BOARD OF WRIGHT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
AUGUST 6, 2019
DATE APPROVED: AUGUST 20, 2019
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present. Husom and Vetsch were absent due to participation in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) drill. Commissioner Borrell chaired the meeting.
COUNTY BOARD MINUTES 7-23-19
Daleiden moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0.
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, asked that Consent Item J, Sheriff, “Requesting Signatures On Contract Amendment 1 To Joint Powers Agreement 155559 With The Department Of Corrections Regarding Work Release Services” be modified to add the following language that is called out in the Contract Amendment:
“Authorize Change In County’s Fee Schedule:
DOC Work Release/Release Violators From $55.00 per day to $57.50 per day”
Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0.
Potter moved to approve the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 3-0:
1. Refer Justice Center Earthwork Change Order And Government Center Bid Review To The 8-13-19 County Board Workshop
1. Refer the Following to the 8-13-19 County Board Workshop:
A. 2019 MCIT Presentation
B. Economic Development Partnership Revolving Loan
C. Criteria for Intergovernmental Loans
D. Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) Discussion
E. Justice Center Earthwork Change Order and Government Center Bid Review
1. Cancel 8-09-19 Committee Of The Whole Meeting Regarding Enterprise Resource Planning
1. Refer To 8/14/2019 Personnel Committee, Assessor Office Reclassification Request
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between July 17, 2019 And July 30, 2019.
F. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
1. Position Replacement
A. Financial Worker
B. Case Aide
2. Approve to Hire One 67-Day Temp Social Worker To Meet Child Protection Intake Duties During Upcoming Family Leave
G. HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT
1. Approve Receiving Bids At The Highway Department For Upcoming Construction Projects. We Are Planning To Receive Bids For The Following Construction Projects As Indicated: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 At 9:00 A.M.: CSAH 17 Slope Repair/Flood Wall Project In Delano; Contract No. 1907; CP 086-017-195. And Thursday, November 21, 2019 At 11:00 A.M.: CSAH 19/38 Reconstruction Project, Contract No. 1904; SP 086-619-034 & 086-638-007 In The Cities Of Albertville And Otsego
H. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Position Replacement:
A. IT Project Portfolio Analyst
I. PARKS & RECREATION
1. Informational Item - July 8, 2019 Parks Commission Meeting
1. Requesting Signatures on Contract Amendment 1 to Joint Powers Agreement 155559 with the Department of Corrections Regarding Work Release Services. Authorize Change To County’s Fee Schedule:
DOC Work Release/Release Violators from $55.00 per day to $57.50 per day
TIMED AGENDA ITEMS
BOB HIIVALA, AUDITOR/TREASURER
Requesting Permission To Seek Bids For Two Separate Repairs On County Ditch #20
Matt Detjen, Agricultural & Drainage Coordinator, utilized a PowerPoint to provide information on two repair requests for County Ditch #20. The intent is to seek bids.
Repair #1 Estimated cost $35,000
The repair will replace roughly 2,300 ft. of 12-inch tile along the main trunk west of County Highway #7. A small blowout was repaired this spring along this branch, but the investigation revealed the entire line needs to be replaced.
Detjen said a redetermination of benefits has been ordered and is in draft form. Ditch viewers will present the information in the next 2-3 weeks. The ditch is located in the Commissioner Districts of Vetsch and Husom.
When spot repairs were completed, a single wall, perforated tile was located about 12-13 feet below ground. Detjen said this tile type should not be used in this location. There are areas to the west that are 5-6 feet deep where it could be used. Detjen said tests were performed but they did not locate the exact area of the blockage. Based on the condition and type of tile, it will never drain as intended. Potter said the repair should be done correctly causing less disruption to the farmers in the long run.
Repair #2 Estimated cost $38,000
The repair will fix 10 blowouts along the mainline of County Ditch #20 where a 5 ft. cement sewer line runs. A quote was received last year for $32,120 but additional blowouts have been identified. A redetermination of benefits has been ordered.
Detjen explained the repair involves a large blowout (8-9 ft. deep, 20 ft. across). A property owner broke the ditch line to allow water from their tile line to enter the ditch line. In this situation, the property owner will pay for the repair because of the damage caused to the tile line. Detjen said the tile is in good condition other than the joints. Repairs will include joint repair and reburying tile line at correct depths.
