Waterloo, Iowa January 9, 2020
The Oversight Board for the Consolidated Communications Center (CCC) met in Room 37A of the Black Hawk County Courthouse at 3:00 pm. The meeting was called to order and on roll call there were present: Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green, Dunkerton Mayor Michael Schares, Evansdale Mayor Troy Beatty, Gilbertville Mayor Mark Thome, Hudson Mayor George Wessel, La Porte City Mayor Dave Neil, and Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, and County Supervisors Linda Laylin, Dan Trelka, and Chris Schwartz, Chair. Absent: Supervisors Tom Little, Craig White.
Also present: Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson, CCC Supervisor Judy Flores, Cedar Falls Public Safety Directory Jeff Olson, Evansdale Police Chief Mike Dean, La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher, County Finance Director James Perry, County Human Resources Director Debi Bunger, Billie Jo Heth, County Auditor’s Office; Waterloo PD Information Systems Manager Wendy Drinovsky, Waterloo PD Major Joe Leibold, Amanda Fesenmeyer, County Human Resources; County Auditor Grant Veeder.
Moved by Laylin, seconded by Wessel to receive the agenda as proposed. Motion carried.
The Oversight Board discussed items that raised concerns at the December 17 meeting when the Board approved the CCC FY21 budget. Thompson said that the Board was justifiably concerned about the large wage increases for supervisory staff in the budget as well as a new information technology (IT) position, and that they were pressured to approve the budget at that time without further review because their municipality budgets can’t be completed until the CCC budget is approved. He said that the law enforcement members on the CCC operational board had been repeatedly advised to relay that information to their mayors before the December 17 meeting, and that aside from better communication he thought it would be advisable in the future to hold a November meeting of the Oversight Board so that such issues could be fully discussed and digested before coming to a vote at the December meeting.
Fesenmeyer described the desk audit she conducted to determine the salary ranges of the supervisory staff. She said that Flores was 24% below the average midpoint of similar counties, and that as a rule of thumb, Black Hawk County managers are paid around 90-95% of the market. Thompson said that the CCC operating board approved a three-step plan to increase the wages, and that it implemented the first step during FY20 because funds were available. Neil asked if the governing articles of the operating board give them the authority to make such a decision without the Oversight Board. Thompson said it does, and that there was a precedent for it in 2009. Neil and other mayors said that there should have been more communication on these staff issues, as they have a significant impact on local budgets. Thompson said that the increases were mitigated by Flores presenting a budget that had a $23,000 decrease in operating expenditures.
Hart said that while he agrees that staff should be adequately compensated and that ultimately it is a public safety issue, he found giving mid-year wage increases troubling because he denies similar requests from city employees, and it is hard to explain why he would approve it for CCC. He noted that the funds identified for the mid-year increase would have otherwise returned to the cities at the end of the fiscal year, and that any percentage increase the Oversight Board approves will be based on the mid-year increase it did not approve, rather than the rate that it approved for the current budget year. Trelka said a majority of the mayors found this troubling.
Thompson asked Drinovsky to address the decision to hire an IT position. She said the current system is very simple, but the new system has greater structure and more hardware, which necessitates onsite IT support. Trelka said this is understandable, but he felt the Oversight Board was rushed into making an important personnel decision. Thompson said that similar dispatch centers have sometimes two or three IT staff. Hart said he didn’t want to limit the center’s effectiveness, but the whole process should be part of the conversation with the Oversight Board. Thompson said the operating board didn’t intend to be devious, and thought it was acting in the best interests of the taxpayers. He said that the plan to have an additional meeting was a step in the right direction. Laylin said that communication could also be improved if the operating board just kept the Oversight Board apprised of its actions through email correspondence.
On motion and vote the meeting adjourned at 3:56 pm.
Chris Schwartz, Chair, Board of Supervisors
Grant Veeder, County Auditor