NACO_E-News_Header

May 16, 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, 2014

Fairbury, Main Street Center

 

Treasurers Workshop

June 17-19, 2014

Lincoln, Holiday Inn Downtown 

 

 

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

Register Now for Clerks, Election Commissioners, Register of Deeds Workshop     

NACO Is Moving!  

NACO Representative to National Association of Counties 

Twelve Receive NACO Scholarships   

DEQ and TAB at Kansas State University to Hold Webinar 

Legal Line 

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 State 

County Classifieds 

Legal Calendar 

Associate & Sustaining Members 

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program 

 

Clerks_WorkshopRegister Now for Clerks, Election Commissioners, Register of Deeds Workshop                             
Advance registrations will is now on-line at NACO's website for the County Clerks, Election Commissioners and Registers of Deeds Workshop scheduled for June 11-13, 2014, in Kearney at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center.

  

Officers of the Clerks, Election Commissioners and Registers of Deeds Association met in April to establish agendas for their respective organizations. A tentative agenda for the workshop can be found by clicking here. This agenda is tentative because confirmation from all speakers has not been received.

 

Guest rooms may be reserved by contacting the Holiday Inn at (308) 237-5971. Room rates are $86.95 single/double. When making reservations, inform hotel staff that you are attending the NACO workshop to receive the contracted rate.

 

To register, click here.

NACO_moveNACO Is Moving!
NACO will be moving to a new location in the very near future.  Approximately one year ago, NACO purchased a building located approximately 1/2 block from the current building.  Renovations to the new building have been made to make the building functional for NACO and MIPS Services.  The new building has one large and one smaller conference room where NACO board meetings and other meetings can be held.  In addition, NACO and MIPS Services will now be housed in the same building making daily business more efficient.

MIPS will be moving on May 16, 2014 and then NACO is projected to mvoe on June 30, 2014..  The address for the new location is 1335 "H" Street, Lincoln, NE 68508 and you can begin to use this mailing address effective June 1, 2014.  All phone numbers, extensions and e-mail addresses for NACO and MIPS staff will remain the same.
NACo_RepNACO Representative to National Association of Counties

The Nebraska representative to the National Association of Counties (NACo) Board of Directors is a position that the NACO Board appoints on an annual basis.  If anyone has an interest, or you know of anyone who has an interest in being considered for this position, or has  questions regarding this position, please let me know.  Mary Ann Borgeson, our current representative has informed me of her interest to continue as the Nebraska Representative on the National Association of Counties (NACo) Board of Directors if so appointed by the NACO Board.   The NACO Board will make this appointment at its annual meeting on June 20, 2014.  This will serve as notice to all elected officials of the appointment process.

 

The NACO bylaws referencing this position is as follows:

 

Section 2a.   Number, Tenure and Qualifications

 

The Directors shall consist of the officers enumerated in Article V of these Bylaws, hereinafter called Officers-Directors; one (1) County Commissioner or Supervisor from each county with more than one hundred fifty thousand (150,000) inhabitants, as determined according to U.S. Census data; hereinafter called Metropolitan Directors; one (1) County Commissioner or Supervisor from each of the following districts of the State; hereinafter called District Directors:  

 

Panhandle District, Northeast District, West Central District, Southeast District, Central District

 

and one (1) person from each of the following county officials' affiliate organization, hereinafter called Affiliate Directors:

       County Clerks and Register of Deeds

       Clerks of District Court

       County Treasurers

       County Assessors

       County Attorneys

       County Sheriffs

    County Surveyors serving as a County Highway Superintendent or County Engineer

 

"There shall also be one (1) nonvoting ex officio Director:  the county official appointed annually by the Directors to serve as the Nebraska representative on the National Association of Counties (NACo) Board of Directors, hereinafter called the Ex Officio Director.  The Ex Officio Director shall be in addition to the above defined Directors, unless the person so appointed already serves as an Officer, Metropolitan, District, or Affiliate Director in which event there shall be no  Ex Officio Director." 

 

This position has a term limit of 8 consecutive 1 year terms.  Mary Ann is eligible to serve additional terms.  

 

Please contact Larry Dix so that he can inform the NACO Board of your interest.

scholarshipsTwelve Receive NACO Scholarships

Twelve children of county officials and employees have been selected to receive $1,000 NACO scholarships to assist with college expenses for the 2014-15 school year.  In order to be eligible, students must graduate this spring from a Nebraska high school and attend a post-high school educational institution within the state of Nebraska.


 Photos and profiles of award recipients are featured here

DEQDEQ and TAB at Kansas State University to Hold Webinar
Does your community have an abandoned building, old gas station or other potentially contaminated building that is impeding your future growth?  Make plans to attend this webinar on June 9, 2014 co-hosted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program (TAB) at Kansas State University.

To read more or to register, 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 contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel. 


County Not Liable for Bus Crash
Lancaster County's failure to have a road sign inspection policy was a not a proximate cause of a school bus crash according to a Nebraska Supreme Court decision handed down on April 18. The Court remanded the case to the district court to reallocate the  percentages of liability between the school district and the driver of the other vehicle.

The accident occurred when a school bus and a pickup collided in a rural intersection.  The stop sign was missing for the southbound driver (the pickup) and the intersection was blind due to corn planted near the road. The driver of the pickup (Hall) sued the county and the school district. He alleged that the collision was proximately caused by the negligence of the county in failing to have a traffic control device in place, failing to maintain the stop sign that had been in place, and failing to take effective practices to ensure that a traffic control device would be in place, such as a policy to inspect or determine if a stop sign had been removed. He also alleged that the driver of the school bus, who was familiar with the intersection, was negligent for failing to yield the right-of-way, operating the school bus too fast for the conditions, failing to keep proper control of the bus, and failing to keep a proper lookout.

The district court entered a judgment in Hall's favor and awarded him $770,000 after factoring in his percentage of negligence at 30 percent. The school district was deemed 50 percent negligent and the county was 20 percent negligent.  The court stated that the county would have discovered that the stop sign was missing had it carried out a reasonable inspection and that the absence of a regular inspection, particularly during the high-risk time when crops are tall, was not reasonable.

The county appealed and the school district cross appealed. The Supreme Court bypassed the Court of Appeals and moved the case directly to their docket.

The Supreme Court first examined the county's argument that it maintained sovereign immunity under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act for decisions regarding the adoption and implementation of a sign-inspection policy.  The discretionary function exception to the Act in Neb.Rev.Stat.13-910(2) provides that the Act shall not apply to "[a]ny claim based upon the exercise or performance of or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of the political subdivision or an employee of the political subdivision, whether or not the discretion is abused." Because the pretrial order did not identify immunity as an issue, the Court determined that the county waived its claim that it was entitled to immunity.

The Court then examined the alleged negligence of the county. It noted the elements of a tort claim:  duty, breach, causation, and damages. It took issue with the district court's determination that the county's actions or lack thereof  in  having a sign inspection process were a proximate cause of the damages. According to case law, a proximate cause is a cause that produces a result in a natural and continuous sequence and without which the result would not have occurred. (Citations omitted.)The Court concluded that no reasonable fact finder could conclude that the county's failure to have a sign-inspection policy was a proximate cause of the accident.  Because there was no evidence to establish how long the stop sign was missing or how frequently sign inspections should occur, Hall and the school district could not establish that the sign was missing for long enough to have been discovered by an inspection procedure.

The Court addressed the final issues of Hall's contributory negligence and the school district's comparative negligence by remanding the case to the district court for a reallocation of liability between the two parties.

The case is Hall v. County of Lancaster, 287 Neb. 969, ___ N.W.2d ___ (2014). The full text is available here.

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
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.

To read more, click here.
To register, click here.

New "Waters of the United States" Definition Released
On April 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly released a new proposed rule - Definition of Waters of the U.S. Under the Clean Water Act - that would amend the definition of "waters of the U.S." and potentially expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction.  The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register, is open for public comment for 90 days, until July 21, 2014.

Counties are strongly encouraged to submit written comments on potential impacts of the proposed regulation to the Federal Register.

To read more, click here.

Hearing Held on FEMA's Proposal to Consolidate Homeland Security Grant Programs
On April 29, the House Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications held a hearing on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Preparedness Grant Program (NPGP) proposal, "Stakeholder Assessments of the Administration's National Preparedness Grant Program Proposal."  The hearing was held in response to FEMA's submission of legislative language that would consolidate the existing suite of homeland security grant programs, excluding Emergency Management Performance grants and Fire grants, into one grant program. 

To read more, click here.
NACo_Web_Based_EducationNACo Web-Based Education
Collaborating with County Partners to Create an Employee Wellness Program
Thursday, June 12, 2014, 2-315 p.m. EST
Counties are developing and implementing various types of employee wellness programs. Are there opportunities for collaboration within your county for creating employee wellness programs that can improve the well-being of your employees while potentially reducing health care costs? This webinar will discuss some innovative approaches some counties are using to improve employee health.  
 
To register for this webinar, click here.
 
To view NACo's entire web-based education listing, click here.
News_Across_the_StateNews Across the State
North Platte Telegraph, 5/16/2014
Nebraska Association of County Officials
625 South 14th Street Suite 200 | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660