Borrell asked the length of the 5 ft. section of cement sewer line. Detjen responded it would involve about 2500 ft. Using a map, he identified the location of the 12 in. tile line that runs into an open ditch, and the location of where the 5 ft. section runs into an open ditch.
Detjen estimated the cost at $38,000-$40,000 with the extra identified blowouts.
Daleiden moved to authorize seeking separate bids for Repair #1 and Repair #2 on County Ditch 20. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0.
Schedule A Public Hearing For The Redetermination Of Benefits On County Ditch #33 For August 27, 2019 At 2:00 PM
Daleiden moved to set a Ditch Committee Of The Whole Meeting Public Hearing on 8-27-19 at 2:00 P.M. contingent on the availability of Vetsch and Husom. The motion was seconded by Potter. Detjen said informational meetings were held last week and the Public Hearing will be held to adopt the Viewers Report. Huston Engineering will host a public informational meeting following the Public Hearing. The motion carried 3-0.
Schedule A Ditch Committee Meeting For August 13 At 1:00 P.M. To Discuss Future Work On County Ditch #10 Daleiden moved to schedule a Ditch Committee Meeting for 8-13-19 at 3:30 P.M. Borrell and Daleiden will attend. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0.
Approve Request Of Benefitted Landowner, Rodney Holland, Granting Permission To Clean Out A Portion Of County Ditch #35 At His Own Expense And Authorizing Staff To Oversee Repair
Detjen said a site inspection was completed and the Drainage Inspector does not recommend a full system improvement. The landowner is having trouble with accessing the road and has offered to pay for the repair. The cleanout will benefit his general area.
Daleiden moved to approve the request of Rodney Holland to clean out a portion of County Ditch #35 at his expense and to authorize staff to oversee the repair. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0.
Acceptance Of Reimbursement For The OSA Lawsuit
Hiivala said Wright County received a $70,303.41 reimbursement from the State relating to the OSA (Office of the State Auditor) lawsuit. Wright County was named in the lawsuit and incurred legal fees in defense of exercising the right to choose a CPA firm. Former State Representative Sarah Anderson authored the bill to reimburse counties named in the lawsuit. Last year the bill passed but was vetoed. The bill passed this year. This was provided as an informational item.
VIRGIL HAWKINS, HIGHWAY ENGINEER
Re-Approve Agency Agreement No. 1032956 Between Wright County And MnDOT. Some Revisions And Date Changes Were Needed For This Agreement That Was Approved By The County Board On March 26, 2019. This Agreement Allows Wright County To Receive An Additional $846,602 Of Federal Funds (From Stearns County) For Our CSAH 38 Project (SP 086-638-007) In Exchange For $846,602 Of Our State Aid Regular Funds That Will Be Transferred To Stearns County.
Hawkins explained that on 3-26-19, Resolution #19-37 was adopted by the County Board approving Agency Agreement No. 1032956 with MnDOT. Since that time, the document was amended by MnDOT. The language changes related to include the terminology of recipient county. The draft resolution presented today will rescind Resolution #19-37 and authorize signatures on the amended document.
Potter made a motion to re-approve Agency Agreement No. 1032956 between Wright County and MnDOT, allowing Wright County to receive an additional $846,602 of Federal Funds (from Stearns County) for the CSAH 38 Project
(SP 086-638-007) in exchange for $846,602 of Wright County State Aid Regular Funds that will be transferred to Stearns County. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 3-0.
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #19-82 rescinding Resolution #19-37 and authorizing execution of Agency Agreement No. 1032956. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0 on a roll call vote.
ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION
7-23-19 COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE (COTW) MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter. Potter extended appreciation to staff who worked on the HHS Call Center and County Phone System to assure the appropriate replacement is chosen so it integrates into current systems. Kelly said a long-term solution will need to be identified. The motion to approve the minutes carried 3-0. The minutes follow:
I. Health & Human Services Call Center & County Phone System
Mark Staller, Telecom Specialist, distributed two documents:
1) Wright County Phone System Components and Functions; and
2) Call Center Function (see attachments).
Staller clarified that the phone system refers to the entire system, comprised of a private branch exchange (PBX), a voicemail system, and a call center application. The issue is the call center. It is running on an old server, and the application is at the end-of-life stage. It is now a security liability.
