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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes June 27th, 2017 #2144
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Tom Davis, and Laura Sanborn. 65°
Approval of Minutes-
• Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the June 20th, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Sheriff’s Department Update-
• Sheriff Troy Morton presented that he will be attending a luncheon at The Blaine House in Augusta later on in the day. The event is focused on the jail’s Rise Initiative that begins service around July 10th at our facility. Sheriff explained the Rise Initiative’s is a pilot program aimed at medically assisting and counseling inmates with opioid/drug addictions. The program is funded through SAMHSA. They will first service a female population with a primary focus on drug counseling. Troy added that while the jail doesn’t want to be a “treatment facility” the reality is that many inmates with drug addictions have significant stays in our jail due to sentencing lags, thus our aim should be to help assist those individuals. The Rise Initiative also offers a release program that covers treatments six months after the inmate is released from custody.
• Sheriff Troy Morton stated that today’s jail population is 183 (149 males, 34 females) with 28 boarded out to other county jails. Troy added that the county is not paying boarding fees for the inmates being held at other county jails. The jail is housing one federal inmate and there are 71 inmates in Pre-Trial Services. Troy stated that due to the jail staffing being down ten employees, employees are getting tired. The department is in the process of adding three new hires. Troy has spoken to Union Rep Jim Mackie for help in recruiting Correctional Officers. The Jail did pay for a sponsored Facebook Ad in hopes to reach more job seekers through social media.
• Troy recently spoke at Camp POSTCARD (“Police Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams”). While at the camp he communicated with Anne Jordan, Esq., of the Criminal Process & Specialty Dockets Manager for the State Courts. Anne praised the Sheriff’ department for the lists that they provide to the DA’s department of inmates that have extraordinary long stays. Anne communicated that she hopes other counties will use Penobscot’s format as a template and continue to improve upon the communication between Jails, DA departments, and courts around the State.
• Troy noted that the county will transition to the new mental health service vendor, Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS), at the beginning of July.
• Sheriff stated that the County’s Risk Pool has sent forms for mileage requests and ride along policies. Sheriff will be responding to all of the risk pool’s requests.
• Sheriff Morton presented two more supplemental law enforcement contracts for the Commissioners to review. Troy has been very pleased that many of the full time contracts have gone to a three year terms as opposed to renewing every year. The contracts are from the Town of Eddington and Carmel. Commissioner Davis motioned to approve each Contract. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Contracts signed.
• Chief Deputy Bill Birch stated that the Patrol Division is down two deputies. One of the open positions is patrol duty for the Town of Milford. The department included the Milford Town Manager on the candidate reviewing/hiring process. A former patrolmen John Knapp has applied for one of the positions. Sheriff Morton said Mr. Knapp is a good candidate with a lot of experience and there are no contract buyouts associated with his possible hiring. For the patrol position for the Town of Milford, the Milford Town Manager and the Sheriff have been very impressed by one potential candidate. However that candidate would be subject to a $24,000 buyout from the agency he is currently working. Sheriff explained the candidate has been with the agency for only a year and half but has expressed a desire to work for a larger law enforcement agency. Sheriff stated he understands that there is no funds in the department’s’ budget for a buyout, however he feels this is a great candidate and based on who the county selects, there are other candidates on the list that would have to be bought out of their current contracts as well. Commissioner Davis expressed opposition to the idea. He does not want to create hard feelings with the Dept. with whom the potential new hire works. Commissioner Baldacci asked what the costs were to send a new hire to the training academy. Troy explained if the department hires an individual who has not been through the proper training channels it would cost roughly $2,000 for the training tuition and the expense of having to still fill the empty shift for approximately 18 weeks. Treasurer Dan Tremble asked if the Town of Milford would contribute to the buyout. Sheriff responded that he did not get that impression. It also was not interested in the other possible hires that were interviewed. Sheriff Morton and Chief Birch expressed they felt the individual would most likely be hired by a larger law enforcement agency if our county does not offer this individual a position. Commissioner Sanborn motioned to authorize the Sheriff to buyout the potential new hire’s current contract. Commissioner Davis seconded the motion for discussion purposes. Vote to approve passed 2-1, with Commissioner Davis voting against the motion. Sheriff Morton said he will review the situation with Chief Birch and further discuss if this is the best course of action versus hiring an individual that does not require a substantial buyout.
• Chief Birch noted that the summer has brought an increase in calls and request for service duties.
