ASTORIA - here are the highlights of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners meeting April 11:

Volunteers honored

The board recognized the hundreds of volunteers who donate time to the county each year, and gave out awards to the top volunteers of 2011.

Honorees were:

· Individual Volunteer of the Year – Linda Dygert

· Outstanding Advisory Board Member – Bruce Francis (Planning Commission)

· Outstanding Volunteer Group – Amateue Radio Emergency Services (ARES)

· Outstanding Individuals Within a Group – Tate Dellelo/Adopt-A-Road; Dave Rouse/Reserve Deputy Sheriff, Clatsop County Search and Rescue and High-Angle Rescue teams; Mark Seavey/CADY mentoring program

Health initiative discussed

The board heard a presentation from County Manager Duane Cole, Public Health Director Margo Lalich and others on the Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) program now under development at the direction of the Oregon Legislature.

The CCO initiative is designed to provide Medicare and Medicaid recipients coordinated care options designed to reduce costly critical care visits and ultimately improve health and reduce health care costs.

Two entities – CareOregon and Greater Oregon Health Benefits Inc., have expressed interest in creating a CCO covering Clatsop County and neighboring counties.

The county is engaged in the process with local healthcare providers, the commissioners heard, and were told that in the near future the board may be asked to approve a letter commenting on the proposed CCO.

Comment letter sent

The board voted to direct staff to draft a letter to the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) regarding a request by represented employees of the Clatsop County Parole and Probation Division to join a different union.

The six Parole and Probation staff have sought approval to leave the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and join the Federation of Parole and Probation Officers (FOPPO). The Parole and Probation personnel are currently represented by AFSCME Local 2746, which also represents Sheriff’s Office employees.

The letter will request that the ERB conduct a hearing on the Parole and Probation staff request. Increasing the number of bargaining units with whom the county must bargain would add to the cost and complexity of negotiating labor contracts.

Unionized county employees are currently represented by four bargaining units: Sheriff/Parole and Probation; Courthouse/Roads; District Attorney’s Office; and Nurses. The Sheriff, Courthouse and District Attorney units are all represented by AFSCME; the nurses unit is represented by the Oregon Nurses Association.

The county was set to begin negotiations this month with the sheriff’s office bargaining unit on a new contract. Those talks will be postponed until the ERB’s decision on the Parole and Probation request.

Committee appointment

The board appointed Linda Eyerman to the Southwest Coastal Citizens Advisory Committee.