NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2001 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

HEALDSBURG CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
401 GROVE STREET, HEALDSBURG, SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER

            Chair Ripple called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Chair David Ripple, Max Schlienger, Robert Simonson, Jake Mackenzie, and Daniel Opalach.

            Directors absent:  Vice Chair Allan Hemphill arrived at 10:06 am.

Also present:  Executive Director Max H Bridges, Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy, General Counsel Christopher J Neary, Accountant Wade Fulton, and Administrative Assistant Pamela Fishtrom, with Property Manager Cyndee Logan arriving during the Meeting.

 

C.            MINUTES

Approve Minutes of May 16, 2001 Regular Board Meeting           

 

Dir. Schlienger moved approval of the Minutes with one change – Mr. Christy’s salary was set at $83,000; seconded by Dir. Simonson. Vote taken; motion carried.

 

D.        AGENDA APPROVAL

                The Meeting proceeded.

 

E.             PUBLIC COMMENTS

Jim Quinn presented a series of questions to the Board and requested more information be made available to the public.  Mr. Bridges was directed to respond in writing.  Discussion ensued regarding dissemination of information to the public.

 

Mike Pechner supported Mr. Quinn’s discussion and encouraged the Board act with urgency in all matters.

 

F.            CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.          Approve Personnel Rules and Regulations Handbook

Mr. Bridges presented the document:  Chair Ripple indicated the Board would take it under advisement for approval at a future meeting.  

 

2.          Adopt Resolution 2001-03 Authorizing Investment of Monies in the Local Agency   

             Investment Fund

Mr. Bridges said the Resolution is a requirement towards satisfaction of the Q-fund.  The Investment Fund will accrue interest from the Traffic Congestion Relief Program monies set aside for this purpose, old Transit Capital Improvement Funds, and left over monies from the Cloverdale Bypass eminent domain action to generate enough money to pay off the Q-fund in 2013.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved to adopt Resolution 2001-03; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

 

3.         Consider Purchase of Hy Rail Equipment for Company Vehicle

Mr. Fulton reported sending out three requests for quotes:  he recommended the lowest quote for new equipment.  Discussion ensued regarding warranty and maintenance issues. 

 

Dir. Opalach moved to accept staff’s recommendation provided that Chair Ripple is given the opportunity to approve the final contract; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

            4.            Adopt Travel Policy

Mr. Bridges proposed, to avoid future audit exception, NCRA adopt the State Department of Personnel Administration Rules for employees not represented by a collective bargaining unit because within NCRA’s agreement with Caltrans for the receipt of funds there exists a sentence which indicates funds paid for travel will not exceed that of the State. 

 

Dir. Simonson moved to accept Mr. Bridges proposal; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

5.          Adopt Resolution 2001-04 in Support of Application for Transportation Enhancement 

            Activities Grant for Ukiah Depot Restoration Project

Mr. Bridges reported Ms. Logan is at the Mendocino Council of Governments meeting where a decision will be made on this application.  Mr. Darling presented a written plea for the Board to decide carefully in that he feels the Depot is important for future operational use.  Albert Fierro, Assistant City Manager of the City of Ukiah, urged the Board to approve the application which the staff of the City of Ukiah helped formulate.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to adopt Resolution 2001-04; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

G.         LIAISON REPORTS

1.    Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) – Mr. Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported NWPRA primarily discussed their budget.  On issues of governance, Dir. Hemphill reported the agencies involved will meet to: solidify goals, air concerns, and identify tasks specific to each agency.

 

2.         Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Commission (SMART) – Mr. Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported SMART meets this afternoon, and he met with Lillian Hames, SMART Project Manager, to discuss various concerns, common goals, and coordination of activities.  SMART has hired a consulting engineering firm. 

 

3.            Legislation – Mr. Bridges

                No report.               

 

4.          Web Site

No report.

 

5.            Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

No report.

 

6.               Passenger – Dir. Hemphill, Dir. Opalach, and Dir. Schlienger

Dir. Hemphill reported a possible sale of the high-end passenger cars so he asked General Counsel Neary to pen a Disposition of Public Assets policy for the Board’s consideration.  Also, he stressed the importance of creating a policy regarding criteria for the selection of firms interested in providing passenger/tourist service on the NWP.

 

7.         Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) Technical Advisory Committee – Ms. Logan

                                The MCOG meeting is being held concurrently with NCRA’s meeting.                              

 

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

John Darling, NWPY Chief Executive Officer/ Chief Financial Officer, reported:

·        handling 180 cars since opening,

·        working with the poultry industry to haul organic chicken feed,

·        regarding re-opening between Windsor and Petaluma, there should be a track inspection late in July and a signal inspection shortly thereafter,

·        he introduced Mr. Mahon as NWPY’s new manager,

·        there was a surprise visit by the Federal Railroad Administration a couple of weeks ago during which 14 minor signal defects were detected,

·        regarding Rail-Ways, Inc. bankruptcy, its assets exceed its liabilities: a re-organization plan will be prepared in the next 90 days,

·        on the difference between Rail-Ways, Inc. and NWPY, he described the firms progression of the firms from a historical perspective, and recognized that there are some ordinary kinds of trade receivables between the two companies, and

·        he would like to inhabit the Ukiah Depot to access high speed internet, to tap into a larger labor market, and because it is perceived more convenient to shippers.

 

H.            STAFF REPORTS

1.            Executive Director Max H Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported:

·        Vortex Diving will begin repair of the Haystack Landing Bridge in a couple of weeks,

·        the next California Transportation Commission (CTC) meeting is in Los Angeles where the final application for $500,000 of TCRP funds will be requested for administration and subsequent allocation.  Caltrans then produces a program supplement to be signed by both agencies, and NCRA requests receipt of funds.

·        On the progress for repair of the North End –a Programmatic Agreement for Historic Preservation was signed, a consultant will be hired, and tasks in the Consent Decree will be included in the Environmental Assessment (EA).  A biological report will be prepared.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will release the EA a month later requiring a 20-day response period.  NCRA must also comply with the California Environment Quality Act before work can begin.  Completion of a scope of work triggers the issuance of either a categorical exemption with a 30-day review, or the issuance of a mitigated negative declaration, subject to challenge, with a 45-day review process.  Work will begin during the next construction season.

·        10 Statements of Qualifications have been received in response to NCRA’s request for an engineering/environmental subcontractor; a short list will be prepared by July 5; interviews are planned for July 19; and a negotiated final selection by August 16.        

 

2.            Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy

                        Mr. Christy reported:

·        NWPY has performed temporary emergency repairs to fix Haystack Landing Bridge’s pivots,

·        the re-opening project to Mile Post 63 is challenging in that there must be zero defects.  The 78 mile project is divided into segments between major towns.  The major tasks are: vegetation control; rehab of 37 at-grade crossing signals; tie work; and replacing joints.  Bids will be issued Monday.  A pre-bid conference will be July 11.  Bids are due July 30, and a staff recommendation will be made at the August Meeting allowing for completion of repairs to Willits by the end of the year, and

·        proper signage and adequate public announcements regarding the re-opening of the track for operations will circumvent possible incidents related to traffic.

     

3.            General Counsel Christopher J Neary

a.                  Amendments to Conflict of Interest Provisions

Mr. Neary presented a publication by the Fair Political Practices Commission outlining the rules regarding Conflict of Interest reporting which includes new amendments.

           

b.            Settlement of Harger v. NCRA

Former employee, Mr. Harger, suffered a head injury in a hand car that was struck by a tractor.  The case was settled for $50,000 to be paid by the former insurance provider.

 

c.             NCRA Procurement Procedures

Mr. Neary presented a Procurement Procedure Policy adopted by the Board in the early 1990s.  Mr. Bridges announced he will work on revising the existing policy.

           

d.            Contractor Procurement Policy

Utilizing the contracting law as is applicable to state agencies, Mr. Neary presented a draft policy for hiring independent contractors for initial input.  All adopted policies will be integrated into a manual.

 

e.            Finalization of Secondary Programmatic Agreement

Mr. Neary said, as was previously reported, a Secondary Programmatic Agreement has been signed and is now in effect.

 

4.          Property Manager Cyndee Logan

Ms. Logan reported the Ukiah Depot Restoration Project was rated number one to receive Transportation Enhancement Activities grant funds.

 

5.          Accountant Wade Fulton

Mr. Fulton reported:

·        the final TCRP funding for debt repayment will be issued today,

·        NCRA received administrative funding for January to June from the State,

·        the budget report expanded the categories of expense to include Capital Expenditures to facilitate reporting the purchase of a company vehicle and a laptop computer,

·        the budget versus actual is on track with the actual being slightly under over all,

·        NCRA will respond at the end of this week to the Caltrans audit of Proposition 116 expenditures to Herzog, and NCRA’s time line for adopting a revised accounting manual, contract procedures, travel policy, etc.,

·        he is looking into the purchase of premise insurance which along with Worker’s Compensation Insurance is budgeted at $40,000 per year.

   

I.         MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Opalach reported there are several candidates for NCRA’s Humboldt County representative.

 

J.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            Regular Board Meeting – July 18, 2001 at 10:00 a.m.                         

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

 

K.        CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 12:20 pm

 

L.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 12:55 pm

           

1.            Conference with Real Property Negotiator – Ms. Logan

                        Government Code § 54946.8

                        Fiber Optics – Pacific Bell

The Board received information and provided direction to Ms. Logan.

 

2.    Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Existing Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9

FCM Rail v. NCRA

Pending in the Eastern District Court, Michigan

The Board received information and provided direction to Mr. Neary.

 

M.            ADJOURNMENT 

            The Meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.