September 7, 2012                                                NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

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



NWCA Fall Training

October 16-17, 2012

Central Community College, Hastings



NACO's 118th Annual Conference

December 12-14, 2012

Younes Conference 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

County May Not Raise Noncoverage Defense to FMLA Claim

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.


NACO has received several inquiries into annual conference lodging procedures.  It is hoped that this article will answer some of the questions readers may have regarding these procedures.


In 2004 the NACO conference was held in Omaha and NACO was not involved in the housing process for this conference.  As a result, the Holiday Inn in Omaha oversold so many rooms that approximately 80 people ended up with no rooms when they were promised a room and even had confirmation numbers for those rooms.  At that time, many county officials asked NACO to step in to make sure that this would never happen again.
NACO did recognize the need for some type of lodging procedure and asked the hotels to assist in setting a procedure for lodging reservations.  Several different procedures have been tried, including faxing your rooming list in and e-mailing your rooming list.  With each procedure, complaints were registered and each year NACO receives a multitude of complaints from those counties that were unable to obtain rooms on the first day they became available.


NACO researches the amount of rooms used for every conference.  NACO establishes an average for those amounts and requests this average amount in their contracts.  In every hotel contract, attrition is a possibility.  Attrition is when NACO contracts with each hotel for a certain amount of rooms.  When the amount of rooms NACO contracts for are not filled, NACO could be responsible for a certain percentage of the revenue that would have been received by filling the rooms requested in the NACO block.  The larger the amount of rooms not filled, the higher the percentage of attrition is.  When counties call and request a number of rooms and then later realize that they don't need this many rooms, then cancel what they don't need, it causes a great many vacancies.  This happens a great deal the closer the cut off date for cancellations comes.  In the end, the hotels end up with vacancies and they fill those vacancies with entities outside of the NACO Conference.  Even though NACO has not requested the entire inventory of rooms each hotel has, each hotel will go beyond that inventory, honoring the rate that NACO has contracted for until their entire inventory is sold.  For example, say a hotel has 100 rooms and NACO contracts for 90 of those rooms.  When the hotel reaches the 90 rooms NACO contracted for and still receives requests, they will continue to sell rooms at the contracted rate until all 100 rooms are filled.  Again, when last minute cancellations occur, each hotel will try to fill those vacancies with whatever source is available to them, including those requests that fall outside of the NACO conference.


NACO has been asked why counties can't reserve their room for the next year when they check out of their rooms the previous year.  With the advancement of technology and the ability to make on-line registrations, most hotels are unable to accept reservations any earlier than fifty weeks in advance.


When attrition is not a serious consideration, NACO is considering stepping out of the process and leaving the conference lodging procedures in the hands of each individual hotel.  This would mean that county officials would be left to deal with the indivdual hotels' policies on their own, with no support from NACO.


Any individuals with ideas for lodging procedures or concerns should contact the NACO office.  We realize the lodging procedures are not ideal and welcome any new ideas that would make the lodging process better for all concerened. 


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.


County Official of the Year

Do you know of an elected or appointed county official who you feel serves as the embodiment of a true dedicated public official?  If so, nominate that individual for the annual County Official of the Year Award.  The Nebraska Association of County Officials will present its highest honor to one county official at the conclusion of the December 14th business meeting.


The County Official of the Year Award was created as a means of honoring one individual each year for his or her leadership abilities, high standard of public service and outstanding contributions made to the medium of county government and that person's community.


The official nomination form can be found on NACO's website or by clicking here.  To nominate someone you know, print the form, complete it and return it to the NACO office by November 9, along with any supplemental materials you feel would provide additional insight into why this person is deserving of the award.  Supporting material may include testimonial letters from peers or other printed matter that highlight his or her record of service.  Each of the 2012 nominees will be introduced and recognized during the conference.  The announcement will be made as to who has been chosen by a special selection committee following the NACO Business Meeting on December 14.  The 2012 recipient will join an elite list of county officials who have previously received this award and will receive a handsomely engraved plaque befitting of this prestigious honor. 

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 Beth Ferrell 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.
New Family and Medical Leave Act Guide Issued by the Department of Labor  
The U.S. Department of Labor has released a new guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  The booklet outlines the FMLA's requirements and answers common questions about the Act in plain English.  It contains flow charts to help determine eligibility for FMLA leave and the process for requesting leave.  The booklet, which is entitled Need Time? The Employee's Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act, can be downloaded here.  Although the booklet is aimed at employees, it provides a helpful refresher to employers as well. To view this booklet on-line, click here.

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for qualified employees due to the birth or adoption of a child, a serious health condition that prevents an employee from performing the essential functions of their job, the need to care for a spouse's, parent's or child's medical condition, and other reasons.   Counties are considered covered employers under the Act's public agency criteria. Employees must have been employed by the county for at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours over the last year to be eligible for FMLA leave.

The Department of Labor's website contains links to fact sheets for other aspects of the FMLA including breaks for nursing mothers and military family leave.  To view the Department of Labor's website, click here
FMLA_ClaimCounty May Not Raise Non Coverage Defense to FMLA Claim
By Jerry L. Pigsley and Kelly M. Ekeler, Harding & Schultz/ P.C., L.L.O.

When an employee requests leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA" or "Act"), the first step is to direct the employee to complete the necessary paperwork to request the leave, right? Wrong! The County of Montgomery, Pennsylvania, made that mistake and will spend the rest of the summer defending itself in an FMLA lawsuit brought by an employee who was ineligible for FMLA leave. See Medley v. Montgomery, No. 2:12-cv-01995 (E.D. Pa. July 17, 2012)

Amy Medley worked for the County as a nursing assistant. During the course of her employment, she was provided with literature explaining she was eligible for FMLA leave after three (3) months continuous employment. When Medley needed time off to take care of her son who had serious health conditions, she requested intermittent FMLA leave.

Although Medley was ineligible for FMLA leave because she had worked less than the required 1250 hours during the prior calendar year, County officials told Medley she was eligible for leave and asked her to complete various County FMLA forms. However, as Medley began to take intermittent leave, she was written up for her absences and eventually terminated for taking leave.

Medley filed a lawsuit against the County in federal court, alleging the County interfered with her FMLA rights and retaliated against her for taking protected leave. In its defense, the County argued it could not have interfered with Medley's rights or retaliated against Medley under the Act because Medley was ineligible to take protected leave under the Act. Regarding the interference claim, the Court agreed with the County, finding Medley had no rights under the Act with which the County could have interfered since she had not worked the required 1250 hours during the prior calendar year.

However, regarding Medley's retaliation claim, the Court held that actual entitlement to FMLA leave was not an essential element of the claim. According to the Court, where an employee reasonably relies on the employer's misrepresentation that the employee is covered under the Act and is terminated as a result, the employer has no defense that the employee was not actually covered under the Act.  Thus, the Court held Medley could proceed with her claim that the County retaliated against her for taking FMLA-protected leave.

The Court's distinction between Medley's interference and retaliation claims is slight but significant. Although Medley had no rights under the FMLA with which the County could have interfered, the County could not take advantage of its mistake in leading Medley to believe she was entitled to leave under the Act. Thus, the County was on the hook for retaliating against Medley for taking "faux" FMLA leave.

The message is clear: once a county grants an FMLA leave request, the county cannot take adverse action against the employee based on the employee's taking the requested leave. Thus, the first step county officials should take when responding to an FMLA leave request is to determine eligibility under the Act and have someone double-check the eligibility calculation before responding to the request. Failing to correctly determine eligibility before responding to a leave request may create liability under the FMLA, even when the requesting employee is ineligible under the FMLA.

Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide legal advice to our readers.  Rather, this article is intended to alert our readers to new and developing issues and to provide some common sense answers to complex legal questions.  Readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel or the author of this article if the reader wishes to obtain a specific legal opinion regarding how these legal standards may apply to their particular circumstances.  The authors of this article, Jerry L. Pigsley and Kelly M. Ekeler, can be contacted at 402/434-3000, or at Harding & Shultz, P.C., L.L.O., P.O. Box 82028, Lincoln, NE 68501-2028, or
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 


NACO to Provide Cyber security Webinar Series

In support of October National Cyber security Awaremenss Month and the NACo Presidential Cybersecurity Initiative, NACo has teamed up with the Deaprtment of Homeland Security (DHS), National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center to bring you webinars highlighting county government's role in protecting the Nation's cyber infrastructure.  To read more, click here.

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

Kearney Hub, September 1, 2012

Nebraska Association of County Officials
625 South 14th Street Suite 200 | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660