July 21, 2016, Work Session Minutes

JULY 21, 2016 – 6:00 PM


The meeting was called to order by Mayor Williamson at 6:07 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

Council Members Bruce Williamson, Mayor; Shirley Bren; Gary Hughes; Megan Pavot;
Present: and Pamela Horton.

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Wendy Lewin, City Clerk; Nancy Beck, City Attorney; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.

Others Present: Mike Mason, resident; Jerry Rockvam, resident, Catherine Kane Palen, resident.

a. Paul Christensen, Greg Stang, and Dallas Roggeman from PeopleService will be in attendance to give some more background and to answer questions from the council. Included for review are the following documents:
i. Summary breakdown of proposals for public works
ii. PeopleService proposal
iii. PeopleService draft agreement
iv. PeopleService example monthly report
v. Orono proposal

City Administrator Tolsma presented an overview of the three options before the City Council for public works and utilities services:
• Agreement with PeopleService for all public works services
• Agreement with the City of Orono for water and sewer services only
• Hiring a City of Spring Park employee for all public works services

City Administrator Tolsma stated that he reached out to the City of Orono regarding their proposal and attending tonight’s work session. He stated that someone was going to call in advance if an Orono representative would be presenting tonight and he never received a call so he believes they will not be attending tonight’s work session.

Mr. Christensen stated that the proposal from PeopleService was based off the former Public Works Superintendent’s job description.

Council Member Pavot questioned when PeopleService would need to use contractors for certain services.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the City relies on contractors for “heavy lifting” items like street sweeping and snow plowing and would continue to do so.

Council Member Bren asked if the agreement would also include maintenance at City Hall.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the agreement cannot list every possible scenario but PeopleService understands that there are some unwritten tasks that the former Public Works Superintendent was responsible for and that were within the scope of his own job description so those items would be included with this agreement.

Mr. Stang stated that if the former Public Works Superintendent did something that was outside of the scope of his own job description (e.g. fixing a resident’s toilet while there to read the water meter) then those items would not be included in the agreement so that PeopleService and/or the City of Spring Park are not exposed to liability issues.

Mayor Williamson questioned if PeopleService is expecting to change any of the procedures that they have seen thus far while working in Spring Park.

Mr. Christensen responded that part of the startup procedure would include an inventory and review of all processes and procedures so they will have a better idea of any potential changes or recommendations that need to be made based on PeopleService standards as well as LMCIT requirements.

Council Member Pavot questioned the process if it the City of Spring Park maintains higher standards than PeopleService standards and/or LMCIT requirements.

Mr. Christenson responded that if there is a difference in standards that the higher standard is what would be maintained.

Mike Mason, 3950 Del Otero Avenue, asked if PeopleService is familiar with the water filtration system being installed and Mr. Christensen confirmed that they are familiar with aeration systems.

Council Member Bren stated that she contacted four cities that contract with PeopleService. She heard nothing but positive remarks and those cities were very impressed with the service they receive. She continued that she contacted one city that has contracted with PeopleService since 1992 and they have never had one complaint.

Catherine Kane Palen, 4352 West Arm Road, questioned how many employees and specialists PeopleService employs.

Mr. Christensen responded that they have approximately 150 employees and there are many specialists available for troubleshooting.

Mrs. Palen stated that those numbers have relevance since there are several people that have knowledge instead of one person.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that when the former Public Works Superintendent left he took 30 years of knowledge with him. With PeopleService there are many knowledgeable people so there will always be someone to cover vacations, sick time, etc.

Mr. Christensen stated that with multiple specialists, you are not limited to one person’s knowledge, memory, limitations or experience. PeopleService acts as a network where improving processes is a fundamental part of the business.

Council Member Hughes inquired about location and accessibility of records.

Mr. Christensen responded that all information that is currently located in City Hall would remain and that any new information would be accessible at any time. He continued that the information is also backed up on their servers every 15 minutes.

City Administrator Tolsma stated the PeopleService has stressed to the City how diligent they are with their recordkeeping as a way to ascertain issues and concerns.

Council Member Horton asked about the procedures for notifying residents about hydrant flushing.

Mr. Christensen stated that notice should be published in the local newspaper and in the city newsletter.

Mayor Williamson asked about personnel coverage.
Mr. Christensen responded that PeopleService will be in Spring Park Monday through Friday and, as a general rule, Mr. Roggeman will start his days in Spring Park.

Council Member Hughes stated he wants the City of Orono to have another opportunity to meet with the City Council and also to discuss with them the content of tonight’s work session.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the City of Orono had the opportunity to submit a full public works proposal and/or a water and sewer services only proposal just like PeopleService and chose not to submit a full public works proposal.

Council Member Hughes responded that he believes the City of Orono should have the opportunity to definitely opt-out of a full public works proposal in writing.

City Administrator Tolsma explained that he approached PeopleService and the City of Orono in the same manner about potential proposals. He stated that the options presented are not “apples to apples” but that both PeopleService and the City of Orono had the opportunity to submit proposals for the services that they were comfortable providing. The City of Orono came back with a water and sewer services only proposal since they don’t see it as a business that they want to get into especially since they are short-staffed already. He believes the proposal they submitted was out of respect for the good relationship between our cities.

Mayor Williamson discussed the third option of hiring a Spring Park employee to provide full public works services. He continued that it is not highly practical but it is an option worth considering.

Mayor Williamson said that there won’t be any decisions tonight and encouraged Council Members to review the proposals and ask additional questions of staff if needed.

Council Member Bren stated that, while we are not voting tonight, the proposals and information that has been presented tonight leads her to believe that PeopleService would be the best option. PeopleService have a fully qualified and knowledgeable staff that would provide continuity of service.

Council Member Pavot agreed with Council Member Bren. She stated that she doesn’t believe the City of Orono really wants this agreement. Also, she has wanted redundancy in the Public Works Superintendent position for quite awhile and PeopleService would provide that security.

Council Member Hughes said he has checked on PeopleService also and has heard good things. He is impressed with their record keeping and use of diagnostics.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that working with PeopleService has been like a month-long “interview” process for hiring a City employee but instead of hiring one person the City has received an entire company.




The meeting was adjourned by unanimous consent at 8:13 p.m.

Date Approved: August 1, 2016

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator