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November 1, 2013                                                       www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

NACO 119th Annual Conference

December 11-13

Omaha, CenturyLink Center 

 

To view all upcoming events, click here.

 



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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

Missing NACO Directory 

Conference Matters  

Submit Names for NACO Secretary/Treasurer Now

Legislature Schedules Interim Studies    

State Juvenile Services Grant and FY 2013 Title II Grant Applications Are Now Available  

Grant Training Slated in Omaha November 14-15, 2013 

Legal LIne   

U.S. Agriculture Secretary is Heuermann Lecturer November 5 in Lincoln

U.S. Communities 

NACo Prescription Drug Program 

County Government Day PowerPoint 

County Directories   

2012 County Board Handbook and Revisions  

News From NACo 

News Across the State   

Legal Calendar  

County Classifieds 

Associate & Sustaining Members 

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program 

 

Missing_DirectoryMissing NACO Directory
Since 1977 NACO has published, on an annual basis, a Directory of County Officials in Nebraska.  In taking inventory, it has been noticed that NACO is missing the 1984 edition of this directory.  If you are a collector of the directory and you have a copy of the 1984 edition that you would like to donate to NACO it would be greatly appreciated.  Please contact the NACO office if you would like to do so.

 

Conference_MattersConference Matters

Lodging

By now, most county officials have secured lodging for NACO's 119th Annual Conference.  If you have not made lodging reservations, you may do so by clicking
hereOnce you click on NACO's microsite, you will be able to choose the contracted  hotel of your choice along with the dates you will require for lodging.  Initially, a valid credit card will be required for securing your lodging.  Once you have secured your lodging via credit card, you will be able to access a credit application for direct billing and will be required to complete and submit a tax exempt form (all forms will be available on the microsite).  Conference delegates are reminded that the cut-off date for making changes or cancellations to any confirmed reservations is November 15, 2013.   After this date, any changes or cancellations to confirmed reservations will be billed the first night's lodging rate plus any applicable taxes.  Be sure to make your changes before this date. 
 

 Opening Session Speaker 

NACO Aaron Davishas contracted for Aaron Davis, member of Nebraska's 1994 National Champion football team, to deliver the opening session address to conference attendees at this year's conference in Omaha.

  

Aaron is not just a speaker "telling" individuals how to succeed.  He is in the trenches every day as the President of his own consulting firm, Aaron Davis Presentations, Inc., the Chief Operations Officer of The Thomas Group, and the co-founder of several other profitable business ventures.

  

Aaron Davis Presentations, Inc. received the Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Minority Owned Business award while Toastmasters International awarded him the Communications & Leadership Award.  Rotary International also presented him with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award.  In addition, his business management certification seminars for the University of Nebraska have received some of the highest ratings in the program's twenty-four year history!

 

Courage, mental toughness and the ability to change and adapt quickly are just a few characteristics that all champions possess.  As a member of the Nebraska 1994 National Championship football team (considered by some as one of the best teams ever assembled), Aaron has a keen understanding of what it takes to achieve incredible results.  In his presentation, "Perform Like a Champion" conferences attendees will learn strategies to remain mentally tough in a competitive environment; they will be encouraged to never lose the ability to laugh at themselves and to have fun; and they will learn tips on how to adapt to change quickly while still enjoying the ride.

 

Registration

The advance registration fee for NACO Annual Conference is $120.00 per person if registering on or before November 22.  After November 22, the fee increases to $135.00.  Written notification of conference registration cancellation must be received by NACO prior to November 22.  Refund of advance registration fee, less a $25.00 administrative fee will be made by mail at the conclusion of the conference.  You may register for the annual conference by clicking here

 

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 cut off date for nominations is Friday, November 8 so the deadline is fast approaching.  The Nebraska Association of County Officials will present its highest honor to one county official at the conclusion of the December 13th 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 8, 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 2013 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 Friday, December 13.  The 2013 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.

 

To register for annual conference, click here.  To view a conference overview and tentative agenda, click here. 

NACO_Secretary_Treasurer_Election Submit Names for NACO Secretary/Treasurer Now

In December of this year, at the annual conference of the Nebraska Association of County Officials, the NACO officers will be elected for the upcoming year.  The officers are elected from each of the districts on a rotating basis, and this year, according to the NACO bylaws, Article V Section 2, there should be a Secretary/Treasurer elected who is from the Northeast District.

 

If you are interested in running for this office, please submit your name to Larry Dix at NACO.  If you know of any elected county officials that you feel would be interested, qualified and willing to serve as Secretary/Treasurer of NACO please submit their name(s) to Larry Dix at the NACO office. 

 

Several years ago the NACO Board of Directors amended the bylaws to allow any elected county official to serve as an officer. Previously the bylaws mandated that only county board members were eligible.  The bylaws now state that of the five officers, two can be members of county official affiliated organizations.  For this election, any elected county official is eligible.

 

The Board of Directors and Officers generally meet at least four times a year of which the travel expense is reimbursed by the Association.  The individual who is elected to the position of Secretary/Treasurer should be interested in the legislative process, as they will also serve on the Legislative Committee for the Association, and from time to time may be called upon to work with the Legislature, especially as they advance to the office of President of NACO.  Should you desire to nominate someone, please be certain to share with them the time obligation and commitment which goes with the position.  Submit Names for NACO Secretary/Treasurer now.

Legislature_Interim_StudiesLegislature Schedules Interim Studies
Medicaid expansion, road needs, and rate structures for calls from inmates are some of the issues that will be examined by the Legislature as interim studies. During the regular legislative session, senators introduce resolutions authorizing a committee to study an issue after adjournment. The study resolutions are prioritized by the assigned committee and public hearings are held on some of the issues. Some of the hearings of interest to counties are listed below.  Click here for the complete interim hearing schedule.

Hearings that are conducted at the State Capitol can be viewed via livestreaming by clicking here.

Friday, November 8
Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee
9:00 a.m., Room 1507, State Capitol
LR201 (Crawford) Interim study to examine policy options available to the State of Nebraska to support military installations, military families, and veterans and their families
LR305 (Harr) Interim study to examine the governance and efficiency of the State Board of Education
LR194 (Avery) Interim study to examine issues under the jurisdiction of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee - Special topic: Ranked-Choice Voting

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee and Appropriations Committee
1:30 p.m., Room 1113, State Capitol
Nebraska Department of Roads Needs Assessment Hearing
Open to the public, invited testimony only.

Tuesday, November 12
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
10:00 a.m., Room 1113, State Capitol
LR267 (Smith) Interim study to review the One-Call Notification System Act
Open to the public, invited testimony only.

1:30 p.m., Room 1113, State Capitol
LR276 (Chambers) Interim study to examine the communications rate structure for persons receiving calls from incarcerated individuals in county and local correctional facilities

Wednesday, November 13
Appropriations Committee
9:00 a.m., Room 1524, State Capitol
LR244 (Mello)  Interim study to examine issues surrounding the Nebraska Public Safety Communication System
LR273 (Bolz) Interim study to identify budgeting strategies to support the array of services needed for Nebraska's aging population in a fiscally responsible manner

Monday, December 2
Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
LR198 (Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee) Interim study to examine the public employees retirement systems administered by the Public Employees Retirement Board
LR191 (Krist) Interim study to examine all state retirement plans administered by the Public Employees Retirement Board

Wednesday, December 18
Health and Human Services Committee
1:30 p.m., Room 1510, State Capitol
LR241 (Campbell) Interim study to examine the financial impact of, and financing options for, Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for medical assistance for newly eligible individuals
Juvenile_Justice_grant_applicationsState Juvenile Services Grant and FY 2013 Title II Grant Applications Are Now Available
The FY 2013 State Juvenile Services Grant and FY 2013 Title II Grant applications and application kits are now available on the Nebraska Crime Commission's website.  The Juvenile Services application and Title II application are posted separately this year.  If you have any questions you may contact Vanessa Humaran, Juvenile Justice Grants Administrator by clicking  here.

Applications and application kits may be viewed by clicking here.
Grant_Training_In_OmahaGrant Training Slated in Omaha November 14-15, 2013
The Omaha Police Department and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants workshop in Omaha, November 14-15, 2013.  In this class you'll learn how to find grants and write winning grant proposals  More information including learning objectives, class location, graduate testimonials and online registration is available by clicking 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 contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel. 

  

Attorney General's Office Finds That School Board Violated the Open Meetings Act

 

In response to an individual's complaint, the Attorney General's office (the Office) replied in a letter to allegations that a Board of Education violated the Open Meetings Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-1407 through 84-1414) with respect to a closed session the Board held.

 

 

Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-1410 of the Open Meetings Act allows public bodies to close their meetings when it becomes clearly necessary for the protection of the public interest or to prevent needless injury to the reputation of an individual and the individual does not want the discussion held in open session.  The complainant asserted that the closed session in question did not fall under either statutory exception when the Board discussed the reduction of the number of superintendent candidates.

 

 

The Office placed significant reliance on the Nebraska Supreme Court case Grein v. Board of Education of the School District of Fremont, 216 Neb. 158, 343 N.W.2d 718 (1984), to support its conclusion that the meetings at issue should have been kept open. The case involved an action to void a contract between a school board and a contractor which resulted from discussion held during an improper closed session of the board.  The Office's letter pointed out the following holdings as critical from Grein:

 


i.    Provisions permitting closed sessions and exemption from openness of a meeting must be narrowly and strictly construed.

ii.    The 'public interest' mentioned in 84-1410 is that shared by citizens in general and by the community at large concerning pecuniary or legal rights and liabilities.

iii.    [G]ood faith or good intention on the part of the public body is  irrelevant to the question of compliance with  the provisions of the Public Meetings Laws authorizing a closed session.

iv.    The prohibition against decisions or formal action in a closed session also proscribes 'crystallization of secret decisions to a point just short of ceremonial acceptance,' and rubberstamping or reenacting by a pro forma vote any decision reached during a closed session.

v.    From all this there evolves a guiding principle relatively simple and fundamental: If a public body is uncertain about the type of session to be conducted, open or closed, bear in mind the policy of openness promoted by the Public Meetings Laws and opt for a meeting in the presence of the public. (citations omitted).

Of note, as stated by the Office, "'Protection of the public interest" is not defined in the Open Meetings Act, but has been judicially defined in Grein:

The "public interest" mentioned in Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-1410 is that shared by citizens in general and by the community at large concerning pecuniary or legal rights and liabilities."

The Office was unable to conclude, based on the arguments advanced by the Board, and from its own analysis, that the Board's closed session in question was clearly necessary to protect the public interest or to prevent needless injury to the applicants' reputations. Additionally the Office concluded that the Board appeared to have come to a consensus as to which four candidates would be advanced for further consideration during its closed session.  As pointed out by the Office, such action is expressly prohibited in 84-1410(2) and  in Grein; therefore, it found the Board violated the Open Meetings Act with respect to the closed session in question.

Additionally, the Office concluded that the Board, despite its missteps, did not show the necessary intent to violate the Open Meetings Act. It found neither a purposeful circumvention of the Act by Board members nor a series of improper closed sessions convened to discuss candidates. Additionally, the Board's counsel made a plausible argument to support the propriety of the closed session in question.  Although the Office disagreed with the counsel's argument, it did not find that criminal prosecution was warranted.

Board members were urged to err on the side of openness, and refrain from conduct which raises issues of impropriety under the Open Meetings Act.

In addition to the issues noted above, two Attorney General Opinions provide guidance on issues related to the Open Meetings Act and applicants.  They are:

*    1994 Att'y Gen. Op. No. 35 - Application of the Public Records and Public Meetings Statutes to Selection of Employees and Officers by the Nebraska Department of Education and the State Board of Education; and

*    1997 Att'y Gen. Op. No. 50 - Application of the Nebraska Public Meetings Statutes to an Appointment by the County Treasurer, County Clerk and County Attorney to Fill a Vacancy on the County Board.
Heuermann_LecturesU.S. Agriculture Secretary is Heuermann Lecturer November 5 in Lincoln
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is the Heuermann Lecturer at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 5 in the Grand Ballroom of the Cornhusker, 333 South 13th in Lincoln.  The title of his Heuermann Lecture, which is jointly sponsored with the University of Nebraska's Rural Futures Institute, is "Rural American:  New Markets, New Understanding, Unlimited Opportunity."

Vilsack leads USDA in working to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities, and create new markets for the innovation of rural America.  He became the nation's 30th Secretary of Agriculture in 2009.  From 1999-2007 he served as Iowa's governor.

Heuermann Lectures in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are free and open to the public.  They focus on meeting the world's growing food and renewable energy needs while sustaining natural resources and rural communities.  They're made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips.

The lecture will stream live at  http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu/  and will be archived at the site, usually within a day after the lecture.  Heuermann Lectures also are broadcast on NET2 World at a date following the lecture.
US_CommunitiesU.S. Communities
CountygovernementdaycdCounty Government Day PowerPoint
The PowerPoint presentation is available electronically at no charge (sent via e-mail) 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 and can be customized by each county. CD's are also available for $10.00 each to cover processing, shipping and handling. To request the County Government Day PowerPoint electronically, please e-mail your request to larrydix@nacone.org. The CD order form is available here.
The NACO 2013 Directory of County Officials is available.  The directory is an annual publication that provides names and addresses for elected and appointed county officials in the state.  A directory is available for $17.00 if non-taxable and $18.00 if taxable.  To order, click here.
County_Board_Handbook_20122012 County Board  Handbook and Revisions
The 2012 County Board Handbook and related revisions are available. The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2012 session, is $80.00/book plus $17.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2012 Supplement to the County Board Handbook is available for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. The order form is available on the NACO website here. For questions, contact Ashley Vandeloo by clicking here or call her at (402) 434-5660 ext. 223.
News_From_NACoNews From NACo

FCC Examines Siting Policies on Local Wireless Infrastructure The FCC is taking a fresh look at its rules for local governments as they regulate wireless infrastructure siting.  On September 26, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that scrutinizes local government policies and practices on Wireless infrastructure collocation, siting and the "shot clock."

At issue is Section 6409 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which states that "...a State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facility's request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station."

To read more, click here.

FCC Sets Rates for Inmate Calling Services 
A new FCC order caps the rate jails and other correctional facilities may charge inmates for interstate phone calls.  County jails that offer interstate inmate calling service (ICS) must comply with the order when it becomes effective (90 days after publication in the Federal Register).  The order, released September 26 establishes an interim safe harbor rate of 12 cents per minute for debit and prepaid interstate ICS calls, and 14 cents per minute for collect interstate ICS calls.

To read more, click here.

 

NACo Releases New Presentation on the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program

This week NACo is releasing a new publication on the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.  The presentation was developed in an effort to continue educating policymakers, county officials and the public about the unique nature of PILT, its history, and why PILT funding matters to over 1,850 counties in 49 states.  PILT provides payments to counties and other local governments to offset losses in tax revenues due to the presence of tax-exempt federal land in their jurisdictions.

 

To read more, click here

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

Readers may notice in the future that the number of insertions for this section of E-Line may be reduced.  This is due to the fact that several Nebraska Newspapers now charge a fee to read their articles on line making it difficult to link to the articles published.

County Reps Meet With TransCanada

York Times, 10/31/2013

 

North Platte Telegraph, 10/30/2013

  

 Dodge County Office Not in Line for More DMV Personnel

 Fremont Tribune, 10/31/2013

 

Election Officers Honored for Years of Service

 Norfolk Daily News, 11/1/2013


   

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