NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2002 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:  Chair David Ripple, Vice Chair Allan Hemphill, Second Vice Chair Leo Sears, Robert Simonson, Jake Mackenzie, Daniel Opalach, and C.F. Budge Campbell.

Also present:  Assistant Executive Director Douglas M Christy, General Counsel Christopher J Neary, Property Manager Cyndee Logan, and Administrator Pamela R Fishtrom.

 

C.        MINUTES - Approve Minutes of  December 19, 2001 Regular Board Meeting

Dir. Simonson said he, not Dir. Campbell, was appointed to the Property Management Committee.  Dir. Campbell said Item 4 should require inclusion of disaster regulations, and Item 6 should include staff recommendations.  

     

Dir. Mackenzie moved, with changes, adoption of the Minutes; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

D.        AGENDA APPROVAL

Mr. Christy recommended reversing the order of Item 2 and 5; add Officer Election; and add a presentation by Thomas Hargis of the City of Petaluma.  Mr. Neary recommended changing the order of Item 1 to allow for the arrival of representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES).

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve the modified agenda; seconded by Dir.Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried. 

 

E.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

Bruce Evans, Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society Board Member, requested the NCRA renew its previous commitment to donate a wig wag.

 

Chris Burkhardt expressed concern over the condition of the Ukiah Depot.

 

F.         CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.                  Presentation by City of Petaluma – Thomas Hargis, Director of Department of Water Resources and Conservation

Mr. Hargis described the progress of the flood control project that moves two Railroad bridges and portions of track.

 

2.                  Election of Officers

 

Dir. Opalach moved to appoint Chair Ripple to serve another term as Chair and appoint Vice Chair Allan Hemphill to serve another term as Vice Chair; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Roll call vote taken; all votes “aye;” motion carried.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to nominate Dir. Sears as Second Vice Chair.  The nominations were closed.  Roll call vote taken; all votes “aye;” motion carried.

 

3.                  Discussion Regarding Willits North Storm Damage Project

Due to time limitations, representatives of FEMA and OES requested urgency in completion of the project.  The Board was told the Railroad rehabilitation is recognized as an improved project, however, previous discussions indicated NCRA, to minimize the delay associated with the environmental review and expedite the process of approval, wanted to explore selection of an alternate project.  Michael Sabbaghian, OES, offered to work with NCRA, after a project is selected and a time extension is requested, to have a greater chance for approval by FEMA.  The Chair asked the Directors to submit questions for OES within two weeks to staff, and suggested further questioning be held at the February meeting in Humboldt County.         

 

4.                  Adopt Independent Contractor Procedures

After considerable discussion and public input, Chair Ripple suggested the Directors submit changes to Mr. Neary via e-mail and have a revised version available to adopt at February’s meeting.

 

5.                  Consider Change to Designated Regular Board Meeting Day

Chair Ripple suggested staff first determine which day accommodates the City Council Chambers where meetings are traditionally held is available.

 

6.         Discussion Regarding Car Hire

Assistant Executive Director Christy was directed implement a plan to perform a physical inventory of the cars, have a mechanical inspection of each, hire a car accountant, and then get a legal opinion on the options available.            

 

7.         Re-consider Property Management Contract

Staff was directed to solicit input from the Property Management Committee in negotiating with NCRA’s current Property Manager Cyndee Logan to continue providing services.

  

8.            Consider Correspondence Regarding Headwaters Mitigation Fund

Dir. Sears explained Humboldt County is in favor of capping the fund for public infrastructure projects at $1 million. 

 

Dir. Hemphill moved to support the concept of raising the cap; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; six votes “aye;” zero votes “nay;” one vote to abstain; motion carried. 

 

9.            Request Purchase of Maps

 

Dir. Sears moved to approve the purchase of digital maps for three Counties the Railroad runs through: Humboldt, Mendocino, and Sonoma for not more than $500 total; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

G.        1.         Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA)

The meeting on Monday, January 14, heard a presentation from the City of Petaluma on the flood control project.  All NWPRA projects were discussed as reports with no decisions made.

 

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

The Committee analyzing potential vehicles to operate for passenger service spoke of considering night time future freight operations though the Executive Director of SMART agreed to meet to discuss the issue.  

 

3.            Legislation

Chair Ripple discussed with elected officials NCRA’s budget remaining in this funding cycle.  

 

4.            Web Site

No report.

 

5.            Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

Dir. Mackenzie reported his appointment as Chair of the Sonoma County Transit Authority, therefore, he will be leaving as a Director when his term expires in June.

           

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

Ms. Logan said she will report on this subject during the Property Manager’s Report.

 

H.        COMMITTEE REPORTS

1.         Passenger – Dir. Hemphill and Dir. Opalach

Dir. Hemphill said that because NCRA has determined not to provide equipment for operations he suggests selling the remaining passenger cars as the initial offering has drawn several prospective buyers.

 

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

            A Request for Proposals is expected to be issued within 30 to 60 days.

 

NCRA moved to Closed Session early to accommodate lunch.  Dir. Mackenzie left.

 

I.          CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 12:40 pm

 

J.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 3:08 pm

1.                  Personnel Issue

Government Code § 54956.7

Employee Performance Evaluation – Executive Director

The Board went through various components of the evaluation.

 

2.         Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Anticipated Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9(b)

Significant Exposure to Litigation – One Case

                        Received information from and gave direction to Mr. Neary.

 

NCRA returned to Item G.3.

 

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

The Committee is in the process of determining a recommendation to the Board regarding newly proposed legislation creating a transit agency to operate passenger service and own that portion of the line.  The Board discussed the role of freight service and maintenance needs within the legislation or as members of the new entity. 

 

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

The Committee met yesterday and determined Mr. Neary should review the draft lease with Sonoma

County, and entire ten acres of land at the Ukiah Depot should be leased to one entity.  Also, there was a misunderstanding regarding payment to the Property Manager for preparation of property policies. 

 

 

Dir. Sears moved to pay $5,000 to the Property Manager to create property policies subject to review and approval by the Executive Director; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Roll call vote taken; Chair Ripple voted “nay;” Dir. Mackenzie was absent; five remaining Directors voted “aye;” motion carried.

 

Dir. Campbell left at 3:45 pm.

 

K.        STAFF REPORTS

1.         Executive Director Max H Bridges

                                Unavailable due to jury duty.

 

            2.         Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy

Mr. Christy reported:

o       rehabilitation by Stacy and Witbeck will be finished at the end of the month

o       final payment to Stacy and Witbeck will be made after Caltrans inspects the work performed and completes the audit of the request for payment to access Transit Capital Improvement funds

o       the contract with engineering consultant Wildan is signed, however, task orders need to be created and approved before work can begin on the Capital Assessments Project

o       the Capital Assessments Project should be complete 90 days from the date of the signed task order

o       during February’s California Transit Commission staff plans to update the time line for completion of the Capital Assessments Project.

 

3.         General Counsel Christopher J Neary

No report.

 

            4.         Property Manager Cyndee Logan

                        No report.

 

L.         MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

None.

 

M.       ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            Regular Board Meeting – February 20, 2002 10:00 am

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

 

N.        ADJOURNMENT

            The Meeting was adjourned at 4:25 pm.