Thesecond meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government was held on Wednesday, July 29, 2009, at 10:00 AM, in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Steve Riggs, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Damon Thayer, Co-Chair; Representative Steve Riggs, Co-Chair; Senators Julian M. Carroll, Carroll Gibson, Ernie Harris, Dan Kelly, Alice Forgy Kerr, Mike Reynolds, John Schickel, and Elizabeth Tori; Representatives Ron Crimm, Mike Denham, Ted Edmonds, Dennis Keene, Adam Koenig, Stan Lee, Tom McKee, Reginald Meeks, David Osborne, Arnold Simpson, Kevin Sinnette, Ancel Smith, Ken Upchurch, and Jim Wayne.
Guests: Representative Larry Clark, Speaker Pro Tem; Tony Wilder and Lynsey Womack, Department for Local Government; Jack Reckner, Kentucky Association of Fire Chiefs; Richard Moloney, Dawn Bellis, and George Mann, Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction; Jerry Carlton, Barbara Teague, James Cundy, Department for Libraries and Archives; Bill May, Kentucky County Clerks’ Association; Laurie Dudgeon, Administrative Office of the Courts; Richard Peddicord, State Fire Marshal’s Office; Shelley Hampton, Kentucky County Judge/Executives Association; J.D. Chaney and Bert May, Kentucky League of Cities; Ron Wolf, Louisville Metro Government; and Dan Walton, Labor Cabinet.
LRC Staff: Mark Mitchell, Joe Pinczewski-Lee, John Ryan, Kris Shera, Tom Dorman, Matt Niehaus, Tom Willis, and Cheryl Walters.
Upon the motion of Representative Meeks, seconded by Representative Edmonds, the minutes of the June 11, 2009 meeting were approved.
Representative Riggs recognized Senator Thayer for an announcement. Senator Thayer announced that the topic of the committee’s next meeting would be the fiscal management of the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Association of Counties. He added that representatives of those two groups would be invited to appear before the committee.
The first order of business was the review of Executive Order 2009-540, relating to the establishment of the Department for Local Government, and Executive Order 2009-543, relating to the establishment of the Department for Local Government Economic Development Fund program. Representative Riggs introduced Commissioner Tony Wilder of the Department for Local Government. Commissioner Wilder told the committee that Executive Order 2009-540 renames the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) to the Department for Local Government (DLG). He stated that the name Department for Local Government better reflects their mission and that local officials are more comfortable with that name. Commissioner Wilder noted that the executive order is just a name change and they are not reorganizing the department. Commissioner Wilder explained that Executive Order 2009-543 just transfers the multi-county Local Economic Development Fund program from the Economic Cabinet to the Department for Local Government.
Representative McKee moved, seconded by Representative Crimm, that the committee accept Executive Orders 2009-540 and 2009-543. The motion carried by voice vote.
The next order of business was the discussion of local government permanent records preservation. Representative Riggs told members that in light of the recent courthouse fire in Madison, Indiana, he felt the preservation of courthouse records was an issue of concern for the committee. A video presentation of a news article on the courthouse fire was shown. Representative Riggs then introduced Chief Jack Reckner, with the Kentucky Association of Fire Chiefs, to address the committee.
Chief Reckner told the committee that available space for records storage is in government buildings. He explained that there is an improved ability to pile higher and deeper due to improved indexing. Chief Reckner noted that old official records do not lose value and cannot be cycled out. He added that there is unlimited public access to those records.
Chief Reckner cited cases of fire in government buildings where records were destroyed. He then discussed issues to be considered for fire protection: (1) arrangement of fuel—open shelving, storage of records in cardboard boxes, height on storage, is it an open area concerns, and floor, shelf and/or box failure; (2) early detection; (3) sprinkler design and engineering; and (3) emergency plans--development, updates, and rehearsals.
Representative Riggs next introduced Mr. George Mann, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Building Codes Enforcement with the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction. Mr. Mann told the committee that the Kentucky Building Code addresses the preservation of local government records. He said that storage spaces are required to be protected by automatic sprinklers. Mr. Mann stated that fire prevention systems could be chemical as well. He noted that if storage exceeds 100 square feet, there must be a fire prevention system. Mr. Mann added that they get questions asking if the system can be removed over concerns of water damage. He said that there are no exceptions to this requirement. Mr. Mann continued to say that in a fire, the records would be damaged anyway. He mentioned that some local officials do not even know that the building code exists.
Representative Riggs commented that most people have a “Hollywood” understanding of how sprinklers work and that this is a wrong impression. He then asked if the building code requires that a certain fire prevention system be used. Mr. Mann replied that different storage systems require different sprinkler engineering, but inspection and maintenance are required.
Representative Crimm commented that he understood the need to retain paper, but if everything were on computer at least there would be a backup.
Representative Meeks asked if quick response heads were required for sprinkler systems in the building code. Mr. Mann replied yes, but the design is optional.
Representative Riggs asked what the failure rate was of the sprinkler systems. Chief Reckner said one in 16 million sprinkler heads is defective.
Representative Riggs next introduced Mr. Jerry Carlton, Public Records Branch Manager with the Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA). Mr. Carlton told the committee that there have been 107 courthouse disasters in Kentucky since 1887. He noted that there are different types of disasters besides fire, such as floods.
Mr. Carlton stated that KRS 171.410-.740 gives broad authority for the management of state and local government records to KDLA. He proceeded to explain that Kentucky’s Local Records Grant Program is the first program of its kind in the nation, and first to address local records issues with a statewide program. He added that the mandate of the program is to preserve and secure the archival records created and maintained by local government agencies. Mr. Carlton noted that the program also provides emergency response training. He mentioned that the program has been copied by many other states. Mr. Carlton stressed how important it was to ensure the continuance of the program and that all citizens must be made aware of the importance of local archival records. He pointed out that disaster costs are expensive and that 60% to 70% of all local records are permanent. Mr. Carlton concluded by saying that the program has been very successful in preserving Kentucky’s local public records, but the job will never be completed.
