Meeting Minutes Archive: February, 2007

Office of the Onondaga County Legislature

Court House, Room 407
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434



WAYS & MEANS MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Warner, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Corbett, 

 ABSENT:  Mrs. Baker, Mr. Ryan

EDUCATION & LIBRARIES MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Kinne, Mrs. Winslow, Mrs. Chaplin, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Holmquist

ALSO PRESENT: see attached list 

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 12:10 a.m.

1.         ONONDAGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE:  Dr. Sydow, President

a.       Amending Resolution No. 181-2006 to further authorize the acquisition of land immediately adjacent to the Onondaga Community College Campus subject to a covenant

Chairman Meyer said that the Legislature approved the purchase of two parcels; one of the parcels had a covenant that involved the Town of Onondaga.  The Town of Onondaga has signed off; passed a resolution last evening; OCC Board has also approved this project.

Dr. Sydow said that about 14 acres of land became available in the fall of 2005.  In keeping with the College's master plan, they moved forward to purchase the land, as it adjoins the campus proper.  Approximately 10 acres are flat; a 3% slope.  The Board of Trustees approved the purchase of property in June 2006; environmental studies have been completed.  In September 2006, the Legislature approved moving ahead with the purchase.  As they were proceeding to close, a covenant was discovered which restricted building on one parcel.  Mr. David Herkala, County Attorney, drafted a letter that went to the Town requesting that the covenant be lifted.  The Town found that unacceptable, and wanted the covenant to remain.  There were a number of discussions that followed; an agreement was reached that the covenant would be re-written, eliminating all restrictions that involved existing buildings, and replace with language that says the college will not build any building that is more than 3 stories high or 36'.  OCC does not feel that it is in any way restrictive to the college's growth or future planning.  If the college decides to build any additional student housing, they would abide by the same agreement that they had with Town of Onondaga when they built the existing housing.  The final part of the agreement is that any other buildings that are non-residential would be in keeping with the caricature of the buildings currently on the OCC campus. 

Mr. Kilmartin said that he spoken to Dr. Sydow and representatives from the Town of Onondaga; is happy to report that a consensus has been reached so the transaction can go forward which will be a significant benefit to the college.

Mr. Farrell asked if the current owner was aware of the covenant.  Dr. Sydow said that they were not; the current owner is Unity Church and Spiritual Center.  Mr. Farrell asked if the discovery of the covenant diminishes the value of the property; Dr. Sydow said that it did not, to her knowledge.  Mr. Farrell asked if an evaluation was done on the value of it.   Mr. Herkala said that an appraisal was done prior to purchase, and the purchase price was significantly less than the appraised value.

Mr. Kinne asked if there are other county properties with covenants of this nature; Chairman Meyer did not know of any others.  Mr. Kinne questioned why the County would have to accept the covenant; he noted that there is a business in the OCC area that may not be considered aesthetically pleasing to everyone.  He questioned what happens in the future; do we have to go back to the town to change the covenant.  Dr. Sydow said that if the college decided to go forward with a project outside of the parameters, then it would have to be brought before the town.  However, looking at the 50-year history and projected ahead, there is no indication that the college would go outside of those parameters.  Mr. Kinne said that the housing project was also delayed; Dr. Sydow said that delay was because of a zoning issue.  Mr. Kinne noted that there could potentially be a delay for something down the road.  Mr. Herkala said that the delay regarding the residence halls was unanticipated because the town stepped in and raised some concerns.  There would be no similar delay with this, as they are aware of what the parameters are--any future plans would take parameters into consideration.  With respect to zoning, with agreeing to this covenant, the town has agreed that they will not attempt to enforce any zoning on the college's activities on the property.

Mr. Kilmartin provided an historical review:

  • In 1971 the town imposed a covenant on one piece of land involved in this resolution for the benefit of the town and the development of the main corridor in the Town of Onondaga
  • Land was transferred to present landowner; title work may not have been done at that time, current owner was not aware of the covenants and restrictions
  • County Attorney's Office became aware of the issues and reviewed them
  • The agreement between town and county is a consensus that is fair and reasonable to both sides.
  • County's interest - expanding its footprints; immediate, adjacent land is difficult to come upon for future planning and development of the college
  • Town's interest - there is a special overlay district that they have imposed upon Route 175 and as a matter of law, it can address development in the future; cannot impress upon buildings that are presently there

Chairman Meyer asked Dr. Sydow if the covenant restricts the college in either short-term or long-term goals.  Dr. Sydow said that she does not.

Mr. Kraft asked if the appraiser was aware of the covenant and if it would have substantially diminished the value of the land.  Mr. Herkala said that he is not aware that the appraiser knew of the covenant.  Mr. Kraft said that the land was valued based upon the assumption that it could be used in many different ways.  Mr. Herkala said that covenant, as it existed, would affect the value of the property.  The covenant, as being proposed, is not going to effect the college's ability to develop it.  Dr. Sydow said if the college were to dispose of the property, the covenant speaks specifically to what OCC can do, not what a future owner can do.  Mr. Stanczyk said that the property can't be worth as much since it has a covenant on it.  The college negotiated with the town, which added value to the property.  If there was knowledge of the covenant, it was worth less, and we would have paid less.  Mr. Kraft said that our price was 30% less than the appraisal, and questioned if that overcomes his concerns.  Dr. Sydow said that she has spoken to SUNY.  SUNY is concerned about fair market value.  She was given every reason to believe that this was a very good price.  Based upon appraised value and the purchase agreement, SUNY will have no concern at all about this.

Mr. Kilmartin said that he is aware of land values in the Town of Onondaga, and the purchase price was very reasonable; also the opportunity cost should be considered.

Education and Libraries Committee:

 A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mrs. Winslow to amend Res. No. 181-2006 to further authorize the acquisition of land immediately adjacent to the OCC Campus subject to a covenant

AYES:  6  NOES: 1  (Kinne).  MOTION CARRIED.

Ways & Means Committee

A motion was made by Mr. Warner, seconded by Mr. Farrell to amend Res. No. 181-2006 to further authorize the acquisition of land immediately adjacent to the OCC Campus subject to a covenant

AYES:  6 (Corbett, Kraft, Farrell, Rapp, Warner, Meyer)  NOES:  1 (Stanczyk).  MOTION CARRIED.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

February 6, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Corbett, Mr. Stanczyk, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Warner, Mr. Kraft,

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mrs. Baker, Mr. Stanczyk    

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 12:35 p.m. 

PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT:  Personnel Resolution (hourly rates) - Mrs. Elaine Walter, Commissioner

Chairman Meyer said that this item was discussed at budget review time, but a resolution was not adopted.  It was clearly his intent and that of the legislature to address all employees affected by this. 

Mrs. Walter said that the County has always paid the minimum wage or more to every employee.  It has only been since 2004 when the state minimum wage got out a head of the federal minimum wage; where it became an option to pay other than the state's minimum wage.  The County really hasn't done it, except for a few positions in training or people who are student interns.  Virtually every member of the 101 payroll has always been paid at least $10/hr or more.  Only a few titles are impacted:  library pages, who were paid more than minimum wage, $7/hr. (state min. wage was $6.75); seasonal workers, who generally work a 10-wk season.  Most were also paid more than minimum wage, even though the County had the option to pay less.  The department was ready to bring forward a resolution in November to add the $7.15 rate; but then it appeared the federal government was going to pass a new federal minimum wage resolution that would require us to follow; so the county resolution was not brought forward.  Recently, it appeared that the House and Senate versions of minimum wage were only going to step it up $.70/hr; and it would be mid-2009 before it would exceed the state minimum wage.  Plans were made to come to the Feb. Ways & Means Committee, and today's special meeting gave them an opportunity to address it sooner.  This resolution adds the $7.15 rate to the 3 titles.  She said that Mr. Meyer's intent is to make $7.15 the absolute minimum that would be paid.

Mr. Warner asked what is being paid now; Mrs. Walter said 5.15/hr.  Mr. Warner asked if was included in the budget; Mr. Meyer said that it was.  Mr. Mareane said that the impact is approximately $68,000 gross.

Mrs. Rapp asked about any ramifications of living wages being tied to bargaining agreements wherein other employees would also get an increase.  Mrs. Walter said that there are not any situations like that in the county.  The lowest rate in CSEA, gr. 1, is over $10/hr.  Chairman Meyer said that he has also been assured that it will not affect existing contracts, i.e. S.U.

Mr. Stanczyk said 1.5 years ago, he objected to pay scales that were under state minimum wage; it is question of equity and fairness.  He asked if there will be retro pay back January 1st; Mrs. Walter replied that there would be.  Mr. Stanczyk said that he wants it clear that this county will always pay state minimum wage as a policy.  He does not want to go through this every time the rate changes just because there is a loophole in the law.  Mr. Colon said that this is not a loophole; the state minimum wage laws have never applied to government.  He does not believe that a policy can be made as a blanket resolution; part of the budget process hast to include a list of salaries for all employees in Onondaga County.  Mrs. Walter said the County has a salary plan, which has to be set by resolution.

Mr. Warner asked if there are any exemptions to federal minimum wage law, Mrs. Walter said that she believes that there are, but local governments are not exempt. 

Mr. Farrell asked if this body can encumber future legislatures in a form of a policy; Mrs. Tarolli said that it could be done as a non-binding policy.

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp, seconded by Mrs. Corbett, to approve this item; Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 12: 50 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature

* * *  


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Warner, Mr. Farrell, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Stanczyk


ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett , seconded by Chairman Meyer to waive the reading and approve the proceedings of the previous committee minutes.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.      Memorializing the Governor and the Legislature of the State of New York to create Tier V in the State Retirement System - Mr. Meyer

Mrs. Walter distributed handouts regarding pension costs from 1988-2007 and an overview of NYS retirement program (see attachments 1 & 2).  She reviewed the 4 current tiers.  She summarized that everyone is eligible to retire at age 55.  At age 55 Tier I would receive full benefits; Ties II - IV has a benefit reduction up to age 62 unless there is at least 30 years of service.  

o        Contribution - Tiers I & II are noncontributory; Tires II & IV contribute 3% of salary for 10 years

o        Cost employer: Percentage of salary - Tier I 12.1%; Tier II - 11%; Tier III - 8.9%; IV 8.9%

o        Other plans not listed: Sheriff's patrol correction officers, jail deputies; overall is 9.9%

o        All vested after 5 years

o        Benefit Accrual (see attachment 2);

o        Final average salary is highest 3 consecutive years of services (not necessary last 3 years of svc.)

o        Mandatory for fulltime/permanent; optional for part time, temporary, or provisional.

Mr. Stanczyk referred to the pension costs; asked if the chart represents actual numbers; Mr. Mareane said that they are actual bills paid up to 2007.  Mr. Mareane said that some was borrowed; the cost of the big spike in 2002 was spread over 2 years. 

Mr. Mareane said the reason there is discussion about a new tier; is that the county is constitutionally prohibited from tampering with current plans.  To change a plan, there has to be a new tier created.  Chairman Meyer explained this is asking for the original Tier IV with contributions.

Mrs. Walter explained that the reason for the spike in 2002 was because there were enhancements passed by the state giving Tiers I & II an additional 2 years of credit and giving Tiers III & IV the reduction of contribution after 10 years.  Also, there was a great plunge in the stock market.

Mr. Farrell asked if there are any estimates made regarding the costs associated with the stock market and the enhancements.  Mr. Mareane explained that two things happened at virtually the same time:  the stock market looked shaky and the state decided to enhance pension benefits because they had so much money in the pool.  The county and NYSAC warned the state not to do the enhancements.  Mr. Stanczyk said that the affect of the stock market was huge.  Mr. Colon disagreed and said that employees were contributing 3% of salary.  Mr. McCall was running for Comptroller and all state senators and assembly people were up for re-election.  They determined to eliminate the 3% contribution, which was a tremendous hit in the funding of the pension plan; it basically increased municipality funding by 3%.  He referenced the enhancements and noted the extension of tier I benefits to tiers II, III, IV.  People now retire at age 55 with a full pension; 7 years that they wouldn't have gotten full pension previously.  They put in a cost of living increase for all members of the retirement system.  All these things added together were substantial.  The NYS Retirement System is fully funded unlike a lot of other state retirement systems and municipal systems in the United States.  If something goes really bad, the state pension is protected.  With the NYS retirement system, the money that comes in today is invested to pay the people with will retire 5 -15 years from now.

Mr. Ryan referenced fireman and policeman having their own pension plans with the ability to work many hours and retire with 50% more of their base pay.  Mrs. Walter said that to some extent it is available to everyone; there are some limits on maximum salary. 

Mr. Kraft explained that he understood that the stock market did very well in the '90's and the pot of money grew far beyond what was expected. That pot influenced legislators in Albany, and he thought that the enhancements came because there was money in the bank.  Mrs. Walter said that is correct; the stock market was good, enhancements came, and then the market dropped. 

Mr. Corbett referred to tier II and asked if there are any projections on how many will reach the 30 years.  Mrs. Walter said if someone is eligible to retire, they don't always leave because they keep earning the benefits.  Mr. Corbett said conceivable all in tier II will max out.  Mrs. Walter said that they can look at all of the demographics, but there is a guesstimate as to how many will actually participate.  The same thing is done when a retirement incentive bill is proposed.  She will provide the demographics.  

Mr. Stanczyk asked if there is an estimate on what the percentage of employer contribution would be for a tier V; has any other county passed similar legislation.  Mrs. Walter was not aware of an estimate or similar legislation.  Mr. Mareane said that NYSAC is advocating for a statewide initiative; some other counties have taken individual action. 

A motion was made by Chairman Meyer, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  AYES:  (Meyer, Corbett, Kraft, Farrell, Rapp, Warner); NOES:  1 (Stanczyk); ABSTAINING: 1 (Ryan).  CARRIED.

1a. Memorializing the Governor and the Legislature of the State of New York to provide Relief to Local County Facilities From Housing Certain Parole Violators - Mr. Meyer

Chairman Meyer said that this item will be discussed at the regular Ways & Means meeting.

Mr. Ryan stated that he has spoken to individuals and is trying to put a group together.  A state law allows the prisoner to opt for the video or ride in the car, and most go for the ride.  Other states to don't afford the option. The law has to be changed in the in order for this to work.  Mr. Mareane said the governor's proposal carves out parole violators.  The governor is proposing for a parole revocation hearing, which has to happen locally.  The system has allowed the people to stay in our justice center while they wait; it can happen remotely with video conferencing.  This is a first step.  Mr. Ryan said that is just for state people--he is looking at the 19 villages and towns; a lot of local dollars.  The state statute needs to be changed.  Mr. Mareane said that this will affect about 10% of inmate population at the justice center.

2.   BOARD OF ELECTIONS - Budget Update:  Ms. Helen Kiggins, Mr. Edward Szczesniak, Commissioners

(See attachment 3).  Ms. Kiggins reported that the timeline has changed 3 times for the projected date for certification.  They met with Dept. of Justice in Dec., and made it clear that BOE could not put a new voting machine system in this year; they need 6 month.  Made it clear that it is highly unlikely that they could have a new system in place for the March 4th primary next year; need to run this year's election with the same staffing levels.  The present year is not the best time to put in a new system; a lot of demands on staff, and will have the highest voter turn out.  Regarding Plan B, marking devise, DOJ wanted to know if it was possible to enhance that and have more devices, BOE argued that it was not the best use of resources.  One system, the

Sequoia optical scan has been bumped out; but they are trying to put in another optical scan.

Mr. Szczesniak reviewed the handout and highlighted:

o        Putting in place a pilot project for interactive statewide voter registration system.  In March will do conversation so that by May/June they will be online with statewide system. 

o        Hawthorne Consulting - met with 3 times; funding through dept. Of Personnel, analyze operation

o        2007 - $108,000 projected not to be used in operating budget

o        Need 2 permanent personnel, $110,000

o        OT pay instead of comp time needed - going into presidential year; need staff at office

o        Items falling between cracks

o        3 Tier track of personnel - structured for 2007 cycle and planning for 2008 election cycle; implement NYS consolidate - people are stretched and that is why they ask for additional personnel

o        Will need service center facility ready (6-9 mos needed)

o        Requirement in NYS that escrow all source codes for voting system - not prepared to give to anyone. 

o        Towns have been very helpful and hopes it will continue in 2007 - will work with them

o        Many tasks are falling between the cracks because of changes/requirements

o        6 voting systems on table looking for certificationt now.  Vendors are not prepared to give source code to anyone.

Mr. Ryan asked if there is a way to contract with towns and have them responsible for storing new machines.  Mr. Szczesniak said that their storage is not doable for the new equipment.  BOE has looked at the best way of doing things; considering security and control and feel the best way is to have one centralized location. 

Mr. Szczesniak said that lever machines are still not legal; hope to be able to use them this year and next March.  Regarding storage, a facility would not hold the new machines as well as the existing ones.  Mr. Farrell asked that once a machine is certified, what is the estimate on how long before the machines are actually seen.  Mr. Szczesniak said that nothing will be pre-built; the expectation is that 2-3 months out they would get 10% of the order.  Subsequent to certification, they estimate that it would take 6 months to have all equipment in place.  The northwest corner of the North Area Maintenance Facility will be used for storage; and no work has been done to it yet.  Mr. Mareane said that he expects to come to the legislature with a larger package of repair it to that facility, with the storage area being one element, repairing the roof is another element. 

Mr. Farrell said that BOE expects to save $108,000; but will need $188,000 additional; netting $80,000.  He asked about the group that is meeting regarding the cost of voting system.  Mr. Squires said that the committee consists of himself, Jim Maturo, Ruston Petrolla, and Joe Mareane.  The group has gathered information; the next step is sit down and put together the numbers; nothing has been issued officially.  Mr. Farrell said that because there won't be final costs, will some assumptions have to be made.  Mr. Squires said that there will be, but more of the assumptions come from what will be needed and how much, as the cost of the equipment is fairly readily available.  Mr. Squires and Mr. Mareane said that they can finalize their report in 2-4 weeks.  Mr. Farrell asked if it could be put on the Ways & Means agenda next month.  Chairman Meyer agreed.

Mr. Warner asked the whole process has cost the taxpayers so far.  Mr. Szczesniak said that directly there was $50 million of federal money for replacement of lever machines.  By Federal HAVA law, NYS is not entitled to that money any more, net specific to Onondaga County is $1.3 million.  The Congressional delegation has put in legislation to amend HAVA to push back timelines.  The county could still be entitled to some of that money.

Mr. Kraft asked about the 2 permanent personnel positions, if the number includes fringes.  Mr. Szczesniak said that it does not; $110,000 for 2 positions; the law requires it and they need it.  Mr. Szczesniak said the NYS Constitution required equal division of equal numbers of 2 major parties.  The people are doing 2 different jobs, there is a need for the 2 additional people--staff may have similar titles, but may not do the same work.

Mr. Ryan said asked about the requirements that NYS has that other states do not.  Ms. Kiggins said NYS requires a sip and puff (vote with a straw if paraplegic), full-face ballot, and that the 2005 voluntary voting guidelines placed on the voting system.

Mr. Rapp asked about Hawthorn Consulting.  Mr. Mareane said that for the last 3 or 4 years money has been set aside for Lean Training.  Hawthorne is one of the groups that conducts that training--have asked them to help best organize around the new mission at BOE.

Chairman Meyer asked about the timing for the overtime issue; Ms. Kiggins said it hits around summer.

3.      Memorializing the Governor and the Legislature of the State of New York to reform the Program for Preschool Children with Handicapping conditions to cap the local costs for counties - Mr. Meyer

Chairman Meyer said that this is a major part of the Health Dept. budget.  PreK was a program that was a 50/50.  Mrs. Rapp stated that she would put the item on the Health Committee agenda.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:52 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature


ATTACHMENT 3 - SUBMITTED BY Board of Elections Update - 2/12/2007

Timetable for new voting systems

  •        DOJ /County Election Commissioners Meeting
  •        Other aspects of HAVA/NYS election Legislation
  •        Hawthorne Consulting Group
  •        NYS Voter II Pilot County
  •       Contingency Budget
  •       Projected 2007 Budget Surplus - $108,000

          2 Permanent personnel             $110,000

               OT pay in lieu of Comp Time      $  50,000

               Election Day coordinators          $  28,500

               Outside Trainer                                 0

                                      & ;nbs p;                                 $188,500

      Between the cracks

                                                -Notice of polling place changes

                                                -Temporary polling place accessibility measures

                                                -NYS BOE reporting

                                                -Mail check cards

                                                -2 full time temp clerks

 3 Tier Track of personnel

                                                -Current election cycle - 2007

                                                -Plan for new voting systems/2008 election cycle

                                                -Implement NYS consolidation

  •  Service Center modifications
  •  Town Clerks/Boards help

          Polling Place Guidelines

                The identification and selection of suitable, accessible polling places is a critical issue in our new elections administration environment.  HAVA mandates that all polling places use ADA guidelines to insure accessibility for disabled voters.  The 2005 NYS elections consolidation legislation places responsibility for insuring this accessibility with county boards of election rather than the various municipalities.

                All polling places in use for the 2005 elections have been surveyed in 2006 to determine ADA compliance.  Six specific areas of concern include parking, passenger drop off area, exterior path of travel/sidewalks, building entrance, interior path of travel/hallways, and the voting area.  Additional considerations in deciding which sites to use include:

1.       Capacity to house multiple election districts (ED).  Multiple ED polling places accommodate disabled voters using the new accessible voting machines with hearing devices which require more time (approximately 20 minutes) to vote.  To minimize wait times and lines at an election district, we can divert additional voters to other voting machines at co-located election districts.  This takes advantage of the versatility of the new voting equipment.

2.       Sensitivity to concentrations of seniors and disabled voters such as senior citizen housing complexes.

3.       Physical geography where the distance for voters to travel would become onerous.  This should be relatively rare.

                We have applied for federal and state funds to purchase items that will create an accessible site on a temporary basis.  Items include cones, signs and ramps that will need to be set up within 48 hours before an election and taken back within 48 hours after an election.  For those polling places that require major modifications to be accessible, we have made efforts to seek alternate polling places that are accessible.  All temporary improvement products will remain in the care, custody, and control of our county board of elections for continued polling place access use.  We have yet to determine how best to distribute and reclaim these products.

                A short term, but potentially very significant, issue is redistricting.  This restructuring will enable us to right-size an election district from a countywide perspective rather than individual towns or city wards.  We expect to be able to reduce the number of election districts as well as provide for better locations for polling places.

Memorandum for:  Dale Sweetland, Chair, Onondaga County Legislature

Date:  October 31, 2006

From:  Edward J. Szczesniak/Helen M. Kiggins

Subject:  Board of Elections contingency appropriations

Per Amendment to County Budget Resolution number 6 the following management plan and strategy has been prepared by the Board of Elections regarding the new, increased mandates created by HAVA legislation and other related NY state legislative requirements.

1.      The impact of these requirements are so pervasive and substantial as to require a total restructuring of the Board of Elections.  The focus of this memo is to highlight specific value of adding two permanent personnel grade 33C ($109,874 + benefits), use of overtime pay in lieu of comp time ($50,000), the use of an outside trainer ($116,544) to address the needs to train our staff, poll workers, and voters on the new voting systems scheduled to be used starting in September 2007, and the use of election day coordinators ($28,500).

2.      By combining two new Assistant Election Directors with the two existing Election Supervisors, we will have adequate, critical senior management staff to perform the wide range of supervisory and other significant tasks.  The following highlights the primary focus of these four staff.

Assistant Election Directors

One Assistant Election Director will have oversight of the inspector program.  The county is now responsible for training and testing inspectors on an annual basis rather than once every three years.  There is a great deal of turnover each year with over 2000 inspectors which will require a second training session with the new voting system.  Using an outside vendor to perform some of this training is an excellent idea.  There will still be a need for our staff inspector coordinators to interact with the trainers and inspectors throughout the year.  As our inspector pool ages we are having a much harder time finding people to serve as inspectors.  Inspector recruitment is an area that needs much more attention.

The second Director will be responsible for budgets, personnel and accounting as well as for absentee ballots and nursing homes.  The volume and completeness of the absentee applications being processed annually is substantial.  In 2006 we expect over 7000 and in 2008 over 14,000 absentee ballots being applied for, sent out, returned and counted.

Both Directors will be involved with voter outreach and lawsuits.  These become more vital functions as we implement a new voting system.  This will involve a specific agenda to directly include students at high schools and colleges to register as voters and to understand our election process.  The Directors will reach out to various advocacy groups to include the disabled community.

Election Supervisors

One supervisor will be responsible for voter registration (approximately 300,000) and BOE information technology.  We will be going fully online with an interactive state wide voter registration data base some time in 2007.  We will be interacting with State agencies, the Social Security Administration and other County Boards of Elections on a daily basis.  The state requires detailed reports on a regular basis related to the processing of registrations.  Processing accurately and maintaining registrations at a correct address is an essential function to enable Onondaga County residents to vote at their correct poll site and have their votes counted for the correct candidates.  This supervisor will be directly responsible for our BOE NTS and other computer systems and mailings e.g. mail check cards.

The other Supervisor will have oversight of the new voting system,voting machine custodians and the new service center to store, secure, and maintain all the voting machines as well as polling places.  As of January 2006, the County rather than the towns and city own all the voting equipment.  NYS law requires that machines be charged and tested quarterly.  State law also requires that we keep detailed records of those items as well as documenting who touched a machine and for what purpose.  The state also requires us to keep a trouble log on each voting machine for each election describing any problems and how they were resolved.  This Supervisor will oversee machine deployment and return as well as be involved with the programming of the new voting system.  This supervisor will be responsible for the automatic 3% paper audit of all voting systems used after each election and more, if ordered by the courts.

A number of polling place locations change each year.   This is due to a number of reasons including renovation, the site does not want to be a polling place any more or a better location has become available.  This supervisor will also make arrangements with locations to pick up keys and/or the times for delivering voting systems and supplies. This supervisor also needs to develop a plan for deploying and retrieving ramps, signs, door handles and cones to make polling places accessible to the disabled on a temporary basis.  Insuring that all polling places are accessible to disabled voters is a challenging assignment.  We will be maintaining a polling place locator service on our web site unique to each voter to include a site photo and entrance location.  To safeguard voting rights at multiple election district polling places, election day coordinators will need to be identified and assigned.

As of September of 2007 lever machines can no longer be used in New York State.  Villages, schools, libraries and other municipal elections will be required to use our voting system.  We will need to program and deploy the voting system for each of these types of elections.  We will also need to train their personnel to operate the system.

Both supervisors will have daily, direct oversight of the staff such as assigning work and scheduling time off.

Directors and Supervisors

Both Directors and supervisors will be involved with petitions.  This includes logging them in and making sure all the correct documentation is received and attached to the proper documents.  They all will be involved when a petition challenge is filed by reviewing the specific objections.

All four will be responsible for the large amount of document proofing required by our department.  Some of these items include petitions, candidate lists, ballots, newspaper publications, polling place lists, and election results certification.

Another area that will require the attention of these four individuals is reapportionment/redistricting.  We have been unable to address election district boundaries this year and some areas require immediate attention due to the 2010 census.  County wide versus city or town specific perspective needs to be addressed on a continual basis.

3.    An overtime chart for the last 7 years is presented below.  Our staff is currently working 9 hour days and Saturdays.  The ability to pay them for overtime rather than give them comp-time would be very helpful as we move into the future.  When combined with earned vacation time, we currently lose an effective labor force a good portion of the year.  The following is a recent historical summary of earned comp-time hours.

 Year                                            Total Staff Hours

 As of October 2006                               1,300.00 hrs

2005                                                 1,209.00 hrs

2004                                                 3,501.00 hrs

2003                                                 1,853.75 hrs

2002                                                 1,246.55 hrs

2001                                                 1,444.25 hrs

2000                                                 1,853.75 hrs

4.     There are two components to our inspector training requirements.  The three hour annual hands on training session covers all the paperwork, supplies, ballots, the voting machine and role plays for the inspector Election Day experience.  In addition, for the next several years, we will do training for inspectors and voters focused solely on the new voting system as well as who and how to deal with any problems related to the use of that voting system.  We are considering using an outside training service to conduct some or all of this training.  In the past both commissioners, our inspector coordinators and voting machine custodians have conducted all inspector training.

Election officials, inspectors, election consultants and volunteers will be trained on how best to promote access and participation to all voters, including those voters with disabilities, as well as those with language barriers.

We plan to:

(a) administer to all poll workers a special HAVA hands on training program to include using the new voting equipment.  We will use consultant trainers in addition to our regular trainers and do a smaller class size for each training session.

(b) provide election district maps and street lists on election days at polling places.

(c) assign a polling place coordinator to any polling place with at least two election districts.

(d) send county board designated personnel to attend Train the Trainer programs

(e) develop, produce and distribute to each inspector training manuals and mock election day documents for poll workers that are user friendly.

(f) provide training videos for poll worker training sessions.

(g) integrate into the poll worker training sensitivity training on how to assist voters with disabilities.

We have a plan to train voters on the proper use of our permanent new voting systems to ensure that their votes are counted and that the voters thoroughly understand the new voting procedures.  More specifically we plan to:

(a) use the media by providing public service announcements (psa), issuing press releases and by participating in talk shows.

(b) conduct approximately 200 voter outreach sessions to demonstrate the new voting system at town halls, libraries, malls, disability advocacy organizations etc. with consultants trained to answer questions and provide familiarity with the new voting equipment to as many voters as possible.

(c) update our website with video/static data for all voters to access data on the new voting system as well as enable an interactive web site (NTS) to provide voter information as to registration, polling location, ballot, candidates etc.

(d) mail all voters a description of the new voting system and how to use it.

(e) create a video to be used on a continuing basis at each polling place to describe/demonstrate the new voting system.  We will purchase a television with dvd player for each of our polling places that do not have this equipment available.

(f) purchase a vehicle which can transport at least four new voting machines at one time to all voter outreach venues as well as poll worker training rather than lease a vehicle or pay a vendor to transport the machines.
































Object Code

















Office Supplies & Materials


   10,000 Informational postcards of voting instructions

$10,000 informational postcards for voting instructions






  15,000 mailing to registered voters explaining new voting


  30,000 new inspector manuals

       500 extra voting machine batteries

$15,000 mailing to all registered voters explaining new Voting Machines












Professional Services


  13,200 consultants educate public on voting machines

$13,200 Consultants educate the public on Voting Machines












All Other Expenses


   9,600 deliver and return voting machines for public training

$    9,600  Deliver and Return Voting Machines for Public training














 36,950 polling place rental


Polling Place Rental




















Other Employee Wages

















* * *



FEBRUARY 13, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT:       Mr. Stanczyk, Mr. Meyer, *Mrs. Rapp, Mr. DiBlasi, Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Chaplin

ALSO PRESENT:     Mr. Sweetland, Mr. Ryan and see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chair Baker called the meeting to order at 11:15 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mr. DiBlasi to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.     Confirming reappointments to Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (Mr. John Rizzo, Mr. Gregg Kidd)

A motion was made by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mr. Jordan to approve this item.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

2.       Hotel Update

Mrs. Baker noted that the value of having a convention center hotel with the award winning Oncenter Complex is going to be an incredible tool for our whole community.

Mr. Tom Wilmot, President of Wilmorite, Mr. Kevin McAuliffe, Legal Counsel, and Mr. Roy Fruchtman, Architect were present at the meeting.  Mr. Wilmot said the hotel is going to be an outstanding property, will be the nicest hotel in upstate New York, they are thrilled to have Westin on their team.

*Mrs. Rapp arrived at the meeting.

Mr. Fruchtman gave a power point regarding the hotel project:

Wilmorite - Developer                          Culpepper, McAuliffe, Meaders, Inc. - Design firm

Westin Hotels                                     Fruchtman & Associates - Architects

Nicholls Group - Program Manager         Clough Harbour & Associates - Civil Engineers

Mr. Fruchtman showed images of the following:

  • Lobby images from hotels around the country representing what Westin has done - tall ceilings, lighter finishes, modern feel; fireplace with natural materials, looking at using some materials from around the area that are close to the site (things that make sense economically and from a sustainability standpoint); will be green to a certain extent (not looking for green certification).  Mr. Fruchtman said there is a fair amount of traditional around this area, this will create a new look and feel to the hotel market in Syracuse
  • Food and beverage areas - idea is to bring in the natural feel, light and fresh feeling
  • Meeting facilities - high end, will provide a boardroom
  • Guest rooms - an example of a standard guest room (Westin signature bed, an ergonomic chair, LCD TV, possibly will have mini bars) and an example of a suite
  • Westin Workout - strong draw, people want to have same workout experience that they have in other Westins.
  • Pool area - idea is to be a relaxing, fairly spacious area.

Design process:

  • Working with programming and schematic layout phases, doing some testing in terms of what will fit in the spaces
  • Looking at how the sales team intends to sell the meeting spaces, such as size of groups, so that they can accommodate those with the layout of the spaces, crucial to make the hotel work in terms of economics.
  • Then, will go through the normal series of architectural services phase, prepare the construction documents, look at pricing of the project and then into the construction phase
  • Showed some concept ideas with entrance directly across from the Oncenter, had to look at traffic flow in terms of guest arrival experience from the highway and how the building will be serviced; large parking deck to keep in consideration; a little bit of outdoor space on corner of Harrison and State (something attractive from the Oncenter, would build that corner with Everson space across Harrison); lobby and lounge with central fireplace; air conditioned connection to garage; looking at various options for air conditioned connection from the hotel to the Oncenter.
  • Building edge close to the street to maintain more of an urban feel in the area, idea is to maintain as much activity with street level meeting space so that you see people and activity.

In answer to Mrs. Baker, construction is anticipated to begin in October of 2007 with a timeframe of 14 - 18 months.  Mrs. Baker asked if there are plans to come back to the Legislature for additional money; Mr. Western replied no.  Mr. Western recalled the proposal with first developer - $54 million outside of County support of $7.5 million, the budget now is $72.3 million (construction budget up from $38 million to $45 million, includes $3 million in additional wage costs that was part of the negotiation process to secure State funding).  Mr. Western said that entire cost is the responsibility of the developer.  Mr. Western added that outside the core hotel they still do not know the land costs (part of the condemnation process) and what will it take for a quality connection between the hotel and Oncenter, whether to renovate existing one so it is properly isolated from variations in climate, build a second one or an enhanced street level second entry.

Mrs. Baker asked if there are potential changes to language that will come back to the Legislature.  Mr. Western said there would be some changes to the developer agreement concerning timing issues, adjusting the pilot for different amount of debt service required in the inclusion of the state grant funds, period of term with operating agreement, specific project description (primarily size of meeting rooms reduced, an outline of a sublease by the IDA (IDA is the conduit for all the state grant funds, likely the agency will lease the entire facility).  Mr. Western added that they might have to turn around the roll of the IDA and the County to insure they have the right status of the project in terms of its tax status to make sure the pilot can flow out of the project.  Mr. Western said they would like to come back to the Legislature with one package; there has been no discussion of additional money.

Ms. Chaplin asked what they perceive the largest square footage of a meeting room would be.  Mr. Fruchtman replied about 8,500 square feet.

In response to Mr. Meyer, Mr. Fruchtman said a typical Westin would have wireless in all public spaces and wired connection in the rooms (a lot of potential customers require wire connection in rooms), meeting rooms would have both wire and wireless.  Mr. Meyer asked about room rates.  Mr. McAuliffe said the market will dictate, rates appropriate for a group and how large group is, consideration of the ancillary services being provided - broad range of $125 to $185, ADR for Westin nationally is $142.

Mr. Meyer asked about marketing concerning business for hotel, business with Oncenter and transient.  Mr. McAuliffe does not know if differentiation between Oncenter and hotel has been established yet; old agreement contemplated a lot more meeting space for hotel (23,000, now down to 17,000).  Mr. McAuliffe pointed out that Mr. Wilmot and his team moved to a different relationship - they now have an operating agreement oppose to a franchise agreement; operating agreement blends together the expectations and burdens - pick up the benefit of being associated with Westin (reservation system, its brand facilities) and Westin will be the operator of the facility.  Mr. McAulifffe said that groups make up 40% of occupancy for Westin hotels; they are a convention center hotel brand.  Mr. McAuliffe added that the marketing has to be a partnership with government, Oncenter Complex and the Westin people operating the hotel, has to be marketed as a mass facility and what is available.  Mrs. Baker pointed out that County Executive Pirro, County Legislature Chairman Dale Sweetland, Legislature Minority Leader Edward Ryan, Oncenter President David Marnell and CVB Director David Holder were present at the meeting, shows the interest in wanting to work together.  Mr. McAuliffe added that one of the things that intrigued Westin when they were first brought to the site was the pent up demand for the use of the Oncenter facility that was not being addressed because there wasn't a convention center hotel; County has already started identifying conventions that will be here in 2009.  Mr. Fruchtman said the hotel company makes its money selling rooms, not the meeting space.

Mr. Jordan said he would like to see more green space available.  Mr. Fruchtman said there were architectural and operation issues; it is better to have everything on the street level; in terms of green space, there would be a fairly significant setback off of Harrison Street and a fairly significant space by the front door of the hotel, still want to maintain the urban feel of the street.

Mr. Meyer asked if there would be office or apartment space in the building.  Mr. McAuliffe replied no, Westin has indicated that they will have approximately a seven person sales staff, will also tie in with the national sales system (8,000 people).  The only retail space would be a gift shop.

Mrs. Rapp said a million dollars was pledged for marketing with the original agreement, and asked if that is still a part of this new agreement.  Mr. McAuliffe replied that he thinks the million dollars consisted of the hard advertising they knew they would do together with their contributions to national advertising and marketing.  Mr. McAuliffe said it would be in the same ballpark, would have the same relationship with Westin.

3.  Overview:  Journey 2 Jobs Summit - Ms. Carolyn May, Senior Development Specialist - Economic Development

Mr. Western said that in late 2005 they failed to get a grant for a program regarding workforce innovation and economic development.  From that, the community learned we weren't where we wanted to be or needed to be to articulate what our workforce needs were, what their issues were; didn't have interrelated network amongst the workforce providers, affected parties, interested players that would make an effective workforce information development process.  Mr. Western said that Carolyn May and her colleagues have taken this on and began the Journey 2 Jobs - how we can better position ourselves to understand what our workforce requirements are and do something about it.  The planned summit, March 29, 2007, will be a culmination of more than a year's worth of work by a very extended, dedicated, diligent group.

Ms. May introduced a number of partners who were at the meeting. - Kurt Roulston, City of Syracuse Economic Development; Tom Hadlick, Syracuse University; Dana Hart, Leadership Institute, Syracuse University; Lenore Sealy, CNY WORKS; Carole Hill, Syracuse Chamber of Commerce; Jordan Nott, MACNY.

Ms. May distributed packets to the committee members with information that included a list of the partners on the leadership team (attachment 2).  Ms. May said if they want to change how people can get and keep jobs in this community, they needed to figure out pathways to employment, how people can stay and work in this community in the jobs that are in globally competitive businesses.  Part of this effort is also to look near term at what employers we have now and what we need.  Ms. May said she has met with about 200 businesses through her job and, without exception, they tell her they cannot find workers (no matter what sector they are in) without an enormous amount of help, then have a terrible time keeping that person for lots of different reasons.

