NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2001 AT 10:00 A.M.

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

 

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER 

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

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Chair David Ripple, Vice Chair Allan Hemphill, Robert Simonson, Jake Mackenzie Daniel Opalach, Leo Sears, and C.F. Campbell.

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

 

C.        MINUTES - Approve Minutes of  November 14, 2001 Regular Board Meeting

Dir. Sears said the motion in Item F.2. should read “accommodate” instead of “nominate.”  Dir. Opalach recommended under Item F.1. Nadananda’s comment should end with “entities” as opposed to “agencies.” 

     

Dir. Opalach moved to approve the Minutes with the suggested changes; seconded by Dir. Simonson.    Vote taken; Dir. Mackenzie and Dir. Campbell abstained; motion carried.

 

D.        AGENDA APPROVAL

Mr. Bridges asked to include an Item to accept a proposal for audit services as the proposal was received within the last 72 hours.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to add an Item – Accept Proposal for Audit Services; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken; motion carried.  Dir. Sears moved to add Item I.14 – Replace Copier at Cloverdale Depot to the Consent Calendar, and to have a lunch break at the Chair’s discretion; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried. 

 

E.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

Ruth Rockefeller, former NCRA Board Member, welcomed Dir. Campbell.

 

James Quinn, retired Public Utilities Commission Attorney, pleaded for the Board to re-open the North End.

 

Mike Pechner, weatherman, recommended forming a strategy to re-open the line.

 

F.         PRESENTATION HONORING BOARD MEMBER COMPLETING TERM –

                Mendocino County Representative Max Schlienger

            Mr. Schlienger received a plaque and congratulations from the Board.

 

G.        INTRODUCE NEW BOARD MEMBER -

            Mendocino County Representative C.F. Campbell

                Mr. Campbell was introduced and spoke of his background.

 

H.        CONSENT CALENDAR     

Consent Calendar Items were moved to the Conduct of Business section of the Agenda.

 

I.          CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.                  Approve Leases

Ms. Logan requested approval for a list of leases to send in NCRA’s revised format.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve the uses and fees for the list of leases presented; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

2.                  Ratify Calendar of Regular Board Meetings for Year 2002

Due to scheduling conflicts with other agency meetings, Mr. Bridges recommended changing the designated day for NCRA’s Regular Board Meetings.  Staff was directed to determine a suitable day and change the 2002 calendar of Meetings except for the January 16th Meeting.

 

3.                  Replace Copier at Cloverdale Depot

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve the purchase of a copier for the Cloverdale Depot; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

4.                  Accept Proposal for Audit Services

Mr. Bridges recommended accepting the only audit proposal received for the Fiscal Year 2000 – 2001 from Aycock and Edgmon, CPAs.  Dir. Campbell recommended inclusion of State and Federal disaster regulations as part of the auditor’s required continuing education.

           

Dir. Simonson moved to accept Staff’s recommendation; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried.

  

5.                  Policy Direction and Action on Whether or Not NCRA Will Seek Membership in the Proposed Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District Act

Mr. Neary reported both Sonoma and Marin County’s Board of Supervisors passed resolutions to seek legislation to form a new agency.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved the Governance Committee shall work with staff to prepare a position to reflect NCRA's desire for active participation in formation of the legislation for formation of a new transit agency; and further, with significant reservations, to decline imposing a requirement for voting membership for NCRA, but with the understanding that contractual obligations are reviewed; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Roll call vote taken: Chair Ripple “aye;” Vice Chair Allan Hemphill “aye;” Dir. Campbell “aye;” Dir. Simonson “aye;” Dir. Opalach “frustrated abstention;” Dir.Sears “aye;” Dir. Mackenzie “aye;” motion carried.

 

Dir. Hemphill left at 12:10 pm.

               

6.                  Response to Single Year Audit for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2000

Staff was directed to address concerns expressed by Caltrans and Staff with respect to prior year audit findings.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve the corrective action plan; seconded by Dir. Sears.  Vote taken; motion carried.

  

7.                  NCRA Liabilities

Staff was directed to clarify procedures for handling current liabilities, and to negotiate relief from car hire.

 

Dir. Campbell left at 1 pm.

 

Items I.13. – I.16. were taken out of order and Counsel Neary was instructed to deny all four claims.

 

Chair Ripple adjourned the Meeting for a short break at 1:07 pm to return at 1:37 pm.

8.                  Procedure for Disposition of Surplus Property

This Item was tabled.

 

9.         Strategic Plan Revision

Mr. Bridges said funds previously identified to revise the strategic plan should remain in place to possibly augment funds for work identified in the present plan.

 

10.        Request for Proposals for Property Management

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to open discussions to continue the present contract until 2002; seconded by Dir. Sears.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

11.        Asset Preservation / Emergency Response

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to authorize staff to contract up to $5,000 for removal of signal arms, and furthermore, to initiate discussions with county and city jurisdictions with regards to emergency response actions on the Railroad; seconded by Dir. Sears.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

Dir. Opalach moved to authorize Staff to find a contractor to implement a weed control program between Lombard and Willits not to exceed $60,000 and find the necessary funding from AB2908 or some other State or Federal funding; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

12.        Communication

Mr. Bridges received suggestions on improving in-house communications, and will add to the status report a weekly summary of meetings and tasks performed with a preview of scheduled meetings. 

 

13.        Consider Claim Filed by Rail-Ways, Inc.

14.        Consider Claim Filed by Northwestern Pacific Railway Co., LLC

15.        Consider Claim Filed by Mass Electric

16.        Consider Claim Filed by North California Railway Engineering Company

Items I.13 – I.16 were addressed earlier: the Board told Mr. Neary to deny all four claims.

 

17.        First Review of Independent Contraction Procedures for Action at January, 2002 Regular  

Meeting

            Mr. Neary was directed to seek suggested revisions via electronic mail.

           

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

No report.

 

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

No report.

 

3.            Legislation – Mr. Bridges

Mr. Bridges recommended evaluating and updating the previous legislative agenda.

 

4.            Web Site

No report.

 

5.            Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

No report.

           

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

Ms. Logan reported the City of Ukiah needs a cooperative funds agreement from NCRA allowing the City to manage the project to repair the Ukiah Depot.

 

K.        COMMITTEE REPORTS

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

No report.

 

2.         Permanent Operator – Chair Ripple, Dir. Hemphill, Dir. Sears

            Chair Ripple reported expecting to issue a Request for Proposals in 60 days.

 

3.         NWP Governance – Chair Ripple, Dir. Hemphill, and Dir. Sears

            Previously reported.

 

4.                  Property Management – Chair Ripple, Dir. Sears, and Dir. Simonson

Chair Ripple appointed Dir. Simonson to replace former Dir. Schlienger.  Ms. Logan asked for feedback on the preliminary draft policies.

 

L.         STAFF REPORTS

1.         Executive Director Max H Bridges

a.                  Accounting Function Update

Caltrans requires a pre-award audit of the proposed contract with Sonoma County for accounting services. 

 

The California Transportation Committee approved the remaining $250,000 for administration expenses however remaining project funds will be released only when: NCRA shows how it will fund continued administration expenses; NCRA contracts with Sonoma County for accounting services; and, project invoices are presented then to be paid in arrears. 

 

The pre-award audit of the Willdan team by Caltrans is expected to be finished this week however preliminary findings indicate some changes to the contract are necessary.  

 

            2.         Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy

January 31, 2002 is the target date for completion of the rehabilitation project between Windsor and Willits.

 

3.         General Counsel Christopher J Neary

No report.

 

            4.         Property Manager Cyndee Logan

                        No report.

 

M.       MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Sears reported on the progress of Redwood Community Action Agency’s project to create a trail on the Annie and Mary line.

 

N.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            Regular Board Meeting – January 16, 2002 10:00 am

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

 

O.        CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 3:12 pm

           

Dir. Mackenzie left at 3:30 pm.

 

P.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 4:20 pm

1.                  Personnel Issue

Government Code § 54956.7

Employee Performance Evaluation – Executive Director

This Item was pulled from the Agenda.

 

2.         Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Anticipated Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9(b)

Significant Exposure to Litigation – One Case

               

2.                  Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Existing Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9(a)

a.         Rail-Ways, Inc. v. Benson, U.S Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Cal., Adv. Proc. No. 01-1101

Lawsuit to avoid preference with respect to a disputed fund held by NCRA in which makes no claim.

 

b.                  Mass Electric v. Rail-Ways, Inc., et al.,

Mendocino County Superior Court, Case No. 85230

 

Mr. Neary announced he was given direction by the Board.

 

Q.        ADJOURNMENT

            The Meeting was adjourned at 4:30 pm.