NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2001 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

WILLITS CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
111 EAST COMMERCIAL STREET, WILLITS, MENDOCINO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER

            The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Vice Chair Allan Hemphill, Robert Simonson, Jake Mackenzie, Daniel Opalach, and Leo Sears.

            Directors absent:  Chair David Ripple and Max Schlienger.

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

 

Dir. Opalach, reappointed to the NCRA Board, introduced Director Leo Sears, also appointed to represent Humboldt County.

 

Dir. Hemphill presented a plaque to General Counsel Neary and commended him for his service to the NCRA Board of Directors since September, 1993.

 

C.        MINUTES

Approve Minutes of June 20, 2001 Regular Board Meeting      

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the Minutes; seconded by Dir. Simonson. Vote taken; motion carried.

 

D.        AGENDA APPROVAL

               

Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the Agenda; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

E.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

Hanna Burkhardt, Secretary for the Mendocino County Railway Society, presented a list of questions which Mr. Bridges offered to answer via e-mail.

 

Kaye Strickland, Chair of Citizens for Port Development, welcomed Dir. Sears and advised the Board to keep the public well informed.

 

Bernard Camerof informed the Board the tarps came off the Daylight cars and it appears they are being vandalized.

 

F.         CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.            Approve Personnel Rules and Regulations Handbook

Mr. Bridges suggested tabling this Item due to time constraints. 

 

Dir. Simonson moved to table this Item; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

 

 

2.         Adopt Independent Contractor Procedures Policy

Mr. Bridges suggested tabling this Item due to time constraints.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to table this Item; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

3.         Consider Adopting Prevailing Wage Rates for Public Works Contracts

Mr. Christy recommended adopting prevailing wage rates as identified by the Department of Industrial Relations.

 

Dir. Mackenzie so moved; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

            4.         Modify Travel Policy

Mr. Bridges recommended modification that allows reimbursement of mileage at the IRS’ rate rather than that negotiated by the bargaining unit for State employees.

 

Dir. Mackenzie so moved; seconded by Dir. Sears.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

5.        Authorize Filing and Issuance of Multi-County Agency Biennial Notice for Amendment to Conflict of Interest Code

Mr. Neary requested authorization to amend the Conflict of Interest Code to maintain  compliance with the Fair Political Practices Commission by deleting the reporting position of Chief Executive Officer and Marketing/Customer Service Director while adding the Officers and Shareholders of Northwestern Pacific Railways, Inc. LLC and NCRA’s Property Manager as Category 1 disclosure, and NCRA’s Assistant Executive Director and Capital Projects/Environmental Compliance Consultant as Category 2 disclosure.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to authorize the filing and issuance of the Multi-County Conflict of Interest Code; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

6.                  Adopt Budget for Fiscal Year 2001-2002

Mr. Bridges presented a proposed budget balanced with expected revenue sources, crafted by analysis of the previous year expeditures, and driven by NCRA’s Strategic Plan.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve the proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2001-2002; seconded by Dir. Opalach.

 

7.                  Authorize Increase in Maximum Allowable Contract Amount to Vortex Diving Regarding Repair of Fenders on the Haystack Landing Bridge

Mr. Bridges asked for an increase in Vortex Diving’s maximum allowable contract amount to match estimated repair costs as was intended when NCRA received an increased loan amount from Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority.

 

Dir. Mackenzie so moved; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

8.                  Consider Attendance of Assistant Executive Director at American Railway Engineering and Mainternace of Way (AREMA) Annual Conference

Mr. Bridges requested the Board approve $1500 to send Mr. Christy to this conference to maintain his rail-related knowledge, contacts, membership, and participation in AREMA.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve the attendance of the Assistant Executive Director; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken; motion approved.

           

9.                  Joint Use of the REMCO Facility in Willits for Railroad Storage and Maintenance – Presentation by Chris Burkhardt   

Mr. Burkhardt proposed the railroad agencies involved in the NWP consider leasing or purchasing the REMCO facility for maintenance or storage.

 

G.         LIAISON REPORTS

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

Mr. Bridges reported NWPRA meets next Monday.

 

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

Mr. Bridges presented the SMART Agenda for their meeting today.

 

3.         Legislation – Mr. Bridges

                No report.         

 

4.            Web Site

Mr. Bridges reported frequently asked questions are posted to NCRA’s web site.

 

5.         Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

Dir. Mackenzie reported the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) circulated NCRA’s frequently asked questions.  Also, SCTA’s Chair asked him to participate in a meeting regarding SMART and the governance of passenger rail within the County.

 

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

                                Mr. Bridges reported on the Passenger Committee meeting preceeding this Regular Meeting:

·        An inventory of passenger equipment was presented

·        A discussion ensued regarding the disposition of passenger equipment

·        Mr. Neary will prepare a process for sale of the Meecham cars

·        A consultant will develop a policy for decisions on future passenger service providers

·        The remaining cars will not be offered for sale without further discussion with NCRA’s passenger franchisee

·        Staff was given direction to work on ownership issues of passenger cars, and

·        The decision was made to offer no recommendation to the full Board yet.

 

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

Ms. Logan reported MCOG is working on the grant for the Ukiah Depot, and will be posting fiber information on routes to their web site.                        

 

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

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

·        traffic continues to grow

·        although ready, the delay in the inspection has allowed for reviewing documentation

·        shippers are eager to see service restored

·        Joel Torres, NWPY General Manager of Operations, has resigned, and

·        In response to Dir. Opalach, Mr. Darling denied that Rail-Ways, Inc. may have its bankruptcy converted to a Chapter 7 as opposed to Chapter 11.

 

H.        STAFF REPORTS

1.         Executive Director Max H Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported he will be on vacation from July 20 through August 8.  There was discussion on dissemination of information through NCRA’s web site subscriber list and media contacts, and on understanding an audit by Caltrans of projects performed for them by NWPY.  Mr. Bridges also reported the Environmental Assessment for the North End needs to discuss the concurrent work driven by the Consent Decree.  The Department of Fish and Game offered to fly NCRA over the area on August 15 to aid in projecting the impacts to be identified in the assessment.  The resulting quantification would aid the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prepare the scope of work necessary to trigger initial biological assessments.

 

2.         Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy

                        Mr. Christy reported:

·        NCRA contracted with Vortex Diving to repair Haystack Landing Bridge’s fenders: work should begin within 30 days

·        the bid for rehabilitation from Windsor to Willits has been let; the opening will be held July 31; Caltrans will review the lowest, responsible bid; a selection will be made at the August 15 Board Meeting; work could be complete by the end of the year

·        NWPY is working on the segment between Petaluma and Windsor; there is a track inspection at the end of July with a signal inspection possibly in mid-August; opening could occur by the end of August.

     

3.         General Counsel Christopher J Neary

Mr. Neary reported on July 26 arbitration will occur with the barge operator that struck the Haystack Landing Bridge.  NCRA will request a $250,000 contribution toward the bridge’s repair.

 

4.            Property Manager Cyndee Logan

Ms. Logan presented a written report, and requested a third member of the Board on the Property Management Committee.  Acting Chair Hemphill appointed Dir. Sears.

 

5.            Accountant Wade Fulton

Mr. Fulton reported:

·        Caltrans is finalizing their audit report of NCRA’s Proposition 116 work, and

·        The financials and budgets presented are preliminary until the books are closed for the fiscal year, and final documents will be presented at the August Board Meeting.

   

I.         MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Simonson remarked that dissemination of information to the public should occur whether positive or negative.  Discussion ensued regarding apprising the public and media, and there was concurrence that circulating the frequently asked questions is a responsible approach at this time.     

 

J.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            Regular Board Meeting – August 15, 2001 at 10:00 a.m.                         

Eureka City Council Chambers, 531 K Street, 2nd Floor, Eureka, Humboldt County, CA, USA

 

K.        CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 11:17 am

 

                Dir. Mackenzie moved to adjourn; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

L.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 12:45 pm

           

 

1.         Conference with Real Property Negotiator – Ms. Logan

                        Government Code § 54946.8

                        Fiber Optics – Pacific Bell

The Board received a report from, and gave direction to, Ms. Logan.

 

2.                  Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Existing Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9(a)

FCM Rail v. NCRA

U.S. District Court, East District Michigan, Case No. 98-74917

The Board authorized a settlement contingent upon California Transportation Commission approval for $188,167.51 with the agreement to accept an invoice for repair of the equipment for $23,832.49.

 

3.                  Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Anticipated Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9(b)

Significant Exposure to Litigation (Two Cases)

The Board directed and authorized staff to retain an outside Certified Public Accountant at an amount not to exceed $5,000 to perform a contract compliance audit of NWPY, to issue notice to NWPY regarding outstanding contract compliance issues, to create a contingency plan to minimize the potential for disruption in service, and to request delay of the track inspection scheduled for the end of July and the middle of August until NCRA receives the results of the contract compliance audit.

 

M.       ADJOURNMENT 

            The Meeting was adjourned at 12:55 pm.