NACO_E-News_Header
April 4, 2014                                                                   www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

Assessors Spring Workshop May 22-23, 2014
Lincoln, Cornhusker Hotel 

 

Nebraska Association of County Engineers, Highway Superintendents, and Surveyors Summer Meeting

June 10-12, 2014

North Platte, Quality Inn & Suites Convention Center

 

Clerks, Election Commissioners, Register of Deeds Workshop

June 11-13, 2014

Kearney, Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center

 

Clerks of District Court Workshop

June 18-19, 2013

Fairbury, Main Street Center

 

Treasurers Workshop

June 17-19, 2014

Lincoln, Holiday Inn Downtown 

 

 

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

NACo Cyber Symposium for Counties   

Remaining Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid 

NDOR Holds State-Wide Series of Public Information Open House MeetingsNACO Budget Workshop Cancelled for 2014  

Legal Line 

U.S. Communities  

Order NACO's 2014 Directory of County Officials Now  

County Government Day PowerPoint 

2013 County Board Handbook and Revisions  

News From NACo 

NACo Web-Based Education

News Across the StateCounty Classifieds 

Legal Calendar 

Associate & Sustaining Members 

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program 

 

Cyber_SymposiumNACo Cyber Symposium for Counties
Protecting information and infrastructure has never been more important for counties. With the increasing prevalence of cyber-warfare, county governments need to not only understand what to do to safeguard their data but new resources at their disposal should they be attacked.

Join NACo for one and a half days of educational programming developed to meet the needs of both local elected officials as well as information technology personnel. The NACo National Cyber Symposium will include two tracks of programming with the goal of helping county leaders and IT staff understand the large human and technical networks involved in keeping counties cyber secure.

Developed in partnership with the Peter Kiewit Institute at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and with support from AT&T, Cisco and HP, the sessions will include speakers from local, state and federal governments, in addition to the private sector and academia.

The dates for the symposium are April 9-11, 2014 and the location is Embassy Suites Omaha, 555 South 10th Street.

To view a draft agenda, click here.

For registration costs and information, click here.

Community_Based_Juvenile_ServicesRemaining Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid
On November 4th, 2013, the Request for Proposal was announced for the 2014 Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid in the amount of $5,011,343.

After careful consideration during the staff review, it was decided that remaining funds be announced in the amount of $76,773. The Nebraska Crime Commission is pleased to announce the Request for Proposal for the 2014 Community-Based Juvenile Services Aid [Additional Enhancement Aid Dollars] in the amount of $76,773.

Applications to be considered will include a targeted scope with specific priorities. Priority will be given to those applicants that demonstrate a plan to provide training or technical assistance, open to all counties and tribes in Nebraska that address the priorities outlined in LB561. Second priority will be given to those requests that utilize funding for community planning efforts to assist in the upcoming community comprehensive juvenile services plan.

Application Deadline:  Monday, April 14th, 2014 by 5:00 p.m. CDT.

To view the 2014 Community-Based Additional Enhancement Request for Proposal and the 2014 Community-Based Aid Enhancement Application (EB), click here.
NDOR_Meetings
NDOR Holds State-Wide Series of Public Information Open House Meetings

 

NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF ROADS

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETINGS

NEBRASKA PUBLIC TRANSIT

 

Information Open House Public Meetings for:

 

Intercity Bus Usage in Nebraska Study

 

April 7-Red Cloud

 

Red Cloud Community Center

142 West 3rd Avenue

 

April 9-Lincoln

 

State Office Building

Lower Level A Theatre

301 Centennial Mall South

 

April 10-Kearney

 

Kearney Public Library

Niobrara Room

2020 1st Avenue

 

April 16-Scottsbluff

 

Harms Advanced Technology Center

Room A108 C & D

2026 College Park

 

April 17-North Platte

 

McKinley Education Center

Central Meeting Room

301 West F Street

 

April 22-Beatrice

 

Southeast Community College

Kennedy Center Conference Room

4771 West Scott Road

 

April 24-Omaha

 

University of Nebraska at Omaha

132 CPACS Building

6001 Dodge Street

 

April 29-Norfolk

 

Lifelong Learning Center, Suite E

801 East Benjamin Avenue

 

The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) in collaboration with the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will hold a state-wide series of public information open house meetings regarding a study of Nebraska Intercity Bus Usage. All the open house meetings will be held 5:00-7:00 P.M.

 

These public open house meetings are being held to provide information and to gather input from the community to assess needs in intercity bus and public transit services. The public is invited to attend and present relevant comments and questions. Personnel from NDOR will be present to receive comments. The information "open house" format allows the public to come at any time during the advertised hours, gather pertinent information about the subject, speak one-on-one with study personnel, and leave as they wish.  

 

NDOR will make every reasonable accommodation to provide an accessible meeting facility for all persons. Appropriate provisions for the hearing and visually challenged or persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) will be made if the Department is notified ten days prior to the meeting. For further information contact: Kari Ruse, Nebraska Department of Roads, P.O. Box 94759, Lincoln, NE 68509-4759; kari.ruse@nebraska.gov  voice telephone (402) 479-4694, TDD telephone (402) 479-3834, Fax (402) 479-3989. Information regarding the study may be found on the NDOR website in the Public Transit area. The direct link is here.  Persons without internet access are welcome to view materials at the NDOR Library at 1500 Hwy 2, Lincoln, Nebraska.

 

 

                   
Budget_WorkshopNACO Budget Workshop Cancelled for 2014
NACO's Budget Workshop,normally held every two years, and listed on the NACO 2014 Courthouse Calendar for May 8, 2014 has been cancelled due to lack of attendance.  Records show that attendance for the last two workshops has gradually declined, therefore a decision to sponsor this workshop every four years, as opposed to every two years was made recently.  Please make a note on your calendar.
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 contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel. 

 

Two University of Nebraska managers who made good faith judgments about how to protect their employees were protected by qualified immunity in a case decided by the Nebraska Supreme Court on March 21. In Potter v. Board of Regents, 287 Neb. 732, ___ N.W.2d ___ (2014), a terminated employee sought monetary relief for the alleged deprivation of his right to procedural due process. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Board of Regents and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision.

 

Potter was a student and employee who was escorted from his workplace by two police officers as the result of a bench warrant from a missed court date on charges of driving under the influence. Prior to this incident, Potter's work performance was questioned and a "threat assessment" was conducted as part of a possible termination. After Potter's sudden departure, the decision to terminate was finalized. An email from Human Resources stated that if Potter showed up to work, the University Police would be involved in the termination meeting. A later email from an administrative staff member urged employees to shut and lock their doors if they saw him in the building. As the word of his termination spread, there were rumors that he had a gun and that a "lockdown" was possible.

 

Potter sued the Board of Regents and the two managers in their individual capacities. Initially he sought equitable relief but by the time the case was heard by the Supreme Court, he sought only monetary relief. He alleged a cause of action under 1983 and Neb.Rev.Stat. 20-148 for being deprived of a liberty interest in his good name without due process of law in violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court rejected the claims under 20-148 and examined the claims against the managers in their individual capacities under color of state law.

 

The Court reviewed the doctrine of qualified immunity, which protects government officials acting in their individual capacities from civil damages to the extent their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. A qualified immunity analysis has two prongs: (1) whether the official violated a statutory or constitutional right and (2) whether the right was clearly established at the time of the challenged conduct. The Court agreed with the district court that qualified immunity barred the 1983 action against the managers.

 

Next, the Court addressed procedural due process issues. Among other things, procedural due process requires parties deprived of liberty or property interests to be provided adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard. Other courts have held that neither liberty nor property interests are at stake when an at-will employee loses a job but remains as free as before to take another. Likewise, stigma to one's reputation through defamatory statements is not sufficient to invoke the procedural protections of the 14th Amendment.

 

When stigmatizing state action is combined with some more tangible interest that gives rise to a protectable interest under the 14th Amendment, it is referred to as "stigma plus." The individual's status as a government employee furnishes the "plus" in at-will termination cases. The stigma has generally been found when an employer has accused an employee of a serious character flaw, such as dishonesty, racism, or immorality.

