NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2000 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

HEALDSBURG CITY HALL
401 GROVE STREET, HEALDSBURG, SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER

            Chair Jehn called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Chair Robert Jehn, First Chair David Ripple, Max Schlienger, Jake Mackenzie, Daniel Opalach, Robert E. Simonson, and Allan Hemphill.

            Directors absent:  None.

            Also present:  Executive Director Max H Bridges, General Counsel Christopher J Neary, and  

            Administrative Assistant Pamela Fishtrom.

 

C.        MINUTES

Approve Minutes of the November 14, 2000 Regular Board Meeting.

 

Dir. Ripple moved approval of the Minutes; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

D.                AGENDA APPROVAL

 
Mr. Bridges requested the Board meet in Closed Session before Item F.6 is discussed.  Mr. Neary asked the Board to add a Closed Session Item:  Rail-Ways, Inc. versus California Western. 

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the Agenda with the requested changes; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

E.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

James Quinn of Burlingame, California, congratulated the Board on obtaining $60 million from the Governor’s budget, and urged contracting with separate agencies in terms of rehabilitation versus operations.

 

Russ Mustola, Mustola Management, thanked the Board for the opportunity to provide his accounting services.  Mr. Bridges thanked Mr. Mustola, and Chair Jehn expressed the Board’s gratitude.

 

Mr. Bridges read a statement sent by John Diamante, Friends of the Railroad, to the Board expressing the desirability of unitary operations and urging coordinated planning of repair by the agencies involved to further the goal of the Traffic Congestion Relief Act of 2000.

 

F.         CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.         Consider Accountant Position:  Job Description, Salary, Selection

Mr. Bridges presented a proposed job description and salary.  In response to Dir. Opalach’s concern over hiring an employee without a period of recruitment, Mr. Bridges explained the need for a swift decision as Mr. Mustola’s duties end at the end of the year, and that the proposed candidate comes highly recommended and is familiar with the agency’s finances and computerized accounting system.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved approval of the proposed job description with minor changes as recommended by CalTrans, salary, and hiring of Wade Fulton; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; 5 ayes, Dir. Opalach and Dir. Simonson voted “nay”; motion carried.  Mr. Bridges announced Wade Fulton was selected to fill the accountant position.    

 

2.         Approve Contract for Fiber Optic Consultant

Mr. Bridges requested continuation of this Item because the contract is not yet prepared.

 

3.         Resolution 2000-03 Authorizing Opening of Wells-Fargo Checking Account

Mr. Bridges explained this resolution is necessary to establish a checking account before the debt reduction money is released by the California Transportation Commission.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of Resolution 2000-03 to open a checking account;  seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Roll call vote was taken; all Directors answered “aye”; motion passed.                       

 

4.         Consider Employee Handbook Preparation

Mr. Bridges recommended preparation of an employee handbook written to address the needs of governmental employees as opposed to those of a Railroad operator.

 

Dir. Simonson moved approval to authorize Mr. Bridges to contract with L.B. Hayhurst and Associates to prepare an employee handbook with a total fee not to exceed $2500.00;   seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.  

     

5.         Consider CalPERS Deferred Compensation Plan for Employees

Mr. Bridges explained, as members of CalPERS, the Authority can, at no cost, opt to provide this Plan to its employees.

 

Dir. Ripple moved to approve Resolution 2000-04 adopting CalPERS Deferred Compensation Plan for Employees; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Roll call vote taken; all ayes; motion passed unanimously.

 

Due to Property Manager Logan’s absence, Mr. Bridges was named Real Estate Negotiator pursuant to Government Code 54946.8.  The Board convened to Closed Session at 10:45 a.m.

 

6.         Resolution 2000-05 Authorizing Submittal of Invoice NCRA-DR02 to California Department of Transportation for Payment of Debt

 

Mr. Neary announced the Board acted to dedicate the Williams Communication receivable to debt repayment, and authorized staff to liquidate by factoring as soon as possible.  Dir. Hemphill moved to approve Resolution 2000-05 adopting the schedule of proposed debt payments and authorizing the submittal of invoices to CalTrans consistent with that schedule; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Roll call vote taken; all ayes; motion passed unanimously.

               

                The Board returned to Open Session at 11:05 a.m.                                                                  

 

7.         Consider Proposed Public Works Contracting Procedures Policy Document

Mr. Neary presented the proposed document to facilitate preparation of the bid procedure for rehabilitation of the Line between Windsor and Willits. 

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to adopt the Public Works Contracting Procedures Policy Document with the following exceptions:  where the word, “Department” appears replace with “Authority,” and substitute the correct headings where appropriate with final review by the Board Chair; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; 6 ayes, Dir. Opalach voted nay; motion carried.                                                                                                                                                  

 

8.         Selection of Passenger Committee Members

In response to recent inquiries to provide passenger/tourist service, Dir. Hemphill recommended re-visiting the Board’s policies and goals under a newly-constructed committee representing each County, and which meets with a representative of Northwestern Pacific Railway Co. LLC, to create a framework with criteria by which to judge requests to provide service. 