Mark Kellogg, Information Technology Manager, referenced the million-dollar line item for a future phone system. He proposed to take that off the table for now and instead investigate the current needs of the organization. Kellogg said there may be some money needed in the future for the phone system and infrastructure but was not a priority for 2020. This improvement would ultimately be tied to the new Government Center Building in 2021 or 2022.
Kellogg said the Information Technology Department (IT) is already working on a replacement for some of the infrastructure at the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) which will accommodate a lot of the current need. They need more time to determine whether that system will meet the demands of all the County facilities.
Kellogg said the call center application that Health & Human Services (HHS) uses is desperately in need of an upgrade due to end-of-life and serious bug issues. Kellogg has met with HHS staff and discussed present and future needs. If the current system fails, HHS will have no call center. The system must be fixed.
Staller explained the information on the handouts. With a PBX system like the one HHS currently uses, a call goes to a phone, fax, or voicemail box. PBX takes the call and makes a call. Almost 90% of individual users go to the personal voicemail box. That’s one function. The other function of a PBX system is an auto attendant or call tree. The PBX system is unable to determine whether the person is available to answer or not in: either way, the system will ring the extension.
Staller said a call center gives advanced skills routing. It has the capacity to send calls to a group of users versus one person or extension. It determines whether the person is logged in and available, on a call, or not available. The call center system will find an extension where someone is available and direct the caller who has been waiting the longest to that extension. This system is best when the goal is to connect callers to a live person. If every extension is busy, the system will place the caller in an on-hold cue with music. They also have the option to leave a message, which sends them to voicemail.
Staller said another plus with a call center system is that it provides daily, weekly, and monthly reports regarding calls taken, abandoned, and service levels. Supervisors get real-time reporting and can see what is happening at the moment. A voicemail system has no real-time use and limited functionality.
Jami Goodrum Schwartz, Health & Human Services Director, said ideally Social Services staff would be able to answer calls whether they are in the office, in their vehicle, or teleworking from home. With the current system, they are unable to access their phone calls outside the office.
There was discussion regarding the Parks Department and how a call center system could answer calls for campsite reservations.
Spaude said he inquired of other counties regarding their phone systems and received eight responses. Some counties have very expensive systems and others have systems similar to Wright County. Many said their current systems were inadequate.
Staller said a short-term fix involves a server upgrade and application for $32,000, basically exchanging like system for like. This option provides no improvements or design or feature enhancements. That would get the County through several years.
Goodrum Schwartz referenced a document titled “HHS Review and Recommendation 2019 Phone System Change” (see attached). HHS committed to 48 telework positions by the time the new Government Center building is operational. HHS has about half that at the present time. The current system limits the ability of teleworkers to respond to calls and affects the level of customer service. Teleworkers manage as much as 30 percent higher caseloads, which reduces the number of staff requests. Further, the new building was deliberately designed with the assumption that 48 teleworkers will not be on site, which contributed to a reduction of $600,000 for the HHS floor. It is critical that the phone system allow teleworkers to access all calls when off-site. Goodrum Schwartz said they would like to better utilize their teleworkers in the short term as well to provide more efficient customer service. Currently HHS does not have that technology.
James O’Dell, HHS Technology Supervisor, said a permanent fix would be the HHS Cloud system that costs $130,000 to setup and $85,000 annually for 75 user licenses. It would integrate with any system and would function as a call center. Currently HHS needs 40 licenses. Vetsch said that would leave capacity for the Park Department. O’Dell said the cloud-based option mitigates the need for administrative on-site expertise to manage it.
Staller said patching the current system would cost the County $32,000 and would provide a safer, less vulnerable system. The annual maintenance cost with this option is $45,000. Vetsch said teleworkers would not be utilized with this system. Staller said this option would simply upgrade the current system. O’Dell said it is a short-term solution.
Daleiden asked what the time frame would be to implement a cloud-based system. Staller said it would take six months to a year. An RFP would have to be sent, a list of requirements compiled, and vendors and product identified.
Staller recommended going with the short-term solution at a cost of $32,000 because the system might fail at any time. Vetsch said he hated doing that since the County will move to a cloud-based system within two years. O’Dell said the County would be in no worse condition if the cloud-based system project was started now and completed by about March 2020. If the old system fails between now and then, they would have to resort to hunt groups for routing calls.
Kellogg said the current system has security vulnerabilities that cannot be patched. He does not want to spend money foolishly but considers this a serious problem that must be addressed. Staller said he would work with HHS if the County Board decided on a cloud-based system. Goodrum Schwartz recommended approval of the cloud-based system at a cost of $85,000 to mitigate some of their staff requests and allow HHS to go from 23 to 36 teleworkers by the end of 2019. Olga Strobel, IT Business Solutions Manager, said a Business Analyst would be needed to work with a complex project such as this.
Staller explained that the $130,000 setup fee for a cloud-based solution was derived from a vendor he brought in last year to demonstrate a different product to HHS. Borrell said he heard that cloud-based system expenses are high. O’Dell said the advantage is the County would save in resource costs. Staller said the vendor who provided the quote was Avtex. They provide a project manager to take the project through design, implementation and support.
Strobel said the County explored softphones recently. Softphones are not physical phones, but software running on computers. It extends the phone system over the internet to any device. Softphones require a VPN or virtual private network. IT staff is currently exploring this technology. Although the County may enable teleworking capabilities for phone calling, there is still a need for teleworkers to connect to the network. With VPN, if someone is working from home, they simply connect their laptop via a software application that establishes a secure, encrypted tunnel to the County network. This connection makes the laptop respond as if it were actually on premises, unlike working on a virtual desktop. If the possibilities of VPN are explored, it may be possible to extend County softphones to the teleworkers as well. More time is needed to investigate this option. In the meantime, Strobel said the County has a serious vulnerability on the call center server. There is a hard deadline to decommission this server by mid-fall of 2019.
Discussion occurred about the specific vulnerabilities that exist with the current system. Strobel recommended eliminating the problem by moving the call center from its current server to a new one. There are two components: the Windows Operating Server 2008 where security vulnerabilities lie, and the call center system version 6.4 which will soon no longer be supported. When the call center is moved to the new server, it will be upgraded to version 7.0. At that point, Strobel suggested that a Business Analyst identify HHS businesses and allow IT to experiment with VPN connection and the softphone system versus spending money for a cloud-based system. IT could test this with teleworkers until the end of this year.
O’Dell said he agreed with Strobel in principle, but the time it takes to do the current system upgrades will not happen overnight. The security issues will not be solved immediately. For the IT softphone to work, the County needs to make further upgrades for a system that will provide a solution. This would cost as much as a cloud-based system. He said everyone agrees on the need for a secure system that integrates telework and provides the solution needed. The question is how to get there at the least cost and in the shortest period of time.
Strobel said Communication Manager (CM) migration will happen independent of the need for a call center. Staller said migration to a virtual environment and launching the new servers will happen in September, but no users will be moved over by that time.
Daleiden asked whether the new call center Version 7.0 had any additional features. Staller said it would be identical to the present version, but newer. Version 7.0 will not meet the needs of teleworkers. The next Version 7.1 will work with the CM in the future and has functionality for teleworkers. This version costs about $105,000, with an annual maintenance cost of $45,000. On-premise systems have lower annual maintenance costs. Cloud-based systems only charge for functions used, and can vary, depending on the needs of the organization.
Daleiden asked whether the vendor has a version that would meet HHS needs, use the same hardware, utilize improved software, and is compatible with the existing system so that IT could make the transition and then work to improve the features that the new software offers.
Christine Partlow, HHS Business Manager, expressed concern about upgrading the current system because it is not user friendly. She said it makes more sense to invest the same amount of money for a substantially better system. Staller said they will be researching Version 7.1 during the next month.
Charles Borrell, County Commissioner, and Vetsch asked IT and HHS staff to work together to arrive at a solution they both support. Mike Potter, County Commissioner, asked Kellogg how long it will take to get the information he needs to decide. Kellogg asked for three months to meet with HHS and get a plan together to determine whether VPN and softphones will work. Goodrum Schwartz said she would like to roll out twelve more telemarketers by the end of this year. Kellogg said they must move forward with the Version 7.0 upgrade to keep the system safe and to have usable equipment.
Vetsch clarified that Kellogg’s recommendation is to give IT until the end of September to the middle of October to work with HHS and develop a viable solution. Daleiden said Kellogg is also requesting new hardware and software upgrades to the current system while devising a long-term solution. Potter said that takes care of the immediate security issues and buys the County time.
Vetsch said this is a 12- to 24-month patch till the County gets what it wants long-term. Daleiden said this will take the least amount of resources financially and physically. There will be extra resources needed to do a short-term patch, but it is worth it if ultimately the right solution is put in place.
1) Short-term: Upgrade the call center software to Version 7.0. in the amount of $32,000 for setup and $45,000 for annual maintenance.
2) Long-term: IT will work with HHS to present a long-term vision and solution to the County Board in three months.
7-23-19 COTW Minutes Submitted By Deborah Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 7-23-19 COTW Minutes)
7-24-19 PERSONNEL / EMPLOYEE RELATIONS COMMITTEE MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0. The Committee Minutes follow:
I. RECLASSIFICATION OF THE OFFICE TECHNICIAN I POSITION IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Lee Kelly, County Administrator (Interim IT Director) noted that the Office Technician I (OT I) position has been in the Information Technology Department for many years and recalled that previous discussions about reclassifying this position several years ago. Kelly explained that the reclassification request was suggested by the former IT Director and the decision was made to allow the Compensation and Classification Study process to review the skill sets and job duties essential for this position and to determine whether or not OTI position should be reclassified to a higher level administrative position. Kelly added that as interim IT Director, he recognizes that the position duties are not up to date and need to be reviewed.
Kelly gave an overview to the Personnel Committee of the current situation that the IT Department is facing with this position. He shared the initial recommendations from the Compensation and Classification Study was for the OTI position to be reclassified as an OT II position. An appeal has been filed through the Compensation and Classification Study that this position should be reclassified again to an Administrative Assistant position. With this process not being completed until January 2020, the present OT I in the IT Department has accepted an offer as an Information Support Specialist (ISS) with the Health and Human Services Department. The employee is scheduled to begin the new position on Monday, July 29, 2019. Kelly added that he felt that this needed immediate attention due to the nature of the position, timing, and the request also coming from three (3) IT managers for this position to be reviewed and reclassified prior to the completion of the Compensation and Classification Study.
Commissioner Christine Husom commented that although there might be an employee in the position that may be performing their duties well above expectations, the focus of reclassifying a job description needs to focus on the job duties that are required and the needs of the department. Commissioner Mark Daleiden was in agreement and also added that over time changes in department staffing needs should take place in a timelier manner.
Commissioners Husom and Daleiden inquired about the comparisons of the OT I, OT II and Administrative Assistants and the ISS regarding wage, points, grades and descriptions along with which departments have Administrative Assistants. The difference of wage, grades, and points of the OT I, OT II, Administrative Assistant and the ISS were discussed by the committee members. Schawn Johnson, Human Resources Director explained that the job descriptions for each department have similarities, where the OT I and OT II are more generic and are a shared job description amongst various departments. The Administrative Assistant job descriptions are more individualized for the respective departments according to the different skill sets that they need to operate efficiently.
Mark Kellogg, IT Technical Services Manager, commented that as a new Wright County employee his onboarding experience was handled extremely well done and that the OTI was very involved in this process. Kellogg added that looking at the OTI position as a whole, he felt that what the current list of written duties in the position description do not address all that is required for this position or the IT Department.
Olga Strobel, IT Business Solutions Manager commented that by reclassifying this position to an Administrative Assistant this position would more accurately reflect the job responsibilities that this administrative position currently entails . Strobel continued to explain that this position reports directly to the IT Director and is a core member of the IT Department ensuring that the administrative tasks are being completed. She added that this position deals with accounting, budget tracking, negotiating with outside vendors and all the department’s administration tasks and projects, including taking minutes, which at times deal with confidential information. Strobel noted that prior to the former IT Director’s departure recommended that the OT I position be a reviewed for reclassification.
Christine Partlow, HHS Business Manager commented that the current employee has accepted their offer for the available ISS position. The new position is a promotional opportunity and feels as if the possible reclassification is being discussed solely to retain this employee. James O’Dell, HHS Technology Supervisor added that they have been generous to extend the offer to allow a job share between the two departments during the transition period. Our goal is not to create such a gap in functions for either department. Strobel replied that she was grateful for the offer but expressed her concerns of the negative impact, of not just for the IT department but County-wide with the loss of the required knowledge and skills of the position.