  

The Eighth Circuit Court sets out the following test for an at-will termination stigma-plus claim.

 

 "(1) the public employer's reasons for the discharge stigmatized the employee by seriously damaging his standing and association in the community or by foreclosing employment opportunities that may otherwise have been available, (2) the public employer made the reason or reasons public, and (3) the employee denied the charges." Speer v. City of Wynne, Ark., 276 F.3d 980 (8th Cir. 2002)

 

If the termination qualifies as stigma plus, due process is violated if the employee challenges the substantial truth of the defamatory statement and has not been given an opportunity for a hearing to clear his or her name.

 

In this case, the alleged stigma arose from an implied character charge of dangerousness that was communicated during the employee's termination. The Court found that the managers were not responsible for alleged statements that Potter was roaming around campus with a gun. Under 1983, a supervisor is not responsible in a stigma-plus claim for unauthorized rumors circulating among employees.

 

The Court noted that the stigma alleged in this case is unique due to highly publicized incidents of workplace and school violence. However, even if there was no character charge, Potter failed to present a material issue that the charge seriously damaged his standing and foreclosed employment opportunities.

 

The Court also considered whether the managers' statements fell within the protections of conditional or qualified privilege. In general, the protection applies to

 

"communications made in good faith, without actual malice, with reasonable or probable grounds for believing them to be true, on a subject matter in which the author of the communication has an interest, or in respect to which the author has a duty-public, personal, private, legal, judicial, political, moral, or social-made to a person having a corresponding interest or duty." Turner v. Welliver, 226 Neb. 275, 411 N.W.2d 298 (1987) (additional citations omitted).

 

Whether a qualified privilege exists is a matter of law. The Court found that the warnings given by the managers were on a subject matter to which the managers had a moral duty and the statements were made to persons with an interest in their well-being. While the managers might have been mistaken about the need for the measures taken, there was no actual malice. The managers made good faith judgments about how to best protect their employees, students, and others and were protected by qualified immunity.

 

The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the managers.

 

The full text of the case is available here.

 

US_CommunitiesU.S. Communities
NACO_DirectoryOrder NACO's 2014 Directory of County Officials Now
NACO's 2014 Directory of County Officials is a valuable resource that not only gives you names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of every county official in the state, but includes a listing of county board meeting days, NACO districts, county seats, NACO officers and directors, affiliate officers and NACO staff.  County clerks for each county will receive one complimentary copy of the directory intended for use by all offices in their courthouse.  For additional copies, click here for the order form.
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.
County_Board_Handbook_20122013 County Board  Handbook and Revisions
The 2013 County Board Handbook and related revisions are available. The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2013 session, is $80.00/book plus $17.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2013 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
President Obama Signs Flood Insurance Bill
The U.S. Senate passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370) March 13 by a vote of 72-22. The same bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on March 4, 2014 by a vote of 306-91. President Obama signed the bill March 21.
 
 The measure is in response to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12), signed into law in July of 2012, which aimed to make FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) more financially stable by reflecting true flood risks in communities. However, BW-12, drastically increased premium rates for existing businesses and homeowners in a number of the nation's counties - both coastal and inland - as subsidized premium rates began phasing out.
 
To read more, click here.
 
Save the Date:  Juvenile Justice Reform Forum
The forum, held in Cook County, Ill. May 8-9, will enable county officials and staff from around the country to discuss juvenile justice reforms they have implemented, how these reforms have made their systems more fair, effective and developmentally appropriate and how the Models for Change juvenile justice reform initiative can help.
 
To read more, click here.
  

2014 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition Registration is now OPEN! 

Register today for NACo's Annual conference and exposition taking place July 11-14, 2014 in Orleans Parish/New Orleans, Louisiana.  NACo's Annual Conference and Exposition is THE conference to attend for county officials and county staff nationwide.

Innovation, networking and education are reasons why you need to attend.  Click here for details.  After Friday, May 30th, registration fees increase so register now to get the best price on the best investment you can make for your county!
NACo_Web_Based_EducationNACo Web-Based Education

 

To view NACo's entire web-based education listing, click here.
News_Across_the_StateNews Across the State
Nebraska Association of County Officials
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