105th Annual MACo Conference Minutes (2014)

Opening General Session – Monday, September 22, 2014

Kalispell, Montana

Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo President

The 105th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties opened at 8:30 a.m. President Joe Briggs introduced the head table:

  • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, President
  • Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County, 1st Vice President
  • Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County, 2nd Vice President
  • Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, Past President
  • Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, Fiscal Officer
  • Commissioner Carol Brooker, Sanders County, Parliamentarian

The Flathead Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol-Squadron 53 presented the Colors for the Pledge of Allegiance.  The National Anthem was sung by Dan Hunthausen, Montana Native Singer/Songwriter & Performer and Youngest Brother of Lewis & Clark County Commissioner, Andy Hunthausen.  Pastor Frank Mack, Family Life Christian Church, conducted the Invocation.  The MACo Members were then welcomed to the 105th Annual Conference in Kalispell, Montana:

  • Mark Johnson, Mayor of the city of Kalispell, welcomed everyone.
  • Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County, MACo 1st Vice President, responded with thanks for welcoming MACo to Kalispell.

Roll Call

Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, MACo Fiscal Officer

After Roll call was taken, Commissioner McGinley announced a quorum was present to conduct business.

Approval of the 2013 Minutes – 104th Annual Conference

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, made a motion to approve the 2013 Annual Conference minutes. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sandra Broesder, Pondera County.  The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution in Memoriam

Commissioner Pam Holmquist, Flathead County

Whereas, the members of the Montana Association of Counties, with great sorrow and a deep sense of loss, wish to remember and honor those members who have been taken by death since the last Annual Conference of our Association; and

Whereas, each of those County Commissioners has rendered innumerable public services to his or her respective county, to the state of Montana, and to the people thereof; and

Whereas, the absence of these persons is keenly felt as a great personal loss to their families, friends, and colleagues.

Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the Montana Association of Counties in conference duly assembled in Kalispell, Montana, this 22nd day of September, 2014, that the Association does hereby pay tribute to the memory of Commissioners:

  • Wally Frasz, Butte-Silver Bow County
  • Thomas Lythgoe, Jefferson County
  • Delbert Maxwell (Happy) Bullock, Jefferson County
  • Robert Kluth, McCone County
  • Carlo M. Cieri, Park County
  • Tom Hammersmark, Sweet Grass County
  • Eleanor Pratt, Valley County
  • Leif Bakken, Wibaux County

And on behalf of its members and the citizens of the State of Montana, the Montana Association of Counties does hereby express gratitude for their achievements and contributions to the public good of their counties and to Montana.

The assembly was asked if there were additional names to be added to the Memorial Resolution, at which time Commissioner Connie Eissinger, McCone County, announced that Edwin Moos, McCone County, needed to be added.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Mike Wendland, Hill County, made a motion to adopt the Memorial Resolution.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner J.R. Iman, Ravalli County.  The motion passed unanimously.


Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo President

  • The American Hero Quilting Project is across the hall—stop by.
  • Turn in your Commissioner Bio sheet for committee appointments; this information also helps put together the MACo Directory.
  • Visit with exhibitors and get your sheet signed.

Nominations Committee Report

Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo President

The Board of Directors, acting as the Nominations Committee, brings forth the candidates for the 2015 year as follows:

  • Office of Immediate Past President:   Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County
  • Office of President: Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County
  • Office of 1st Vice President: Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County
  • Office of 2nd Vice President: Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County
  • Office of 2nd Vice President: Commissioner Mike Wendland, Hill County
  • Office of Fiscal Officer:  Commissioner Mike McGinley , Beaverhead County

President Briggs asked for any other nominations and noted that nominations would remain open until the Wednesday General Session. No further nominations were made, and President Briggs invited the nominees forward to speak:

  • Commissioner Devlin, Office of 2nd Vice President
    • Commissioner for 20 years
    • Appointed to the MACo Public Lands Committee in 1995 and have been a member ever since, including vice chair for a number of years
    • MACo District Chair for 4 years and on the MACo Board of Directors
    • Only missed one MACo Annual Conference
    • Been very involved in public lands policy and most recently, the Greater Sage Grouse issue
    • Very respected organization
    • “Give Todd the Nod”
  • Commissioner Wendland, Hill County, Office of 2nd Vice President
    • Appointed as a commissioner in March of 2007 to fill a vacancy in Hill County
    • Tried to participate in the business of MACo to the best of my ability
    • Been a member of the MACo Public Lands committee
    • Attended the MACo Annual Conferences and the Midwinter Conferences as well as area meetings
    • MACo will continue to be an important part of the future in Montana
    • Would serve well
  • Commissioner McGinley, Beaverhead County, MACo Fiscal Officer
    • Was MACo 2nd Vice President in 2006, President from 2008 to 2009, and Fiscal Officer from 2012-2014
    • MACo Health Care Trust Chairman and worked on HCT budget including the actuary projections
    • Have been on MACo Executive Committee for the past 8 years, including the last two as fiscal officer
    • MACo is the glue that gives the counties their collective power–involvement by commissioners is the strength of MACo.
    • Always believed that if you belong to any organization, “Get Involved”
    • Hope to continue on the MACo Leadership Team as your Fiscal Officer
    • Appreciate your support

Convention Sites for 2015 & 2016

Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo President

2015 Annual Conference

  • Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Missoula at the Holiday Inn Downtown

2016 Annual Conference:

  • Commissioner Jim Reno, Yellowstone County:  Billings Hotel & Convention Center

Presentation of Proposed Resolutions

Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, Resolutions & Legislative Committee Chair

  • The Resolutions Committee met Sunday, September 21 to review late resolutions.
  • We assigned one late resolution, Retirees as Independent Contractors, to the Tax Committee with the recommendation of Do Pass.
  • Everyone should have a copy of all the other resolutions in your conference bags, and committees will meet tomorrow to make their recommendations to the membership and review their policy statements.
  • Everyone is invited to participate in any committee.
  • All resolutions will be discussed and can be segregated Wednesday afternoon during the business session.

President’s Report

Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo President

MACo President, Joe Briggs, spoke to the MACo Membership about the past year:

  • JPA/JPIA: New claims system to automate claims processing
  • Jail Standards:  Jim Muskovich has, JPA/JPIA Loss Control Specialist, working with the Montana Sheriffs & Peace Officers (MSPOA)
  • State Interoperability & Governance Board (SIGB):  Upcoming legislative session; funding; FirstNet update
  • Council of County Officials (CCO):  Getting to know what other associations are working on—also working on the compensation board statute
  • Succession Planning:  Did a detailed analysis of MACo’s processes
    • Looked at all elements even if the trusts should stay under the MACo umbrella:  based on research from other states, it is critically important that they do stay under the authority of MACo
    • Came up with a plan and a budget plan
  • Great year; wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world

Fiscal Officer’s Report

Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, MACo Fiscal Officer

MACo Fiscal Officer, Commissioner McGinley, spoke to the MACo Membership about the past year:

  • Leadership from President Briggs has been amazing
  • Great people coming up in the President and 1st Vice President positions as well as the 2nd Vice President candidates
  • Kathy Johnson, MACo Finance Director/CFO:  Taken over the reins fiscally
  • Audit Report:  Went through with absolutely no findings
  • MACo Budget:  Revenue is way above projections, and expenses are down
    • Large Budget Item:  Staff position—hopefully filled by 2015 Legislative Session

Executive Director’s Report

Harold Blattie, Executive Director, Montana Association of Counties

  • This year is not remarkably different than other years
  • Gratitude to President Briggs and Succession Planning Committee
    • MACo will change dramatically soon:  We already had two key people retire and one pass away, and in the near future, we’ll have two more retire.
    • I have no intention of leaving anytime soon—love my job.
    • We’ve been lucky to have Mike Sehestedt as MACo General Counsel for the last 5 years—been able to provide a lot of civil assistance to county attorneys and commissioners.
  • Changes: Shantil is assuming a much bigger role legislatively, allowing Sheryl to focus more on office operations.
  • By-Law Changes: Allow all Past Presidents to stay involved in MACo—Non-voting members of the Board of Directors & legislative conference calls

Presentation:  “Count on Coal”

Greg Kohn, State Director, Count on Coal Montana

An update on what is happening with coal in Montana as a dependable and affordable energy source:

  • Count on Coal is a campaign, initiated through the National Mining Association, to make America aware of the benefits of affordable reliable coal-generated electricity.
  • Purpose:  Count on Coal is a grassroots organization that seeks to identify, educate, and recruit Americans to support our mission to keep electricity affordable by protecting and promoting the use of our abundant coal for power generation.
  • Launched campaign in 7 states with field operators prepared to deliver our message:  Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia
  • Focusing attention on gaining the support of our legislators and political allies and spreading our message through the media
  • In the US, coal provides 40% of electric power generation, providing power for more than 60 million homes and 3.4 million businesses.  The US uses 979.6 million short tons of coal to generate 1,850.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.  Coal fired power plants are operating in every state in the US.
  • Dependence on coal generated electricity in states you do not normally associate with the coal industry:  Examples include Iowa at 66%, Kansas at 70%, New Mexico at 71%
  • In 2014 our strategy is to get our message out in a well-coordinated and focused initiative.
  • Targeted Groups/Media:  Public Utility Commissions, City Mayors/Councils/County Commissioners, Resolutions, US Legislature Statements, State Legislature Statements, Op-eds, Letters to the Editor (LTE), Media
  • What you can do:
    • Friend us Facebook
    • Attend Count on Coal and other coal industry sponsored rallies
    • Encourage your local and state legislators to sign letters of support
    • Write Letters to the Editor
    • Sign up and show your support on our webpage:  www.countoncoal.org

The National Mining Association and Count on Coal will continue its efforts to take our message to every street corner across the US and talk to anyone willing to listen to our story.

Social Security After Retirement

Troy Simmons, Vice President, Nationwide Institute

Filing for Social Security is one of the most important and complex decisions you’ll make in your lifetime.  There are many factors you must take into consideration.  And generally, there’s only one chance to get it right.  This segment can help you simplify this complicated decision and show you how Social Security fits into your broader retirement income plan.

  • When does the filing decision happen?
    • Most Americans have a base level of understanding of how Social Security works – you pay into the system throughout your career; at age 66 to 67, receive monthly income for the rest of your life; some people want to or have to retire early; Social Security allows you to tap your benefit as early as 62, with a reduction in benefits that’s largely permanent; also possible to delay benefit beyond full retirement age, up to age 70; for delaying, you earn credits that increase your monthly benefit when you do decide to take them.
  • Significant income for retiree households
    • Social Security is a large part of the retirement income picture for retiree households; many future retirees may see pension income shrink; today, only 18% of workers participate in a pension or defined benefit plan at work; future retirees may find this one leg of the traditional “three-legged stool” (Social Security, pensions and personal assets) much shorter in the future; means leaning more heavily on the other primary sources of retirement income – personal savings and Social Security – to cover essential and discretionary retirement expenses; Social Security is a foundational component of a retirement income plan and helps to fulfill many basic retirement expenses.
  • Social Security Act of 1935
    • Designed to help older Americans living in poverty during the Great Depression; never meant to be sole source of retirement income
  • More than a monthly check:  Guaranteed lifetime income, spousal and survivorship benefits, indexed to inflation, preferential tax treatment
  • Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)
    • Amount received each month if benefits start at full retirement age; based on lifetime SS earnings adjusted for inflation: avg. monthly earnings over highest 35 years of earnings; benefit reflects a percentage of avg. monthly earnings; higher earners receive a smaller % than low-wage earners
    • Social Security statements available online—search “mySocialSecurity” in a browser
  • Full Retirement Age (FRA)
    • Used to be 65, and many people still believe 65 is full retirement age; FRA is gradually increasing to 67, starting with people born in 1943 or later; people born in 1948 will reach FRA @ 66 in 2014; FRA is 67 for anyone born after 1960; early filing can occur starting at age 62 up to FRA; for anyone born in 1960 or later, age 66 is considered early; you can also delay filing up to age 70; filing early or later than FRA will change your monthly benefit amount.
  • Social Security filing options
    • Deemed Filing:  Filing at or before FRA; file for all benefits you are eligible for; full benefits at FRA, credits for delaying
    • Standard filing:  File at or after FRA for all of the benefits you are eligible for
    • File and Suspend:  While benefits are suspended, PIA continues to grow; allows spouse to collect spousal benefits
    • Restricted Filing:  filing restricted allows you to begin spousal benefits or survivor benefits only; collecting based on spouse while allowing individual PIA to grow
  • Filing rules for different situations
    • Spousal:  Eligible at 62; married for at least one year; one spouse must file for the other to claim benefits; Up to 50% of spouse’s PIA
    • Surviving Spouses:  Married for at least 9 months; benefits can be taken as early as age 60; currently unmarried or remarried after age 60; spouse’s PIA including delayed retirement credits earned; survivor benefits can be received independent of individual benefits
    • Divorced Spouses:  Married for at least 10 years; currently unmarried; ex-spouse does not have to file (2 years); spousal and survivor benefits; no impact on ex-spouse’s benefit; not subject to the family maximum
    • Dependent Children:  Dependent under age 18; disabled dependents if disability occurred before age 22; 50% of parent’s PIA; 75% of deceased parent’s PIA
    • Disabled Individuals:  Qualifying medical condition; recent work test (individual); duration of work test (individual); individual benefit; spousal benefit; survivor benefit
  • Will Social Security be there for you?  Full benefits payable to at least 2033; with no legislative changes, Social Security would pay 75% of benefits afterward.
  • Working in Retirement:  If you’re considering continuing to work while receiving Social Security benefits, your SS benefits may be reduced depending on your age.
    • These benefits are not lost – rather, they are withheld until you reach full retirement age. At that point, SS benefits are increased to account for the amount of earned income that was withheld.
    • From 62 to FRA, $1 of SS benefits are withheld for every $2 of earned income above the annual limit
    • In the FRA year, $1 of SS benefits are withheld $1 for every $3 in earned income
    • After FRA, SS benefits will not be reduced

Cyber Liability Coverage

Matt Gullickson, Account Executive, and Jeremy Gillespie, Area Vice President

Cyber Risks & Professional Liability Team for Arthur J. Gallagher and Risk Management Services

This segment will help you learn about privacy breaches and get other cyber insurance claims examples; overview of cyber insurance program structure; explanation of how the policy works; discuss what to do after experiencing a breach, a potential breach, or other cyber claim; first response steps; claim notification; review of resources and best practices available.

  • Cyber Security Risks:  Challenge is maintaining policies that tackle both internal and external threats
    • Rogue employees, social engineering, hacker sophistication, human error, record disposal, compute common sense, passwords, clean desk policy, training
  • Privacy Breach Examples:
    • NORCOM – An agency that supports counties / cities in WA
      • Cause of the breach:  Network security failure / hack
      • Result of the breach: ~6,000 PHI and PII records potentially exposed
    • Baltimore County, MD
      • Cause of the breach: Rogue employee saved unauthorized PII
      • Result of the breach:  ~12,000 county employee records exposed including name, address, SSN and bank account information
    • Franklin County, OH
      • Cause of the breach: Data management negligence – boxes of files with  children’s PII was left in the open
      • Result of the breach:  number of records undisclosed
  • Cyber Insurance Coverages:  Network security liability, privacy liability, media liability, regulatory liability, event management (legal services/breach coach, forensic investigations, notification expense, credit monitoring expense, public relations), information asset protection, cyber extortion
  • 3rd Party Coverage:
    • Network Security and Privacy Liability
      • Claims arising from: Unauthorized access to computer systems; failure to protect non-public information (PII / PHI / Confidential Information) in your care, custody and control; transmission of a computer virus, other malicious software; failure to prevent a denial of service attack through your system against a 3rd party; failure to provide authorized users with access to the entity’s website.
    • Media Liability – Including online and offline Media
      • Claims arising from media content allegations of: Libel, slander, defamation, emotional distress, infringement of copyright/trademark/etc., invasion of privacy
  • 1st Party Coverage:
    • Event Management / Data Breach Response Costs
    • Coverage for: Legal advice from a “Breach Coach” to guide the response (applicable laws next steps); forensic experts to investigate the extent of the network security failure; public relations services to mitigate negative publicity; notification to individuals affected by a privacy breach; credit monitoring; call center to handle inquiries; identity fraud expense reimbursement insurance
    • Information Asset Protection
      • Coverage for: Expenses necessary to restore or recreate electronic data that is lost, damaged or destroyed due to a security failure
    • Cyber Extortion
      • Coverage for:  Money paid to end a privacy or network security threat and costs to investigate the cause
  • Montana Association of Counties’ Cyber Program (AIG) Policy Period:  July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015
  • Claim or Potential Claim Reporting
    • If you experience a breach in network security / private information, or suspect that you may have had such a breach, call the following number to reach the AIG CyberEdge Breach Resolution Team:  1-877-890-1259
    • The breach response experts will help determine what steps need to be taken next, to include: Legal Advice, Forensic Investigation, Notification / Credit Monitoring, Public Relations, etc.
  • Liability Claims Reporting:  In the event that you receive a third party claim, it should be reported to the following address and / or e-mail address: AIG Property Casualty, Financial Lines Claims, P.O. Box 25947, Shawnee Mission, KS 66225, or, c-claim@aig.com

Gallagher CyberRisk Services Overview:  Educate, analyze exposures/risks, analyze coverage gaps – present/future, analyze current coverage, benchmark, recommend experts to assist in analysis – all aspects, security assessments & analysis, legal, design risk transfer solutions to match exposures/risks

Affordable Care Act Employer Responsibilities

Roger Cowan, Administrative Procedures Manager, Allegiance Benefits Plan Management, Inc.

This segment will focus on the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA) mandates that will impact Montana county employers.  It will include discussion about options to track eligibility and the penalties for failing to offer adequate coverage to “eligible” employees.  This segment will also include current information regarding the significant employer reporting requirements that will apply starting in March of 2016.

  • Does Not Apply: Flex plans and integrated HRA;  “Excepted” benefits (stand-alone dental and vision); Small groups”; currently less than 50 Full-Time employees
  • Terms:  Minimum Essential Coverage plan (MEC); Minimum Value plan (MV); “Seasonal” Worker; Variable Hour Employee; Subsidy Eligible Member (SEM)
  • Applies starting with first Plan year on or after: January 1, 2015 for employers with 100 or more Full Time employees; first Plan Year on or after January 1, 2016 for employers with 50 to 99 Full Time employees; does not apply to employers with less than; 50 Full Time employees; employee count based upon majority of weeks (27 weeks) in the prior calendar year.
  • Large Group Plan [Is any plan with100 or more Full Time employees (2015)/50 or more Fulltime employees (2016)]: Includes all Full-Time Employees ; Includes Full-Time Equivalents (FTE); Excludes “Seasonal Worker”; a seasonal worker is an employee who works less than 120* days per calendar year and whose employment is tied to a specific seasonal event (*for 2015  the time period is expanded to 6 months in a calendar year).
  • Large Group Computation:  Full-Time employee = 30 hours per week or, in the alternative, 130 hours per month; full-time equivalent (FTE) = hours of all employees who are not full-time employees added together and divided to equal 30 hours per week or 120 hours per month
  • “Employees” include only “common-law” employees as defined by Section 414 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Independent contractors, owners, partners, shareholders, unpaid volunteers/interns of governmental employers and not-for-profits are not employees for this count even if covered; for 2015 calculation, subtract seasonal workers that worked less than 6 months in 2014 calendar year regardless of hours.
  • Must also include all hours of paid leave or time off and FMLA, teacher on summer vacation and jury duty even if unpaid, but not any other unpaid leave; if based on all calculations and requirements above the total is 50 or more = large employer.
  • Classes of employees:
    • Hourly:  Must use actual hours including paid time off
    • Salaried and commissioned:  Employer must create a reasonable counting method that is applicable to all, taking into account normal hours worked, paid leave, and FLSA rules. The methodology picked by the employer must be consistently applied to all. Regulations indicate actual time worked or imputing a reasonable amount per day or week.
  • Penalties Applicable Only to Large Employers:
    • Two Separate Penalties:  Penalty A:  For sponsor failing to sponsor any health plan or failing to offer an MEC plan to substantially all Full-Time employees. “Substantially all” employees is specifically defined as at least 70% of full time employees in 2015 and at least 95% in subsequent years; Penalty B – For sponsoring a health plan that is not MV or that is “unaffordable”.
    • Penalty A:  No health plan at all or fails to offer a MEC plan to substantially all Full-Time employees; penalty = $2,000 per year per full-time employee (does not include FTE)
    • Pro-rated by month – monthly penalty is $166.67; not tax deductible; does not count first 80 full-time employees in 2015 or first 30 full time employees in subsequent years in fine computation
      • Ex for 2016: Employer A has 60 FT employees and does not sponsor a health plan.  60 – 30 = 30 full-time employees subject to penalty x $2,000 per year
      • *Safe Harbor:  A MEC plan is deemed to have been offered to all full-time employees and their dependent children if the employer can show on a monthly basis that the coverage was offered to at least 70% of all Full-Time employees (69.9% will invoke the penalty . . . no rounding) in 2015.  (Changes to 95% starting 2016.)
    • Penalty B:  Plan does not meet MV or is “unaffordable;” penalty = $3,000 per year per employee for any SEM who applies for coverage and receives coverage and a subsidy on an Exchange; not tax deductible
      • Pro-rated by month-monthly penalty is $250
    • Fine imposed per Full-Time employee if either:  plan is not MV employee obtains Exchange coverage and a subsidy; or cost to employee for single coverage exceeds 9.5% of household income* (unaffordable), and employee who is an SEM obtains coverage and a subsidy on Exchange
      • Safe harbor is to use employee’s W-2 income.
    • After January 1, 2015:  full-Time employee redefined for health benefit plan purposes (2016 for employers with 50 to 99 FT employees); nationwide, a Full-Time employee is any “common-law” employee who works 30 or more hours per week / 130 or more hours per month; all Plans that have a higher hourly requirement will need to amend to avoid penalties; critical to application of Penalty A for failing to offer coverage to all Full-Time employees and for Penalty B
    • Hours can be measured monthly as currently done or through new safe harbor, or a combination of both in some cases.
    • Monthly measurement is retrospective for prior month. May result in missing some who work enough hours and creates risk of fine. Should define risk for each employer’s workforce. May be able to amend plan requirements to avoid this risk
    • Safe harbor or “Look Back” method will be discussed in detail in subsequent slides.
    • May be able to use both methods based on certain employee classifications, e.g. salaried /hourly
    • Generally creates 3 employee classes: full-time – those regularly scheduled and who work 30 hours or more per week / 130 per month.  Includes paid leave, FMLA and jury duty; part-time – those regularly scheduled to work less than 30 hour per week or who work less than 25 hours per week.  Includes paid leave FMLA and jury duty; variable hourly- those whose hours vary but sometimes work more than 30 hours per week; includes paid leave, FMLA and Jury duty.
  • More New Terms:
    • Administrative Period: Same as waiting period.  Cannot exceed 90 days starting in 2014.
    • Initial/Standard Measurement Period: Specific period of time to measure average hours to determine 30 hours per week / 130 per month for Full Time and Variable Hour. Not less than 3 months or more than 12 months.
    • Substantiation Period: Period of time not less than 6 months but not more than 12 months that Full Time and Variable Hour Employees must be provided coverage if they average enough hours to be eligible during Standard Measurement Period.
  • Full-Time and Variable Hour Employees (cont’d):
    • Coverage must be provided for entire Substantiation Period as long as employee is employed even if not working 30/130 or more hours
    • If still averaging 30/130 at end of Substantiation Period must be reclassified as Full-Time and tracked based on Full-Time Standard Measurement Period
    • If average is less than 30/130 during Substantiation Period, then no longer eligible.  This is a COBRA event but no clear guidance on when COBRA starts.
  • Transitional rule for Standard Measurement Period:  Starts to apply on first Plan year on or after January 1, 2015 for 100 or more full time employees and first Plan year on or after 2016 for 50 to 99 Full time employees; first standard measurement period for Full-Time and Variable Hour employees does not have to be longer than 6 months  backwards from first day of Plan year, even if it will be longer going forward
  • Breaks in Service:  Classified as New employee again if break exceeds 26 weeks; if less than 26 weeks, must count all paid leave and FMLA and jury duty even if unpaid as work hours; Rule of Parity for less than 26 weeks for unpaid leave there are two options – 1) Impute normal work hours to period of absence, 2) Average over actual months worked

Educational Organizations:  Rules are fact specific to organization, complex and currently incomplete, but generally require employers to count time off during breaks and summer vacation as time worked, but limit the amount of hours that must be imputed to no more than 501 hours

The Role of Boards of Public Health

Kerry Pride, Director of Local Public Health System Support

This segment is a brief introduction by the Montana Public Health and Safety Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services regarding public health and why it is important to the health of Montanans.  The majority of the segment will be an introduction to Montana statutes as they pertain to local boards of health.

  • What does Public Health do?
  • Prevents epidemics and the spread of disease; protects against environmental hazards; prevents injuries; promotes and supports healthy behaviors; preparing for, responding to, and recovering from public health emergencies; assures the quality and accessibility of health services
  • Improved Life Expectancy:  Since 1900 the average American lifespan has lengthened by 30 years.
  • Public Health: Past, Present, and Future
    • Achievements of 20th Century:  Vaccinations; improved sanitation; fewer deaths from heart disease and stroke; healthier mothers and babies; reduction in tobacco use
    • Emerging threats of the 21st Century:  Chronic diseases; obesity; influenza like H1N1; new and re-emerging infectious diseases like MERS and Ebola; natural disasters
  • What is the value of public health?
    • The implementation of tobacco control policies and interventions have resulted in savings of >$30 billion in medical costs from preventing youth smoking.
    • By targeting certain types of healthcare-associated infections, there are the potential cost savings of $5 billion to $5.5 billion.
    • Preventing motor vehicle crashes results in savings of $99 billion in medical and lost work costs.
    • Providing routine childhood immunizations results in savings of $13.5 billion in direct costs and $68.8 billion in total societal costs.
  • The 10 Essential Public Health Services:  Developed by the Core Public Health Functions Steering Committee in 1994; provide a framework for public health services and responsibilities that should be undertaken in all communities; incorporated in Montana Statutes
  • What are the 10 Essential Public Health Services?
    • Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems
    • Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community
    • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues
    • Mobilize community partners and action to identify and solve health problems
    • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
    • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
    • Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable
    • Assure a competent public and personal health care workforce
    • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based services
    • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems
  • How is Public Health Organized in Montana?
    • Decentralized system
    • Montana law requires that every county (or 1st or 2nd class city) shall have a board of health
    • Department of Public Health and Human Services provides state coordination and support to the counties
  • Sources of Legal Authorities for Public Health:  Montana Code Annotated, 2013 (Title 50, Health and Safety; Chapter I, Administration of Public Health Laws; Scattered throughout statutes); Administrative Rules of Montana (ARMS); Montana courts; Attorney General opinions; local governing bodies such as Boards of Health; municipal codes
  • Purpose of Public Health System in Montana per Statutes:  Promote conditions in which people can be healthy; provide or promote the provision of public health services and functions including the 10 Essential Public Health Services; seek adequate funding for services; collaborate with private and public partners; use the best science available; strive to ensure public health services and functions are provided; implement public health services and functions, health promotion, and preventive health services within the state health care system
  • Types of Local Boards of Health:  County Boards of Health; City Boards of Health; City-County Boards of Health; District Boards of Health
  • Local Board of Health Membership:  Minimum of 5 members; appointed by city or county commissioners 3-year staggered terms; often board is county commission plus two additional appointments; membership can be determined locally or by agreement
  • Funding Sources for Local Health Departments:  General fund appropriations, special levy fund appropriations, state and federal funds available, contributions from school boards, other official and nonofficial sources
  • Limitations/Restrictions:  Montana’s open meeting and public participation laws
  • Administrative Rules of Montana (ARMS):  Agency regulations that have the force and effect of law; generally elaborate the requirements of a law or policy; ARMS: http://mtrules.org/
  • DPHHS Role:  Provide general supervision of the state’s public health system; provide information, consultation, and support to local boards of health regarding board of health roles and responsibilities, essential public health services, and significant public health issues; provide technical assistance to local boards of health as they complete or update community health assessments and community health improvement plans; provide technical assistance as needed or requested for communicable disease issues, food safety, public health preparedness, chronic disease programs, maternal child health programs, vital statistics, laboratory services, and other public health issues as they arise
  • Important Partners in Your Local Health Department:  Local Health Officer; lead local public health official; sanitarian; public health nurses
  • As a county commissioner what can you do to help public health in your jurisdiction?
    • Ensure board of health meetings occur at least quarterly; attend and be engaged at the meetings; work with your local public health department on important public health issues such as policy development and implementation of programs; participate and be the champion for community health improvement and strategic planning; support securing funding for your local health department; review and be aware of the health status of your community; support your health department in their process of becoming accredited
  • What your local health department do:  Statute and administrative rule requirements
  • On the Horizon for DPHHS:  Develop a Local Board of Health Member resource guide; conduct Local Board of Health trainings; develop foundational standards for local public health departments in Montana; align public health system in Montana through the use of State Health Improvement Plan

Questions:  https://fcss.wufoo.com/forms/r1i6f6na0dcx6zs/


General Session – Tuesday, September 23, 2014

No Session:  Committee Meetings


General Session – Morning – Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Showing Why Counties Matter

Emilia Istrate, Director of Research & Outreach, National Association of Counties

This segment will focus on how Montana counties and MACo can use the research materials produced by NACo in their advocacy efforts, policy-making, and engagement with the media.

  • Building baseline and finding common trends; policy grounded research; and telling the county story
  • PILT Call to Action:  Resource center – individualized county profiles online:  www.naco.org/PILT
  • NACo County Explorer:  explorer.naco.org
  • County Tracker 2013:  www.naco.org/CountyTracker
  • Policy Research Paper Series
  • Transportation Bill:  Extension until next year, but the battle continues (there have been approximately 10 extensions) – www.naco.org/CountyTransportation
  • Why Counties Matter:  www.naco.org/Counties
  • You know what you do; these tools make it easier to explain to others
  • Good for state association to give information to legislators
  • Show people why things matter
  • Strong Economies Resilient Counties
  • NACo Research:  research@naco.org, Emilia Istrate, PhD

EPA & Corps Proposed Rule on “Waters of the US”

Julie Ufner, Associate Legislative Director, National Association of Counties, NACo Environment, Energy & Land Use Steering Committee

This segment will give an overview of the proposed “Waters of the US” rule as introduced by the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers, including its potential impact and how counties can respond.

  • 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.
  • To read NACo’s analysis of the proposed “waters of the U.S.” definition, including information on where to submit comments, click here. This document includes a policy brief and a comparison chart showing existing and proposed regulatory language and its potential impacts on counties.
  • Why “Waters of the U.S.” Regulation Matters to Counties:  The proposed “waters of the U.S.” regulation from EPA and the Corps could have significant impact on counties across the country, in the following ways:
    • Seeks to define waters under federal jurisdiction
    • Potentially increases the number of county-owned ditches under federal jurisdiction:
    • Applies to all Clean Water Act programs, not just Section 404 permits
  • Examples of Potential Impacts on Counties:  County-owned public infrastructure ditches; stormwater and green infrastructure

Submitting Written Comments:  NACo has prepared draft comments for counties.  Go to NACo’s “Waters of the US” hub for more information, www.naco.org/wotus

MACo Committee Reports

MACo Agriculture Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County

  • Presentation:  COOL 101, Leo McDonnell, Columbus, MT
    • Consumers want to know where their food comes from; they think they are eating an American product, when it comes from another country, because it has a USDA sticker on it—all products imported are USDA inspected
    • COOL has been said to be “protectionist”—it’s not:  90% of products are already labeled
    • USDA surveyed producers, and the #1 response was that they wanted a check off to be used for COOL
  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions
  • Newly Proposed Resolutions
    • Funding for Control of Aquatic Invasive Species  Sanders County :  Do Pass as Amended
    • Generally Revise Laws Applicable to County Government:  Do Pass as Amended
    • Historic Road Right of Way Deed Purchase Extension:  Do Pass
    • Noxious Weed Control Funding:  Do Pass
    • State Assistance for MT Livestock Producers to Manage Livestock in Carnivore Country: Do Pass
  • Carryover Resolutions
    • 2010-01, Amending the IBMP: Incorporated into Policy Statement
  • Fulfilled Resolutions that had Legislation Enacted During the 2013 Legislative Session
    • Will look at during the Midwinter Conference to decide if anything needs to go into Policy
      • 2012-11, Livestock Assessment Date (SB 72)
      • 2012-14, Noxious Weed Act Compliance (SB 301)
      • 2012-15, Open Cut Permit Fees (SB 234)
  • Reviewed Committee Policy Statement – Recommended Additions to Policy:
    • From MACo Resolution 2010-01, Amending the IBMP:
      • MACo supports that local government(s) living in the counties adjacent to Yellowstone National Park be formally recognized as a participating member on the IBMP Committee.
    • From MACo Resolution 2002-05, County Weather Station Project:
      • MACo supports expanded scientific data collected from county weather monitoring stations in addition to National Weather Service data for determining disaster declaration and the implementation of Farm Service Agency programs.
    • From MACo Resolution 2007-03, Buffer Zone:
      • MACo supports the United States Department of Interior managing the bison population within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.
    • From MACo Resolution 2002-03, Wildlife Management to Prevent Depredation of Crops, Cropland, and Rangeland:
      • MACo supports Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission to set harvest quotas and regulate the harvest of wildlife in a manner that represents biologically sound management of big game population.
    • From MACo Resolution 2002-04, Local Drought Advisory Committees:
      • MACo supports the creation of local Drought Advisory Committees in every county.
    • From MACo Resolution 2002-41, Increased Funding for New Cooperative Extension Service Positions:
      • MACo supports adequate funding for essential cooperative extension service positions.
    • From NACo Policy (COOL) & MACo Resolution 2006-01, Resolution in Opposition of Relaxing Import Food Safety Standards Due to BSE Disease:
      • MACo supports country of origin labeling for fruits, vegetables, meats, and other foodstuffs entering the United States.
  • Presentation:  Colleen Coyle, Director, Water Services, Ponderosa Advisor, LLC (Quick update to fill time)
  • Presentation: Salish Kootenia Water Compact, Melissa Hornbein, Special Assistant Attorney General, Montana DNRC, Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission & Trust Lands Management Division
    • Overview: Statutory update; Compact Commissioner; 85-2-701
    • Reserved Water Rights
    • Legislature wants to settle issues out of court and try to keep existing rights
    • Federal Tribal lands claiming reserved water rights in MT—CSKT is the only one left to be negotiated
    • Compact to expire July 1, 2015
    • 1855 Treaty of Hellgate
    • Off-Reservation Water Rights
    • CSKT  Usual & Accustomed Places
    • CSKT Subsistence Range: Much of Western & Central Montana
    • Flathead Indian Irrigation Project
    • Protect Existing Crop Consumption
    • There has been lots of consternation: What compact does and doesn’t do—lots of misinformation
  • Updates
  • Governor’s Sage Grouse Executive Order, Bob Lee, Rosebud County
    • Went from a one-mile buffer to 6/10 buffer
    • Governor took out recommended core areas
    • State Directors will look at different projects to see if they qualify
    • Talks about predators being part of the issue, but doesn’t really doesn’t do anything—we all know that more predators means less sage grouse
    • Shouldn’t hurt ag too badly
    • Encourage the committee to read the plan
  • Survey on Elk Management as it Relates to Brucellosis from the University of MT and FWP, Mark Peterson, Hill County
    • Constituent brought it to attention; she has an ag background and couldn’t answer the questions
    • Questions are very complex—concerned that questions are too difficult and don’t know the intent of the information being gathered

Motion:  It was motioned and seconded that the MACo Agriculture Committee recommend that MACo continue opposition to the EPA’s proposed rules for Waters of the U.S

MACo Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County

  • Presentations:  Economic Development Assistance from MT Department of Commerce
    • Karyl S. Tobel, Assistant Division Administrator Business Resources Division
      • Discussed the MT Dept. Of Commerce Business Resource site and explained how to search for existing projects as well as search for grant opportunities
      • Programs discussed: Big Sky Trust Fund, CDBG, Workforce Training Grants and various technical resources that are available
      • Website: http://commerce.mt.gov/businessresources.mcpx.
    • Mary Craigle, Bureau Chief for the Census and Economic Information Center
      • Discussed the functions of the Census and Economic Information Center;  they gather census and business activity data across the state then analyze and organize it on a county by county basis—much of the data they provide is necessary to apply for the grant programs described by Karyl Tobel
      • Demonstrated some of the interactive map features of their website displaying information such as unemployment and commodity pricing; site also contains updates and presentations on a variety of State projects:  http://ceic.mt.gov/Default.aspx.
    • Leslie Zolman,  GIS Coordinator Census & Economic Information Center
      • Discussed GIS operations and demonstrated some of the interactive maps available through the CEIC website for Census and statistical information; create customized dashboards, maps and tables based upon needs of the specific areas and counties—they have developed maps displaying Health demographics, housing statistics, gravel resources and others and provide free training on different aspects of the data available and how to make use of it.
      • The next training is on October 21st and 22nd in Helena and we are invited to attend; registration:http://ceic.mt.gov/Conferences/CEIC_Data_User_Conference_2014.aspx.
  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions:  The committee reviewed and took action as necessary on the five resolutions assigned to us by the Resolutions Committee.
    • Resolution 2014-XX, Veteran’s Interment Allowance for Burial & Headstone Replacement
      • Jean Curtis, Missoula County, spoke to the committee regarding the proposed resolution:  A few counties were spending a significant amount of local dollars to provide these services when there should be State dollars available to honor our veterans.
      • Other Attendees: Concerned that if the state took over the responsibility that budget constraints would require cuts from other veterans programs to fund this effort; others felt that it was an honor for the counties to provide this final service for our veterans.
      • The committee was split and was unable to offer a floor recommendation.
    • Resolution 2014-XX, Generally Revise laws applicable to county government:  Do Pass
    • Resolution 2012-13, Montana Land Information Act Funding:  Do Pass
  • Reviewed Committee Policy Statement
    • The remaining two resolutions, 2010-19 and 2010-22, were presented for inclusion in the committee policy statements.  The committee did not see a need to revise the existing policy and reaffirmed the policy as it exists.
  • Updates
    • TEDD administrative Rules Process: The rules have been adopted but have yet to be applied—concern regarding the requirement for a copy of the local government’s comprehensive development plan specified in 42.19.1404 sub section (h); appears that this refers to a specific plan for the area encompassed by the TED but is not clear.  If this is interpreted to instead be a county-wide comprehensive development plan then the rules will have injected a new requirement not anticipated within the legislation.
    • NACo Community, Economic and Workforce Development Steering Committee and State Workforce Investment Board:  Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County
    • NACo Telecommunications and Technology Steering Committee:   Commissioner Joe Briggs, Chairman of the NACo Committee
      • Universal Service Fee reform: Collected on all phone lines; distributed to encourage deployment of telephone and broadband services in underserved and unserved areas; allocation of funds crucial to rural states like Montana; FCC currently looking at changes to both the collection and distribution of these funds; NACo could have a strong voice in the outcome; building a working group of folks both in Montana and in other states to move this issue forward.

MACo Energy Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County

  • The MACo resolution to generally revise laws applicable to county government was presented to committee and given a “Do Pass” recommendation.
  • The committee briefly discussed our policy statement and consensus was to leave it unchanged.
  • Commissioner Allan Underdal, Toole County: Presentation on wind energy development impact on counties.
    • Began its involvement with wind energy in 2004 with the McCormick Ranch project
    • Toole County’s economy has historically been based upon agriculture and oil and gas production; they have added transportation, wind energy, a private prison, numerous government facilities, a port of entry and border patrol to that base.
    • Wind energy: Currently have the 210 MW Glacier 1 & 2 facilities at the McCormick Ranch site and the 189 MW Rim Rock project west of Kevin—399 MW (enough for 116,326 homes/accounting for 62% of existing wind power in Montana).  Energy credits fundamental in making these wind generation projects economically feasible.
    • Impacts: Conducted an assessment of county roads prior to start of construction; during construction of the Rim Rock project, 25 towers were relocated to achieve ½ mile distance from historic raptor nesting sites, protecting over 10 different species; ongoing lawsuit from end-user San Diego Power, wanting to terminate their contract due to concerns over raptors.
    • Generation facilities account for $4.8 million in property taxes, $10.5 million spent on local maintenance, $900,000 paid to landowners, 42 full time and 8 seasonal employees.
    • Cost over $287 million; Toole County granted a 50% property tax reduction credit for 5 years which declines for 10 years thereafter and they received impact fees of 1.5% of project costs; DOR granted an appeal for assessment rates further reducing property taxes.
    • Noted that the development company maintained roads during the construction process and all roads were returned to preconstruction levels or better at the close of construction.
  • Dustin de Yong from the Industry Development Program, Business Resources Division, Dept. of Conference
  • Overview of Energy in Montana:  Electricity produced by largely coal, followed by hydro and wind with firming supplied by gas; Oil production increasing but down from 2006 numbers; coal is facing pressure on several fronts including regulatory constraints on domestic use and transportation constraints for export markets; electricity markets are down in demand but doing more with less due to increased efficiencies; most new sources are from natural gas and wind.
  • Industry looking at moderate growth from now to 2040, averaging 1% growth per year; production looks strong for 20 plus years, based on the combination of Bakken wells and oil sands development in Canada; largest growth opportunities for electricity is distributed generation, rooftop generation, community wind, small hydro from irrigation districts.
  • Demand will be moderated through conservation and increased efficiencies including smart infrastructure.
  • For the oil and gas industries, Montana has lowest total cost of business for installing fabricated structures, giving huge opportunity for oil field servicing and transport development; Coal is overall shaky but Montana’s coal quality gives a competitive advantage; China is currently setting quality standards
  • Discussion on carbon sequestration and related issues as well as providing a Keystone update and refinery construction possibilities were also discussed.
  • Bob Lee gave an update on his work on the sage grouse committee.  The state plan is out and available online. One of the key points of the plan is that it mirrors the Wyoming setbacks of .6 mile. The oversight team is in place and species listing status should be decided by October, 2015.

MACo Health & Human Services Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County

  • DPHHS Public Health and Safety
    • Lindsey Krywaruchka, MT DPHHS Public Health & Safety Division reported that their division had reviewed the State Health Improvement Plan, which sets the state’s health agenda for the next five years.
  • Association of Montana Public Health Officials
    • Erin McGowan, MT Association of Public Health Officers:  Last legislative session they collaborated with sanitarians, environmental, and public health under one umbrella as a policy team; Linda Stoll will be the lobbyist for environmental health issues in the upcoming session and handling public health issues; Public Health Officers Association is evaluating whether to bring the HB 630 legislation forward.
  • Mental Health Legislation and Funding: Dan Villa, Budget Director, Governor Steve Bullock
    • Director Villa recapped the work of the MACo Committee, the Department and the Governor’s office over that last two years on mental health issues. He noted the continuum of care ranges from depression to acute care, and addressing the issues requires a balanced approach from community based services to “last resort” acute services; reviewed the Governor’s Mental Health Initiative and funding; discussed the issue of funding for acute care, i.e., those in crisis, or those who need a highly restrictive setting due to being a danger to themselves or others.
  • Attorney General Tim Fox
    • The Attorney General thanked all for their work and commented it was an honor and privilege to work with counties. He requested that if the Department of Justice can provide better service, please let him know.
  • Montana Association of Area Agencies on Aging
    • Lisa Sheppard, Director, Area IX Agency on Aging (Flathead County) and Erin McGowan, Smith & McGowan:  Provided overview of the work their agencies do for seniors; reviewed the concerns of the number of elderly who have disability conditions, live alone and are socially isolated, are at or below poverty level, and are at high risk for institutionalization in a nursing home; concerns included increasing demands for services outpacing funding, many older adults with limited incomes are at risk of premature institutionalization but are not eligible for Medicaid; funding for the Ombudsmen services for these individuals is not adequate.
    • Legislative Priorities:  Maintenance of the $500,000 increase from last session, requesting an appropriation of $1 million in the upcoming session, adequate funding for ombudsman services, and reauthorization of the Older Americans Act at the federal level.
  • Montana Children’s Initiative
    • Erin McGowan: CFHHS Interim Committee unanimously supported promoting a bill for Children’s Mental Health Crisis Diversion and proposed funding (LC 0334).
    • Sheila Smith, Director, Stillwater Therapeutic Services, Western MT Mental Health Center:  Reported on children’s crisis intervention and diversion; 14% of the children are in out-of-state facilities; no children’s mental health facilities in Montana any longer; Healthy Montana Kids is a nice benefit for lower income families, but it does not pay the costs for a vast majority of children’s mental health services.
    • Legislative Priorities:  Provider rate adjustments, increased provider rates for Shelter care, Youth Mental Health Community Crisis Diversion Funding, and strong support for an overall increase of state general fund dollars for the Children’s Mental Health Bureau.
      • Noted that the rates do not cover the costs, and the rates are set arbitrarily by DPHHS
  • Montana Funeral Directors Association
    • Erin McGowan:  Reported on development of legislation for the Montana Funeral Directors Association to fund the Board of Funeral Directors and reduce the costs of indigent burials for counties and families; working closely with MACo on the drafting process; looking at increasing the costs of birth and death certificates to create a Montana Indigent Burial Fund, which will be funded by user fees and not tax dollars.
      • Discussion regarding the state and other stakeholders’ positions on the proposal, how it would be allocated, and the fiscal impact to families who need the death certificates.
  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions
    • 2010-17, Food Safety Compliance:  Place into Policy Statement
    • 2012-12, Medical Marijuana Ordinance Authority:  Do Not Pass—no longer necessary
  • Committee Policy Statements
    • Reviewed the policy statements as amended at the February 10, 2014 meeting; per previous votes, support Food Safety Compliance and EMS Council Run Reviews will be added to the Policy Statements.
    • Discussion regarding supporting Medicaid Expansion policy statement:  Process and positions of the Committee, the leadership during the last legislative session, and potential legislation for the upcoming session. Committee decided to support the policy statement in its present form and have the discussion on the floor with the membership.
  • Casey Family Program Meeting – Helena – October 7, 2014
    • Associate Director Wood reported that this Casey Family Program would be holding a meeting in Helena on October 7, 2014 and asked if a member of the Committee could attend to represent MACo. Commissioner Obert volunteered to attend.

MACo Justice & Public Safety Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Bill Barron, Lake County

  • P.O.S.T Council Activities and Update
    • Perry Johnson, Executive Director of the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council, and former Ravalli County Sheriff:  Reviewed mission, vision, and duties of the POST Council; acknowledged there had been prior problems; Council has new leadership; reviewed process for handling field officer complaints and their investigative process.
      • Legislative Proposals:  Requesting limited criminal justice agency status to have the ability to obtain information during investigations, the use of mental health professionals for law enforcement mental health evaluations, and a general revisions bill.
  • Association Reports & Updates:
    • Kathy, McGowan, MT Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association:  Continuing to work on mental health issues and with the Governor’s office on major mental health initiatives.
    • Larry Epstein and Leo Gallagher, MT County Attorneys Association:  County Attorneys have approved a resolution regarding additional funding for deputy county attorney’s performing state service; noted that since state assumption of the Public Defender’s Office, the costs have continued to grow exponentially, including the salaries; deputy county attorneys are paid less, which causes a problem with recruitment and retention of deputy county attorneys—performing state work, counties have to pay for them, and the tax bases are not keeping up; also would like to increase the longevity amount for deputy county attorneys—the $500 has not been changed since 1983.
    •  Jerry Williams, MT Police Protective Association:  Reviewed MPPA’s legislative proposals; insurance for all street legal vehicles, including motorcycles, 4-wheelers, etc.; requirement of a valid title before a vehicle can be crushed; making it a crime to injure a police horse, the same as a police dog; and changing the legal jurisdiction of peace officers; may be a legislative proposal to eliminate asset forfeitures, which their Association will oppose, as it would have a significant negative impact on law enforcement agencies across the state.
  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions
    • Contracting for the Confinement of Prisoners:  Approve Resolution Amended
    • Extend Sunset on Enhanced 9-1-1 Fund Distribution:  Approve as Presented
    • Generally Revise Laws Applicable to County Government:
      • Whereas #6:  Termination of Deputy Sheriffs:  Sheriff Curry informed the committee that MSPOA has significant concerns with this section and would oppose.  They would like to see the statement amended.  MACo to work with MSPOA on amendments.
      • Whereas #8:  Amend or repeal 15-20-203:  Commissioner Geise expressed concerns with elimination of the public hearing.  Ms. Geise was invited to bring that issue up at the Tax, Finance and Budget Committee, who would be dealing with that statement in the resolution.
    • Funding for County Attorney Positions Designed Primarily to Enforce State Law:  Do Not Pass/Include in Committee’s Policy Statements
    • Resolution 2012-17, Public Safety Communications Systems:  Do Not Pass—language is already contained in the Committee’s Policy Statements
  • Justice & Public Safety Committee Policy Statements:  Approve Policy Statements as amended in February, 2014, with the addition of statement #18, which states: “MACo supports additional state funding for deputy county attorney positions that are primarily designed to enforce state law.”
  • MACo JPA/JPIA Law Enforcement Loss Control Report
    • Jim Muskovich, MACo JPIA/JPA Loss Control Specialist:  Reported on the work of the Jail Advisory Group (JAG) and the Board of Crime Control Grant; an RFP was issued for a contractor to oversee and coordinate the jail peer review program; JAG is hoping to conduct 13 reviews per year; the reviews, along with adoption of the jail standards, will set a baseline for future reviews; JAG received a one-year extension on the grant, and will be working on mapping the process to address suicides and mental health issues in detention facilities; working on a universal screening tool, and the Department of Public Health and Human Services is committing funding towards screening and intake tools; Governor’s office had released their proposal for mental health funding in the next legislative session, which included $50,000 in crisis intervention training (CIT);  JAG will be working for additional funding for CIT.
  •  Veteran Law Enforcement Pins:  Commissioner DesRosier requested the Committee support the proposal by the American Legion to provide pins for law enforcement officers who are also veterans.  It was noted the Committee approved support at their February, 2014 meeting.  Commissioner DesRosier added that the proposal is supported 100% by the American Legion at the local, district, state and national levels.

Land Use & Development Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Joe Skinner, Gallatin County

  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions
  • Newly Proposed Resolutions – Recommended all Do Pass
    • 2014-XX, Access Conveyance Fees for Easements Across State Trust Lands:  Do Pass
    • 2014-XX, Establish Development Agreements Under Montana Law:  Do Pass
    • 2014-XX, Generally Revise Laws Applicable to Co. Gov. Carryover Resolutions Do Pass
  • Carryover Resolutions
    • 2010-09, Interim Zoning:  Do Not Pass
    • 2012-02, Board of Adjustment Appeals:  Do Pass
  • Reviewed Committee Policy Statement
    • Amendments from Midwinter Conference meeting approved.
  • Updates
  • Proposed Legislation, Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney
    • Discussed 4 proposed bills from MAR
  • Building for Lease or Rent Regulations, Tara DePuy
  • Montana Weed Control Association (MWCA) Legislation, Pam Converse, MWCA Representative
    • Discussed legislation that MDA is watching and one on DA resolution
  • Discussion on Donut Zoning
    • Tara DePuy tasked with bringing a report to the next annual meeting

Public Lands Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Lesley Robinson, Phillips County

  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions:  Public Lands reviewed and made recommendations to either drop, amend, carry forward as is, or incorporate into policy statement
    • 2014-XX, Endangered Species Act
      • Recommendation:  Do Not Pass; Incorporate into Policy Statement:  Passed
    • 2014-XX, Equal Access to Justice
      • Recommendation:  Do Not Pass; Incorporate into Policy Statement (Public Lands)  Passed
    • 2014-XX, Generally Revise Laws Applicable to Co. Gov.
      • Recommendation to Review Applicable Sections:  Reviewed (no action needed)
    • 2014-XX, Historic Road Right of Way Deed Purchase Extension
      • Recommendation Do Pass as Amended:  More amendments by Public Lands with additional amendments:  Public Lands amendments passed and then passed the resolution as amended
    • 2014-XX, Noxious Weed Control Funding, Madison County
      • Recommendation: Do Pass:  Public Lands passed (intent is to support 2014-01 Montana Weed Control Association Resolution)
    • 2014-XX, Public Lands Management
      • Recommendation: Do Not Pass; Incorporate into Policy Statement:  Passed Public Lands
    • 2014-XX, State Assistance for MT Livestock Producers to Manage Livestock in Carnivore Country
      • Recommendation: Do Pass:  Passed Public Lands
  • Carryover Resolutions
    • 2010-01, Amending the IBMP:  Do Not Pass; Incorporate into Policy Statement
  • 2012-20, State Agency Coordination:  Public Lands Passed
  • Reviewed Committee Policy Statement
  • Commissioner Greg Chilcott and Commissioner Mike Murray discussed the NACo PILT Fly-in /Todd Devlin explained Low Population – High Acreage Amendment Accepted by Senator Wyden
  • Commissioner Lesley Robinson discussed the S. 2729 and H. R. 4319 on amendment to the Endangered Species Act
  • Speakers
    • Faye Krueger – Regional Forester of the Forest Service’s Northern Region Had overhead presentation:
      • Farm Bill:  Only state in the nation that has a stewardship agreement with USFS
      • Normal fire season (1400 fires – 23,000 acres)
      • Litigation—Positive Decisions:  96% of target with the possibility of 100% in favor of agency.
      • Forest Planning currently in progress
      • Region One Final Budget up from last year and down from 09, 10, 11, 2012.  Counties’ input was much responsible for increase.
      • Investment strategy:  reduce fixed costs, $1.5 annual saving to move regional office, sharing and pairing between forests personnel resource,
      • MOU’s, Cooperative Agency Status (last 13 not turned down)
      • Hard Rock Mining:  pursuing possible permits
      • Questions and concerns:  Fires doing damage to ecosystem (long term recovery).  Coordination is being done according to USFS and supported by committee members,
    • Commissioner Lesley Robinson Reported:
      • NACo Leadership Fly-In:  Felt positive with positions out of the Dept. of Interior on working with locals.
      • Overview of WIR Board of Directors Retreat that will be in Malta, Montana on Oct. 1,2,&3 of 2014.
      • American Prairie Reserve:  300,000 acres purchased or given permit / lease.
      • Bison working group in Great Falls, MT on Oct. 9, 2014.
    • Commissioner Marty Malone Reported:
      • NPS is to reduce to 3200 bison in YNP to sustain ecosystem health (reduction 900 head of bison that end up in Park County every winter at present time).  Do not want quarantined bison to be domesticated in their time of captivity.
    • Federal Access Grant, Wayne Noem, Department of Transportation

Resolutions & Legislative Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County

  • The Resolutions Committee met Sunday, September 21 to review our assigned resolutions and our policy statement.
    • We had two newly introduced resolutions:
      • Clarifying Eligible Voters in Certain Elections – Do Pass
      • Generally Revise Laws Applicable to County Government – Do Pass as Amended
  • We had three carryover resolutions all with Do Not Pass recommendations:
    • 2012-16, Overweight Permit Fees  — There is a replacement resolution assigned to Transportation Committee
    • 2012-12, Medical Marijuana Ordinance – Unneeded, Legislature took care of this
  • 2012-17, Public Safety Communications – Unneeded, had to do with Interoperability Montana and has been moved into the Justice & Public Safety Committee’s Policy Statement.
  • We had five fulfilled resolutions that had legislation enacted in 2013. They were all straight-forward resolutions that didn’t require placement into policy, so we recommended that they be filed away:
    • 2012-01, Automatic Reregistration of Absentee Ballots
    • 2012-03, Commissioner District Redistricting
    • 2012-04, County Elected Official Vacancies
    • 2012-08, Interim Appointments
    • 2012-10, Legal Holidays
  • We also reviewed our policy statement and approved it as is.

Tax, Budget & Finance Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County

  • FY 2014 Audited Financial Statements
  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions
    • 2014-XX, Wind Generation Impact Fees:  Do Pass
    • 2014-XX, Generally Revise Laws Applicable to County Government: Do Pass
    • 2014-XX, Retirees as Independent Contractors:  Do Pass
    • 2010-13, Mobile Home Disposal:  Withdraw
    • 2012-09, Justice Court Filing Fees:  Do Not Pass
  • Reviewed Committee Policy Statement
    • #5 was reworded
    • #12 added funding for Montana State University Local Government Center

Transportation Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner John Ostlund, Yellowstone County

  • Reviewed Assigned Resolutions
    • 2014-XX, Assignment of Road/Street Addresses by Local Government:  Already have authority
    • 2014-XX, County Ordinance for Compression Brakes:  Move forward
    • 2014-XX, County Road Permit Fees for Oversized & Overweight Vehicles:  Move forward
    • 2014-XX, Determining Legal Status of Co Roads & Public Roads in COS:  Move forward
    • 2014-XX, Generally Revise Laws Applicable to Co. Gov. :  Move forward
    • 2014-XX, Historic Road Right of Way Deed Purchase Extension:  Move forward
  • Resolutions that passed during the 2013 Legislative session: Motion to move forward and file away – Passed.
  • Reviewed Committee Policy Statement
  • Discussions
    • MT Contractor’s Association Newsletter:  There was much discussion and all look forward to the 2015 session
    • Commissioner Mitchell discussed possibility of a ordinary permit system on County roads


Closing General Session – Afternoon – Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Roll Call

Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, Fiscal Officer

After Roll call was taken, Mike McGinley announced a quorum was present to conduct business.

Resolution of Appreciation

Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo President

Whereas, the 2014 Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties 105th such meeting; and

Whereas, attendance of member counties marks its success; and

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the 105th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties expresses its sincere appreciation for the sponsorship of this conference to the Flathead County Commissioners and staff:

  • Cal Scott
  • Pamela Holmquist
  • Gary Krueger

Motion/Vote:  A motion to pass the Resolution of Appreciation was made by Commissioner Bill Barron, Lake County, and seconded by Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County. The motion passed unanimously.

Election of Officers

Immediate Past President

  • Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  The nomination for MACo Immediate Past President is Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County. There were no further nominations.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Gary MacDonald, Roosevelt County, motioned to close nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Commissioner Briggs as MACo Immediate Past President.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.

1st Vice President

  • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  The nomination for MACo 1st Vice President is Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County. There were no further nominations.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Dennis Shupak, Stillwater County, motioned to close nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Commissioner Davey as MACo 1st Vice President.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Susan Mosness, Sweet Grass County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.

2nd Vice President

  • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  The nominations for MACo 2nd Vice President are Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County and Commissioner Mike Wendland, Hill County.  There were no further nominations.
    • The candidates gave short speeches while the ballots were being cast.

Vote:  Commissioner Devlin was elected MACo 2nd Vice President by the majority.

Fiscal Officer

  • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  The nomination for MACo Fiscal Officer is Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County.  There were no further nominations.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County, motioned to close nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Commissioner McGinley as MACo Fiscal Officer.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.


  • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  The nomination for MACo President is Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County. There were no further nominations.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Jim Hart, Madison County, motioned to close nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Commissioner Schulz as MACo President.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Cele Pohle, Powell County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.

2016 Conference Location

Yellowstone County

  • Commissioner Jim Reno, Yellowstone County:  We welcome the opportunity to host MACo’s 107th Annual Conference in 2016.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County motioned to accept Yellowstone County as MACo’s conference location for the 2016 Annual Conference.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Marty Malone, Park County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.


Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, Resolutions & Legislative Committee Chair

  • “No Recommendation/Membership Decides” resolution was presented.  This resolution is automatically segregated, as it was not assigned to a committee for review but rather the entire membership for discussion:
    • 2014-XX, Veterans’ Interment Allowance for Burial & Headstone Replacement
      • Motion:  Commissioner Mike Wendland, Hill County, motioned to pass the resolution with a “Do Pass” recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Dan Happel, Madison County.
      • Proposed Amendment:  Commissioner Gary MacDonald, Roosevelt County proposed to amend the resolution by inserting the language “Pay upon receiving bill from county.”  The motion was seconded by Jean Curtiss, Missoula County.
        • Discussion
          • Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County: Hard to budget for; ask DMA to pay some of it; in favor of this amendment; provides leeway
          • Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County:  “Allow” versus “Require”?
          • Commissioner John Grewell, Carbon County:  Opposed; economic benefit; large populations create large populations of veterans; claims money well spent
          • Commissioner Dan Happel, Madison County:  Owe it; Counties need honor the obligation of service to veterans
          • Voice Vote on Amendment: Failed
      • Voice Vote on “Do Pass” Motion:  Failed – Resolution does not pass.
    • “Do Pass” resolutions were presented.  This is a group of resolutions all with the recommendation of “Do Pass.”
      • Segregation:  Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, segregated Resolution 2012-13, Montana Land Information Act Funding
      • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Bill Barron, Lake County, motioned to adopt all resolutions with the “Do Pass” recommendation with the exception of the segregated resolution.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.
      • Discussion on Segregated Resolution:  2012-13, Montana Land Information Act Funding
        • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Received additional information, and it is no longer a problem anymore—virtually all money now going
        • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Ken Ronish, Fergus County, motioned to not pass the segregated resolution.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Cele Pohle, Powell County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.
    • “Do Pass as Amended” resolutions were presented.  This is a group of resolutions all with the recommendation of “Do Pass as Amended.”
      • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, motioned to adopt as amended all resolutions with the “Do Pass as Amended” recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Marty Malone, Park County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.
    • “Do Not Pass/Incorporate into Policy Statement” resolutions were presented.  This is a group of resolutions all with the recommendation of “Do Not Pass/Incorporate into Policy Statement.”
      • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Tony Berget, Lincoln County, motioned to not pass but instead incorporate into the recommended policy statements, all resolutions with the “Do Not Pass/Incorporate into Policy Statement” recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Marty Malone, Park County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.
    • “Do Not Pass/Drop” resolutions were presented.  This is a group of resolutions all with the recommendation of “Do Not Pass/Drop.”
      • Segregation:  Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County, segregated Resolution 2014-XX, Assignment of Road/Street Addresses by Local Government
      • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Laurie Johnston, Mineral County, motioned to not pass/drop all resolutions with the “Do Not Pass/Drop” recommendation with the exception of the segregated resolution.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bob Mullen, Jefferson County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.
      • Discussion on Segregated Resolution:  2014-XX, Assignment of Road/Street Addresses by Local Government
        • Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Provide clarity in law; Mike Sehestedt, MACo General Counsel, agreed this would make help improve it
        • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County, motioned to pass the segregated resolution.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Policy Statements

Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, Resolutions & Legislative Committee Chair

  • Agriculture:  Commissioner Maureen Davey, Committee Chair, Stillwater County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Community, Economic Development & Labor:  Commissioner Joe Briggs, Committee Chair, Cascade County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Energy:  Commissioner John Prinkki, Committee Chair, Carbon County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Health & Human Services:  Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Committee Chair, Fergus County
    • Motion to Amend:  Commissioner Seilstad motioned to amend the Health & Human Services’ New Policy Statement #18 as follows:  MACo supports Medicaid Expansion:  As long as there is sufficient federal and state funding to support the expansion.  Commissioner Jane Weber, Cascade County, seconded the motion.
    • Discussion
      • Commissioner Seilstad:  It adds sideboards; the original had no options if there wasn’t enough money.
      • Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County:  Political nightmare; if there is no policy, then the Executive Committee makes the call; leave it out and make the call when it happens
      • Commissioner Duane Mitchell, Richland County:  The NACo report said there was no money
      • Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Rather say medicaid expansion as compromise; good language; 70,000 not covered by the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid; they end up at the health department worse off; jobs create wealth
      • Commissioner Weber:  In favor of remaining as a policy statement; there are many people “in the gap.”
      • Commissioner Janice Hoppes, Pondera County:  People in the gap/mental illnesses, passage last time would have helped in the majority of cases
      • Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  Support as amended; too important, too much money and jobs; 70,000 people benefit; the money will be spent anyway, on the streets, emergency room, etc.; also the money will go elsewhere if not claimed—get the feds to give the money back to Montana
      • Commissioner Laura Obert, Broadwater County:  Support with or without amendment; states that have implements have savings in rural hospitals, mental health, detention centers; the money needs to come home
      • Commissioner Susan Mosness, Sweet Grass County:  Support
    • Vote:  The motion to amend the Health & Human Services New Policy Statement #18 passed with unanimous consent.
  • Justice & Public Safety:  Commissioner Bill Barron, Committee Chair, Lake County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Land Use & Development:  Commissioner Joe Skinner, Committee Chair, Gallatin County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Public Lands:  Commissioner Lesley Robinson, Committee Chair, Phillips County
    • Motion to Amend:  Lesley Robinson, Phillips County, motioned to amend Public Lands’ Policy Statement #17 as follows:  MACo opposes changing the definition in the Clean Water Restoration Act from “navigable waters” to “Waters of the U.S.”  MACo believes that ditches, streets, and gutters should not be waters of the U.S. Jim Hart seconded the motion.
      • Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, offered a friendly amendment to add the following to the end of the amendment:  and retain the definition of navigable waters in the Clean Water Act.
        • Vote on Friendly Amendment:  Commissioner Chilcott motioned to add the friendly amendment. Commissioner Susan Mosness seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous consent.
      • Vote on Amendment as Whole: The motion passed with majority consent.
      • Discussion
        • Commissioner Weber:  Not our place to tell them how to do their business.
        • Commissioner Prinkki:  Issue is with the forest service
        • Commissioner Marty Malone, Park County:  Agree with Commissioner Prinkki.
      • Vote: The motion to strike Public Lands’ New Policy Statement #40 failed on a majority voice vote.
  • Resolutions & Legislative:  Commissioner Mike Murray, Committee Chair, Lewis & Clark County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Tax, Finance & Budget:  Mike McGinley, Committee Chair, Beaverhead County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Transportation:  Commissioner John Ostlund, Committee Chair, Yellowstone County
    • No additional changes were made on the floor by the membership.
  • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Chilcott motioned to adopt all of the MACo policy statements as presented and amended.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hunthausen.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Clean Water Act Discussion

  • Motion:  Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County, motioned to direct the MACo Executive Committee and Executive Director to draft a letter to the Governor and Congress opposing the changes to the Clean Water Act.
    • Discussion
      • Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Not beneficial to just say we don’t like it; need to say what’s good in it too; also Montana has laws for clean water.
      • Commissioner Prinkki:  Montana is doing good managing water; other states are not; we don’t need additional guidelines.
    • Vote:   The motion to draft a letter passed by unanimous consent.

Proposed By-Law Amendments

Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County

  • Executive Director Salary Setting & Professional Evaluation
    • Executive Committee sets with the consent of the Board of Directors.
    • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Jerry Dell, Stillwater County, motioned to accept the by-law amendment.  Commissioner Ken Ronish, Fergus County seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.
  • Annual Conference Site Selection
    • Rotation among areas in Montana that have the facilities to support the conference.
    • Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, motioned to accept the by-law amendment.  Commissioner Mark Peterson, Hill County, seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Congressional Reports

Senator John Tester

A video was provided and played.

Senator John Walsh

A video was provided and played.

Representative Steve Daines

A video was provided and played.

Other Business

Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  There is no further business.


Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  The General Session of the MACo 105th Annual Conference is closed.