Patrick Spaude, IT Strategy & Portfolio Manager mentioned that even if this position becomes vacant now, as it stands now the new posting would be less than what this position requires. Johnson also added that in the scenario of the OT I position becomes vacant, and eventually gets reclassified to an Administrative Assistant, at that time they will need to follow proper posting procedures and all candidates that apply for the open position will need to meet the minimum qualifications. Strobel commented on several scenarios that occurred historically with positions being reclassified, reorganized with the employees not having to reapply but rather being reassigned. Johnson and Husom responded that those positions were not vacant positions, those positions were already filled within the department.
Both Commissioners Husom and Daleiden are in agreement that the IT department’s OT I position has evolved over time and is long overdue for a reclassification. They are also aware that there is a timing issue involving the Classification and Compensation Study which is posing an increased challenge and want to utilize the best option that can take place without adverse action. A discussion of options and scenarios took place and potential actions could take place in regard to the OTI position.
Johnson suggested that at this time the current OT I position be reclassified to an OT II position. Through the budgetary process and Compensation and Classification Study appeal the Administrative Assistant position option could be explored more thoroughly.
Kelly commented that with the next County Board meeting not scheduled to take place until August 6th the recommendation of reclassifying the OTI to an OTII position would be retractive to the July 29, 2019 start date. The Administrative Assistant position option would be discussed further during the Compensation and Classification appeal the appeal process scheduled for mid-August.
A discussion occurred regarding the proposed salary for the existing employee if they accepted the reclassification of the position to an OTII.
Partlow and O’Dell commented that they are also wanting the best scenario for the current employee.
Spaude replied that they will work on developing an Administrative Assistant job description specific to the IT Department.
RECOMMENDATION: APPROVE THE RECLASSIFICATION OF THE OFFICE TECHNICIAN I POSITION IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO AN OFFICE TEHCNICAN II EFFECTIVE JULY 29, 2019; CONTINUE TO REVIEW THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT POSITION THROUGH THE COMPENSATION AND CLASSIFCATION STUDY APPEAL PROCESS.
7-24-19 Personnel / Employee Relations Committee Minutes Submitted by Kathleen Brannan-Merritt, Administrative Specialist
(End of 7-24-19 Personnel / Employee Relations Committee Minutes)
7-31-19 TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 3-0. The minutes follow:
I. Draft CIP 2020 Projects
Sue Vergin, Assistant County Administrator, started the meeting noting that IT was tasked by the Commissioners to review the CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) Technology Fund 2020 requests taking into account a true perspective of resource availability to complete requested projects. Vergin also reminded the committee that along with FTE (Full Time Employees) resource limitations that there are budgetary limitations as well, and that there will be a limit to what the County can complete based both on funding availability and on staff available to complete the work. To review the present list with this thought process in mind Vergin met with IT Project Portfolio Analyst Britta Holland. Together they reviewed the current project list taking into account Strategic, Technical Compliance, and Discretionary projects that the IT team is working on. Holland presented data showing the current capacity of the IT Team. With that capacity in mind projects were examined to see if they could realistically be addressed in 2020. Total capacity was also taken into account for each IT staff position, the IT Business Analyst (BA) position was forecasted having a consistently over capacity work load for every month of 2020, even with a reduced project list within CIP. When questioned why certain projects were pulled Vergin stated resource and funding availability were the top concerns for projects being moved out to 2021 and beyond. Vergin stated that the Technology Committee is invited to attend the Budget Committee of the Whole for the Review of Capital Improvement Plan on Thursday, August 8th to further discuss the requests.
Committee members discussed their department’s current need of IT resources to complete technical projects and tasks. Sheriff’s Captain Todd Hoffman stated that their department has a high level of frustration of technical items not working, that he is concerned with the County reaching a critical mass if there isn’t a plan to address staffing needs for technical resources. Hoffman also stated that departments want to put items on the CIP but don’t, having come to realize they won’t get to them in years. He also stated there are more technical projects that need to get done outside of the realm of CIP, yet are also suffering due to IT resource constraints. Health & Human Services (HHS) Director Jami Goodrum Schwartz stated that IT is experiencing a shortage of people that affects the County. Christine Partlow, HHS Business Manager, agreed and also questioned the capacity of position use displayed on the data that was presented, noting that some positions appear to be under allocated while the BA’s are overallocated. Olga Strobel, IT Business Solutions Manager, stated that IT has requested positions based on current need, but also recognized that the County only has a certain funding ability to fill that requested need. Vergin noted that this exercise shows the need of those positions. Jami Goodrum Schwartz questioned if IT staff are underutilized, or if they are over allocated, perhaps more control can be given to HHS staff to assist with their department’s technical needs. Commissioner Christine Husom reminded the Committee that the County must watch the levy increase. Husom stated that she is pleased with how far the IT Department has come in the last five years. Husom stated that the County has advanced yet is still far behind with an ever-increasing technological need, all while the department is still trying to make accomplishments. Hoffman hoped that there would be a focus on IT resources for the need that the County presents. He also questioned if the InfoTech staffing plan has been abandoned. Pat Spaude, IT Strategy and Portfolio Manager, stated that the plan has not been abandoned, available funding of positions however must be watched. Strobel also noted that the department continues to utilize the plan, but also adjusts to adapt to needs of the County. Jami Goodrum Schwartz also brought to light the concern that if projects are pushed out there is a trickle down effect on other projects that departments are working on. Another concern was being reactive to IT issues, which HHS felt happened with the recent Call Center issues. IT Technical Services Manager, Mark Kellogg, took this opportunity to introduce himself to departments present and reached out to them stating he wants to learn about their initiatives and business processes that have direct impacts from IT. Vergin concluded the discussion stating that concerns with the CIP Technology requests are laid out in the resource and CIP Budget document. Also noting that the Committee has communicated their staffing concerns today. She reminded members of the upcoming CIP Budget review meeting.
RECOMMENDATION: Review 2020 CIP Technology Budget Requests at the upcoming Budget Committee of the Whole Meeting.
7-31-19 Technology Committee Minutes Submitted by Jennifer Rasset
(End of 7-31-19 Technology Committee Minutes)
ADVISORY COMMITTEE/ADVISORY BOARD UPDATES
1. County Fair Board. Borrell attended a meeting on 8-05-19. An overview of the Fair was provided. Attendance declined from last year. A factor may be the inclement weather that occurred on the last day of the Fair. Income increased by $9,000. Next year will be the 150th Celebration of the Wright County Fair.
2. Emergency Services Board. Borrell attended a meeting last week in St. Cloud. A vote was taken to approve the budget which is essentially the same as last year. The group discussed the 911 phone system problem that occurred in southwestern Minnesota on 6-15-19, where 911 calls would not go through. Text to 911 did work. Borrell stated the person overseeing at the State level is unhappy with the vendors response in addressing the situation. Borrell said if a situation arises where a call to 911 does not go through, people should use the 911 text application or call 763-682-1162 (Wright County Sheriff’s non-emergency line).
3. I94 Coalition/Washington D.C. Potter traveled to Washington D.C. in support of an application by MnDOT for BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant funding for the I-94 section from Albertville to Monticello. A meeting was held with the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration).
Potter said the project is slated for 2025 but discussion involved including this section now to complete the 40-mile segment of I-94. Daleiden said this would make the project more cost effective. Potter anticipates a trip to Washington D.C. in September to assure everything is complete with the application. A decision on the grant funding is expected at the end of October.
4. Coffee With Commissioners Session. The gathering occurred on 7-23-19 to discuss a new local outreach opportunity, “Safe Families/Connected Kids Initiative.” Daleiden said it involves collaboration between religious and non-profit organizations to assist families short term in difficult situations. A goal is to keep kids out of foster care.
5. PFM/MAGIC Fund Annual Meeting. Potter attended a meeting last week that included annual forecasting and investment information. AMC (Association of Minnesota Counties) presented on program aid challenges. Potter encouraged Commissioners to review the binder of information obtained at the meeting.
6. Administrator Updates:
A. 2020 Budget: Kelly thanked staff from Administration, Auditor/Treasurer, and Information Technology for their assistance in preparing for budget sessions. Kelly has been serving as interim IT Director. The new IT Director will start on 8-26-19.
B. New Government Center Project: Kelly said bids were received on 8-01-19. He extended appreciation to Contegrity Group for their efforts during this process. Bids are being qualified and will be presented at the 8-13-19 County Board Workshop Meeting.
C. Kelly, Sheriff Sean Deringer, and Capt. Pat O’Malley were honored by the National Guard 257 Company, Monticello, on 8-02-19. Wright County allowed use of the former Jail for National Guard training.
The meeting adjourned at 10:00 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Aug. 30, 2019.