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve as Passenger Committee members: Dir. Hemphill, Sonoma County; Dir. Schlienger, Mendocino County, and Dir. Opalach, Humboldt County; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.      

 

9.         Consider Janitorial Services for Eureka Depot

Mr. Bridges recommended accepting a proposal from A-1 Cleaning Service to provide twice monthly cleaning of the Eureka Depot for $75 per occurrence.

 

Dir. Ripple moved approval to enter into an agreement with A-1 Cleaning Service to provide janitorial services at the Eureka Depot; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

10.        Consider Permanent Operating Agreement with Northwestern Pacific Railway Co.  

LLC (NWPY) and Northwestern California Railway Engineering Corp. (NorCare) or Extend Start-Up Date

Due to the anticipated resumption of service, Mr. Neary recommended activating the Permanent Operating Agreement and an Incidental Services Agreement previously referred to as the Project Supervision Agreement.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved approval of both documents; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Roll call vote taken; Dir. Opalach abstained citing that he did not have enough time to digest the information presented at the meeting that suggested changes to the Agreements; Dir. Mackenzie abstained for the same reason; Dir. Ripple, aye; Dir. Schlienger abstained citing that he did not have enough background information; Dir. Simonson, aye; Dir. Hemphill, aye; Chair Jehn, aye; motion passed.                

 

G.        LIAISON REPORTS

            1.         Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) – Executive Dir. Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported discussing the Haystack Landing Bridge repair and the governance issue listed later on the Agenda.

 2.         Legislation – Executive Dir. Bridges

                        Mr. Bridges expressed the need to update NCRA’s legislative agenda.

 

             3.        Passenger – Dir. Hemphill

No report.

 

  4.        Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

                        No report.

 

             5.        Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Commission (SMART) – Chair Jehn

Chair Jehn reported a project manager has been hired to begin project specifications and engineering for high speed rail service from Cloverdale to San Rafael anticipated to begin in 2005.

 

 6.        Mendocino Council of Governments Technical Advisory Committee – Ms. Logan

No report.

       

  7.        Web Site – Chair Jehn

Chair Jehn reported visitation to the site remains about the same and subscribers number approximately 189.  

             

 8.        Contractor – Northwestern Pacific Railways Co. LLC (NWPY)

Doug Christy, President and Chief Engineer, reported on the status of NWPY including that the Federal Railroad Administration inspection from Schellville to Petaluma went well and he is hopeful that partial relief from Emergency Order 21 will be granted.

      

H.        EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT – Executive Director Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported interviews for Project Manager will be held on January 5, 2001.

 

I.                   PROPERTY MANAGER REPORT – Property Manager Logan

No report.

 

J.         LEGAL REPORT – General Counsel Christopher J. Neary

           

            Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Relationship (GGBHTD) with NWPRA

Celia Kupersmith, General Manager of GGBHTD and Executive Director of NWPRA, presented the process by which a decision was made to continue to be an active participant in Railroad issues.   

 

K.        MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Opalach praised the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Support Coalition’s letter, written by Pete Oringer, sent to Sandro Amaglio, Environmental Officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), because, not only did it impart enthusiasm for the Railroad in Humboldt County, but it uncovered an issue considered unresolved by FEMA.

 

Dir. Mackenzie apologized to Mr. Darling for abstaining during the vote on the Permanent Operating Contract because he had received in the mail a copy of the suggested amendments.

 

Chair Jehn reopened the Public Comment period so that Mr. Pechner could give a brief weather update.

 

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

Regular Board Meeting – January 17, 2001 at 10:00 a.m.                         

Willits City Council Chambers, 111 East Commercial Street, Willits, Mendocino County, CA, USA

 

M.       CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 12:38 p.m.

 

N.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 1:45 pm

            1.         Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Mr. Bridges

                        Government Code Section 54956.8

                        a.         Sale of the Ukiah Depot

b.         Pacific Bell Fiber Optics

c.         Pratt Mountain – Johannesen Lease           

                        Chair Jehn announced the Board received information.

 

            2.         Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation – Mr. Neary

                        Government Code Section 54956.9(a)

                        TXL v. NCRA, Pending in Humboldt County

                        Chair Jehn announced the Board received information and took no action.

                                   

3.         Conference with Legal Counsel – Initiate Litigation – Mr. Neary

                        Government Code Section 54956.9(c)

                        Determine with Reference to Improved Project

Chair Jehn announced the Board received information and provided direction to staff and  some Board Members.

 

4.                  Personnel Issue

Government Code Section 54956.7

Employee Performance Evaluation – Executive Director

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved approval to compensate our Executive Director retroactive to July 1, 2000 reflecting a cost of living increase of 5%; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

5.                  Conference with Legal Counsel – Mr. Neary

Government Code Section 54056.9

Rail-Ways, Inc. v. California Western Railroad

Chair Jehn received information and provided direction to Mr. Neary.

 

O.        ADJOURNMENT 

            Chair Jehn adjourned the meeting at 1:58 p.m.