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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes November 7, 2017 #2162
10:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Laura Sanborn 43°
Absent – Tom Davis
Approval of Minutes- Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the October 24th and 31st, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0
Unorganized Territory Update-
Barbara Veilleux presented an application from Crow Athletics for the Millinocket Marathon and Half which will be held on Saturday, December 9th. Barbara stated that the estimated attendance is 1,200 people. We have received the certificate of liability insurance naming the county as an additionally insured party as a portion of this race will take place on the Millinocket Lake Road. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to waive the $ 50 application fee. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 2-0. Commissioner Baldacci made a motion to approve the special event permit to Crow Athletics for the Race. It was seconded by Commissioner Sanborn. Motion to approve passed 2-0.
Barbara brought to the Commissioners attention that EMDC charges a $ 250 processing fee for their grant and loan applications. This does not include other additional fees used for closing such as credit reports, etc., associated with the application process. After discussion, Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to charge a $ 100 fee for processing grant and loan applications. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 2-0.
Barbara informed the Commissioners we have been awarded a $ 485 grant from MMA. The monies will replace the stolen cones, signs and barriers from Greenfield as well as purchase new high visibility vests and jackets.
There has been no updates from Ed Bearor regarding the new PERC partnership contract.
Everyone is prepared for the winter with their salt sheds. Salt has been ordered for Matagamon, but we have not received an invoice from the contractor, so are not sure if the sand is up.
Sheriff’s Department – Update
Sheriff Troy Morton stated that today’s jail population is 217 (181 males, 36 females) in house with 52 boarded out to other county jails. The counties that we depend on for boarding, Piscataquis, Washington and Aroostook have no extra beds available at this time as they are full. There are no federal inmates and we are down to 60 inmates in Pre-Trial Services. Sheriff is not sure why these numbers are down. The challenge Pre-trial Services struggles with is finding inmates eligible to qualify for this service. It’s better to err on the side of caution so that they don’t end up back in jail on a technicality and then serve a longer sentence.
Sheriff Morton mentioned that Washington and Aroostook Counties have not received their $5,000 to offset their food costs for housing our inmates.
Two Bridges notified Sheriff this morning that they are having a board meeting tonight to discuss the pricing of holding our inmates. At present, we are paying $ 40 a day and they are looking to bump it up to $ 50 a day. We have a 30 day agreement in place with a 30 day extension with Two Bridges. Sheriff has respectfully requested that they keep the price at $ 40 as per their agreement. Sheriff explained to Two Bridges that he is not authorized to agree to the increase.
Sheriff mentioned that Somerset County has recently reached out to him indicating they may be willing to board inmates for us too. At this time, however, they have not stated at what cost they would be willing to charge.
Sheriff mentioned that they have finalized the RFP for medical coverage for the jail and it had been sent to Mr. Collins. It request that this bid close on December 8th. There has been a modification for extra nursing hours for extended night coverage. They have been able to shift hours around, but in order to have extended medical coverage go to midnight there is a need for 6-8 extra nursing hours. Currently the jail on an average is sending one inmate a day to the hospital. The Sheriff believes by adding the extra hours to the medical staff we may be able to reduce these hospital runs. Hospital runs are not only expensive but two correction officers have to go with inmate to the hospital leaving the jail short staffed. CHP has extended their contract to January 30th, which should be able to cover us through a transition. Troy would like to start on January 8th.
Discussion ensued on the many mental health incidents. The Sheriff stated that most of the problems stem from the substance abuse. If the inmate comes in and they are not receiving appropriate medical care, they will go through the detox process which typically involves seizures. Somerset County has ten beds available with their bigger budget for these such cases. There instead of law enforcement taking the prisoner to jail, they will take the prisoner directly to this middle level facility. Our jail isn’t designed to handle these cases, but we are finding that, by default, we are getting these types of mental health situations. Sheriff spoke about the Mental Health contract that we have. He is very pleased with how well it is working out.
Sheriff indicated the wrecker rotation should be ready to present shortly. Chief Birch and Lt. Hotaling are finalizing the formatting.
Sheriff mentioned that a very angry constituent was planning to bring a matter to their attention. This gentleman had his car towed and was being charged $ 540. He was so outraged that he went to the company and told them that was outrageous. The tow company cut his bill to $ 230. He told the company he would be back to pay the next day. When he went back the next day to pay he was told that he didn’t need to worry that it’s been taken care of with the insurance company. The gentleman called his insurance company and found out they billed the $540. Apparently this type of billing is happening more often than once thought.
Sheriff and Commissioner Baldacci will be attending the Maine County Commissioners and Maine Sheriff’s joint meeting tomorrow at 1:00 pm. Our topic to be discussed is our large jail funding shortfall. We need to justify why we are asking for one million dollars. The Sheriff responded that this comes from increase number of inmates, cost of medical, boarding, food, transportation and mental health. Sheriff stated we need to find out how to recuperate money that should have received the past two years and how do we move forward so that we don’t get caught in a situation like this again.
There was discussion regarding how the drug court system is adding to the jails over crowdedness. The purpose of drug court (as long as they’re not a trafficker) is to get them out on bail with a signed contract. Every week participants are to go in and talk to the judge and the DA and tell how they are doing. If they violate, then they do their time. Currently, the drug court system has been slow and keeps inmates incarcerated for longer periods of time. The Sheriff feels the he is being asked to fix the over crowdedness due to the courts. Drug Court is very laborious, dealing with a handful of people and it’s not the answer to all the problems. In order for them to be successful we need programs to help them recover.
Sheriff made mention that our DA Chris Almy has been very outspoken to the courts in getting the inmates sentenced quickly instead of playing the system and keeping them locked up at the jail.
Sheriff believes that it is a good thing we are trying to fix all these practices now and once we have expanded we have better processes. We want the public to know that we’ll be having a correctional facility, not a warehouse. That we will have programs in order to help rehabilitate them.
We recently had media coverage. TJ Tremble from WVII as well as WABI, and BDN have been over to the jail and did stories regarding the over crowdedness. There were interviews with our dietary department speaking about the challenges with special diets; programming being limited because of the lack space; as well as intake and transportation challenges.
The Sheriff then spoke about being contacted by Cap in maintenance requesting assistance from corrections to provide snow removal this winter. Sheriff stated that he will provide the inmates as long as maintenance will provide the supervision. Sheriff doesn’t have the staff available to watch the inmates. We need to set up some protocols before the winter season starts.
Sheriff reports that the law side of the house has been busy. We are averaging one suicide and one overdose every week from the outside communities. These tragic events are lots of extra work because of the investigations needed from the detectives and deputies.
The feedback Sheriff received from the correction officers during his quarterly meetings was the medical concerns and over crowdedness.
Director Michelle Tanguay updated the Commissioners on the last week’s wind/rain storm. As of right now, we have 24 towns reporting a little over 1 million in damages. Shelters were set up at the University of Maine Field House, Old Town Middle School and the Brewer Auditorium over the course of the week. There were lessons learned from these shelters being opened and new issues that will need to be addressed, transportation being one of them. These were discussed by Michelle and Denise with the Red Cross during an after action meeting. Michelle will keep the Commissioners updated on these items.
Michelle asked the Commissioners support in request that our IT Department update the County server sooner than the scheduled date. All new computers now come with Windows 16 and Microsoft Outlook is not compatible with our system. This really creates an issue for EMA since we’re sending emails to several distribution groups (towns, police chiefs, fire chiefs, public works, etc). The new email client does not allow for these “groups” so all emails need to be entered manually or in Michelle’s case, she has her old system up for emails only. The Commissioners support and requested Bill to reach out to IT to make it happen.
Bill stated he received the Sheriff’s Medical RFP and will be working to get that out to be advertised.
Bill reached out to the Carmel Town Manager Kevin Howell in regards to a tax abatement request.
Although no formal paperwork to us yet we understand a verbal agreement has been made to adjust the taxes.
Bill stated this is the fourth year of a five year contract for Mr. Gallant snowplowing contract. It was agreed that for an additional $ 1,500 Mr. Gallant would provide snow removal for the old YMCA parking lot. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the fourth year of the contract and add on $ 1,500 to plow the YMCA lot. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 2-0.
Ms. Szillery will come in next week to speak to the Commissioners.
Bill stated that there will be a conference call today with Joanna Russell and the Board in regards to the interpretation of the MDOL letter sent. As it is written in the contract that 60 % of the funds must be used directly for training. Assessments must be made in order to know what training should be implemented. In order to receive 2017 monies the contract must be signed as is. If we sign as, the Governor can to do away with the boards for not meeting the training directive.
Payroll change notices signed for: Lorraine Klutaritz Full time to Part-time; Adam Orcutt change of hours
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 219,830.39
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $ 365,531.13
Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: None
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into executive session to discuss a contract matter. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 2-0.
Executive Session- Commissioner Sanborn motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a contract matter at 11:10 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (D) Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 11:18 am with no votes taken.
Executive Session- Commissioner Sanborn motioned to go into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 11:18 am under 1 MRSA §405 (6) (A) Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2 – 0. The Commissioners, Administrator Bill Collins, Treasurer Dan Tremble were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 11:34 am with no votes taken.
Public Comment - None
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 am with no further business on the agenda.
Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner