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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes April 11th, 2017 #2133
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn. 45°
Approval of Minutes-
• Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the March 28th and April 4th, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Sheriff’s Department Update-
• Sheriff Troy Morton reported the jail population is: 181 total, comprised of 145 males and 36 females. There are 34 boarded out, 12 of those at Cumberland County Jail. The total number of inmates in pre-trial services are 55. Troy and Administrator Bill Collins shared a recent photo where the jail housed fourteen people in a six cell area. This consists of inmates who are either the most violent, possess mental illnesses, or have substance abuse issues. The Sheriff explained this is why he is persistent about increasing holding/observation and intake areas if the jail were to expand.
• Troy recently completed a census survey for the Center for Disease Control for State of Maine. The survey is intended to gather information from the jail on those inmates housed with mental illnesses.
• Sheriff Morton recently sat in on a conference call with DHHS, Riverview Psychiatric Center, and Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center. The call was in regards to a pilot project which involves transferring inmates with mental health concerns out of county jail into Psychiatric Centers. The plan is for Penobscot and Kennebec County to participate in the program. The Sheriff expressed frustration that he recently was asked to take an inmate back into the jail from Dorothea Dix due to the Center stating that they are too full. On the conference call the Center stated they have many beds available for inmates. The Sheriff feels they are only looking to admit low risk inmates who have with mental health needs.
• The Sheriff has been researching the inmate body scanning machine called SecurPASS. The machine performs full body scans using x-ray technology as an aid in preventing contraband from being snuck into jails. Sheriff noted the price of the machine had recently dropped considerably. Troy felt the benefits would be two-fold. It would ideally eliminate contraband from being concealed by inmates checked into the jail. Second, the machine would help prevent the relapse of inmates attempting to rehab from substances snuck into the jail. The Sheriff added that Congressman Bruce Poliquin reached out to him in finding federal grants that may help with the purchase. Commissioner Davis asked Troy if there would be any way the county could share the purchase with neighboring counties such as Piscataquis and Hancock, to possibly receive grant funding. Troy felt that was a good idea and a possibility. He added that it does take a considerable amount of space to house the equipment and our jail currently has no room for it. He explained this equipment does not present the same confidentiality concerns of TSA machines since it shows no pictures of skin. The machine’s primary focus is to illustrate contraband that is being concealed externally or inside the body. Commissioner Davis asked if there are liability concerns from the radiology technology associated with the equipment. Troy answered that machine has been tested/documented and the levels of radiation are very low compared to that of a regular x-ray. Sheriff concluded that we don’t have room for the machine currently but it is something the county should consider purchasing if the jail expands.
• Troy recently reached out to the area’s local Democratic delegation expressing his opposition to the bill LD-1266. This bill is sponsored by Senator Diamond, Representative’s Spear and Madigan. The proposed bill establishes the process for transferring county jail facilities and operational responsibilities to the State as of July 1, 2020. Sheriff Morton also contacted Senator Diamond to explain why he is against this bill. Troy communicated that even if the bill doesn’t pass, it greatly hinders long term planning and decision making for counties who are facing hiring, training, funding, and expansion decisions. Commissioner Baldacci commented that Senor Diamond told him that the MMA wished for the bill to be written. Commissioner Baldacci felt the bill would be very counterproductive to the jail’s wellbeing. Sheriff noted that the local representatives he spoke to are concerned over the bill as well. Commissioner Davis and Bill Collins noted they believe the MMA is in support of the bill in fear that the local municipalities will be forced to carry the financial burden of sustaining Maine’s county jails.
• Treasurer Dan Tremble asked the Sheriff about the higher number of medication bills. The Sheriff explained that the jail has four inmates that are dealing with serious medical conditions that are very expensive to treat.
• Sheriff explained that Correctional Health Partners (CHP) is still working in the jail. The organization has expressed interests in switching to a new medication provider. The jail is primarily using Miller Drug, however we are not currently under contract. The Sheriff noted that he has been pleased with the level of service from Miller Drug and will weigh out the options with the Commissioners when the service goes out to bid.
• Troy stated the jail’s contract with their vending company has recently expired. He explained there is a new vending company that would like to present their resources and equipment to the Commissioners and Sheriff. The new company provides jails with a vending machine and online portal system that members of the public can deposit or track funds for jail inmates without tying up county staff.
• Treasurer Dan Tremble asked what the status was of a RFP to RH Foster. Bill responded that the RHP has not been sent out. Sheriff commented that if companies are contacting Dan to do fuel business with the county, they should provide information on obtaining a fuel business/credit card that the department can use as needed.
IT Department Update-
• Department head Cliff Warren presented pricing he had collected for the replacement of 39 computers for Piscataquis County. Cliff extrapolated the data to estimate what it would cost for Penobscot County to replace the 99 computers and workstations for the departments that IT manages (exclusive of the District Attorney’s and Deeds). Cliff explained the county usually replaces our computers and workstations every three to five years. Commissioner Davis asked Cliff why the Piscataquis computers weren’t put out to bid at the same time as the Penobscot. Cliff explained that he had done the Piscataquis bid a long time ago, but the manufacturers delayed getting their bids back. Our county also has a lease that doesn’t expire until the beginning of July, thus he had not planned on combining the bids. Commissioner Davis instructed Cliff of when he writes up future RFP that he should include a reasonable due date for the bids to be received back. If a manufacturer doesn’t respond by the due date then we won’t consider them for the purchase. Cliff would like to add in another computer to the RFP total to be used as a backup in the event of one breaking and needing to be quickly replaced. Cliff concluded he would put together an RFP and report back to the Commissioners.
• Commissioner Baldacci asked Cliff what the county does with all their surplus computers that still function after an upgrade. Cliff explained that after three to five years the computers’ usually aren’t compatible with upgrades. The county had put the old surplus inventory up for bid, but no one bought them. Commissioner Davis and Sanborn suggested that Cliff contact Eastern Maine Community College and United Technology Center to see if they’d be interested in purchasing any. Cliff noted if we did sell them the hard-drives would need to be sanitized and fully reset before being sold. He explained this is an all-day process and the county only has the resources to sanitize one computer at a time. However, if a PC was used for confidential/classified purposes (CEGIS) you must follow strict FBI protocols in destroying it.
• Cliff presented that our present voice and communication system contract is about to expire. He explained it would be a tremendous amount of work to switch voice and communication vendors. Cliff stated the vendor would drop the contract price if the county were to renew. Commissioner Baldacci commented that if the contract has a renewal clause, Cliff can just renew the current contract and avoid going through the bid process again. Bill Collins asked if Cliff can share with him the details of the renewal before he gives the vendor an answer.
Executive Session- Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a legal matter at 9:40 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (E). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, Sheriff Troy Morton, and county attorney Ed Bearor were in attendance Executive Session ended at 10:00 am with no votes taken.
• Administrator Bill Collins reminded the Commissioners that there was a MCCA meeting Wednesday in Augusta.
• Cumberland County Deputy Manager Jim Gailey has been hired as the acting Cumberland County Manager. Bill Whitten was hired to spearhead legislation for Cumberland County as well.
• Repairs on the county building’s boiler room deck has commenced today. The vendor began pouring the new concrete this morning.
• Maintenance head Cap Ayer informed Bill that the county’s metal link fence next to the Post Office is in need of repair. Cap said he would get quotes and report back to the Commissioners.
• Unorganized Territory Director Barbara Veilleux notified Bill that Jason Bird, Housing Development Director at Penquis, and Lewis Payne formerly of Katahdin Bank, have agreed to sit on the County’s TIF funding committee.
• Sheriff Morton was recently awarded with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI’s) Leadership Awarded. He has been recognized for the great amount of work he has put in to accommodate the jail’s inmates with mental health needs. The Commissioners commended him for the honor and his hard work.
• District Attorney Chris Almy notified Bill that the County will be adding an ADA on staff later this year.
• Bill re-issued a notice to all employees to remind them to purchase a county parking pass. At the end of last week, there was 18 cars parked without a pass in the county’s lot, 10 of which were county employees. Bill explained that warnings are first issued to parking violators, then the county has the right to tow after repeated non-compliance.
• The Sheriff’s Office had to provide civil process information for a Risk Pool case originated in Oxford County. The county has had to provide information to Risk Pool attorney Peter Marchesi.
• Bill informed the Commissioners that one of the county’s Deferred Compensation accounts managed by Voya will be lowering its guaranteed fixed rate of return from 4% to around 1-1.5%. This change will go into effect September 15th of 2017. Bill had requested a copy of the original signed contract from 1990 (managed then by AETNA) and only received a copy of the signature page in return. He asked Voya to send the remainder of the initial contract and terms of the account in question. Bill noted there are some employees who understood the fixed interest rate of 4% was perpetual and are threatening to file a class-action suit. Bill will review the terms of the original contract when it is provided and report back.
• Bill stated that Finance Director Judy Alexander and Treasurer Dan Tremble have finished the paperwork of finalizing the county’s recent TAN with Key Bank. Dan and Bill noted it took a lot of time and work to set up this new account.
• Bill has reached out to Piscataquis County to see if they would be interested in our county providing their PSAP and Dispatch services. Piscataquis County Administrator Tom Lizotte responded that their county is not interested at this time.
• Bill asked the Commissioners if they wish to create a dog policy for employees who bring their dog into work. The Commissioners stated that if an employee has their dog at work, the dog should be on a leash.
• John Krinjak of WABI TV5 asked the Commissioners if there were any updates on the 127 Hammond Street property that the County has recently entered into a Purchase and Sale agreement. Commissioner Baldacci explained the County expects to close on the property in the next couple weeks. He added that the city and the current tenants have some issues that they need to work out.
• Department head Michelle Tanguay presented that the FEMA citizen core project team will be arriving April 18th and will be working with her on designating five Community Point of Distribution (CPODs) throughout the county. The locations are designated as drop sites for federal food & supplies in the wake of a disaster in our County. Michelle added that the CPODs are only used when an area runs out of food, water, and/or power after a period of 72 hours from the start time of the disaster. She has received a lot of help from local emergency response Chiefs in designating locations. The initial plan is to assess the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, the Brewer Auditorium, a large retail parking lot in the Bangor region, and two sites in the Lincoln area. Michelle is also working with the Air National Guard on designating a central ‘drop-site staging area’ for the county. Michelle explained that communities in the northern portion of our county will have closer access to CPODs in the southern part of Aroostook County. In the same respect, southern Penobscot County towns will have closer access to aid in the northern portions of Somerset County.
• Michelle and the department recently conducted a Mass Casualty Functional Exercise in the East Millinocket area. The event was attended by 71 people and consisted of four different locations each with their respective training topics. The EMA’s full scale exercise will begin next month.
• Michelle had a meeting with local responders to update communications and all-hazard plans. Steven Mallory of MEMA and Michelle recognized that many local emergency response departments are in need of communications training. This is due to the State response systems now broadcasting digitally and local station’s radios are not compatible with the new technology. EMA is subsequently hosting two training/informational sessions on how local emergency response departments can become compliant with the current State communication system.
Administrative Update Continued-
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for $ 214,726.99
• Accounts Payable Warrant for 4/7/2017 to be approved for $ 629.57
• Accounts Payable Warrant for 4/11/2017 to be approved for $ 103,001.29
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: None
• Payroll change notice signed for: Lise Hamel and Aleigh Wood – Resignation. Jacklynn Kuhn
• Compensation notice signed for: None
Executive Session- Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a contract matter at 10:28 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (E). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble, and PRCC department head Chad LaBree were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:59 am with no votes taken.
Executive Session- Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 11:00 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, and Treasurer Dan Tremble were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 11:07 am with no votes taken.
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:08 am with no further business on the agenda.
Penobscot County Administrator
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner