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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes June 13th, 2017 #2142
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn. 75°
Jail’s Mental Health Service RFP Bid Opening-
• Commissioner Baldacci opened bids for the county jail’s mental health service. The terms of the contract would be for a (3) three year contract with a renewable (2) two year option at the County’s sole discretion. Either party may terminate the contract with thirty days written notice for any reason.
• There were a total of two bids opened, Acadia Hospital and Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS). Prices were presented for two different types of services. The terms of the first service were for the vendor to provide 50 hours per week of on-site services as agreed upon in the RFP.
50 Hours/Week of On-Site Services
Years of Contract Acadia Hospital Cost CHCS Cost
1-3 $ 119,608 $ 92,275
4-5 $ 142,595 $ 95,056
The bid then included 81 hours per year of psychiatric coverage on site or via Tele-Video conferencing as defined in the RFP.
81 Hours/Year of Psychiatric Coverage
Years of Contract Acadia Hospital Cost
1-3 $ 154.96/hr. est($12,522 annually)
4-5 $ 184.74/hr. est($14,964 annually)
Years of Contract CHCS Cost
1-3 $ 250.00/hr. est($20,250 annually)
4-5 $ 257.50/hr. est($20,858 annually)
Commissioner Davis made a motion to take the bids under advisement. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Sheriff Troy Morton noted that the county’s current mental health coverage expires June 30th of this year thus he
would like to have a decision made in the near future to avoid any interruptions in coverage. The Commissioners informed him that they would plan on having a decision made at next week’s Commissioners’ Meeting.
Sheriff’s Department Update-
• Sheriff Troy Morton stated that today’s jail population has spiked to 193 (161 males, 32 females) in house with only 21 boarded out to other county jails. Troy explained that the limited number of boarded is due to many of the county jails that have been taking inmates are full. Sheriff discussed that counties such as Knox and Somerset are full as they don’t have adequate staffing to keep all of their pods open. Commissioners Baldacci asked why Knox County hasn’t joined the Two Bridges Jail Facility. Troy responded he was unsure but has been very grateful for Knox County’s support in boarding many of our overflow prisoners.
• Commissioner Baldacci stated there was a very good article written in the Bangor Daily commending the jail for the number of programs offered to female inmates. Troy noted that the Jail’s Rise Up Program is in the final stages of its’ setup and will begin in the near future.
• Troy has been asked to speak in front of a board under Bangor Public Health on the use of Vivitrol by our jail’s inmates.
• The Sheriff commended the courts and DA’s Office for the high number of inmates in Pre-Trial Services (70). He explained releasing inmates out on Pre-Trial Services is a double edge sword though. If an inmate violates their conditions of release while on Pre-Trial Services, they are often sentenced with a longer stay in prison than what their original charge would have conditioned.
• Sheriff explained how dire the staffing crisis is at the jail. The jail has been forced to order employees to fill shifts repeatedly and that one officer was ordered out three times in one week. The department has done everything possible to try to effectively recruit: marketing, adjusted age limits, attended job fairs, allowed family members to work, etc. Sheriff has taken in letters from staff to help resolve the issue and the high amount of overtime the department has been forced to pay. Troy noted that many of the jail’s staff such as: Captains, Sergeants, Clerical, and Civil employees are certified as Corrections Officers. These employees are interested in helping fill the open jail shifts but have not been allowed to do so. Sheriff proposed that we maintain the current system of having a generic signup sheet for overtime but when those that sign up are not sufficient, the jail can have a secondary signup sheet consisting of the employees previously mentioned who are certified. Troy added that the difference in overtime would be around $5/hour compared to your average Lieutenant vs Sergeants pay. He stated that the secondary sign-up sheet could be on a rotation to ensure fairness and provide equal overtime opportunities. He plans on discussing the idea with the union later in the day. He noted that the proposed plan would not alter the way the overtime is initially granted for Correction Officers, but the secondary list would go into effect right before an officer would be forced to be called out. This list would potentially give the Sheriff 25 employees to call upon if they were in need of filling a shift. Sheriff said the downside to this idea would be the difference in overtime rates of employees who have more superiority or higher ranking level. Commissioner Davis stated he would be in favor of the change as long as Troy continues his efforts in hiring and recruiting to help fill these vacant jail positions. Commissioner Baldacci added he would support it as long as the scheduled remained in rotation so that the overtime given out was on a fair basis.
• The Sheriff has five full time openings and three individuals currently attending the Correctional Officer Academy. An additional prospective employee has federal prison working experience background. Troy hopes this will satisfy the Correctional Officer training mandate and allow the individual to begin working at the jail if they are offered and accept a position.
• As the Sheriff previously stated, he has a meeting with the jail’s labor union later in the day. There are eight issues that are going to be discussed. One item that he hopes to change is the way the union forces an employee to fill an open shift. Currently if there is an open shift the union waits until the last moment to force an employee to cover the vacancy. The Sheriff plans to suggest that the union notify/force the individual days in advance so that the employee has times to make plans for working the vacant shift.
• The Sheriff discussed that he has been in contact with the National Institute of Corrections’ (NIC) in regards to assistance of the potential jail expansion. The NIC no longer completes a jail needs’ assessment due to cost but does put on an informational class to understand the expansion process and building support. Troy added that the NIC class is free and they travel to the respective counties who ask for the service and hold the class on site. Commissioner Baldacci felt the class would be helpful considering the county would most likely have to go to voters to approve a Bond if the county decides to expand any parts of the jail. Troy researched what other organizations charge for a population and needs assessment. He found that the assessment would cost anywhere from $75,000-$125,000. Commissioners Davis commented that the county has done those types of assessments before and feels that they aren’t worth the exorbitant cost of the service. Commissioner Baldacci added the county’s goal should be to provide reasonable accommodation for our jail’s inmate population for the next 20-30 years and that the Sheriff’s Department and Commissioners would be able to closely predict the jail’s needs over that time frame. It would be the architectural, engineering, and planning support that the county would be in need of if the jail were to expand. Troy noted that NIC would like to come put on the class in September of this year. Commissioner Baldacci asked if Troy could ensure that the dates don’t coincide with the Annual Convention of Counties that he believes takes place the second week of September.
• Sheriff noted that the jail has completed and fulfilled all of the National Bureau of Justice’s PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) standards. The only item the jail is waiting on is the completion of a compliance audit. He has researched and found three companies in Maine that provide the audit service. Troy would like to go out to bid to ensure the County can get the best price possible for the service. Approved.
• Troy presented Supplemental Law Enforcement Contracts to be signed for the following towns: Levant, Greenbush, Winn, and Passadumkeag. Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve and sign each Contract. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Contracts signed. The contracts called for Administrator Bill Collins to sign the contracts, however Bill was absent from the meeting and will have to sign at a later time.
• The Sheriff’s Department was involved in a recent barricade and shooting that took place in Orrington. Sheriff stated that they relied on the City of Bangor and State Police’s armored vehicles that combined efforts in assessing the situation. Troy explained that the City of Bangor’s vehicle was shot but amazingly suffered no damage. Sheriff commented that the armored vehicle is a crucial piece of equipment based on the fact that many people wishing to harm law enforcement or the general public have high powered firearms which presents the need for heavy armored protection.
Unorganized Territory’s Rock Salt RFP Bid Opening-
• UT Department Head Barbara Veilleux presented four bids that the county has received for Rock Salt. The UT purchases salt for its territories and for any other towns that wish to participate in the buy in. This year bid specs asked for price quotes for Northern UT/Town County Regions at 4,952 tons, and Southern UT/Town County Regions at 2,250 tons. The specs stated that the prices would remain in effect for the 2017-2018 winter season through April 30, 2018. Municipalities would agree to purchase 75% of the estimated tons and the vendor would agree to honor the bid price up to 110% of the estimated tons. The bid prices were as follows:
Vendor Bid Price per Ton for Bid Price Per Ton for
Southern Region – 4,952 tons Northern Region – 2,250 tons
Harcros Chemicals Inc. $ 61.44 $ 74.81
Cargill Inc* N/A N/A
New England Salt Company $ 59.17 $ 70.03
Morton Salt Inc. $ 58.05 $ 65.00
*Cargill Inc* sent notice they would not be placing a bid for this years’ service, but would like to be notified of any opportunities to bid on future proposals. Barbara added that while Morton Salt is the low bidder, the UT had issues with contacting the vendor and the delivery of salt when the same vendor won the county’s salt bid a few years ago. Commissioner Davis believed they were acquiring another company during that time period and hopes those problems won’t repeat themselves. Commissioner Davis motioned to award the bid to Morton Salt Inc. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Unorganized Territory Update-
• Barbara informed the Commissioners that Deputy Director George Buswell is working with Sunset Development this morning on culvert replacements on the Greenfield Road. Once Barbara and George have the culvert cut measurements, they will be putting the paving project for the road out to bid.
• S.W. Cole is performing test boring on the Mattamiscontis Road today. George had previously marked out the drill areas and will follow up with S.W. Cole on their progress this afternoon.
• There was a recent house fire on the Crocker Turn Road in Greenfield. Milford Fire department requested assistance from the Greenbush and Old Town Fire Departments. The home was saved. Both Greenbush & Old Town have submitted invoices at the same rates that the UT has in their contract with the Milford Fire Department. The invoices for the call were as follows: Milford $1,275, Greenbush $618 and Old Town $600. Barbara explained that Old Town’s invoice included a $75 station coverage surcharge and that the UT has not paid for station coverage charges in the past. Commissioner Davis commented that based on the amount of the surcharge that the county should pay the invoices as presented. Commissioner Davis made a motion to pay all three invoices. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
• The Solid Waste Collection service for Argyle & Greenfield is currently out to bid. The bids are due back on June 20th. Barbara informed the Commissioners that the current vendor who is selling the collection service has provided written notice that their company is being sold.
• Barbara stated that the Town of Howland has held a public hearing in regards to allowing ATVs to travel across their respective portion of the Mattamiscontis Road. The Town of Chester and Commissioners (on behalf of the Unorganized Territory Mattamiscontis TWP) had already granted permission allowing ATVs to travel their respective portions of the road. Howland set the condition that ATV use was only permitted from May 15th to November 1st. The Commissioners asked Barbara to include the same date restriction in our ATV permit in order that the road has the same use terms throughout the entire throughway.
• Barbara mentioned that the LUPC has invited County’s UT department to participate in a focus group meeting about the location(s) of development within UTs. The meeting will be held on June 26th. A survey was recently done by the LUPC in which two-thirds of the State’s UT and some small town residents provided feedback on what/how they would like to see for development within their respective areas. Barbara explained that overall residents generally requested more recreational opportunities and less commercial businesses. The residents were notified of the survey via their tax bills and the survey was posted on the State UT website. Commissioner Baldacci commented that the survey will be helpful in granting any future TIFF funds given out through the County’s TIFF Committee.
PRCC Update and Consultancy Introduction-
• Department Head Chad LaBree introduced Norm Boucher whom the county has recently hired to examine the departments current infrastructure; discover any gaps in radio coverage; analyze the current system’s coverage map; look over the department’s licenses; and provide solutions on transitioning to an analog/digital simulcast system. Chad explained that Norm will start visiting all of the county’s tower sites today. One of the department’s main service vendors Whitten’s 2-Way Service will be touring the sites alongside Norm and identifying broadcasting equipment that is no longer in production. Commissioner Baldacci asked what Norm believed were the biggest challenges that PRCC is facing. Norm replied that broadcasting technology has transitioned so much in recent years. Thus converting our current Microwave broadcasting system to an Analog/IP system would be an important step to simplify our broadcasting operations and expand our coverage map. Norm hopes to create coverage prediction maps and analyzing the county’s current microwave system. He plans on making recommendations that will include cost estimates and provide input on the pieces of the upgrade/transition to best broadcast moving into the future. Commissioner Baldacci asked if there is any State funding to help with these upgrades. Chad explained that there has been heavy cuts to State broadcast funds so the county will have to look elsewhere for financial support. Commissioner Davis asked where Maine is bordering an ocean and Canada if there would be any federal funding from DHS or Department of Security. Norm explained that DHS used to help with funding but the funding has dropped significantly in recent years. Finance Director Judy Alexander commented that she knows Washington County had received federal funding in the past based being a
County directly on the border and coast. Chad added that he is seeing those types of federal funds shift almost entirely to county’s who are solely on the coast and not to inland counties such as Penobscot. Commissioner Baldacci wished Norm good luck and noted our county’s goal is to keep the PRCC department’s broadcasting equipment up to date to best provide service going forward.
• Chad stated that he is going down to Augusta to attend a 911 bureau meeting discussing upcoming legislative bills. Chad explained there is a bill that wishes to move 911 certifications for dispatchers around the state to all expire within a two week period. The goal for this change would be so that the state can hold the testing requirements and complete all of the recertification procedures in a small time frame. Chad is against this change as it would require our department to fill shifts for twenty plus dispatchers to attend the recertification all in a two week period. He said this would create a significant hardship of scheduling employees around all of the recertification sessions. Chad hopes legislators will kill the bill before it assigned to a committee.
District Attorney’s Office Update-
• Office Manager Kristine Higgins reported that there is an opening for its victims witness coordinator position. There was seven applicants that applied in house and four were interviewed. The department selected current DA clerical specialist Jody Currier-Smith to fill the position. Kristine would like to keep Jody in her current position until the department can fill her position. Kristine asked if she can pull applications and resume’s from the Sheriff Department since they just advertised and hired for a similar clerical position. The Commissioners approved allowing Kristine to use the Sheriff’s Departments applications and notified Kristine that they will sign the payroll change notice once Jody officially transitions. Jody’s current position will first be posted in house for two weeks and then advertised publically if no candidate is initially selected.
• Kristine explained the department has two ADA interns through their respective law schools. The interns are working at no cost to the county and will be helping the department through the summer. Eastern Maine Community College also sends interns for clerical positions that the department utilizes throughout the year.
• Maintenance Department Head Cap Ayer and Building Mechanic Terry Sullivan stated that two condensing units on top of the county’s building on Franklin Street are in need of repair. Cap estimates that the units are close to twenty five years old and one unit’s compressor needs to be totally replaced, the other continues to leak refrigerant. Cap suggested that based on the age and extent of repairs that both units should be replaced. Cap brought forth an emergency repair estimate for the Commissioner’s review and approval. Commissioner Davis asked if the tonnage was adequate for the specs of the new units. Cap believed that it would be. This is an emergency repair as there are a number of offices that are completely without air conditioning. Commissioner Davis motioned to approve the emergency repair of replacing the two condensing units. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Commissioner Baldacci asked if Cap could contact the vendor for repair right away. The Commissioners authorized Finance Director Judy Alexander to sign off on the repair. The repair estimate is with our maintenance contractor Mechanical Services for $12,400
• Cap stated that he is almost done with gathering all the specs for putting out the bid for re-roofing the Franklin St Office Building.
• Cap explained that he recently inspected the new control system for the Jail’s HVAC unit. The system is running very well and even though there has been some very hot and humid days the temperatures within the jail are within a couple degrees of the desired level.
127 Hammond Street (Y Building) Update-
Consultant Jim Ring presented updates on the condition of the county’s Y Building at 127 Hammond Street. Jim stated he has spent time with some Departments Head touring the building as well as reviewing other County departments to better understand the campus’ needs. Commissioner Baldacci asked what challenges and concerns should the Commissioners have with the Y Building. Jim explained that a significant long-term challenge is that many parts of the buildings have remained unoccupied for many years. This presents a variety of maintenance and up-keep concerns for the deteriorated sections of the property. Jim feels the land is the most valuable part of the property and he feels for long-term use the county has secured a very valuable asset. A significant short term challenge is that the heating and winterization of the building must be considered in the near future. Jim expressed he would like to go into Executive Session since many of his suggestions contain dollar figures for potential services that would need to go out to bid. He added that his findings are very preliminary suggestions until the Commissioners have more of a concrete plan for the short/long term use of the building.
Executive Session- Commissioner Davis made a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss specific renovation and upkeep ideas for the county’s 127 Hammond Street. Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a contract matter at 10:10 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (E). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. The Commissioners, Treasurer Dan Tremble, Finance Director Judy Alexander, Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson, and consultant Jim Ring were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 11:05 am with no votes taken.
127 Hammond Street (Y Building) Update Continued-
• Consultant Jim Ring advised the county to assemble an advisory group that can assess all of the county’s needs to determine the best course of action of what renovations need to be made to the county’s new property. Jim explained that having a long-term “master” plan would be very useful to determine the next steps in the campus expansion project. The process will take time since it is a very important decision to accurately plan and determine the best course of actions to meet the county’s current and future needs. Commissioner Baldacci noted the next step will be determining the best candidates to serve on the advisory group. The Commissioners thanked Jim for his work and for presenting today.
• Finance Director Judy Alexander presented the following Administrative updates on behalf of Administrator Bill Collins who was absent for this meeting.
Judy shared that Charles Newton of the Charlotte White Center requested if our county had any corrections funds to pay for services the Center provides for some of our referred inmates. The Commissioners and Judy explained that usually those services are paid out of Community Corrections Funding from the State. Based on the current financial crisis that our jail is facing, our county simply does not have the funding to currently support the program’s services. The Commissioners noted they will revisit the request once the county has an idea of what funding, if any, will be provided by the State for our jail facility.
• Judy will be attending the State’s CRAS financial reporting system training in Augusta tomorrow.
• A Maine PERS rep will be on campus this Thursday to discuss changes to the county’s Law Enforcement Officer’s retirement plan. Judy will be following up with the county’s financial software company TRIO for any changes to the system that will need to be done in respect to the plan’s revisions.
• The county will be holding a health/safety fair on June 21st open for all county employees to attend.
• Judy reminded the Commissioners that the Penquis’ 50th Celebration will be taking place June 20th. The County’s re-zoning hearing the City of Bangor is on the same night. Judy noted she will be attending the re-zoning hearing on the county’s behalf.
• Our County recently took part in a workers-comp audit. Judy was pleased that the county received a $5,200 refund as a result.
• Judy communicated that we have received a Tax Abatement Request from Soil Preparation and F,F, and G LLC of the Town of Plymouth. In reviewing the appeal, Commissioner Baldacci explained the hearing will have to go before the State of Maine Board of Property Tax Review based on the value of the appealed property is over $1,000,000. Commissioner Baldacci asked Judy to verify with the county’s attorney Ed Bearor that the Commissioners will not have jurisdiction over this appeal. Judy added that Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson will reach out to the Town of Plymouth to notify them we’ve received notice.
• Judy informed the Commissioners that the State appears to have included last year’s jail funding amounts ($12.3 million) in their proposed Budget that needs to go before the house & senate for approval. However, the combined budgeted shortfall of all of Maine’s county jails ($3.8 million) was not included in the request for approval. The omission of the supplemental funds plans to be discussed by the Committee of Conference after the Senate votes.
• Judy stated the county is now subsidizing our Jail. She plans to present on the situation in further detail at next week’s Commissioners’ Meeting. Judy commented that the county subsidized roughly $200,000-300,000 for the month of May. She added the issue is not as much because of excess expenditures, but of the lack of revenue that the jail has failed to take in. She and Commissioners commented that the initial budget of Federal Boarding Revenue is no way near the projected amount. That budgeted figure has been significantly lowered for the jail’s next year’s budget. Commissioner Baldacci asked if any of the proposed budgeting funding will cover 2016-2017’s Jail shortfalls. Judy answered that the funds before legislation only relate to the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
• Commissioner Davis asked if Treasurer Dan Tremble had any details of a possible Jet Engine School that has been brought to his attention. Commissioner Davis stated the training school has not been brought forth to the Eastern Maine Development Board. Dan replied that the school has reached out to our State’s representatives and senators. Dan and Commissioner Davis hope the school comes to the City of Bangor in hopes to bring in some good jobs. The Commissioners noted they would be willing to help and support the project if there are any ways they can do so.
• Local area citizen Jay Dresser asked the Commissioner if they knew who has supervisory authority over City Counsel Board members. The Commissioners answered that they believe no one holds any such responsibilities over the board since they are elected officials. They asked the reason for Jay’s request. Jay replied that he has been issued multiple no trespassing notices for no apparent or given reason. Commissioner Baldacci answered that Counsel Board members did not serve those trespasses, police departments do. Thus Jay would be best served to visit the Bangor Police Department and ask the reasons behind the trespassing notices.
Administrative Update continued-
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 235,698.81
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for : $ 184,719.45
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $ 15,563.60
• Payroll change notice signed for: John Felger and Brocke Robinson - Hired Full Time.
• Compensation notice signed for: None
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 am with no further business on the agenda.
Finance Director Judy Alexander, on behalf of Penobscot County Administrator William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner