|MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE STATE BOARD OF EXAMINERS, held in the Joe R. Williams West Conference Room on January 9, 1996 at 8:45 a.m. Members present were Governor Philip E. Batt, Chairman of the Board; Secretary of State Pete T. Cenarrusa; Attorney General Alan G. Lance; and State Controller and Secretary of the Board J. D. Williams. Sub-Committee members present were Ben Ysursa, Office of Secretary of State; David High, Office of Attorney General; and H. W. Turner, Office of State Controller.|
IN RE: IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY
Request for authorization to pay moving expenses from University funds to the stated limit for the following:
Athletic Director, Department of Athletics Limit: $10,000.00
Manager, Holt Arena Limit: $ 5,000.00
Fiscal Officer, Physical Plant Limit: $ 2,000.00
Registrar, Museum of Natural History Limit: $ 2,000.00
Assistant Professor of Management, Limit: $ 4,000.00
College of Business
IN RE: DIVISION OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Request for authorization to pay moving expenses for the position of Director of Eastern Idaho Technical College to be filled in January or February, 1996 not to exceed $10,000.00.
IN RE: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE
Request for authorization to pay moving expenses for an Occupational Therapist position at Idaho State School and Hospital not to exceed $5,000.00.
Request for authorization to increase the moving expense reimbursement limit from $5,000 to $12,000 for the position of Physician, Clinical Director, State Hospital North. Authorization to reimburse the moving expense was approved by the Board on July 11, 1995.
IN RE: IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY
Request for authorization to remove lost items from the university's inventory system. ISU has responded to the Sub-Committee's request that no items on the inventory list were worth over $20,000 or newer than five years.
IN RE: DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION
Request for approval of Recognition of Assignment as executed by Huntingdon Engineering and Environmental Inc., Boise and Maxim Technologies, Inc., Boise for State of Idaho Public Works Contracts No. 93-800 and 94-804.
Governor: I will call the meeting of the State Board of Examiners to order. We will ask our guru, Mr. J. D. Williams, to tell us what we are doing. We have a Consent Agenda, I see.
State Controller: Yes, Governor, we have five items on the Consent Agenda that the Board's Sub-Committee has met, reviewed and recommended for approval. We have one item on the Regular Agenda regarding the Department of Law Enforcement. Their folks are here today to discuss a request for accrued compensatory time for some of their forensic folks to help with the criminal investigations.
Governor: Let's talk about the Consent Agenda first. Does anybody have any problems with any of that?
Secretary of State: Governor, I move the approval of the Consent Agenda.
Attorney General: Second.
Governor: Is there more discussion?
Attorney General: Well, Governor, I still see that we have $10,000 moving expenses allocated under certain circumstances. I have met, however, with Rayburn Barton and others and I understand that they are going to come up with some sort of a standardized policy on moving expenses. They are working on it, they tell me.
Governor: Do we have a time limit on when they are going to give us something? This is atrocious, really.
Attorney General: They did not give me, Governor, any time limit that I recall.
Governor: Giving the athletic director $10,000, it is nothing but increased salary, really.
Attorney General: Governor, I can give them a call and indicate to them that you would like to know what time limit they are operating under in terms of establishing a policy, but they did not give me one when last I talked to them.
Governor: By they, do you mean....
Attorney General: The State Board of Education.
Governor: The Board of Education. But they are not the only one involved are they?
Attorney General: No, sir. They are not.
Governor: Here is Health and Welfare for $5,000. How are we going to come up with a policy that fits here? We need one.
Attorney General: Governor, $10,000 for moving expenses. My goodness, that just doesn't make any sense to me.
Governor: You can see exactly what they are doing down here at Health and Welfare. It says from $5,000 to $12,000 that they want to offer for a position. Obviously, it is just increased salary.
State Controller: Governor, your Sub-Committee is scrutinizing these quite a bit more than they used to. A request has to come in from the department establishing the need for that and it is usually in situations where they feel they need to be competitive to get the person they want that they have to be able to pay moving expenses to get them here.
Governor: I don't think any of us object to that, J.D., but I think we feel they are not actually moving expenses. In the case of the athletic director, $10,000.
State Controller: That seems a little high but the...
Governor: Why isn't it $9,998 if it is moving expenses.
State Controller: That's the max allowed. It could very well come in less than that. That is the limit that they can pay.
Governor: That is in the prospective ones but these are past ones, are they not?
State Controller: No.
Ben Ysursa: Governor, members of the Board, everything you see in here are the limits. They have to submit actual receipts from the moving company up to that amount. You are seeing all of these, and the Sub-Committee is seeing all of these, because there was a change in the Moving Policy effective in January adopted by the Board that we now see these. This has been going on for years but they have never seen the light of day like they are now. That is why they seem to be rather alarming.
Governor: These are just limits?
Ben Ysursa: They have to submit actual receipts for all the expenses.
Governor: What were you referring to, General?
Attorney General: Well, Governor, I just see that in some point in the future we are going to have all the institutions of higher learning in the State of Idaho competing and submitting the maximum limit, so to speak, so that they are all competing on an equal footing. I think $10,000 limit is a little high but that is my personal opinion, Governor. What that limit ought to be, I really don't know but I think we ought to establish a maximum limit of some sort so we don't reach that ceiling too quickly in terms of competition.
State Controller: Governor, I think the Board's Sub-Committee's feeling is most of this is in higher education. That is why they have asked the State Board of Education with Dr. Barton to come up with a clearer policy of what they will pay and won't pay because it seems like in higher education there is a tremendous glut of people looking for teaching positions. The Board's Sub-Committee asked the question if it is really a buyer's market out there, why do we have to pay this extra moving expense and they have come back with the fact that there are a few unique individuals that we want - maybe a Dean, maybe a research person, or something - that we feel the only way we can get them to come is to be competitive. What the Board is asking is that the State Board develop a policy enunciating that it should not be used very often and it has to be a very clear policy when they will use it, and it always has to be approved by this Board.
Attorney General: On the other side of that would be it seems logical to me that we would require a minimum contract. If somebody would like to move to Idaho and there is no underlying contract for employment, we pay the moving expenses and two months later they decide to go down the road. We have moved them to Idaho for free and we get nothing in return.
State Controller: Good point.
Attorney General: From where I sit, Governor, I guess a limit on the dollars would be desirable and number two, if we pay them are we going to require that they work for the state for a year or they have to repay the moving expenses, or something of that nature. To move somebody here that wants to move to Idaho and then two months later they decide they want to take another job with Micron, we are just out the moving expenses and we get nothing in return.
Governor: Well, General, you are so innovative, why don't you devise a policy?
Attorney General: Because you have a Sub-Committee working on this.
Governor: You are the Sub-Committee. Okay, we handled that problem. Is there further discussion? All in favor say aye. Opposed nay.
Secretary of State
Chair votes aye. The ayes have it.
IN RE: DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT - Robert Sobba, Director, and John Lewis, Assistant Director, Police Services Division, will attend
Request for authorization to pay accrued compensatory time to the following criminalists of the Bureau of Forensic Services for hours accrued from July 1, 1995 to November 17, 1995. Payment of Earned Administrative Leave (EAL) does not require Board of Examiners approval.
M. Bird 19.1 R. Martin 22.5
A. Bradley 78.2 C. Park 46.5
R. Groff 20.3 D. Shepherdson 16.5
S. Jacobson 42.5 S. Williamson 30.8
D. Laycock 28.8 D. Wyckoff 91.5
P. Marcum 39.6
Governor: This regular agenda on the overtime for the police - Director Sobba is here but it is my understanding that you have already had a meeting this morning and pretty well resolved the controversy regarding this. I think the question was we don't mind paying overtime when we have to but are we involving people unnecessarily in overtime. Is that correct, Bob? Why don't you talk about it?
Robert Sobba: I guess I came prepared for one subject and got hit with another one this morning. The situation this morning, basically I am not sure we got anything resolved. Apparently there is not uniformity on FLSA rules throughout the state. The Department of Law Enforcement has some people under that that the other parts of the state do, but when I listened to legal counsel I was told that I am doing it right. What happened this morning is that someone is going to research who is doing it right and who isn't doing it right.
Governor: I think our concern was that maybe there is enough overtime being paid in some areas we would be better off to hire some more people and forget the overtime.
Robert Sobba: That is definitely a point from my standpoint too. I don't know what we resolved this morning other than we did bring factors out and we are supposed to get a legal opinion on which way to do it on those. The one at hand, basically, is our Bureau of Forensic Services. Do you want me to address that one?
Governor: Yes, would you talk about it?
Robert Sobba: I guess my zeal to solve problems sometimes gets me in hot water. I didn't know this was going to be taking up your time when I did this, but I will pass these around. Basically the reason I am here for the Forensic Lab is due to the problems with drugs. It is always a problem but the methamphetamine problem in the last few years has really caused our state a lot of problems, and it is probably the worst we have had in our state for drug problems. The examples of that are the DLA cases on methamphetamines has gone from 70 to 150 in two years time. Even of more concern during that time period is the clandestine labs that we have all been working on which are basically where people are actually manufacturing drugs in our state. They have gone during the same time period from 2 to 18 at the end of last year, including one almost in sight of this building. This has been a tremendous problem.
This drug load added with the local drug load from local agencies, plus increase in other criminal cases has put our Forensic Lab in a backlog situation as you can see by our charts. Our lab is probably the single most important resource for law enforcement. Its backlogs cause tremendous problems primarily with prosecutors as you can see some of the news article at the back of that. We are not getting the cases done for court and that type of thing because of the backlog. The cases are actually getting dismissed. We are currently having chemists that are averaging a subpoena a day. We had one last week that had six subpoenas for the same day to testify and obviously, there is no way to do that. DNA is an important thing that we need to get going for law enforcement. The state made a commitment to do that a couple years ago. We have all the equipment but we are not operational yet because basically we don't have the time to get operational because of all the influx of drugs. I want to make sure that everyone knows that people in our lab are not 8:00 - 5:00 lab workers. They often respond to crime scenes, most of them which are the most violent in the state, such as the double order that we had over the weekend in Downey, Idaho. If they get called out on a weekend it is not practical to tell them to take the next day off because investigators and prosecutors will want the results. Time is often crucial in these type of cases. When I came here we were in a position of trying to prioritize cases to keep up in our lab. As a law enforcement officer this was very distasteful to me, and it should be a last resort. I feel honest citizens shouldn't be victimized twice. Once by criminals and then by a system that tells them their crime wasn't serious enough to work on. I am a firm believer that government shouldn't be everything to every one but I do think that protection of citizens is a priority.
In an attempt to not to have to prioritize cases we started working on some solutions. One of those was we had an open FTP and funding in another bureau that I moved to a chemist position in the lab, and that person has recently become operational in our Pocatello lab. We put a FTP in our budget for the Meridian lab to allow us to hopefully get DNA moving ahead. The other thing we had was our firearms person quit during this last year. Unfortunately in our society firearms experts are much in demand and he left for a lot higher paying job and we cannot find anyone to replace him. Based on that, we changed that FTP in a temporary solution to a chemist to try to catch up as best we can. That person started yesterday and will be assigned to our lab in Coeur d'Alene. Money is always a concern for any bureau we have. Basically the problem we have is time more than money. So that led to my last decision which was because we had saved money from our firearms person and plus for hiring turnover people in at a lower salary we had salary savings. By paying off some comp time that would allow us 400 other hours to catch up with our backlog while still remaining within the budget. That was the reason for me being here, I guess. We are also working on some others issues that we feel is excessive and needless court time, and also working with other states on sharing resources. Unfortunately, we made little progress on these but we will continue to work on these and any other ways to resolve the workload for our lab. I guess listening to your previous testimony on moving expenses, perhaps that could be a solution. If you pay me $10,000 to move these dopers out of our state, I think we might be cheaper in the long run. That was probably a little too inventive. That thought occurred to me while you were discussing it. Anyway, we are doing the best we can and that is the reason I put in for that.
Attorney General: Governor, could I ask the Chief a couple questions on the comp time? Bradley and Wyckoff have the highest number of hours. What do they do, I mean what is their jobs?
Robert Sobba: Don is in charge of the lab in Pocatello. Pocatello seems to be the one that has the most call outs. Just like Downey. He was out all over the weekend working on that one. And Ann Bradley is the chemist that has been there for a long time, experienced, and just does a lot of the cases and doesn't take time off. John Lewis is their supervisor. John, did you have anything to add to that?
Governor: John, come on up.
John Lewis: Governor, members of the Board. Ann Bradley is one of our principal criminalists and if you recall, there was a recent case where a young fellow's body was discovered up in Valley County or at least very small portions of it. Ann was the principal chemist on that particular thing and they worked several days on that particular crime scene. It was necessary to grid it out, dig up and excavate what we could find, and quite candidly we found portions of bone this big. When you are trying to do that in very inclement weather we need all the expertise we can get and she certainly is that expert to help us.
Governor: I should know this as long as I have been around government, but what is Earned Administrative Leave?
Robert Sobba: John is our Personnel Director. He might explain it better than I can. I am still having trouble understanding it.
John Butler: Governor, members of the Board, Earned Administrative Leave essentially is a Personnel Commission tool established in their rules so that we can reduce the employee's paycheck to no more than 40 hours per week. When they work any overtime they bank that number of hours to be taken off at a later date, to be paid no more than 40 hours.
Governor: What is the difference between that and comp time?
John Butler: Essentially not a lot. It works essentially the same way.
Governor: This paragraph talked about both comp time and earned administrative leave. I guess they must be talking about the same thing.
John Butler: Essentially the same thing, sir. It is something the Auditor's Office puts in place so they can reduce that paycheck by coding it as EAL so their paycheck comes down to 40 hours and they don't get paid any more for that 40 hour week.
Governor: And that results in accrued comp time?
John Butler: Yes it does, sir.
Governor: Okay. You learn something every day. Anything further for Bob and John here?
Attorney General: Just an observation, Governor, and that is that I guess the general public doesn't quite comprehend just how important a good scientific case is. We can't prosecute without these guys having the science in place and I think the O.J. Simpson trial with the DNA stuff underlines how important the science is. The defense and the prosecution spent a lot of time and money attacking the DNA testing and the chain of custody and all this stuff that the general public probably had never heard about before, but whatever the Chief needs in support from my office to do his job, we need them or we are not going to get the prosecution....
Governor: I agree with you. The question that arose over this was whether we needed to have more permanent personnel in place of so much overtime and after listening to your explanation I am not sure that would fit. These particular folks about have to have overtime, I guess.
State Controller: Governor, for a number of years I was a prosecutor in the hinterlands. I have had Ann Bradley, by the way, in court several times. It is a big state and it is a tremendous service by state government to local prosecutors and local law enforcement. It is tough to schedule because you can have them subpoenaed to be there a certain day, something goes wrong and they have to sit for a few hours. I don't know if there are any easy solutions other than pay the extra comp time when it is necessary.
Governor: Chair will entertain a motion.
Attorney General: I would so move.
Secretary of State: Second
Governor: There being no further discussion, all in favor will indicate by saying aye. Opposed nay.
Secretary of State
The Chair votes aye. Thank you, gentlemen.
WHEREUPON THE MEETING OF THE STATE BOARD OF EXAMINERS was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chairman.
Governor Philip E. Batt
Chairman of the Board
J. D. Williams, Secretary to the Board
and State Controller