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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes March 12, 2019 2229
9:00 AM Commissioners Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 28°
Commissioner Peter Baldacci (Late 9:20)
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Cushing made a motion to approve February 5th, February 12th and February 19th, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Sheriff’s Update -
Today’s jail population is 166 (132 males, 34 females) with 67 boarded out to other county jails. There are no federal inmates, no county swaps and 84 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.
Sheriff Morton reported that there are four new correction officers currently on the job training.
Sheriff along with Bill Collins attended Criminal Justice hearings in Augusta on Friday. These included jail funding and the jail visitation bill (which the Sheriff supports).
Sheriff reported of the interest of the media regarding jails providing female products to the inmates. Our jail does not charge for these products and provides unlimited supply. If the inmates would like a name brand, we can look at placing it on Canteen for them.
Sheriff met with Volunteer Literacy group yesterday that work with the female population in the jail. They are writing a book of lessons learned from inmates. Sheriff suggested that there are some very talented artists that may prefer to tell their story in pictures versus the written word.
Our CHCS mental health provider has petitioned MSA for them to be acknowledged in receipt of an award for Outstanding Achievement by a Community Service Group that provides service to County jails.
Sheriff reported that interviews were held yesterday for the three open patrol positions.
MSA will be holding their Conference here in Bangor at the Cross Center on April 17th and 18th. Sheriff has invited Lauren Haven from MCCA as well as Commissioners to attend a joint meeting with MSA on April 18th.
The State Representatives Bus Tour is tentatively scheduled for April 4th and 5th. This group will be touring four jail facilities in the State. There will be an overnight stay in Bangor.
Sheriff reported the Captain received an updated report of the control room issues with the servers and camera monitoring system. The quote to replace will cost $19K for the server and approximately $30K for the cameras.
Administration Update –
Bill provided the Commissioners a copy of the Maine Orthoimagery Program payment agreement. Commissioner Cushing moved to allow Bill to sign the agreement on behalf of the County. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 2-0. Signed.
LUPC seat public notice extension closes on March 22. Bill has learned of one person’s interest. Commissioner Sanborn and Cushing have heard of others that may be interested but have yet submitted their application.
Bill reported that he is waiting for a revised OTELCO Contract for signature.
Facilities Director Cap Ayer will be out of work for the next 7-8 weeks for surgery.
There was discussion on who is responsible for cleaning the showers in the Wellness Center. Currently it is not part of the job description for staff to clean.
There are three Union contracts settled and ready to be signed later in today’s meeting. Two other contracts are nearly settled.
Bill has been in Augusta three days in the last week. He attended a special meeting with MSA and MCCA discussing a LD 763. Bill also attended Appropriations as well as the Criminal Justice hearing in which Bill testified on behalf of Penobscot County.
Bill and Commissioner Baldacci will be attending the MCCA meeting in Augusta tomorrow.
There will be an executive session today in regards to VOYA information.
The MSA Conference will be held April 17th and 18th in Bangor.
The health and safety committee has been very busy. They are currently working with John Knappe from the Sheriff’s Office to conduct two classes on Active Shooter Training for County employees.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Seth Scholl – Resignation; Jesse Dow – Hired Full time; Blake Miller – Hired Part time; Jakob Bouchard, Taylor Keeran, Patricia McLaughlin, Ronald Ogden, Kristen Roemmich and Jordanna Sprague – Payroll Changes; Blake Miller – Comp time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for 3/5/19: $ 235,055.64
Payroll Warrant to be approved for 3/12/19: $ 218,795.99
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for 3/5/19: $391,454.89
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for 3/12/19: $203,110.56
UT A/P Warrant to be approved for 3/5/19 : $142,779.17
UT A/P Warrant to be approved for 3/12/19: -NONE-
UT TIF Warrant to be approved for 3/5/19: -NONE-
UT TIF Warrant to be approved for 3/12/19: -NONE-
UT Update -
Barbara Veilleux presented for signature the TIF Grant agreement with the Bowlin Matagamon Snowmobile Club. Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the grant agreement with Bowlin Matagamon Snowmobile Club. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Signed.
Commissioner Cushing made a motion to approve the New England Outdoor Center (T1 R8 WELS) for their summer wedding/special events permit. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Signed.
MDOT will be paving portions of I-95 through Herseytown Twp. Barbara doesn’t anticipate there will be a need to travel over our roads for these projects. Commissioner Cushing made a motion to sign an agreement that would allow MDOT to transport construction equipment that exceed legal weight limits over county maintained roads in Herseytown Twp. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Signed.
There was discussion of an email received regarding the City of Old Town experiencing a shortfall for their ambulance service this past year. They are now looking to collect that shortfall from the communities they serve and spread that cost over a three year period. Our share of that is approximately $6,692 for Greenfield and Argyle which will raise our cost for the year to just of $10,000. Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the adjustment of $3,407.85 for Argyle and $3,284.82 for Greenfield. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Barbara reached out to OTELCO per Commissioner Sanborn previous request regarding broadband internet in Argyle. Barbara thought that there might be some discount on engineering costs since Alton will be provided this service. OTELCO is estimating a range of $345 K to $510 K to build this project. There might be a possibility that a grant can be secured through Connect ME, but the amount of those funds is unknown. Currently TIF funds are not available for this project. However, there is a bill before the legislature (LD 854) that would allow the use of TIF funds for broadband expansion. There were a number of testimonies in favor of this bill in Augusta.
Barbara has been working with several fire departments to come up with a structure fire response in Mattamiscontis and on the interstate on T2 R8.
Barbara reached out to the LUPC regarding the vacated seat once held by Charlie Pray. Barbara was told when ready to submit a new nomination for the seat and withdraw Mr. Prays name at the same time.
George Buswell reported that with the warmer weather this week we are watching the roads thawing. All roads have been posted with exception of a few north of Millinocket. The sheds are low on sand.
Barbara, George and Commissioner Sanborn plan on attending a public informational meeting in the Woodville Town Office on Thursday night. This is in regards to the Maine DOD giving notice of their intention to file a permit application with Maine DEP for the siting of the Army National Guard training facility in T2R9 NWP.
Concerned Citizens about Jail Expansion -
Larry Dansinger a Citizen from Bangor and Barbara Mainguy from Wabanaki Health and Wellness came before the Commissioners to voice their concerns regarding jail expansion.
Larry states he has no connections in any way to the jail or groups related to the jail. He does get information from Maine Prisoner Advocacy Collation by reading articles they send out.
Mr. Dansinger does support a new jail, but feels it should meet certain priorities such as:
o Contributing to a safer community
o Reduce recidivism
o Minimize tax dollars spent on this project
Larry feels in order to connect these three priorities it would be a jail with fewer beds and fewer inmates. Larry believes more programs for people in and out of jail would assist in readjustment after incarceration so they don’t reoffend. Larry believes with more programs we wouldn’t need to increase the beds from 157 to 300 and we could reduce cost and still keep the communities safe.
Larry feels we need to do more due diligence in planning for a new jail such as:
o Looking at trends in the criminal justice systems in Maine/County – what it will look like down the road?
o What kinds of legislation are being proposed? How will these impact the criminal justice systems and the jail itself? Several pieces of legislation are being proposed right now such as decriminalizing prostitution. Recent report that no jailing of any youth (which is defined by the ages of 14-25) because the brain in not fully developed until the age of 25.
o Crimes that people are charged with do not always require being jailed. Non-violent offenses should not be jailed and be dealt with in another way. The DA office and Judges can make a difference. Cash for low income people should be looked at and what other approaches are being used in other states.
o Are there other ways to speed up court proceedings?
o There should be more programs in the jail for mental health and substance abuse issues. There needs to be a better environment for inmates so that the goal is to give them the help they need so that they don’t return. Currently the first stop is jail for people where it should be treatment. Strategies in place in the jail so that recidivism is limited.
o Demographics in Penobscot County? Where will we bill in 10 – 20 years from now?
Mr. Dansinger’s opinion is that we need a larger building committee to include special interest and involvement from the public including the DA’s Office, Columbia Street project that works with re-entry programs, jail visitor groups, correctional officers, Wabanaki Health and Wellness, clinicians in the jail for mental health/substance abuse and former and current prisoners.
Barbara Mainguy inquired as to what the vision of the jail is. Barbara is concerned of the future and re-entry into society after leaving jail. Barbara has an article on the effects of too much incarceration can leave on a person. Barbara refers to not just the inmate, but the families and children involved. Barbara would like to see people coming back to the community in a good way. Barbara also requested to be present when the jail committee meets as a stakeholder in the community so she can bring her concerns forward.
Doug Dunbar came forward to reinforce Mr. Dansinger’s comments. Doug questioned whether that the building committee has enough representation for public input. Doug wonders if it is necessary to build a 300 bed facility when signs show that demographically Penobscot County is having more deaths than births per year. Doug states that during his 17 weeks incarceration, it would have been nice to have a newer, more updated facility.
Commissioner Baldacci spoke to how we got to where we are now. Currently we are boarding out inmates to the cost of several hundred thousand dollars a year. DOC has stated that this cannot continue and will hold us to the standard we will house no more than 157.
Commissioner Baldacci said that WBRC are the architects that have been working on this project with help from STV Engineers out of Syracuse, New York. The first recommendation presented was a 400 bed jail and we asked for a smaller configuration. Commissioner Baldacci does not want to feel rushed or pressured and wants to get this done right. He also reported that with the new District Attorney and aggressive pre-trial services programs, we are moving in the right direction. There are a few items in the legislature that are being looked at, such as allowing inmates to keep their Mainecare coverage when incarcerated.
Concerned Citizens about Jail Expansion – Continued:
We are looking at a November referendum for a 30 year bond. We have had no debt as the past jail cost has been paid off.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:35 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Marianne Lynch, Kristine Higgins and Erika Honey. Session ended at 10:58 a.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:59 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Chris Lavoie, Josh Lilley and Erika Honey. Session ended at 11:07 a.m. NO votes taken.
IT Update –
Cliff Warren, Director of IT presented a price comparison for subscription based hardware devices. Currently we need to replace this every 3-5 years and pay for licensing. Cliff was looking for a virtual device that would replace six devices we currently use. This will be more expensive annually, however, it will take the place of multiple devices currently used. It will be worth the price since we will not have to upgrade hardware again. Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the purchase of NS300 Total Secure Advance for an annual amount of $3,435.31. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Deeds Update –
Susan Bulay requested an extension for her temporary employee due to the projects she is currently working on. Commissioner Cushing made the motion to approve the temporary person continue until the end of March. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Susan then shared maps that need to be restored. They are all in assorted stages of disrepair, most of them torn and ripped. These maps came from some of the 35 old plan books that needs to be restored. We are responsible for keeping these forever. Ko-File (previously called Browns River) out of Vermont is the only company that offers restoration in the northeast that comes highly recommended from other Registers’ in New England. Susan has 35 books and has been quoted $ 8 K to $20 K per book depending on how much is involved to restore. Commissioner Cushing moved to have up to five books restored through Ko-file in Vermont with not to exceed $100 K in expenditures each year until the project is completed. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
NWDB Update -
Joanna Russell introduced her new Program Assistant Ashley Smith who started in her position February 11, 2019. Ashley comes to the County with an impressive resume including working at Dirigo Pines as the Director of the Dementia Unit, a Hancock County Jail Corrections Officer and now here as the Workforce Board’s Program Assistant.
Joanna reminded the Commissioners that the NWDB will be holding their quarterly meeting this Thursday March 14, 2019 at EMCC from 10-1. The Maine Department of Labor will conduct a monitoring activity for the first time by interviewing the NWDB members to assess their knowledge and understanding of the role they play in the workforce system.
Joanna informed the NWDB Executive Committee about the cost of living adjustments for her position. Joanna had been told that Penobscot County needed approval from the NWDB before raising her wages to align with the county’s COLA increase. Going forward the Executive Committee will serve as Joanna’s review committee and make their recommendations on an annual basis.
State of Maine representatives and local boards will be working to develop a memorandum of understanding which will include a workforce system cost sharing plan. This has never been done before and all partners described in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act are required by federal law to contribute to the workforce system. The One Stop Partners will be required to formally designate a Comprehensive One Stop CareerCenter which is the entity that will have the cost sharing plan attached to it. If the One Stop Partners all vote to designate three Comprehensive One Stop CareerCenters then all partners must contribute to the three centers. Joanna will recommend that the One Stop Partners designate one center and establish that in Bangor. Once the cost sharing plan has been developed they might want to reconsider or not… MDOL has asked to assure that the County Commissioners are informed about all meetings and that they play a role in the decisions at hand. MDOL has invited USDOL to the State of Maine to provide technical assistance in the months of April 9th and May 22nd.
Finance Update –
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve the 2019 tax warrants in the amount of $ 16,126,526. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0. Signed.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the TAN representation letter for Eaton Peabody as our Bond counsel on the $5.1 M. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approved passed 3 – 0. Signed.
HR Update –
Erika Honey, Human Relations Director reported that this is her eighth week in her current position and has been focusing on accessing employee relations.
Erika states her focus over the next two months will be laying the ground work for employee relations focusing in on every job having a job descriptions and making sure those are updated. Those job descriptions will feed into a lot of components such as accessing ADA accommodations, and workers comp.
Erika will be presenting Bill Collins four draft policies for consideration in the next week or two.
Erika will continue working on an employee handbook.
Erika will also be working within some areas of the contracts.
Erika has been working with Mr. Dick Hansen and creating some employee benefits for programs. She hopes at the end of the month to make an announcement on this.
Erika, LT Keith Hotaling and Tracey Erickson are attending training with PowerDMS in Augusta.
Health and Safety Committee has set up an active shooter and incident training course next week.
Erika will be looking at everybody’s work spaces to identify any areas we may need to improve. Erika will be coordinating with CIGNA health engagement partners in making sure we’re compliant with our VDT training.
Erika states we have made progress with our Workers Comp incidences with success in our long term absences with a few employees coming back to work this week.
Commissioner Cushing made a motion for Erika to become a member of Maine Local Government Human Resources Association for a $ 25 yearly fee. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
FOP 012 Lodge PCSO Patrol Supervisor Unit Contract Signing
Present were Detective Sgt John Trask, Sgt Roy Peary and Labor Specialist Mike Edes sitting in for Jack Parlon.
Mr. Collins stated it was a pleasure working with this group. Mike Edes complimented the Staff here at Penobscot County and thanked Erika Honey specifically for taking care of the medical questions as quickly as she did.
FOP 012 Lodge PCSO Line Unit Contract Signing
Present were Deputy Chris Watson, Deputy Kevin Haefele and Labor Specialist Mike Edes.
Mr. Collins stated it was a pleasure working with this group.
AFSCME Corrections Supervisors Unit Contract Signing
Present were Corrections Officers John Nuttall and Jason Raymond.
Mr. Collins stated it was a pleasure working with this group and thanked the members for all the work they do.
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 12:15 p.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Present were: William Gardner, Attorney John Hamer, Bill Collins and Erika Honey. Session ended at 1:10 p.m. No votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 1:11 p.m. under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Erika Honey and John Hiatt. Session ended at 1:38 p.m. No votes taken.
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 1:39 p.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3 - 0
Administrator, William Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner