages for his or her comparative negligence, rather than applying to the total damages established before the reduction for comparative negligence, since the latter approach would multiply the effect of the damage limitation."


The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in the daughters' action awarding damages to one child in the amount of $8,176.84 and to the other in the amount of $1 million dollars. With respect to the parents' action, the Court modified the judgment in favor of them by combining the amounts and reducing the total to $1 million dollars payable to them jointly; and the Court affirmed as modified.

Purchasing_and_Credit_Card-UsePurchasing and Credit Card Use by Government Entities

"The Nebraska Department of Revenue has developed a procedure to allow any sales tax exempt governmental entity that uses credit or debit cards that are directly billed to the entity to purchase otherwise taxable property or services without paying sales or use tax."   Counties are included as a sales tax exempt governmental entity.  The procedure for allowing sales tax entities to use credit or debit cards directly billed to the entity is explained by the Department in a letter that has been provided to county board chairs with e-mail addresses and county clerks.  Additionally, necessary forms were provided as an attachment to the e-mails on the issue.


The Department of Revenue indicates that it is their hope that this new procedure will alleviate many of the complications exempt entities have encountered when making purchases using a credit or debit card.


Given that this letter touches in part on political entities utilizing a purchasing card, this is an opportunity to highlight information about the U.S. Bank One Card Program for NACO that combines purchasing, travel and fleet card programs into a single streamlined payment solution. The one card integrates transactions into one process, one staff, one card issuer and one invoice. Plus, it provides NACO members access to innovative tools that make vendor payments easier and safer, with the control and oversight counties need.  For more information about the U.S Bank One Card Program for NACO, click here.

CountygovernementdaycdUpdated County Government Day PowerPoint CD Available
An updated PowerPoint presentation is available on CD for use by counties during their annual County Government Day. The PowerPoint provides a comprehensive look at county government functions in the State of Nebraska. The CD is customizable and is available for $10 to cover processing, shipping and handling. The order form is available here.
Directory2012 Directory of County Officials

The order form for the NACO 2012 Directory of County Officials is available here or on the NACO website. Each directory is $17 if tax-exempt or $18 if taxable.

NACoNewsNews from NACo 


Matt Chase Appointed Executive Director of NACo

The National Association of Counties announced that Matthew Chase has been named the association's Executive Director.  The announcement came as thousands of the country's local government leaders gathered in Pittsburgh for NACo's 77th Annual Conference and Exposition.  To read more, click here.

News_Across_The_StateNews Across the State
Links are to outside sources and may not be available indefinitely

Star Herald, 8/14/12

Lincoln Journal Star, 8/15/12

Kearney Hub, 8/15/12

The Independent, 8/1812

The Chadron Record, 8/21/12

Custer County Chief, 8/22/12
Nebraska Association of County Officials
625 South 14th Street Suite 200 | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660