The meeting was called to order at 1:15 p.m. in the Commission Chambers
in the Churchill County Administrative Complex by Commissioner Pearce.
LYNN PEARCE, Telco Commissioner
OWEN WASHBURN, Commissioner
NORM FREY, Commissioner
ROBERT ADAMS, General Manager, CC Communications
LORRIE FORD, Accounting Manager, CC Communications
DALE WHITE. Customer Service Manager, CC Communications
GARY VESSELS, Outside Plant Manger, (sic) CC Communications
MICHAEL HARMON, Cellular Manager. CC Communications
MARK FEEST, General Counsel, CC Communications
PATTI BROWN, Administrative Assistant, CC Communications
DAVE TILLEY, Broadband Supervisor, CC communications
WELDON McCARRELL, Public
RUSTY JARDINE, Civil Attorney, Churchill County
WAYNE PUSTOVRH, Cable Splicer, CC Communications
GARY TRENTELMAN, CO Technician/Switch, CC Communications
JAY LINGENFELTER, Cable Splicer/CC Communications
PETULA VIERRA, CWA Local 9413
EMILY BENWAY, CWA Local 9413
JIM PIERCE, CWA Local 9413
JOSH JOHNSON, Reporter LVN (Lahontan Valley News)
WIlLIAM ROBERTS, Public
BILL SHEPARD, Public
LAURA SHEPARD, Public
SUE FREY, Public
CALL TO ORDER
Commissioner Pearce asked if the agenda was posted in accordance with
N.R.S. Patti Brown advised that it was.
Public Comment from Churchill County Citizen, Weldon McCarrell.
Good afternoon Commissioners my name is Weldon McCarrell. I'm a taxpayer
in Churchill County. I come before you today with the concern of taxpayers
and citizens of Churchill County about some news that I heard on the area
radio stations. I'm relatively sure that you are
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aware of some of the infomercials that are being played
on the area radio stations. They accuse management personnel of misusing
CC Communications company credit cards. This same infomercial also listed
the items of abuse on the Nevada Labor Site. Mr. Pearce, I understand
that this would come under your preview (sic) therefore I will direct
this to you sir. I am also directing it to the commissioners as a whole.
Being a concerned tax payer I followed the lead and checked what the infomercials
were about. where they got their information. I contacted them and was
totally appalled at the information that they provided and showed me.
Charges like Plumbjack. Blue Ribbon Meats and Fresco out of Texas. I checked
the county ordinance specifying the credit card usage and in part states
that each county employee who is issued a credit card may use thc credit
card to purchase good and services for the county and no personal transactions
are allowed. As you can see on the chart up here, (Mr. McCarrell referred
to the chart that he provided for the meeting) there is a large list of
charges here, this is just but a sample because we don't want to indulge
every charge that there is on here.
The total of charges on the list comes to $5,659.28. As I understand CC
Communications this is a tax free organization. therefore the county lost
$396.15 by paying taxes by using credit cards versus purchase orders.
While paying for lunches promotes business is understood, some of these
charges are excessive. As I pointed out employee "B" (from his
chart) has a $152.21 on one charge and on the same day they turned right
around with a $416.09 charge again. Looking at the information that was
provided to me this was for a Rotary Christmas Party not CC Communications.
Many of these charges occurred in Fallon which is good for the local economy
and some of these charges occurred in area towns and on the weekend as
an example of the employee "C" there were charges to Wal-Mart
and Comp USA. How we arc doing business on the weekend with the cards
I don't know.
(Mr. McCarrell turned the poster over that he was displaying).
On this chart.
there are other charges besides lunches; they total $16.908.79 use of
the credit cards. With an approximate cost of $1,182.62 cents in taxes.
Again if we are tax free why are
we paying taxes by using credit cards versus purchase orders?
Further examinations will show you that some of these charges
were for people or usage other than the card holder. You will also see
an example of booking flights outside of 15 days which is a normal area
and to avoid paying taxes a purchase order should go through the purchasing
department and properly documented instead of using credit cards especially
if they are two or three months in advance.
You will see other examples of tools, equipment, software,
recreation fees and service fees for these cards. Tools and equipment
and software are county property and could not find any indication of
property being inventoried on these items. Further when it comes to software,
CC Communications IT Department should purchase this and control its development.
We don't want to contaminate CC Communications internet access or internal
You also see charges for a help wanted ad, this also should have been
on a purchase order instead of a credit card to avoid taxes again. As
he stated earlier this is a short list and there are other things. Now
sir, if this is a CC Communications credit card to be used for
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county business. could you explain some of these purchases
and as a credit card why is the county accruing over limit fees and late
charges which the tax payers have to pay? If this is not a Churchill County
credit card why is Churchill County lending its good name to the individuals
that have accrued these fees and as a result are these fees reflecting
the credit status of Churchill County?
Some of the questions I have are: Are you aware of these expenditures?
Have these been approved by the commission and are these expenditures
part of public record? Are these lunches and other items part of the managers
and supervisors compensation package and are they declared as income on
their W2 form? And if they are working at this time are they also being
As a taxpayer it seems very abusive and a violation of public
trust and feel there that should bc an immediate inquiry and if there
is one questionable charge that you owe the taxpayers an independent external
audit and the results be made public. I further feel, based on the information
that I have, there should be check and balance systems for CC Communications
credit cards, to with (sic) no manager can approve the monthly purchases
of another manager but instead be approved by the General Manager who
needs to know what is happening with company assets. The General Manager's
purchases should be approved by you Mr. Pearce.
Now sir, I submitted a letter to Mrs. Brown last Friday on January 27,
2006 for this item to be placed on an action list. After listening to
Mr. Feest fine argument that this can be done as a public comment and
that the commissioners can take action on it at anytime. I'm sure that
Mr. Feest who is not only a lawyer for CC Communications, but is also
an officer of the court would not have tried to mislead me in what he
was stating and that the commissioners can take action on this matter.
Mr. Feest interrupted
Mr. McCarrell informing him to be careful of what you say and you are
on record and being recorded and to be careful of what you say.
responded with thank you sir.
Mr. McCarrell proceeded, that Mr. Pearce and the Commissioners should
take action without any hesitation on this. At this time sir I have finished
my presentation and if you any questions for him please.
Commissioner Pearce responded that he had no questions.
Mr. Feest had a comment. As the commissioners know when something is on
a public comment there is no action taken. What was told to the gentleman
is that the business of the commissioners takes place at the County Commissioners
Meeting at the phone company meeting and that means when staff needs directive
from the commission or staff needs approval or if the Commissioners requested
something put on the agenda. Now that he has made his public comment there
is opportunity for this to come back. The Commissioners can ask action
by the staff to either investigate it to bring it back on the agenda as
an agenda item. Mr. Feest asked Mr. McCarrell what was shown to you from
the union? Mr. McCarrell presented Mr. Feest with some paperwork. Mr.
McCarrell understood Mr. Feest's concern and thanked him for his advice
on that and it seems that they have a difference of opinion of interpretation
and that's all that he can say because
[END OF PAGE 3]
he misunderstood, Mr. Feest if that is what you were trying
to indicate to me on the telephone.
Commissioner Frey thanked Mr. McCarrell for taking time out of his day
to bring his concerns to the board. He would also like copies of what
was on the sample board that Mr. McCarrell provided for his presentation
since he is unable to read it from where he was sitting. Also, Commissioner
Frey asked Mr. McCarrell if when he inquired about the credit card usage,
and did he request information from CC Communications?
Mr. McCarrell responded that he did not, that he followed
the ads while he was listening to the radio. This particular station makes
some weird things, so I didn't really pay any attention to it. I just
looked at it as being another one of their junkets that they were promoting
and everything and I caught the end of it. The next time I heard the ad
that caused me to take a look and I started investigating then. No, I
have not requested any information from CC Communications. I am only basing
this information on what I obtained by asking to see what they were making
their charges from. I'm assuming that this information must have come
from CC Communications and public records because it
looked official to me.
Commissioner Frey responded that the records are audited every year and
that should be obtainable from CC Communications which is the source and
would appreciate him using that source in the future.
Commissioner Washburn moved to approve the agenda as posted. Commissioner
Frey seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Commissioner Frey moved to approve the minutes of the January 5, 2006
minutes with a correction of those that had attended the meeting. Don
Mello was in attendance and should be added to the attendance list. Commissioner
Washburn seconded the motion. Motion carried.
1:15 p.m. Consideration and Possible Action regarding CWA EVP Petula Vierra
request for meeting with Commissioners and Employees.
Ms. Vierra presented and handed out a petition to the Commissioners. Ms.
Vierra proceeded, (")My name is Petula Vierra, Executive Vice President
of CW A Local 9413. I am here today at the request of our membership,
who work at CC Communications and who are also citizens of this community.
1 have a petition from our members to present to you (which has been presented
to the commissioners) whereby the employees that signed this petition
are requesting a public meeting with you. As you know these employees
are at work during the normal scheduled meetings. They are requesting
a special public meeting to discuss items of concern. Let me read their
statement. 'Dear Churchill County Commissioners, we are petitioning you
as employees of the telephone
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petition asks for a special meeting of the commission to discuss ongoing
problems at the telephone company, which continue to destroy employee
morale. The situation has become critical as it not only affects
employees but also affects citizens, customers and taxpayers of Churchill
County. As employees we are not able to attend regularly scheduled commission
meetings because they are held during working hours. This is not the first
time that telephone employees have requested a meeting with the commission.
Unfortunately, our earlier request to meet independently as employees
was ignored. We now ask for the meeting through our labor union, the Communications
Workers of America. On behalf of the employees who have signed this petition,
we ask that you schedule an evening meeting within the next two weeks
so that we might be able to attend and make you aware of our concerns.
We look forward to this meeting with our elected officials. Thank you.'"
Commissioner Pearce asked if there were any comments
Mark Feest had some questions. He felt that there were some legal issues
involved here. In your letter here it states that "our earlier request
to meet independently as employees was ignored." What does "independently"
as employees mean? Ms. Vierra response was for the employees to meet with
the commissioners to discuss the issues.
Mr. Feest responded, that when you use the word independently and independently
to him means that someone is excluded, who is excluded when you are independent?
Mr. Feest is not sure that independently has any meaning there then. He
just wants to clarify what is being asked, because previously in fact
they did request to meet independently and by independently they meant
by without management there. To Mr. Feest just commonly the word independently
states that someone is excluded and he wants to know if that is what is
Ms. Vierra responded, that the employees have concerns that they would
like to discuss as craft personnel with the commissioners.
Mr. Feest responded, in a normal public meeting just scheduled at an hour
later in the day.
Ms. Vierra responded that that was correct.
Mr. Feest provided one piece of advice to the commissioners. What is being
asked here is a meeting based on the status of the employees as citizens.
His concern is, that if you work at SMI Joist or if you work out at the
base or work anywhere else in town its quite likely that you would miss
meetings that are scheduled during the day and he just wanted the commission
to understand that they might be opening themselves up to favoritism charges
here, if they make special meetings for these employees based on their
status as residents. If you base it on the status of employees you are
culling out the designated bargaining team which is the management. If
you're making a request based on the fact that they are residents that
request is no different than anybody else in this town that works during
the day which opens the commission up to multiple requests for evening
meetings for anyone just be aware of that when you are making your decision.
Commissioner Frey asked Mr. Feest if a meeting such as this were to occur
and we as a public body under NRS 241 cannot exclude anyone, is that correct?
Mr. Feest responded
[END OF PAGE 5]
that that was correct. (If you have a public meeting at a different time
schedule anybody would be able to come to that meeting).
Commissioner Frey commented that a lot of these people that work for CC
Communications are people we grew up with and they are our friends. We
want to do right by them. There are rules we must play by and I have explained
this to them and I'm concerned that you as a union member come to us and
ask us. So that is all I am going to say.
Ms. Vierra responded that she did not come to you as a union member; I
came here to represent the members of my local.
Commissioner Washburn asked legal counsel Mr. Feest, what would this do
to the status of the union labor negotiations that are ongoing if we hold
Mr. Feest said that there is a designated bargaining team on both sides
and I think bargaining has to remain as going through those designated
representatives. As residents they do have the right to appear and make
public comment. That does not give them the right to bargain, end-run
bargaining as it is referred to under the guise of public comment. However,
they do have the right to make public comment on issues that relate to
them as a citizen, residents and employees.
Ms. Vierra commented that their intent was not with anything regarding
bargaining. Our intent was to come to you to represent our members that
are asking for a public hearing.
Mr. Feest said inherently there is some tension there, because if you
are talking about and as we are reminded frequently wages. benefits and
working conditions, these are bargainable items.
Ms. Vierra corrected Mr. Feest that it is wages, hours and working conditions
that are bargainable items and he agreed.
Mr. Feest continued these are bargainable issues, so there is a limit
upon public comment when a negotiation is ongoing and public employees
come to a public meeting. It's not wide open to end-run negotiating.
Ms. Vierra commented that she did not think that the intent of the members
is to discuss those issues.
Commissioner Pearce asked Ms. Vierra are you sure that is not there
(sic) intent or you know for sure that they are not going to discuss those
Ms. Vierra responded that is not their intent.
Commissioner Frey asked Counsel Mr. Feest if we were to discuss morale,
as the letter in our packet which (Ms. Vierra) sent this request on union
letterhead, I assume it was a request through the union and we address
issues of morale that gets into working conditions, is that correct?
Mr. Feest suggested that if you are open to an evening meeting or at
the time that they come at a daytime meeting that we have to address each
issue as they are brought up. It's difficult to really opine on something
when you don't know what they are going to say. If morale is low because
of the working conditions or the wages, then you are getting into areas
of bargaining. I don't know what is meant by morale, what the topic is
there with specificity.
Commissioner Pearce commented that I believe that when you hire any professional
advice, be it your doctor, your lawyer and you ignore the advice that
you are the one making the mistake. It appears to me that Mr. Feest has
advised us in its capacity that there are some problems with doing this.
I, too, was concerned about, if you will,
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opening the door to, if not special interest groups and
individual groups who we would have to start accommodating by moving meetings
here and there. We have a variety of meetings throughout the day, through
out the month and people attend. People attend by taking vacation time
or they attend on their lunch break and they attend these meetings. I'm
concerned we don't run afoul of any labor relation issues. I think the
ongoing contract talks to me make it difficult to have the kind of meeting
that is envisioned. Again the issue of setting precedence of moving the
meetings all over the place really concerns me.
Mr. Feest commented that there are three meetings a month. There was one
this morning which is the county's general commission meeting, one at
this time each month and then there is another general county commission
meeting and it should be clear that members of the public and the employees
are free to come to any of those meetings. We don't want to lead anyone
to the impression that the commission won't allow the employees to come
to the meetings to talk, because there are three of the meetings available
and there is public comment at all of them.
Ms. Vierra commented that as you know those employees are
at work and most know it is very difficult to take lime off work during
Commissioner Frey commented that he
doesn't have a problem coming in on an off time but, my problem is that
it's right in the middle of a negotiation over the collective bargaining
agreement. I don't feel it is appropriate and
I'm becoming somewhat offended by the continuous request. The previous
request (sic) were not ignored and I have spoken to a couple of people
when they have handed me petitions in the past and said that we can't
do this when we are in the middle of negotiations, it's just the way the
world works. And so that is my opposition to this request.
Commissioner Frey moved to deny the request for a special meeting with
the CC Communications employees. Commissioner Washburn seconded the motion.
Item #1 Dale White CC Communications. Consideration
and Possible Action regarding Telco 4th Quarter 2005 Write Offs in the
amount of $18,991.73. We are pleased with our collection record for the
4th quarter, it's much better than previous quarters and we are trying
to stay on top of it and collect sooner rather than later. We are in such
a competitive environment that we cannot afford to carry a lot of long
term payment arrangements with customers, so we have to bc stricter with
our guidelines for quick payment and collections.
Commissioner Washburn moved to approve the 4th Quarter Telco Write Offs
in the amount of $18,991. 73. Commissioner Frey seconded the motion. Motion
[END OF PAGE 7]
Item #2 Dale White. CC Communications.
Consideration and Possible Action regarding Wireless 4th Quarter 2005
Write Offs in the amount of $16,592.88. We are a little bit better than
our quarterly average, but not as good as the Telco side of it, but we
are still working on it.
Commissioner Frey moved to approve the 4th Quarter Wireless Write Offs
in the amount of $16,592.88. Commissioner Washburn seconded the motion.
CONSENT ITEMS (action items generally not requiring discussion
or explanation) Notification of Purchases made Pursuant to N.R.S. 332.12,
N.R.S 333.115 or N.R.S. 332.146
1. The Warehouse has several pieces
of old and obsolete equipment that can no longer be used that is presently
stored at the Southend Warehouse and Yard and we would like to dispose
of the equipment. There are eight (8) BN I 280W Pay Station Boothettes,
five (5) 400DAX-R 1 Pay Station Boothettes, two (2) Helmet Boothettes,
twelve (12) Full Pay Station Booths and eleven (11) ITT Centurion Pay
Commissioner Washburn moved to approve the Consent Items.
Commissioner Frey seconded motion. Motion carried.
GENERAL MANAGER'S REPORT
Bob Adams, CC Communications. I have reported to the board prior to this
meeting that there have been at least four break-ins at the 879 South
Maine Street location in the last two to three weeks. This is of concern
to us as some company vehicles have been damaged as a result of these
incidents. The sheriff's Office has been notified and an investigation
is still ongoing. We have installed a couple of surveillance cameras in
the last couple of days in some locations that are out of the way. We
did this as a stop-gap measure because when you have four break-ins in
a short period of lime we felt we needed to do something. We have other
cameras on order so we can cover the entire location, but again when vehicles
have been damaged and fences cut, we felt we had to do something. We didn't
know if it was an isolated incident which we thought it was at first but
four incidents in 2 weeks is disturbing to us.
The employee appreciation dinner is scheduled for March 17, 2006. Invitations
are being mailed to the employees and retirees. Lattin Farms will cater
the event and I invite all those who can attend this dinner.
Commissioner Pearce asked how we are doing in consolidation of the two
bills. Are we getting requests in now to begin merging everything into
Mr. Adams responded that we are trying to do that in a phased in approach
because it does takes a significant effort to do it. Mine has been done
and it works fine. We will continue to do that. We are still working on
some upgrades and refinements to the billing system. That will he an
[END OF PAGE 8]
ongoing issue for the next six to nine months. The people that do have
it really like it and we are going to make that available to everyone
who has dual bills.
Commissioner Pearce wanted to know if the pages and pages of detailed
calls can in the future be eliminated if it is requested.
Mr. White responded that at this particular time we don't have the capability
of suppressing the call detail. We are working towards another software
modification to suppress call detail in a couple of different areas. We
would like to have the option to have all the call detail so they can
receive their bill electronically so they can review it on line instead
of receiving a large paper bill. The second option would be to suppress
the detail if the call record rate is zero after discounts because we
give away minutes on different plans. There is no time and date when those
will be implemented; our best effort would be within 90 days. Also we
can combine bills and it is a lot of effort based on the financials between
one account and another. It's not a simple process, it is done by manually
disconnecting over here and reconnect it and make sure the provisioning
is fine, so we are doing it on a per request basis. We have not advertised
this to the public as yet because we want to get a more streamlined procedure
or software aid to help us do that. For a new customer that comes in the
door it is very easy to set up from scratch. It's just taking away the
old and putting on a new that presents difficulties.
Commissioner Washburn moved to go into closed session to discuss labor
negotiations pursuant to N.R.S. 288. Commissioner Frey seconded the motion.
The meeting was reconvened from closed session.
The next meeting will be March 2, 2006 at 1:15p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.
Robert G. Adams, General Manager
[END OF PAGE 9, END OF OFFICIAL MINUTES]
note: Four emphases have been added in red to the above text for the benefit
of those referencing this page from other sections where the highlighted
segments have been excerpted. These are official minutes recorded by staff,
not by Communications Workers Local 9413. Errors in the official text
are noted with the designation "(sic)". Some of the word blocks
have been divided into shorter paragraphs for ease of reading. ]]
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