Senator Gibson asked if fees go to the area of protection. Mr. Carlton answered that the fees go directly to the local governments for protection of the records. He added that the fees do not cover construction.
Representative Koenig asked if anyone can apply for the grant program. Mr. Carlton replied that the program is open to all local public agencies.
Representative Meeks asked if the amount of the grants are determined by the General Assembly. Mr. Carlton said a portion of the amount is determined by the General Assembly.
Representative McKee provided anecdotal evidence and agreed that it is very important to preserve records.
Mr. Carlton mentioned that the flood damage sometimes contaminates records beyond repair and that people actually remove records from offices.
Representative Riggs next introduced Ms. Laurie Dudgeon, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Ms. Dudgeon told the committee that out of 137 courthouse facilities, 26 do not have fire protection systems. She noted protection built into the new facilities, while discussing the fact that the counties usually take over the old court facilities. Ms. Dudgeon further noted that there is a data backup system in Frankfort and files can be recreated if damaged or destroyed. She discussed the action of the AOC relating to records retention. Ms. Dudgeon stated that more space is needed for record retention. She said electronic case records or e-filing is available. Ms. Dudgeon added that they can store records for 20 years for the same cost as scanning the records.
Senator Gibson asked if the court system gets fees for the protection of records. Ms. Dudgeon replied that no money goes to the court system for the retention of records and that she was not sure if additional fees assessed for records retention would be the answer due to certain circumstances around their storage issues.
Representative Denham asked if all records are archived at KDLA. Ms. Dudgeon answered some stay but others are transported to Frankfort once they are closed.
Representative Meeks asked if e-filing is being used now. Ms. Dudgeon stated that several states are using e-filing but not all.
Representative Riggs next introduced Mr. Bill May, Executive Director of the Kentucky County Clerk’s Association. Mr. May told the committee that county clerks receive a fee for records preservation. He pointed out the importance of emergency and post emergency handling of records. Mr. May added that it is important for the clerks to have records management training. He noted that space and mold is an issue for records preservation. Mr. May further noted that most clerks microfilm their records and store them off-site. He stated that micro-filming and digitizing is not complete. Mr. May said that money from fees used for preservation has been diverted in the past because of budget issues. He concluded by saying that a fire in the Franklin County courthouse destroyed important records, and mentioned that Frankfort’s Paul Sawyier Library experienced one of the infrequent sprinkler malfunctions.
Representative Crimm asked what fees are charged for open records requests. Mr. May responded that for providing copies, a fee is allowed. Ms. Dudgeon agreed with Mr. May and added that no fees are provided by statute for staff time.
Representative Riggs next introduced Mr. Richard Peddicord, Assistant Director of the Division of Fire Prevention in the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Mr. Peddicord told the committee that there are three goals for fire safety in courthouses: (1) the reduction of property destruction; (2) the reduction of record destruction; and (3) the promotion of cost efficiencies. He noted that fire safety in courthouses should include maintenance, adding that “hot work” should not be allowed to be performed without following proper guidelines. Mr. Peddicord said hazards should be eliminated or reduced by removing debris and properly storing cleaning items, gas, and lawn mowers; He stated that there should be early detection, to include smoke alarms that would be heard in the middle of the night, monitoring service, and security service. Mr. Peddicord explained that fire safety in courthouses should include automatic suppression, which includes limited area sprinklers and chemical suppression. He added that there should be containment by having doors with automatic closers and that offer protection from heat and water.
Representative Riggs asked if there were any dedicated programs for local governments regarding fire safety. Mr. Peddicord said no, but his office would be happy to answer questions from anyone who called.
Senator Schickel commented that he would hate to see problems with sprinklers minimized.
The last item of business was review of Kentucky Administrative Regulations: 815 KAR 7:120 (Kentucky Building Code), 815 KAR 7:125 (Kentucky Residential Code), 815 KAR 10:060 (Kentucky standards of safety), 815 KAR 20:020 (Plumbing—parts or materials list), 815 KAR 20:060 (Plumbing—quality and weight of materials), 815 KAR 20:070 (Plumbing--fixtures), 815 KAR 20:071 (Plumbing—storage and installation of Schedule 40, ABS and PVC plastic pipe and fittings), 815 KAR 20:074 (Plumbing—installation standards for steel and wrought iron pipe), 815 KAR 20:079 (Repeal of 815 KAR 20:077, plumbing—storage and installation of aluminum soil, waste vent and storm water piping and fittings), 815 KAR 20:090 (Plumbing—soil, waste, and vent systems), 815 KAR 20:100 (Plumbing—joints and connections), 815 KAR 20:120 (Plumbing—water supply and distribution), 815 KAR 20:130 (Plumbing—house sewers and storm water piping; methods of installation), 815 KAR 20:170 (Plumbing—mobile home park waste systems and connections), and 815 KAR 20:195 (Plumbing—medical gas piping installations).
Representative Riggs introduced Ms. Dawn Bellis, General Counsel for the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction, and Mr. Mann, who addressed the committee previously, to answer any questions members may have about the regulations.
Representative Wayne commented that all home builders should abide by the codes.
Representative Denham asked if these regulations would hamper building in rural areas. Mr. Mann replied that the regulations would not hamper building but should improve it.
Representative Riggs stated that the LRC would be notified that the regulations had been reviewed.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.