NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 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, Daniel Opalach, Budge Campbell, and Jake Mackenzie.

Directors absent:  None.

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

 

C.        AGENDA APPROVAL

Ms. Fishtrom noted two clerical errors: Item E.1.b. should indicate March 20 not April 17, and under Item J.2. Chair Ripple needs to be replaced by Dir. Simonson as a Committee member.

 

Mr. Bridges asked to have Item E.2. removed.

 

Ms. Logan asked to have Items E.3 and E.4 removed.

 

Mr. Neary proposed adding to the Closed Session an item under exposure to litigation regarding the Annie and Mary Line.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved on an emergency basis that we add exposure to litigation to the Closed Session; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Bridges relayed Mr. Christy’s suggestion that a presentation by Willdan take place soon on the Agenda.

 

Dir. Campbell asked to have Item E.5 and E.7 moved to the Conduct of Business Section of the Agenda.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to approve the Agenda as modified; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.

 

D.        PUBLIC COMMENTS

Mr. Williams of The Woodside Consulting Group urged the Board to act quickly regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds.

 

Mr. Quinn presented to the Board a list of items he recommended the Board take a pro-active approach to solving. 

 

E.         CONSENT AGENDA

1.                  Minutes

a.                  Finance Committee Meeting held March 13, 2002

b.                  Regular Board Meeting held March 20, 2002

Dir. Campbell asked E.6 be removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion.

 

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

 

2.         Property Management Contract – Item pulled.

 

3.         Standard Lease Agreement – Item pulled.

 

4.                  Quaker Hill Lease – Item pulled.

 

5.                  Encroachment Application by County of Humboldt for Blue Lake Rancheria

Item moved to the Conduct of Business Section.

 

6.                  Lease Roster Fees

Item moved to the Conduct of Business Section.

 

7.                  Transfer Leases to Approved Standard Lease Agreement and Authorize Property Manager to Execute Leases on Behalf of NCRA

Item moved to the Conduct of Business Section.

 

F.         CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

            Encroachment Application by County of Humboldt for Blue Lake Rancheria

           

Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the encroachment application by the County of Humboldt; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.

 

                Lease Roster Fees

Dir. Campbell wanted the Property Management Committee Meeting Minutes reflect the Committee’s approval of this Item and the next.  See the next Item.

               

Transfer Leases to Approved Standard Lease Agreement and Authorize Property Manager to Execute Leases on Behalf of NCRA

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved that the Board of Directors approve the lease roster fees and the transfer of leases as stated in Item E.6 and E.7 formerly under the Consent Agenda; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.  

 

                Chair Ripple directed Ms. Logan to add a monthly accounting of the lease roster to her report.

 

Status Report by Willdan – Dave Anderson

Mr. Christy introduced Willdan by saying the Windsor to Willits rehabilitation project will be closed after a final inspection occurs next week, and NCRA is required to prepare an unnecessarily burdensome technical report on weed spraying that will be the subject of another task order for Willdan. 

At the California Transportation Commission (CTC) meeting of May 9, Mr. Christy plans to present NCRA’s progress on the Capital Projects Assessment as one component of a strategy integrating all the Railroad’s projects.   

 

Mr. Anderson reported a draft report on the Consent Decree has been distributed to all pertinent agencies for comment.  The Capital Assessment is about 90% complete, however, there is a 37 mile segment between Dos Rios and Alderpoint that has not been visited.  The team recommended, to reduce the possibility of delay, beginning an Environmental Impact Report or Statement although the FEMA Environmental Assessment cannot be performed concurrently once again revisiting the “alternative project” issue.

 

Dir. Simonson moved to remove the “alternative project” from it’s status as tabled; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  After considerable discussion, Dir. Simonson withdrew the motion; Dir. Campbell concurred. 

 

5.                  Discuss Legislation AB2224 – Taken out of order to accommodate Sonoma County staff

Dir. Sears and Mr. Neary discussed NCRA’s part in background of this issue.  Suzanne Wilford, Sonoma County Transportation Agency Executive Director, accompanied by Sally Bryan McGough, Sonoma County Deputy County Counsel, spoke to update the Board on the progress of the legislation, indicate the willingness to take back any concerns of NCRA to the policy makers, and foster enhanced communications between agencies.  Several Directors related concerns regarding the vehicle selection process, governance, and re-negotiating NCRA’s operating agreement and maintenance responsibilities.  The proposed text

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved to support AB 2224, provided it is amended as follows:

 

Intent of Legislation  (Section 10500) Amended to provide:

 

    “It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this part to provide for a unified, comprehensive institutional structure for the governance of the Northwestern Pacific  Rail Line in Sonoma and Marin Counties for provision for a passenger rail system, operating in harmony with the existing freight railroad operating upon the same rail line serving the Counties of Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino and Humboldt.”

 

Operating Agreement

 

The new agency shall not accept ownership of any asset presently held by Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (“NWPRA”) until such time as the following existing documents are renegotiated to the satisfaction of all parties: (1) Operating Agreement; (2) Freight Easements for NCRA; (3) Passenger Easements North of Healdsburg; Passenger Easements South of Healdsburg.

 

Board Representation

 

Until such time as a sales tax measure is passed in both Sonoma and Marin Counties, NCRA shall have board representation equivalent to its current representation on NWPRA.

 

Upon adoption of a sales tax measure in both Sonoma and Marin Counties, NCRA shall be entitled to representation by one Director, ex officio, and at least one of the members of the Golden Gate Bridge District appointed to the Board of Directors shall be a representative of either Mendocino County or Del Norte County.

                               

Seconded by Dir. Sears.

 

Ms. Fishtrom read into the record a letter from Kaye Strickland, Chair of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Support Coalition, opposing the legislation as written.

 

            Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.

 

1.         Approve Use of Cloverdale Maintenance Facility

Mr. Bridges presented the request of Ms. Fishtrom to temporarily park a recreational vehicle at the facility to ease transition in relocating the Administrative Assistant position to Cloverdale. 

 

Dir. Hemphill moved approval; seconded by Dir. Campbell.  Vote taken; 6 in favor, 0 not in favor, 1 abstention; motion carried.

 

2.         Approve NCRA’s Report to the California Transportation Commission and Authorize Presentation of the Report at the Commission’s May Meeting

Directors provided input to Mr. Bridges on the draft report before its presentation to the CTC.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved approval of the document as corrected and with final adjustments as discussed; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.           

 

3.         Consider the Request for Proposals for a Rail Carrier

The document had been through the ad-hoc Committee, and staff received suggested modifications by Directors.  The Executive Director and Legal Counsel confirmed the document, with modifications, is ready to issue on April 22, 2002. 

 

Dir. Campbell moved adoption; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.

 

4.         Status of Car Hire and Request to Establish Committee

NCRA is ready to begin negotiations with Union Pacific regarding car hire.  Mr. Christy recommended an ad-hoc committee be created to discuss strategy and participate in negotiations.

                                                                                                                               

Chair Ripple created an ad-hoc committee appointing Dir. Simonson, Dir. Opalach, and Dir. Hemphill.

 

5.                  Discuss Legislation AB 2224 – this Item was discussed earlier in the Agenda.

 

6.                  Adopt Independent Auditors Report for Fiscal Year 2000-2001

Dir. Campbell pointed out a variety of concerns to staff with regard to the report

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved adoption of the report; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.

 

7.                  Adopt Independent Accountants Report on Applying Agreed-Upon Procedures          

Mr. Bridges recommended this Item be reserved for the next Board meeting in that it is not ready for adoption as he is still discussing several issues in the document with the Independent Accountant. 

 

G.        CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 1:25 pm.  Dir. Mackenzie left at 2:00 pm.

 

H.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 2:30 pm

1.                  Personnel Issue

Government Code § 54956.7

Employee Performance Evaluation – Executive Director

                        The Board discussed the performance evaluation of the Executive Director.

               

2.                  Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9(b)

Significant Exposure to Litigation

                                Information was received by the Board and direction was given to Legal Counsel.

 

I.          LIAISON REPORTS

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

NWPRA’s next meeting is April 29, 2002.   

 

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

SMART is meeting today.

 

3.                  Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

No report.

 

J.         COMMITTEE REPORTS

1.         Passenger – Dir. Hemphill and Dir. Opalach

Dir. Hemphill reported more vandalism to the Daylight Cars.  A formal request to sell the passenger cars was submitted to the CTC to be placed on the May Agenda.  A contract with NCRA’s franchise operator has been updated to reflect current conditions.  Dir. Hemphill recommended the Passenger Committee meet to review the changes, and make a recommendation to the full Board at the June meeting.

 

2.                  Property Management – Dir. Sears, Dir. Simonson, and Dir. Campbell

The Committee met and compiled a list of priority issues for Ms. Logan to address.

 

K.        STAFF REPORTS

1.         Executive Director Max H Bridges

Sonoma County Accounting will be writing checks for NCRA beginning May 1, 2002.  Mr. Mustola will need his contract updated to allow for payment for additional work performed.

 

            2.         Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy

            No report.

    

3.         General Counsel Christopher J Neary

No report.

 

            4.         Property Manager Cyndee Logan

In response to Dir. Campbell, Ms. Logan reported receiving a response from PacBell indicating a consultant has been hired to determine lease payments owed to NCRA.

 

L.         MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Simonson asked of the inventory at NCRA’s repeater sites. 

 

Chair Ripple directed staff to work with Dir. Simonson in reviewing NCRA’s assets at repeater sites.

 

M.       ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

           

Regular Board Meeting – May 15, 2002 10:00 am

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

 

N.        ADJOURNMENT

            The Meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm.