NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2002 AT 10:00 A.M.

 
HUMBOLDT COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CHAMBERS
825 FIFTH STREET, EUREKA, HUMBOLDT 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, Daniel Opalach, and Budge Campbell.

Directors absent:  Jake Mackenzie

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

 

C.        MINUTES - Approve Minutes of January 16, 2002 Regular Board Meeting

Dir. Campbell recommended deleting the word “disclosed” from Item G.3, and he recommended Item F.3 contain language indicating there was considerable discussion and public input.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved to approve the Minutes with changes; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  Vote taken; motion carried.

  

D.        AGENDA APPROVAL

Items F.2, 3, 4, and 5 were to be removed from the Consent Calendar, and a request was made to add two Closed Session Items: MEC Rail v. Rail-Ways, Inc., and Potential Litigation with Rail-Ways, Inc.

 

Dir. Sears moved to accept changes to, and approve, the Agenda; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

E.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

Pete Oringer urged representatives from FEMA and OES to state their names and positions during Item G.1’s discussion.

 

Daniel Pierce said passenger service in Humboldt County is as important as freight.

 

James Quinn expressed his opinions on how the Railroad’s rehabilitation project should proceed.

 

F.         CONSENT CALENDAR

No Change to Designated Regular Board Meeting Day and Time

 

Dir. Sears moved to approve the Consent Calendar; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

G.        CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

            1.         Create Discretionary Fund of $3,000 for Purchases Authorized by the Executive Director

Mr. Bridges pointed out purchases would not be made from a separate discretionary fund.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved adoption subject to clarification that the Executive Director is authorized to approve purchases up to $3000 as long as funds are available in the appropriate budget line item; seconded by Dir. Sears.  Vote taken; motion carried.

2.                  Adopt Personnel Rules and Regulations and Proposed Classification Plan

 

Dir. Campbell moved to accept the recommendation of the Executive Director and adopt the North Coast Railroad Authority Personnel Rules and Regulations and Proposed Classification Plan; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

3.         Approve Accounting Procedures to Implement Agreement with Sonoma County

                Dir. Campbell recommended all agreements be numbered.

 

Dir. Campbell moved, if Caltrans and Sonoma County agree to the final form and content as well as the proper procedures, this NCRA Board of Directors does hereby authorize and direct the Executive Director to take the action necessary to see that the procedures are duly  incorporated into the part of the NCRA Agreement; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.  

 

4.         Approve Mustola Management Contract for Interim Accounting Services Subject to Counsel Approval

Dir. Campbell recommended a number for this contract, wording that expresses the contract should be paid retroactive, and clarification that Mr. Mustola is not working solely for NCRA.  Mr. Bridges indicated he also needed to include language that determines his work will be within the guidelines of generally accepted accounting procedures.

 

Dir. Campbell moved in recognition of the necessity set forth in the Executive Director’s memo on the 13th of February, 2002, this Board of Directors finds the necessity for a negotiated contract, the overwhelming result of the Board is this agreement be identified as NCRA Agreement Number ­­­­_­­_­­­­­_____, upon adding from the Board applicable wording, adding authorized travel costs, and upon the review for form and content by Legal Counsel, the Executive Director is hereby authorized and directed to execute NCRA Agreement Number_______ on behalf of NCRA; seconded by Dir. Sears.  Vote taken; motion passed. 

 

Chair Ripple appointed Dir. Campbell to the Finance Committee.

          

G.        CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

5.         Discuss the Willits North Storm Damage Project

Representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Office of Emergency Services (OES) described program rules and answered questions regarding improved and alternate projects.  Also, they said time is running out to complete the project in that February 9, 2002 signals four years since Disaster 1203 was declared, and a retroactive time extension would need approval by FEMA’s Regional Director.  Various members of the public raised issues supporting the improved project, and emphasizing the necessity and value of the Railroad connection to the Port.  

 

Dir. Sears moved to table the Alternate Project; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Roll call vote taken:  Dir. Ripple, “nay;” Dir. Sears, “aye;” Dir. Opalach, “aye;” Dir. Hempill, “aye;” Dir. Simonson, “aye;” Dir. Campbell, “aye;” Dir. Mackenzie, absent; motion carried.

 

6.         Approve Army Corps to Advertise Mainline Railroad Relocation Project for Construction in the Summer of 2002

Mr. Christy said he did not receive the plans early enough to view them; however, because NCRA does not own the track where the work is to take place, he indicated, from an operational stand-point, the timing is appropriate as the trains are not running presently, therefore, there will be no halt to operations.

Dir. Sears moved to approve subject to NCRA’s Assistant Executive Director’s approval; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

7.         Discuss Proposed Legislation Regarding the Issue of Governance

This legislation would create a new transit district to own the line from Healdsburg to San Rafael, and operated commuter service between Cloverdale and San Rafael.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved to create a letter that specifies as the legislation is written presently, it is unacceptable to the NCRA; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.  

 

The next Item was taken out of order due to the necessity of Dir. Hemphill to leave.

 

9.         Recommend Declaring Passenger Rolling Stock Surplus and Sell

Dir. Hemphill presented this recommendation because the passenger cars are deteriorating and not needed by the passenger operator franchisee.

 

Dir. Hemphill turned his recommendation into the form of a motion with the need to authorize up to $2,000 of property revenue to create advertisement; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

The Chair announced the Board of Directors would convene to Closed Session.  Dir. Opalach left before Closed Session began.

           

I.          CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 2:22 pm

 

Dir. Hemphill left before Open Session resumed. 

 

J.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 3:30 pm

1.                  Personnel Issue

Government Code § 54956.7

Employee Performance Evaluation – Executive Director

The evaluation continued.

 

2.                  Conference with Legal Counsel – Mr. Neary

Government Code§ 54956.9(a)

MECRail v. Rail-Ways, Inc.

Information was received and direction given to Legal Counsel.

 

3.         Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Anticipated Litigation

                        Government Code § 54956.9(b)

Significant Exposure to Litigation – Rail-Ways, Inc.

                        Information was received and direction given to Legal Counsel.

 

The Board of Directors resumed in Open Session with Item G.8.

 

G.        8.         Discuss Resolving Car Hire

Mr. Christy recommended spending up to $28,000 of property revenue entering in to two sole-source contracts with Steve Benson and Darrell Gattis, specialists in car accounting and railroad equipment repair, respectively, consistent with implementation of the plan accepted at January’s Regular Board of Director’s meeting.

 

Dir. Sears moved approval; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.    

 

Item G.9. was discussed previously.

 

10.        Consider Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2002-2003

 

Dir. Sears moved to remand this Item to the Finance Committee and the Property Committee; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

11.        Status of Payment for Property Policies and Procedures

Mr. Bridges said he agreed to pay $5,000 for the property policies provided he receives an outline, and a digital copy of the policies and various forms to post to the web site so that they can be downloaded.

 

12.        Approve Lease to City of Santa Rosa for Effluent Line

After extensive comment, the Item was referred to the Property Management Committee and staff for further revision.

 

H.        LIAISON REPORTS

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

NWPRA did not meet this month.

 

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

Dir. Mackenzie is on the Board of SMART which meets the same day as NCRA.  They were to consider the types of rail vehicles suitable for commuter passenger service.

 

3.                  Legislation – Mr. Bridges

No report.

 

4.                  Web Site

No report.

 

5.                  Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

Unavailable in that Dir. Mackenzie was attending the SMART meeting.

 

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

An agreement with the City of Ukiah is being prepared which will clarify the responsibilities of each party in the rehabilitation project of the Ukiah Depot.

 

Items I and J were taken out of order and discussed earlier.

 

K.        COMMITTEE REPORTS

1.         Passenger – Dir. Hemphill and Dir. Opalach

                Previously discussed.

 

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

No report.

 

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

Previously discussed. 

 

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

The Executive Director will arrange a Committee meeting based on earlier discussion.  Dir. Sears thanked Mr. Bridges for his presentation to the Humboldt County Association of Governments.

 

L.         STAFF REPORTS

1.         Executive Director Max H Bridges

Monthly Regular Board meeting Agendas will be mailed by the close of business on Wednesday:  one week prior to the meeting.  Feedback from Directors on in-house communications resulted in the resumption of a narrative weekly status report prepared by the Executive Director.

 

            2.         Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy

o       The rehabilitation project between Windsor and Willits was inspected by Caltrans, and a signal inspection is to be arranged.  Mr. Christy was happy with the quality of work.

o       The Federal Railroad Administration will not inspect the track without an operator in place. 

o       The track is at Class I now, however, one storm could change the situation.

o       The Willdan team has two signed task orders - one for the environmental assessment/consent decree issue, and the other for the capital projects assessment.

o       A kick-off meeting with Willdan was held last night.

o       Discussions with FEMA/OES were beneficial to Willdan in clarifying issues.

o       The team hopes to be in the field next week after the document gathering phase is complete.

o       Dir. Simonson asked staff to honor the request of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society to receive the last remaining wig wag signal on the line.

 

3.         General Counsel Christopher J Neary

No report.

 

            4.         Property Manager Cyndee Logan

                        Ms. Logan presented a written report.

 

M.       MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Campbell recommended that, although Cities are not required to pay a fee for work performed in the right of way, the City of Ukiah, in performing its upcoming work, should be required to file the appropriate paperwork with NCRA.

 

Chair Ripple would like staff to arrange a workshop for the benefit of the Directors as many are new.

 

Theda Hawkinson, Caltrans, commended NCRA and especially Mr. Christy, for properly managing the rehabilition project with excellent oversight and organization.

 

N.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            Regular Board Meeting – April 17, 2002 10:00 am

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

 

O.        ADJOURNMENT

            The Meeting was adjourned at 4:30 pm.