Ms. May explained their strategy:

  • Build a system that creates pathways in specific sectors, know what they are able to do because of this relationship with each other and the strengths of the people in this coalition
  • Have determined the sectors that will remain globally competitive in this area and nationally:
    • Energy & Environment
    • Information Management
    • Advanced Manufacturing
    • Bio-Processing and
    • Health Care
  • Community needs people prepared to work in these sectors before the jobs are created, have strategies that approach:

               Community Literacy                 Workplace Diversity

               Technical Education & Careers   Workforce Credentialing

               Science, Technology                Career Mobility

               Engineering & Math                  Incumbent Worker

               Higher Education                      Mature Worker

Ms. May said they have created a team of people who are working on a draft plan, decided to hold nine community conversations concerning these areas to talk about what the community is feeling, what the challenges are for the mature worker, challenges for progressing, also plan to give the community a common set of facts so that everyone can begin this journey with the same understanding of what the world is like; the challenges we are having in this community and what we can do about it.  A summit is planned for March 29, 2007 at the Oncenter, beginning at 7:30 a.m., bringing in national speakers.  Ms. May said they will have a draft plan in place to present to the community for comment and observation.  The goal is to hit all the sectors, all the people, address anything they have missed, new trends emerging that they need to think about immediately and anything in the long term that people see coming our way.  After the summit the work will begin to implement the plan.

Mrs. Baker asked how they would follow up with the plan.  Ms. May said they have a very focused strategy; have a team of people working on how to measure success, some will take a long time, such as changing literacy levels in our community; do not want to be discouraged in the future by not having enough short term successes; want a community where people can move through the economic opportunities, advance their incomes through education and training.

Mr. Jordan observed that there was no mention of the cost of doing business in New York State for businesses locating or expanding here.  Ms. May said that is not the focus of this effort; the industries that they believe can remain globally competitive tend to be less impacted by the other issues and more impacted by the quality of workforce.  These are businesses that employ every skill level, want to build pathways in those sectors so that more can work better, succeed better; other issues become less of a challenge.

Mrs. Rapp said being able to attract quality workers was one of the major issues with the Hummingbird project.

Mrs. Baker announced that the April meeting would be held at Anheuser-Busch.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb

Deputy Clerk

* * *


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Farrell, Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Chaplin, Mr. Kraft

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Rhinehart, Mrs. Winslow

ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list

Chairman Corbett called the meeting to order at 9:46 a.m.

A motion was made BY Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mrs. Chaplin to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceeding from the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Corbett stated that item 3a would be taken first.


a.      Informational - 2006 Highlights and 2007 Outline of Programs - Tom Rhoads

Mr. Rhoads reported that OCRRA had a good fiscal year, a strong recycling year, and great waste-to-energy year in 2006.


  • Net positive in ‘06 financials, $1.5 million capital expenditure expected in '07 at 2 transfers stations and Amboy site.
  • Annual report will be published with the audited financial numbers in early April
  • Waste to Energy: approx. 350,000 tons of materials processed

o    reduced 212,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions - regulatory changes are coming 

o    230 million kw hrs. of electricity were produced creating an equivalent savings of about 410,000 barrels of oil

  • Recycling: about 65% of total waste stream

o   DEC has a permit condition, only one of its kind in NYS--OCRRA must accomplished at least a 40% recycling rate in order to operate - it does not include batteries

o   Slight decline in curbside recovery (blue bins) - portion is attributed to waste stream getting smaller and thinner

o   Procuring public education assistance with an advertising agency to roll out ideas--need to get message out

o   Running campaigns on blue bins - have surveyed and learned that one of the most important things is to get the recycling brochures out (what is recyclable)-putting them out in many forms; in Wegmans with battery recycling bags and recycling information brochures

o    OCRRA Newsletter cycled to 55,000 homes, distributed in libraries; updated website in 2007 which will include the last 5 years of annual reports, stack test information, and 10-year performance report on Waste to Energy

o    Email blast went to 12,000 constituents, which provided feedback

  • 2007 programs include: Earth Day Cleanup, Household Hazardous Waste Days, Shred-A-Thon
  • Transfer Stations: handled about 97,000 tons of solid waste, serving almost 68,000 vehicle transactions; fleet covered over 500,000 miles; have a good safety record

Chairman Corbett asked about the Amboy buildings.  Mr. Rhoads said the County Executive and OCRRA are working on a potential lease, which will be part of the capital plan.  Regarding emissions, Chairman Corbett agreed that regulations are coming and that the County should be prepared for them.

Mr. Kraft asked if the capital improvements are included at Ley Creek.  Mr. Rhoads said that they are.  Mr. Kraft asked about OCRRA leaving Ley Creak and Pyramid building a new facility.  Mr. Rhoads replied that the OCRRA Board of Directors has provided information to the DestiNY Research Park personnel.  When DestiNY is ready, they have informed OCRRA that they will relocate and provide them with a replacement station; does not know the status of the research park.  OCRRA is not in a position to be in limbo; need to make investments in facilities, which are proposed in the capital plan.  The roof needs to be replaced--37 years old and metal.  There is old infrastructure that was inherited, need to make responsible rehabilitation and replacement of it to manage the solid waste stream.  Mr. Kraft is concerned about money "going down the drain."  Mr. Rhoads replied that it would be a fair exchange; will receive a replacement facility and would expect to see appropriate consideration for every nickel put into the facility.  Mr. Kraft suggested that OCRRA contact the research park people and see what is happening.

Mr. Kraft referred to the State 40% recycling requirement and asked what is being done to relieve it.  Mr. Rhoads said that OCRRA is proud of what they do; would prefer to be leaders.  The most it cost OCRRA right now is $1.50/ton, OCRRA gets a little return on market; contracts with 2 facilities.  Mr. Kraft said the costs of their operations are taken care of by the sale of the recycled material.  If there is a substantial change, he would like to hear about it.  Mr. Rhoads said that he foresees through 2008, the Beijing Olympics, the recycling market staying strong; so much raw materials, steel, cardboard, etc. will be going out of this country; all container boxes are going back to China.

Mr. Farrell referred to the capital plan; Mr. Rhoads said that he would provide an entire budget.  Gross revenues are $2.6 million; putting $1.1- $1.3 million back in to increase reserves.   Mr. Rhoads said that one component to the refinancing of 2003 was regarding $66 million of debt to Covanta was significantly restructured. Reduced overall debt from $16.6 million to $9 million; reduced prior debt service to be $7.6 million/year.  Agreed that if OCRRA has a positive year, net of operations would be split with them and Covanta would receive a portion of net towards a Series B, zero-coupon type bond.  That bond goes through 2015, and any unpaid dept at end of lease is the responsibility of Covanta.

Mr. Farrell referred to stack reports; nitrogen oxides and the impact on the environment.  Mr. Rhoads said it can formulate into an acid gas; can be controlled by the introduction of ammonia in the waste to energy plant; regulatory limitations on both.  Mr. Farrell asked if all emissions are quantified and evaluated so that money is being spent wisely.  Mr. Rhoads said that OCRRA is trying to find a way to communicate to regulators and general public all of the things that they do.  Recycling may or many not have cost, waste to energy will be more expensive than putting in landfill, but has a net positive for green house gas.  They need to figure out how to get emissions credits for the recycling done; not easy issues.  OCRRA is trying to evaluate and look at all the things that they do.

Mr. Farrell asked regarding the net positive, if there will be an opportunity to reduce tipping fees in the future. 

Mrs. Chaplin asked if recycling education is continuing throughout the schools.  Mr. Rhoads said that they have a contractor for classroom education; about 10,000 student visits/year.  Mrs. Chaplin asked if OCRRA would be fined if they fell below the 40% recycling requirement level; Mr. Rhoads said there would most likely be some type of punitive consequence, but are not envisioning that they are in danger of going below it.

Mr. Kraft asked about 67 people at OCRRA; it was explained there are about 44 manual laborers and 23 in administration, enforcement, business office, and recycling.

Mr. Farrell asked if stack testing is continuously done - Mr. Rhoads said that they measure opacity - laser shot through stack emissions, reflected off a mirror, and measured to see how much of laser light of matter is lost in what comes back.  Certain emissions are measured continuously and some are not. Mr. Rhoades expanded on the various testing and emissions.

Chairman Corbett would like to hold a future meeting this summer at OCRRA to tour the facilities.  At that time he would like Mr. Rhoads to give a projection on the affect on recycling if a new beverage bottle bill passes.

a.      Confirming appointment to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (Mr. Lavine)

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION carried.  


a.   ACJ Update - Mrs. Sue Miller

o   Construction continuing at Midland Phase II and Biosolids handling

o   Midland - 95% of exterior walls complete; 85% of interior walls complete

o   71.4% total expenditures on four prime contracts

o   Sewer separation intermunicipal agreement (approved by Co. Leg.) was unanimously authorized by Common Council; will go to bid once paperwork is received from DEC approving contract documents

o   Final design document on Midland Phase III (conveyance pipe) was completed this month and sent to DEC for review and approval

2.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Mr. Richard Elander, Commissioner, Mr. Steve Martin

a.       Authorizing the acceptance of an easement for the relocation of a portion of the South-Eastwood sewer in the City of Syracuse, and the abandonment of an existing easement; approving the classification of an unlisted action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); declaring lead agency status; accepting the short environmental assessment form; making and declaring a negative declaration; and authorizing the County Executive to enter into documents and agreements to carry out the intent of this resolution

The county has a sewer along Rt. 690 near Midler Ave, where a Loews is being built.  It interfered with the Loews plan and Loews had proposed to abandon old easement; it is almost in the same place. This accepts the new easement and no money is involved.

A motion was made by Mr. Farrell, seconded by Mrs. Chaplin to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   A resolution approving improvements for the Onon. Co. Sanitary Dist. of the Co. of Onon., NY ($3,139,170)

c.       A resolution authorizing the issuance of $2,139,100 bonds of the Co. of Onondaga, New York, to pay the cost of certain improvements for the Onondaga Co. Sanitary District in and for said County

A public haring was called for last month regarding improvements on four wastewater pumping station  - Cherry Estates, Fly Road, Schuyer Road South and Northtown.  SEQRA Type II activity, replacing an old one with a new one.  Asking for financing of $1 million less than proposal; contribution $1 million from 960 account.  There are about 50 county-owned pump stations; they have a service life; and these four are in the worst condition or location.  Mr. Martin explained the factors (see attachment 1).  In addition to physical condition, Cherry Estates and Northtown have capacity issues.  Cherry Estates and Fly Road are old style designs, dangerous and expensive to maintain. 

Chairman Corbett said that because of the different efficiencies of the new equipment, it will save money.

A motion was made by Mr. Farrell to approve items 2b and 2c.

Regarding Cherry Estates, Mr. Jordan had questions regarding the construction and location; Mr. Martin provided detail and stated that within 15 to 20 feet of property lines.  It is not obtrusive.  They referred to plans (on file with Clerk). 

Mr. Kraft reviewed various the cost of construction contingency.  Mr. Elander stated that it is 10%; try to have 20% at the facilities plan stage, 15% when half way through design, 10% when through design but not building, 5% when bid.  Engineer and legal administration - will have to purchase properties; there has been engineering up to now and it will continue.  The engineering is including in a competitive proposal.  Mr. Kraft asked if there is a savings, it could be spent without authorization from this legislature.  Mr. Elander said that as he has explained before, that they are not going to do that. 

Mrs. Chaplin seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

d.      Presentation - Ongoing projects

Commissioner Elander provided a power point of all ongoing WEP projects, which was provided at the department awards meeting in December.

Chairman Corbett stated that Mr. Elander will be retiring in March, and stated that the time he has been Chairman of the committee and with previous involvement with the committee, it has been an honor and privilege to work with Mr. Elander.  He has appreciated his openness and honesty.  In this business, it is very unusual to deal with someone of Mr. Elander's candor, and it will be very difficult to replace him.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature

* * *

February 15, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT: *Mr. Warner, Mrs. Baker, Mr. Meyer, Mr. Kilmartin, Mr. Laguzza


ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list (Attachment 1)

Chair Rapp called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Laguzza, seconded by Mrs. Baker to waive the reading and approve the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Rapp announced that Item 3 would be considered first.  in concept only as changes were presently being made to the resolution.

3.  Memorializing the Governor and the Legislature of the State of New York to reform the program for preschool children with handicapping conditions to cap the local costs for counties (Mr. Meyer)

Mr. Meyer informed the committee that changes were presently being made to this resolution; would discuss it in concept only.  Mr. Meyer explained that the Early Intervention and Pre-School Programs for children with special needs could have a significant impact on County property tax rates.  Mr. Meyer reviewed that in 1989 and again in 1994 Albany committed to a phase-in of State support to minimize the County's impact, commitment was not honored in the 1995-96 state budget.  Overall, the cost per child, number of children in program and administrative costs are all going up.  Mr. Meyer added that as long as the County has unlimited liability for these programs, State has no major incentive to reform the programs and design a reimbursement methodology that offers the providers of service the timeliness, stability and predictability of funding that they require.  Mr. Meyer said this is a problem for all the counties in the State of New York and is now a priority with the Association of Counties, not looking to change the programs, but need a cap on the local share.  Mr. Meyer said the resolution is being revised to include numbers showing the increased costs from 1991 to 2007 and the percentage that New York State pays.  Mrs. Rapp said the local share has almost doubled since 1991.

*Mr. Warner arrived at the meeting.

Mrs. Rapp asked what the Association of Counties is recommending for a cap; Mr. Meyer replied just a cap.  Mr. Laguzza suggested producing a cap and saying the County wants 75% reimbursement or cap, whichever is greater.  Mr. Meyer said he would be happy to modify the resolution.

Mr. Warner asked about past votes concerning this issue.  Mr. Meyer said the Legislature does it about every year in one format or another; now, the Association of Counties has brought this issue to the top of their priority list.

Mrs. Rapp said she thinks it would be most effective if all counties came forward with the same proposal.  Mr. Meyer suggested continuing the conversation at the end of the agenda when the modified resolution would be ready.


a.     Create R.P. 01 40492000 0006 2073, 2041, 2042, 2043, 2045, 2047 Assistant Director of Nursing Service, Grade 33 @ $52,847 - $74,508, effective March 10, 2007.

Create R.P. 01 40492000 0006 1965 and 1966 Typist II, Grade 05 @ $27,261 - $30,103, effective March 17, 2007.

Abolish R.P. 01 40492000 0006 4338, 4342, 4344, 4345 and 4336, Nursing Supervisor, Grade 05 @ $43,631 - $53,731, effective June 23, 2007.

Abolish R.P. 01 40492000 0006 4363, 4365, 4366, 4368, 4369, 4370, 4371, 4372, 4373, 4374, 4375, 4376 and 4377, Assistant Head Nurse, Grade 03 @ $38,500 - $47,459, effective March 17, 2007.

Create R.P. 01 40492000 0006 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1942 and 1949, Registered Nurse, Grade 02 @ $37,315 - $45,901, effective March 17, 2007.

Abolish R.P 01 40492000 0007 4530 and 4567, Nurse Aide II, Grade 04 @ $25,401 - $28,036, effective March 17, 2007.

Create R.P. 01 40492000 0006 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964, Nurse Aide I, Grade 02 @ $23,193 - $25,583, effective March 17, 2007.

Abolish R.P. 01 40492000 0006 4358, Head Nurse, Grade 04 @ $41,029 - $50,674, effective March 17, 2007.

Ms. Sprague distributed handouts to the committee members:  Van Duyn Home and Hospital Proposed Nursing Restructuring Plan and Van Duyn Home and Hospital Nursing Development Plan (on file with Clerk).  Ms. Sprague said she has been reviewing operations throughout the facility.  Based on conversations with the staff, nursing union and others, Ms. Sprague recommends revision of the nursing department - staffing with focus on units, change in how the unit is organized, managed, supervised and how care is delivered.  Reasons are two fold, one is cultural change - want the facility to provide the highest quality patient center care possible; second is the recognition that the nurses on the floors need support in carrying out their important duty.  They have been working on a staffing plan with Tom Dennison to address issues raised by staff, to align their staffing with patient acuity and to implement the current thinking on long term care for cultural change.  Ms. Sprague said the perception is that the care delivery process in nursing homes has evolved into and assembly line, industrial age approach that is ultimately dehumanizing (not saying that is how Van Duyn is).  Experts have recognized that they need to create teams of people who are closest to the residents and create a household community.  Proposed changes are intended to improve the quality of care, quality of life of the residents at Van Duyn through attrition and within a budget neutral framework.  Ms. Sprague said the current clinical care model at Van Duyn can best be described as centralized and hierarchical; nurses have raised concerns to her regarding the wide range of the head nurse responsibility, the limited time to complete their tasks, the division of tasks and responsibility, decentralization and ownership on the floors, nursing administration; they want to be included as part of the nursing team in terms of the staffing, planning and discipline. 

Ms. Sprague said the proposed model decentralizes the nursing leadership within the facility by breaking it up into five smaller units, almost as individual nursing homes.  An Assistant Director of Nursing would manage each of the communities and would be supported by head nurses for roughly every 50 to 60 beds.  Nursing supervisors will still provide evening, night and weekend day supervision and troubleshooting during their assigned shifts.  Nursing administration office would be staffed differently; in addition to the Director of Nursing, there would be two Assistant Directors of Nurses (one primarily responsible for operations and the other for the educational component).  Ms Sprague said in addition, they currently have a rehab team and a nourishment staff; the model would incorporate those eight into the major component of the aid on the floor. 

Ms. Sprague said they currently rely heavily on LPN's, new literature suggests they would have better care outcomes if they use more RN's.  With the new model they will need to shift some of the budget lines they currently have, bring in some additional staff and, over time, eliminate other jobs through attrition or reducing down.  Currently have 28 in the RN line, would end up with 50 RN's over the course of time.  The model would also incorporate the use of some part-time staff, much like other hospitals and facilities; use very few part-time currently.

Mr. Warner asked if this is premature based on what might be coming from the State regarding the Berger Commission report. Ms Sprague replied no, have residents living there right now who deserve the best care we can give them, in current model, they do not have sufficient staff to care for them in the way she and others feel they should be doing.  At this point they are not sure where the Burger Commission is going; there is an extension for eighteen months (beginning January 1, 2007) before they have to have something in place; things could change with different lawsuits and different information.  Ms. Shepard said the Berger Commission report also includes language that the State would provide funding to implement the recommendations; NYS Department of Health staff does not know how that might happen and to what extent.  Ms. Shepard said because it is budget neutral, they have the obligation to staff they best way we know how.

Mr. Warner mentioned that RN's are more costly than LPN's, asked how will they adjust the manpower.  Ms. Sprague said they would be adjusting positions within the framework; they will have less total positions in the end.  Mr. Warner asked the total number of changes.  Ms. Sprague replied that they would create 46 and abolish 21 positions.  Ms. Shepard added that the ones being abolished now are vacant or will be imminently, remaining will occur over time through attrition.  Ms. Baker asked how it could be budget neutral when they are creating 46 and abolishing 21.  Ms. Shepard said they will have positions ready and will do through attrition; can't fill positions without funding behind them.  Mr. Warner asked if there would be more or less employees one year from now; Ms. Shepard replied probably less, it would be a long implementation period of two to three years.

In response to Mrs. Bakers question, Ms. Sprague said the new model does not involve moving the residents.  Mrs. Baker asked if there is anything being offered to the LPN's to go further to become an RN.  Ms. Sprague said there is not right now, have talked about whether or not they could locate any grant money or some way to do that; if they could train and move them up, they would be likely candidates to stay.

Mr. Kilpatrick asked how quickly the change in care could take place if implementation will take 2 to 3 years.  Ms. Sprague said they would like to implement the eight management positions to get new management structure in place so they can see change right away (have not had sufficient staff in these positions).

Ms. Rapp said some of her colleagues have expressed concern that although it is revenue neutral today, it will be sizably more expensive when all the changes take place.  Ms. Sprague said they do not believe so, by utilizing some part time positions and changing positions around, they believe it will be essentially budget neutral.  Ms. Shepard said if the patients were to stay identical to the way they are right now, they will have less staff (8); some staff will be a little bit more expensive, better skilled and better able to provide care to the residents; utilization of some part time staff will help them address some of the concerns; convinced that this is budget neutral.

Mr. Laguzza asked if the unions are familiar with this.  Ms. Sprague said she has met with Ms. Scott and her representative frequently about their concerns and how this plan might improve the quality of care in the facility; also met with Barb Taylor who represents the LPN's.

Mr. Warner asked how they would do the same work with less people.  Ms. Sprague said they have people scattered throughout the building right now, lot of staff are not committed to showing up every day; over time numbers escalate; if somebody stays on and does a double shift, second shift is time and a half; hopefully will bring down overtime by bringing in a more stable nursing unit.  Ms. Sprague said this plan will also bring in an educational component concerning empowerment and leadership skills, are building in a mentoring program for the LPN's, CAN's and the RN's.  Ms. Sprague said a lot of money is spent up front for initial training; they stay a little while and, unfortunately, move on, hopeful that this would stabilize that population.

Mr. Meyer asked about pay compared to other facilities.  Ms. Sprague said RN's might be down a little bit, plus Van Duyn can't do incentives, such as a sign on bonus; would like to have a commitment from those being trained that they will stay, not sure if there is a regulation against doing that.  Ms. Shepard said as they look for grant funding to provide the training, will look to see what kind of flexibility there is.  Ms. Shepard said with the centralized staffing, an employee could be pulled to any number of floors doing a number of jobs they may not want; with new model, they would be assigned to a team, if didn't like it could request a transfer.

A motion was made by Mrs. Baker, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin to approve this item. 

Resolution declaring April 22 - 28, 2007 Pesticide Awareness Week.

Mr. Paul O'Connor, Cornell Cooperative Extension and John Fisher, Highpoint Lawn Service were present.

Ms. Rapp reviewed that last May the Legislature passed a resolution declaring Pesticide Awareness Week, but not much was done, this year taking a different approach.

Mr. O'Connor said he was asked to come to the table with representatives from both sides of the issue, folks who have different approaches to strategies of pest management.  Mr. O'Connor said there is a decision making process go through to manage pests appropriately; this effort is about having people from both sides of the issue bring the awareness, education out to the general public.  Kick off will be in April with activities, workshops and a brochure being produced that will be in the stores that sell pesticide products - will help people decide on the pest management approach.

Mrs. Rapp referred to last year when the legislature considered the Neighbor Notification Law; said that everybody in the community wanted the same - to be environmentally conscious, to preserve and sustain our environment, methodology of getting there was different.  The ad hoc task force group has decided to kick off Pesticide Awareness Week with a meeting on February 26, 2007; sent out 500 invitations to people who are players in the community.  Mrs. Rapp said they also expect to have newspaper articles, television shows, and talks at libraries on this subject.

Mr. Warner asked if there would be any resolutions regarding violation.  Mrs. Rapp said they decided to follow the model for recycling (county has the highest rate of compliance of anyone in country) where the level of awareness is such that the community perceives it is in there best interest, hoping to have same kind of result, almost impossible to police.  Studied all the counties that had the law; chemical usage in Onondaga County has been going down every year, not the case in some other counties where switching to granular and doing other things that didn't comply with the IPM. 

Mr. Laguzza noted that this doesn't address the concern we have with notification through the registry or notification per the legislation that was defeated last year; this is a piece of the puzzle, not complete.  Mrs. Rapp agreed, said it is not just people showing up next week, it is what they do afterwards.

A motion was made by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mr. Warner to approve this item.  A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Meyer distributed the revised resolution for item C.

A motion was made by Mrs. Rapp to move this item, seconded by Mr. Warner.

Mr. Warner asked how many children are in this program.  Dr. Morrow replied 1,400.

A vote was taken and passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Mr. Warner recalled that the County Executive vetoed the Tobacco 19 legislation a short time ago, based on funding and the Veterans exemption.  Mr. Warner distributed a letter from the New York State Department of Health saying the ATUPA resources will fund the Tobacco 19 program.  Mr. Warner said the County Executive still has the issue with the Veterans, but agrees that we do have the funding for Onondaga County Tobacco 19.  Mr. Warner requested to have the letter made part of the Health Committee minutes.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:12 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Johanna H. Robb, Deputy Clerk

* * *



MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Corbett, Mrs. Baker, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Kraft, Mr. Farrell, Mrs. Rapp, Mr. Stanczyk


ALSO PRESENT:  see attached list. 

Chairman Meyer called the meeting to order at 9:32 a.m.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mrs. Baker to waive the reading and approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee meeting.  MOTION CARRIED.

1.   WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Mr. Richard Elander, Commissioner

a.   A resolution approving improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District of the County of Onondaga, New York ($3,139,170)

Replaces 4 existing pumping stations:  Cherry Estates, Fly Road, Schuyler South and Northtown.  Have DEC approval for Type II SEQRA; a commissioner's hearing was held.  The total project cost is $3,139,100--asking to finance $2,139,000; $1 million will come from 960 account.  Three pumping stations (except Northtown) will be bid this spring; construction will start this year.  Northtown will take a couple months longer.  Cost per project:  Cherry Estates - $453,000; Fly Road - $257,000, Schuyler South - 607,000; Northtown - $858,000.

A motion was made by Mr. Corbett, seconded by Mrs. Baker, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   A resolution authorizing the issuance of $2,139,100 bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to pay the cost of certain improvements for the Onondaga County Sanitary District in and for said County

A motion was made by Mr. Meyer, seconded by Mr. Farrell to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

2.      TRANSPORTATION:  Mr. Mark Lynch, Commissioner

a.      Authorizing the acquisition of real property necessary for the reconstruction of Plainville Road Bridge over Seneca River in the Town of Van Buren County of Onondaga ($1,000)

Reconstruction project of Plainville Road Bridge-authorize additional monies.  Item 2b allows for payment for temporary easement needed to allow for a temporary bridge, so that the existing bridge can be taken down; federal project.  It is on an island; served by 2 bridges; temporary bridge will be one way with signals on both sides.  Hope to have it under construction this year.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.

Mr. Lynch said that they will be back next month for total cost of construction, $2.25 million; $250,000 was previously authorized for design.

Mr. Ryan asked about the cost of a temporary bridge.  Mr. Lynch said they are bid, estimated approx. $200,000 - $250,000, which includes the temporary bridge and road relocation.  Mr. Ryan asked about  purchasing one.  Mr. Lynch said that issue has come up a number of times.  The problem is that the length and width are always different.  He has looked into it.  These are federal projects; it is not possible to have the feds pay their share and the county pay the rest, if a bridge were bought.   Currenty, the local share is only 5%.   Mr. Ryan asked the department to speak with surrounding counties to see if they could be purchase together and used as needed. 

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Amend 2007 County Budget and advancing 100% of the federal and state aid eligible costs for the right-of-way acquisition phase of Plainville Road Bridge over Seneca River at a maximum cost of $950

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

3.   AGING AND YOUTH:  Ms. Chris Flynn, Youth Bureau Administrator

a.   Amend 2007 County Budget to provide the Department of Aging and Youth - Office for the Aging with additional state funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2007 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts to implement this resolution ($13,545)

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Stanczyk to approve this item.

This is for the Senior Employment Program, which was slightly under budgeted -- will pay for 16 participants.

Mr. Ryan asked if this is done on a yearly basis.  Ms. Flynn said that they don't get figures until some time in July; historically they do come back to accept more money.  Mr. Ryan asked Ms. Flynn to provide Mr. Corcoran and Mr. Hanlon, the amounts that the department came back to ask for acceptance, for the last five years.  Ms. Flynn said the numbers were less than they received in the prior year, but was still more than last year.  

Passed unanimously; out of room:  Mr. Stanczyk; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to provide the Department of Aging and Youth - office for the Aging with additional funds beyond the estimated dollars appropriated in the 2007 County Budget and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($6,000)

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item. 

This money is coming form the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York to run a Powerful Tools for Care Giving.  Preparing caregivers of senior citizens who live in the community with skills.  An RFP was put out and had 5 application dates; Ms. Cynthia Stevenson wrote a grant to get a program established in Onondaga County.  The foundation area encompasses about 15 counties.  Need to provide funding for training for seven people.  They will work in pairs and provide the Powerful Tools for Caregivers, for a six-week period.

The Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York was set up with money from an Excellus settlement, has a principle of about $100 million.  Their priorities are senior caregivers, and children living in poverty.   The Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a curriculum that was established at Stanford University and is used across the county.   The trainers will come from different agencies; each session is hoped to have 10 caregivers.  The goal this year is to have 20 trainers, and next year hope to get 30. 

Mr. Stanczyk asked to be provided with more information about the foundation.  Chairman Meyer asked Ms. Flynn to brief legislators Rapp and Warner on this issue.

Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

4.   VAN DUYN:  Mrs. Roberta Spraque, Commissioner

      a.   Create 6 Assistant Director of Nursing Service, Gr. 33 @ $52,847 - $74,508, effective March 10, 2007

      b.   Create 2 Typist II, Gr. 5 @ $27,261 - $30,103, effective March 17, 2007

      c.   Abolish 5 Nursing Supervisors, Gr. 5 @ $43,631 - $53,731, effective March 17, 2007

      d.   Abolish 13 Assistant Head Nurse, Gr. 3 @ $38,500 - $47,459, effective March 17, 2007

      e.   Create 23 Registered Nurse, Gr. 2 @ $37,315 - $45,901, effective March 17, 2007

      f.    Abolish 2 Nurse Aide II, Gr. 4 @ $25,401 - $28,036, effective March 17, 2007

      g.   Create 10 Nurse Aide 1, Gr. 2 @ $23,193 - $25,583, effective March 17, 2007

      h.   Abolish 1 Head Nurse, Gr. 4 @ $41,029 - $50,674, effective March 17, 2007

Ms. Sprague distributed handouts (see attachments 1 & 2).  They have decided to do this because of a recent retirements, positions that have been left vacant over the years, and proposed retirements in 2007.  She looked at all the departments at Van Duyn and made a management decision on how they could be run better.  The current structure at Van Duyn is hierarchical and centralized.  Currently there is a director of nursing and an assistant director of nursing; from that office everything flows.  They are charged with doing the staffing on all floors, responsible for training needs, education, staffing, filling in with overtime, bringing in contract people when needed, and discipline.  It is all done by 2 women in one office.  The new thought of cultural change is to put that responsibility onto the floor where the residents are.  The person who is in charge there is empowered to make some decisions.  The new design brings the focus back up to the floor, to the residents, where they can be treated in a more humane manner, have supervising, aides on the floor, and people to take care of needs.  She clearly stated that they do already provide wonderful care, but she feels that they can do it better by changing the management structures, education and training the existing staff, and providing the staff the tools that they need.  Not all position are vacant today; some of it will be done through attrition.

Mr. Stanczyk asked about the dollar cost of the changes.  Ms. Sprague replied that it will be cost neutral (she provided a handout (attachment 3).

Mr. Kraft asked how long it will take - Ms. Sprague said 2 - 3 years.  Mr. Kraft asked how much it will cost until then.  Mr. Mareane said that it is within the current personnel budget.  He feels it will be less than what is in the interim. There will be less costly LPNs in those positions.  Mr. Kraft asked how we pay for 6 director of nurses.   Ms. Sprague said that on the roster now there would have been supervisors; those positions have been vacant but funded, the difference in pay is about $2,000.

Mr. Farrell asked about the cost of transition; he would like to see the numbers; what is the sequence that will happen.  He asked for a direct comparison cost wise of the current personnel budget to the proposed budget plan, including fringes.

Mrs. Rapp expressed concern for control if there are different people on different floors making independent decisions.  Mrs. Sprague replied that there will still be a director of nursing, who will be the person who will run total policy.  Policy and procedure will still come out of "central office", within that office there will be 2 assistant directors of nursing - one in charge of operations; one in charge of education and training.

Mr. Ryan asked if there is a nursing home template available on how nursing homes can run more efficiently, and how this plan factors in.  Dr. Dennison did a lot of research on Van Duyn over the last 6 months.  Ms. Sprague said that the process involves looking at the acuity of the patients on the floors.  At Van Duyn people are scattered throughout the building.  Dr. Dennison stated that he has an interactive model that calculates the amount of staff needed for every single patient.  It will be used on a regular basis, testing the staffing distribution within the facility over time.  Also have broken up the facility into 5 neighborhoods.  Van Duyn is a very large nursing home to manage, 526 beds.  Facilities of this size are not being built any more.  Nursing homes across the country are averaging 120 - 150 beds.  The desire is to break Van Duyn up into several 100-bed nursing homes.  Over time, the goal would be to differentiate the neighborhoods; i.e. have one floor which are 40 - 45 young adults which is a very different population of people.  They have a different type of mealtime, social time, etc, from the dementia patients.  This is an effort to move the facilities to a more community-like environment.  The fundamental change is a shift from LPNs to RNS.  Transition costs goes up when moving from lower skill levels to higher level skills, but less is spent on overtime.  Fallouts of the neighborhood movement program are higher staff attendance, lower absenteeism, and reduction in overtime.  Mr. Ryan asked about the software package.  Dr. Dennison said that he developed an excel model; standards are set by NYS Nursing Home Staff Standards, and have been used in other facilities.  

Mr. Ryan asked about any capital expenses.  Dr. Dennison said that they have not put any capital investments in this; change in staffing is not predicated on them.  However, there are some issues--one is the dietary system.  One goal would be a decentralized dietary service.  The optimal system would be to have a small service kitchen in each neighborhood.  Mr. Ryan said that there are members of the community that would like to see this facility go private.  He refererenced the Berger Commission--taxpayers are out there subsidizing this; which is supposed to go away in 2010. This is now lumping some costs in there.  Dr. Dennison said that this step does not require Berger changes.  This step is an essential step in the direction of managing the nursing care according to current standards and patient's preferences.  Something will have to be done with the dietary system regardless of whether this staffing change is done or not.

Mrs. Sprague said that there are some things that need to be done whether or not this staffing change happens - the kitchen, the elevators, telephones, etc.  Money has not been put into some areas over the years.  Mr. Ryan asked to be provided with a must list and a wish list.

Mrs. Baker said this makes sense and is cost neutral.  It is not only a quality of care improvement, but a quality for the employees.  She asked how the staff and unions are receiving it.  Mrs. Sprague said at this point they are 100% behind it. The NYSNA union brought this to her attention that there are serious problems there.  Mrs. Baker asked about movements to creatively help LPNs move to RNs.

A motion was made by Mrs. Baker, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.

Mr. Farrell asked how quality of care is measured, and asked what the benchmark is.  Mrs. Sprague said she has staff that do quality indicators; have specific things that they looked at.  In addition the State comes in yearly to look at entire facility and look a number of things; and set a standard.  Internally they do a mock survey and do a corrective action plan in-house.  She will provide some of the measures that are looked at.  Mr. Farrell asked what defines success; wants to see a goal; suggested it come back to committee.

Mr. Corbett complimented the Van Duyn Staff in that best management practices were exercised; worked as a team with all bargaining units.  Chairman Meyer encouraged members to direct concerns or questions to Mr. Corbett, so that they can be discussed at the Van Duyn Task Force meetings.

AYES:  7 (Baker, Corbett, Ryan, Stanczyk, Farrell, Meyer, Kraft, Rapp)  NOES:  0; ABSTAINING:  (Kraft)

5.   BOARD OF ELECTIONS:  Ms. Kiggins, Commissioner

a.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept State grant funds from NYS for Voting Access for individuals with disabilities and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts ($131,517)

The feds have give the state two pots of money, and the state has come up with a third pot of money.  Two pots of money are to make the polling place accessible to people with disabilities.  The other is for training for voters, inspectors, BOE staff on a voting system.  Chairman Meyer said he would like a breakdown on how it will be spent.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Ryan to approve this item.

Nothing can be done with the training money until they have a voting system.  Regarding the polling place accessibility, they have put it in a grant which has not been approved by the state; $131,000 federal money  came to state for the purpose of making polling places accessible.  It is probably more than needed for accessibility. 

Mr. Kraft asked if there is anything budgeted for currently that these monies could be used for.  Ms. Kiggins said that some of the items are in the current budget; the money probably won't be spent this year so it will be moved into a grant account.  Mr. Mareane said that the revenue has been budgeted in 2007, as have the expenses.  Mr. Kraft said that no money was saved in the regular budget because this money was budgeted anyway.  Ms. Kiggins said that they were given this much money; don't know if they will need to spend it all.  They are finding other things that they need; it is good until the end of 2008 and other issues may arise.

Chairman Meyer said that there is not a definite plan for use of the money; Ms. Kiggins said there is a plan for a portion of it.  Chairman Meyer invited Ms. Kiggins to come back and speak to the committee.  Ms. Kiggins said that they don't know what the state will approve or what system they will have yet. 

Out of Room:  1 (Farrell); Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept an allocation of federal grant funds from NYS for voting access for individuals with disabilities and authorizing the County Executive ($63,183)

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mr. Kraft to approve this item.  Out of room:  1 (Farrell), passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

c.   Amending the 2007 County Budget to accept an allocation of federal grant funds from NYS for Voter Education and poll worker training and authorizing the County Executive to enter into contracts

Federal money for training and education; some money will be spent this year.  The training for inspectors now is inadequate; do not have the resources.  They would like to buy projectors, laptops, and screens to do PowerPoint presentations.  Would like to hire people to do demos, send notices to voters, and information pieces to voters, which won' happen until there is a voting system.  It is all in the budget; if not expended this year it will go into the grant account.  It requires a 5% match.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mrs. Rapp to approve this item.  Out of room: 1 (Farrell).  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman Meyer asked the department to come back in two months with a detailed plan.

6.   FINANCE:  Karen Carney, Director

a. Approving and directing the correction of errors on tax bills

Mr. Corbett asked about the Geddes item.  Ms. Carney explained that it was a result of a data entry error.

A motion was made by Mr. Stanczyk, seconded by Mrs. Baker to approve this item. 

Some are calculations of the county sanitary usage by WEP, that were incorrect.  Mr. Kraft asked if this is money that the county is now short.  Ms. Carney said that it is.  Most of this is money that WEP will not collect on drainage charges.  Mr. Mareane said that when they budget, there is a certain amount assumed for uncollected fees.  Mr. Kraft asked to be provided with how much WEP would not be collecting; is there enough to cover it in other accounts.  Mr. Colon said that there is enough.

Out or room :  2 (Farrell, Stanczyk); Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


a. Confirming appointment of Mr. Robert Leslie to the CNY Works Board of Directors

A motion was made by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Corbett to approve this item.  Out of room:  2 (Farrell, Stanczyk); Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

b. Confirming appointments to the Onondaga County Fire Advisory Board (Ms. Mott, Mr. MacLachlan)

A motion was made by Mr. Kraft, seconded by Mr. Meyer to approve this item.  Out of room:  2 (Farrell, Stanczyk); Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.


a. Settlement of Claims

Mr. Corbett made motion to enter into executive session to discuss the following two cases:

1.   Ronnie Goodwin, Jr., an infant over the age of 14 years by his mother and natural guardian, Sonya Goodwin and Sonya Goodwin versus the County of Onondaga of the State of New York, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office Department and Police Officer "John Doe", whose name being fictitious and presently unknown.

2.   Leon Koons, as Administrator of the Estate of Chelsea Koons and as Parent and Natural Guardian of Amanda Koons and Rachel Koons, versus City of Syracuse and County of Onondaga

The motion was seconded by Chairman Meyer.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

A motion was made to exit regular executive session and enter regular session; seconded by Mr. Ryan.  Passed unanimously.  MOTION CARRIED.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Onondaga County Legislature