• Chief Birch stated that two deputy cruisers have recently hit deer causing $6,000 to 7,000 in damages to each cruiser. Sheriff Morton noted they have tried “deer whistles” and push bars on vehicles to minimize deer collision expenses. Each of these accidents were side collisions thus the push bars did not limit the damages. Commissioner Davis asked if Chief Birch would reiterate the point to the county’s deputies to be mindful of the deer this time of year. Troy said both cruisers need to be fixed because the mileage on both vehicles is relatively low.
• The Town of Levant has contacted Troy expressing interest in purchasing one of the county’s de-serviced cruisers. The Commissioners explained the vehicle would still need to go through a public bid process to be bought. Administrator Bill Collins said he can share any historical bid prices of prior cruisers the county has sold if the town is interested.
• Bill presented that Commissioner Baldacci is heading to Augusta to a MCCA meeting today. The meeting will consist of interviews for the Executive Director position.
• Bill has heard no news from Interim Executive Director of MCCA Charlie Pray in regards to State Funding for County Jails. Charlie informed Bill that Education decisions/issues are delaying the budget approval process.
• Cumberland County Manager Jim Gailey inquired why our jail has not been boarding any inmates at their facility in recent weeks. Bill responded that our jail’s population has not been as high the last month. Bill then received communication from one of Cumberland County’s Commissioners asking to discuss the boarding issue further. Commissioner Baldacci suggested that Bill talk with Jim Gailey that a Cumberland Commissioner has reached out to Bill to further discuss boarding. Bill explained that last September he met with Peter Crichton and discussed the potential of our county paying a lump-sum fee for boarding inmates with Cumberland. The Cumberland’s Commissioners declined the offer and preferred to be paid a daily boarding fee per inmate. Sheriff Morton suggested if our county wishes to enter into a lump-sum boarding contract with another county, Somerset county jail should take part in the negotiations as well. Troy explained it would prudent to construct an agreement that would allow the jail to utilize the best use of the budgeted boarding fees. Troy commended Cumberland for not being selective in the inmates they take from our facility and for paying for inmate’s medication if it is under $250.
• Commissioner Baldacci noted that he had received a notice of layout in the town of Garland form Maine DOT.
• Bill attended a Bangor City Council Meeting regarding the rezoning of the county’s property at 127 Hammond Street. Treasurer Dan Tremble, who is a member of the City Council, refrained from voting. The vote to approve the rezoning passed with a 6-1 vote.
• An ad for the Post Office Roof replacement project has been run in the Bangor Daily News and the RFP is posted on the county’s website. The RFP bids are due back by 4:30 pm on Monday, July 10th.
• Bill has received three phone calls from a Melissa Anthony wishing to speak with the Commissioners. Commissioner Davis noted he has tried to call Ms. Anthony twice but has not made contact with her. Commissioner Sanborn was able to talk with her. She said she was upset at the verbiage of the county’s recent Solid Waste Bid that was granted for the Unorganized Territory of Argyle and Greenfield. The Commissioners asked Bill to review the language of the bid.
• Bill stated that the county’s annual Health/Safety Fair last Wednesday was successful.
• Bill asked the Commissioners if they would like to re-nominate Charlie Pray as our county’s selection for the Land Use Commission. Commissioner Davis motioned to nominate Mr. Pray for the position. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Bill explained that Charlie needs to return the proper paperwork for the nomination to be finalized.
• Department Head Chad LaBree presented a recap of last week’s Hancock County Commissioners’ Meeting in which Chad attended and presented information of our county taking over Hancock’s PSAP service. Chad noted the room was full for the meeting made up mostly of Hancock County dispatchers and responders. They expressed concerns of losing their department’s PSAP service. Chad explained there were three options for the two Counties to come to an agreement on.
The first option would be the originally presented plan for our county to take over Hancock’s PSAP service. Chad explained this is the idea that received the most opposition and would cause possible service delays for citizens calling to report an emergency situation. This is because our dispatch center would initially yield a Hancock citizen’s emergency call then transfer the call to the respective Hancock County Dispatch Service. Chad explained that information would thus have to be collected twice from the caller resulting in additional time.
The second option Chad noted is since Hancock’s has the same Spillman CAD system for their dispatch server they could purchase an interface so the emergency call information doesn’t need to be re-asked when the call goes out to their dispatch center, the information would simply be displayed on the interface system in real time. Chad said this set-up would work well since all of Hancock’s law enforcement agencies and dispatch centers are already on the Spillman CAD system.
The last option is that Hancock keep their current server for historical data, and then allow Hancock to access our county’s server. Chad noted that this option presents a significant amount of work burden on our county’s IT department. This is due that our IT department would have to service and oversee all of Hancock’s dispatchers assess points to our server. Chad noted this would present an added cost to our county and present an increased risk if one of our counties’ servers were to go down and cause issues to the other county’s dispatch service.
Chad and the Commissioners agree option two would be the most reasonable for both counties since all of Hancock’s Dispatch and Emergency Agencies use the Spillman CAD system. It would eliminate delays and added costs/risks that options one and three present. Chad has yet to receive a firm price for the interface in option two, but noted that Hancock County would pay for the entire system. The Commissioners thanked Chad for his work in the negotiation process.
• Finance Director Judy Alexander informed the Commissioners that Machias Savings Bank reduced the county’s letter of credit from $15 million to $10 million since the county has yet to exceed the $10 million dollar threshold. Since Machias will be saving on the letter of credit costs, they will pass on the savings to the county and raise the interest rate in the county’s account by .1%
• Judy reported that she is very concerned with our cash flow position if the State’s jail funding crisis is not resolved in the near future. She explained that last year’s jail revenues from the State were received around the first week of August. The county then had enough funds to finish the year with roughly $600,000 unused in last year’s TAN account. She stated that the remaining balance of this year’s TAN is currently $1.5 million. Judy recommended the Commissioners approve her to send a memo to all department heads expressing the importance of delaying any capital expenditures and unnecessary operating expenditures until the jail funding is known. Judy noted she understands that this is not postponing expenditures that are needed.
• Commissioner Baldacci suggested denying capital or significant expenditures. Commissioner Davis expressed concern that many localities may not be able to pay their tax bills if the State can’t sort out their funding concerns. Judy responded the county historically takes in tax money from municipalities starting in mid-August.
• Judy reminded the Commissioners that the county still needs to pay around $12,000 for the condensing unit repairs on the Post Office Building roof.
• Judy informed the Commissioners that a photocopier in the DA’s office needs to be replaced. It has processed over 800,000 copies and the department has placed twelve services calls for the unit this year alone. Judy noted that the county owns this copier and she had looked at the price differences in owning vs. leasing copiers in the past. The Commissioners agreed with Judy’s suggestion to notify the department that they will have to wait 30-60 days until there is a better picture of what the county’s cash flow will be post-State budget approvals.
• Bill communicated that a Research Company out of Florida has sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request for specific Payroll information from 2015 and 2016. Bill noted that payroll is a FOIA eligible request but the company is asking for Names, Date of Hires, etc. Judy stated that she and Bill will ensure that the information they release is eligible under the FOIA act. The county reserves the right to charge the research company $15/hour to gather the information after the first hour.
Administrative Update Continued-
• Bill stated that the City of Bangor installed a temporary water line to the county’s jail last week. The temp line is a result of the water/sewer work that is being performed on Hammond Street. The City hooked the temporary line to a nearby water hydrant and built a ramp over the line so the jail’s delivery trucks can still easily access the facility.
• Bill has fielded a complaint about the amount of traffic that is being directed around the jail facility due to the Hammond Street construction. Bill has forwarded the complaint onto the county’s safety committee.
• Bill explained the health committee informed him that a cable machine located in the county’s health center was recently broken. There is video footage of when the machine was damaged. Bill noted that the break was due to misuse and could have been prevented.
• Bill informed Commissioner Baldacci that he has received voting credential forms for an upcoming annual NACO meeting.
• Bill presented an ATV Use permit for the Unorganized Territory of Mattamiscontis TWP. The permit, which allows ATV use on the Mattamiscontis Road, was approved in a previous Commissioners’ Meeting. Permit Signed.
• Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 205,466.32
• Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for : $ 124,309.30
• Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $ 78,063.03
• Payroll change notice signed for: Deborah Sargent – Re-Hired Part-Time.
• Compensation notice signed for: George Buswell – 8.25 Hours, Terry Sullivan – 6 Hours.
Executive Session - Commissioner Sanborn motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 10:02 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A). Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. The Commissioners, Treasurer Dan Tremble, Administrator Bill Collins, PRCC Department Head Chad LaBree, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:12 am with no votes taken.
Executive Session - Commissioner Davis motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a contract matter at 10:13 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (E). Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. The Commissioners, Treasurer Dan Tremble, Administrator Bill Collins, PRCC Department Head Chad LaBree, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:28 am with no votes taken.
Executive Session - Commissioner Sanborn motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 10:29 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A). Commissioner Davis seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. The Commissioners, Treasurer Dan Tremble, Administrator Bill Collins, and Administrative Assistant Tyler Thompson were in attendance. Tyler left the meeting at 10:52 am. Executive Session ended at 11:03 am with no votes taken.
Public Comment- None
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 am with no further business on the agenda.
William Collins, Penobscot County Administrator
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner