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November 7, 2014                                                          www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

NACO Annual Conference

December 10 - 12, 2014

Century Link Center, Omaha     

 

To view all upcoming events, click here.

 



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WHO SUPPORTS NACO AND THEIR MISSION?

 

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.

In This Issue   

Annual Conference Matters 

*Room Cancellation Deadline 

*Register Now for the Conference 

*County Official of the Year Nominations 

*Group Conference Agendas

          *General Activities Page
Energy Element Required for Comprehensive Plans Not Later Than January 1

Interim Studies Continue  

Legislative Outreach   

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 

Recycling Project Informational Meetings 

News From Across the State 

County Classifieds    

Legal Calendar

Associate & Sustaining Members 

Conference_MattersAnnual Conference Matters

Lodging

 

Lodging for NACO's 120th Annual Conference became available in June, 2014. The conference will be held in Omaha December 10-12 and this year you will be able to make lodging reservations electronically by visiting the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau website and clicking on NACO's microsite.  The link to the microsite is available here and is also posted on NACO's website

Once 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).

rmcanclRoom Cancellation Deadline

Conference delegates are reminded that the cut-off date for making changes or cancellations to any confirmed reservations is November 7, 2014. 

 

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, but please use discretion because NACO provides a guarantee of having rooms at or near the conference site by contracting with the several hotels in the area. Each of those contracts needs to have a certain number of rooms guaranteed.

 

If you cancel a room at one of the hotels and enter another contracted hotel at a higher room rate NACO will be forced to pay for those room nights that were cancelled because of the "attrition" clauses in the contracts that we have with each hotel.


In other words, you will pay for your room at the second hotel and NACO will then be required to pay for your cancelled hotel room. Conference registration fees are the only offset to this situation!  


regnowRegister Now for the Conference

Registration for the conference is crucial in the planning and development of a successful program and its activities.  To register for the conference click here.

coynCounty Official of the Year Nominations

 

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 12th 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 14th, 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 2014 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 12.  The 2014 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.

enereleEnergy Element Required for Comprehensive Plans Not Later Than January 1, 2015

Neb. Rev. Stat. section 23-114.02(3) provides in pertinent part:

 

When a new comprehensive plan or a full update to an existing comprehensive plan is developed on or after July 15, 2010, but not later than January 1, 2015, an energy element which: Assesses energy infrastructure and energy use by sector, including residential, commercial, and industrial sectors; evaluates utilization of renewable energy sources; and promotes energy conservation measures that benefit the community[.]

  

This subsection was added by LB 997 in 2010. Similar provisions were added for cities.

intstucontInterim Studies Continue
Interim Studies of Interest to Counties can be viewed by clicking here for more in-depth information on times and locations of the hearings.

Topics of the interim study hearings include the following:
                  State Highway Needs Assessment (November 14),
                  Health and Human Services Issues (November 14 10:30 and 1:30),
                  Retirement (November 19),
                  Medicaid Expansion (December 2),
                  Next Generation 911 (December 5), and
                  Agland Valuation (December 9).
legoutreLegislative Outreach

Now that the election is behind us, it's time to meet the new senators and reconnect with returning legislators. All county officials are encouraged to meet with their senators before the end of the year to share legislative priorities and establish relationships for the new year. While senators are at home in their districts, it's a great time to offer tours of county facilities to explain county functions and services.

 

Ideas for hands-on learning could include:

  • A trip around the county to view roads and bridges in need of repair.
  • A tour of your county's jail to discuss health care costs, mental health issues, and space issues.
  • A discussion of unfunded mandates, including a tour of your courthouse to point out space provided to Probation, Health and Human Services, and other state agencies.
  • A discussion about county levies, valuations, and county fees.
legllineLegal 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.

Reorganization Meetings to Occur in January and New Officials to be Sworn In

 

With elections, arise questions of swearing in dates and related issues. This article is intended to provide an overview of some of those issues.

 

Term of Office and January Organizational Meetings

 

"Unless otherwise provided by the Nebraska Constitution or by law the terms of all elected officers begin on the first Thursday after the first Tuesday in January next succeeding their election."  See Art. XVII, 5.  That date is January 8 in 2015.

 

In supervisor counties, the regular meetings of the county board are to be held in January and the board at its regular meeting of each year must organize by choosing one of its number as chairman, who shall preside at all meetings of the board during the year; and in case of his absence at any meeting, the members present shall choose one of their number as temporary chairman.  Sections 23-272, 23-274.  Similarly, 23-156 provides the board of county commissioners at its regular meeting in January of each year must elect a chairman of the board to serve for the ensuing year, and such chairman shall sign all warrants on the treasurer for money to be paid out of the county treasury. If the meeting occurs prior to January 8 the board would be comprised of the "old" board members. If the meeting occurs on January 8 or after, the board would include the newly elected board members.

 

Oath of Office

 

Provisions for the oath of office are addressed in Neb. Rev. Stat. 11-101 et seq. The oath of office in 11-101 must be subscribed by county officers and filed in the office of the county clerk. The oath includes language related to what an individual swears to do and not do as an officeholder. Section 11-105 contains additional pertinent language and it provides in part: Official bonds, with the oath endorsed thereon, shall be filed in the proper office within the following time: Of all officers elected at any general election,not later than ten days before the first Thursday after the first Tuesday in January next succeeding the election; of all appointed officers, within thirty days after their appointment. In other words, the official bonds with the oaths endorsed thereon must be filed in the county clerk's office not later than December 29, 2014 for individuals elected at the November 2014 general election.

 

The ten day provisions were added by LB 534 (1976) in conjunction with provisions in 11-115 that address what is to occur if any individual elected or appointed to office fails to have his official bond executed and approved by law. Section 11-115 allows for an individual to properly file an official bond following a show cause for why he has failed to properly file such bond and why his office should not be declared vacant. The ten days provisions were added to statute for the purpose of providing notice to those elected officials required to provide a bond prior to taking office. The legislation was requested to be introduced by the Governor at the time. His basis for doing so was an event that had occurred in a county when a county board member thought he had filed a bond but he had not. The office was deemed vacant due to the failure of filing the bond. The legislation was intended to be corrective.

 

In Lieu of Individual Bonds

 

In addition to the above statutes, there are statutory provisions that provide: "In any county, in lieu of the individual bonds required to be furnished by county officers, a schedule, position, or blanket bond or undertaking may be given by county officers, or a single corporate surety fidelity, schedule, position, or blanket bond or undertaking covering all the officers, including officers required by law to furnish an individual bond or undertaking, may be furnished. The county may pay the premium for the bond. The bond shall be, at a minimum, an aggregate of the amounts fixed by law or by the person or board authorized by law to fix the amounts, and with such terms and conditions as may be required by sections 11-101 to 11-130[.]" See Section 11-119(22). In other words, the swearing in date would not necessarily be required to occur for county officials ten days prior to January 8, 2014 because not all insurance providers require the filing of an oath in conjunction with insurance coverage that is allowed in lieu of an individual bond pursuant to Section11-119(22).    

 

Provisions Added By LB 311 (2013)

 

The filing of the bond with the oath endorsed thereon does not authorize a person to take any official action prior to the beginning of his or her term of office pursuant to Article XVII, Section 5, of the Constitution of Nebraska. Section 11-105(2). Furthermore, in counties which provide a bond for county officers pursuant to subdivision (22) of Section 11-119, such county officers are not required to comply with the timing requirements of subsection (1) of this section with regard to their official bond but shall file their oaths of office in the proper offices prior to the beginning of their terms of office. Section 11-105(3).

 

Lastly, a provision was added to statutes so that Section 11-115 pertaining to officials who neglect to file their bonds does not apply to county officers covered pursuant to Section  11-119(22).  

 

Conclusion

 

So what does all of this mean? If an elected official fails to timely file official bonds with the oath by the appropriate time, the county clerk is required to immediately issue an order to such person to show cause why he has failed to properly file such bond and why his office should not be declared vacant. If such person properly files the official bond before the date for taking office for elected officials, such filing shall be deemed in compliance. Failure to file the bond before the date for taking office for elected officials, and the lack of sufficient cause being shown within that time, result in the individual's office being ipso facto vacant and shall vacancy must be immediately filled by election or appointment.

 

Conversely, if an elected official utilizes the provisions of 11-119, the date of January 8, 2015 could be applicable for an officials swearing in. Despite which process is used, newly elected officials take office on January 8, 2015 based on the Nebraska Constitution and the 2015 calendar.

   

Regardless of the option utilized by a county and county officials, it is recommended that this issue be discussed with your county attorney, your bond provider and/or your insurance provider.

 

Should Officials Ending Their Term Be Paid Pro Rata Salaries? Answer: No

 

(Reprinted and Updated article)


In a related issue, the question "Are outgoing elected county officials entitled to any pro rata salary for the two days in January that they continue to serve in office?" is addressed below.


This is a question the NACO office has been asked several times in past years and the response has been "No."  The question seems to arise every time a term of office ends, particularly when there is a significant turnover in county board members and county officials. Various new county board members and county officials will take the oath of office in January.  This question arises because Art. XVII, 5 of the Nebraska Constitution establishes that the terms of all elected officers shall, rather than January 1, begin on the first Thursday after the first Tuesday in January immediately following their election. In 2015, that date will fall on January 8, so the terms of the outgoing county officials will continue through January 7. While it might seem unfair that there is no compensation owed to the outgoing official for this time period, and that the incoming official receives a full month's salary for January though not in office for the entire month, one must refer back to the applicable county salary resolution which governs this period and the underlying law to show why this is the result. It also must be remembered the outgoing official, or the predecessor if appointed to fill a vacancy, likely received a full month's salary for the first January of his or her term though not in office for the full month him or herself.

 
Neb. Rev. Stat. 23-1114 requires every County Board, prior to January 15 of each year in which a general election will be held for the respective county offices, to fix the salaries of all elected officers to be effective for the subsequent term of office. Of course, elected county officials serve four year/48 month terms. Most such salary resolutions adopted by County Boards, utilizing a format recommended by NACO, establish salaries for the various offices on a calendar year basis, which for the current term covers calendar years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. So long as the person(s) in a county office received his or her full salary for calendar years 2011, 2012 and 2013 as called for under the salary resolution, and their December 2014 paycheck represents the balance remaining on the amount that was owed under the same resolution for calendar year 2014, then that official will receive the full salary he or she is entitled to for the 48 months of the term. Payment of anything more than that is not only contrary to the salary resolution but it would also violate Art. III, 19 of the Constitution. This constitutional provision generally prohibits the compensation of any public officer, including elected county officials, from being increased or diminished during his or her term of office. Therefore, any pro rata payment which would result in the payment of a county official in excess of the amount established in the salary resolution is legally impermissible.
 

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 received 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
New Funding Opportunities for Juvenile Justice Reform

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that they are providing $2 million in funding to advance juvenile justice reform in jurisdictions across the country.

 

Through this partnership, OJJDP and MacArthur will support training and technical assistance for local governments to meet the mental health needs of system-involved youth, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and promote coordination and integration for youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

To read about the program areas, click here.

"Waters of the United States" has Impact on Counties Across the Nation

On April 21 the  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers 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 expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction. Counties could feel a major impact as more waters become federally protected and subject to new rules or standards.

 

The proposed rule would impact county-owned and maintained roadside ditches, flood control channels, drainage conveyances, storm water systems, green infrastructure construction and maintenance.

Read NACo's analysis on how the proposed rule would impact counties here.
NACo_WebinarsNACo Web-Based Education
Next Generation 911: Upgrading County Emergency Communications

Wed, Dec 17, 2014 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CST

The popularity of landline telephones is dwindling, with more than 40 percent of households in the U.S. relying only on cellular phones.  Over the last few decades, cell phones, VoIP and other methods of communications other  have become the preferred method of communication, especially among younger generations and those living in cities-nearly two-thirds of those 25-29 live in a wireless-only home. 911 technologies, however, have not kept up with the trend; though they can receive calls from cell phones and IP-based devices, call centers cannot locate where a call is coming from, and they cannot send and receive photos, text messages and videos. The seemingly ubiquitous use of cell phones in public means that a number of bystanders may call 911 after witnessing an emergency, which can overwhelm a call center. More and more counties are working to upgrade 911 call centers and infrastructure in order to become more resilient, and ensure they are capable of addressing new needs in emergency communication and response.  This webinar will provide county leaders and emergency managers with the information and strategies they need to know to modernize their 911 capabilities.

To register for this webinar, Click here.

To view NACo's entire web-based education listing, click here.
recyproRecycling Project Informational Meetings

 

Public meetings are coming up relating to a state-wide recycling project.  All municipalities, counties, and recyclers in addition to any interested parties are encouraged to attend. Each meeting will discuss local recycling opportunities, barriers, and strategies for future growth and outreach.  The meetings will afford the opportunity to present the results of the clerk, treasurer, and recycler data that has been compiled.



Individuals can register to attend by clicking here.
newsacstNews From Across the State
 Natural Gas Station Gives Drivers Another Fuel Option
Columbus Telegram  November 7, 2014

 

Courthouse Addition Dedicated 

Creighton News  November 7, 2014 

 

Four Veterans Lead Parade

Hastings Tribune  November 3, 2014  

   

Panelists Call For Better Communication About Agriculture, Food
Lincoln Journal Star  November 7, 2014 

Nebraska Association of County Officials
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