Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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County: No recommendation for District 6 seat

Auditors Clifton and Gunderson secured for next round

New tower to test winds approved

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[February 18, 2009]  At the request of Terry Carlton, board chairman, the Logan County Board went into executive session during its adjourned meeting Tuesday evening to discuss a possible appointment to the District 6 seat. The board spent nearly an hour behind closed doors discussing one or more potential candidates. When the meeting reconvened, Carlton announced that there was no recommendation for the appointment. "We'll do that at a different time," he said.

The seat was vacated on Dec. 1, 2008, with two years remaining, when Michael McIntosh moved to the state's attorney position. The manner of choosing a replacement is for the county board chairman to make a recommendation for appointment, and then the board must approve that person with a majority vote.

This was the third attempt the chairman has made to find someone the board would approve to seat in that position.

On other matters:

Finance chairman Chuck Ruben recommended accepting a three-year proposal from Clifton Gunderson for the county's audit work.

Pat O'Neill opposed accepting the proposal. He said that to be fiscally responsible, the board needs to go out for proposals and bids on everything.

Terry Werth said that there is no requirement to bid out on professional services.

Ruben explained several aspects of his recommendation for this firm:

  • This is the last year of a three-year contract with Clifton Gunderson.

  • They now have experience that will lessen the hourly time that is involved in the audit process, which would lower the costs from what they would be in going to someone new.

  • They have earned the trust of the county officials who work with them.

  • Their prior work has been superb. They've done what it took to help the county in a number of ways.

  • There was a change in the software this year that made the work hard and will continue to make next year's audit more complicated until everything gets worked out. They are familiar with these issues.

  • The auditors for the county when Ruben came on the board had been in place for 20 years. Ruben said there were many examples in working with Sikich Gardner when he could see the benefit of their knowledge of the county's auditing history and their experience in working with the county. Clifton Gunderson is now building that same base.

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Carlton agreed, saying, "I think that their offer is real solid." He commented:

  • The biggest positive that they have is that they know our people.

  • Our people know them.

  • They know our methodology.

  • Knowing the systems can really help cut economics.

Board member John Stewart launched a side discussion comparing the question of whether to go out for bids for the audit to the insurance committee's recent decision and the board's approval to accept proposals for health insurance.

He emphasized the value of placing trust in people (the insurance consultants and insurance provider) to know our system and the county employees' needs.

He objected to the imbalance in the board's decision-making. "For one thing you guys are willing to go out for proposals on, but for another thing you aren't," he said. "So, I'm not understanding. One aspect is that you trust the people you are working with and they know the system; well, so does insurance. Insurance is the same thing." He believed in respect for the same people. "There is no difference whatsoever, except for the health of the employees," he said.

Jan Schumacher responded that there might be the dollar difference.

The board agreed unanimously, 11-0, to accept Clifton Gunderson's proposal.

The board approved a conditional use permit request from Horizon Wind Energy to put up a permanent meteorological test tower in an ag district. The tower is part of Rail Splitter Wind Farm and would be located approximately at the northeast corner of 2600 N and 1050 E.


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