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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes April 23, 2019 2235
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing, Laura Sanborn 43°
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve April 9, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff reported that today’s jail population is 179 (139 males, 40 females) with 42 boarded out to other county jails. There are no federal marshals or county swaps and 77 inmates in Pre-Trial Services. There were 45 new arrests bookings within a 72 hour period.
The Sheriff reports the MSA Conference at the Cross Center was a successful event. Eight trainings were held including eye witness identification, a full day of mental health first aid and officer wellness classes. We had just over 40 vendors and sponsors and a record number (267) attending the dinner banquet. The Chief’s Auction raised over $5K. These monies help officers that are in need; the most recent being a police officer who’s child was being taking back and forth to Boston for medical treatments.
Bill Collins commented that the Sheriff and his staff should be commended for a very impressive conference. Bill heard from many attendees what a great conference it was.
LT Hotaling said the Jail Camera System pricing came just under $29.9 K. Camera’s will be moved to eliminate blind spots and an additional six cameras will be installed which will bring the total to 26 high definition cameras and seven ultra-high definition cameras.
Sheriff reported that he has requested from Norris and MTI a proposal for services for the electronic door system for the control room. This morning we experienced another failure of the software system and servers. This poses a great challenge for staff having to run the entire facility with keys.
Sheriff will be representing Maine Sheriff’s all next week in Augusta covering various bills. He will be attending tomorrow’s session on LD-453 bill which was originally focused on elected officials, now Sheriffs are being included.
Sheriff will be meeting with the Town of Orrington regarding their community policing program.
Sheriff is in active negotiations with the Town of Hermon regarding their community policing program. Hermon’s contract expires at the end of this year. They are looking at the possibly of a five year contract.
Sheriff reports that the two newest deputies are settling in. An on-going process exists to hire a new deputy for the Town of Carmel.
LT Hotaling has not received a bid for the new civil vehicle.
UT Update –
Barbara Veilleux reported that George Buswell is out checking gravel roads today.
Tracy Scheckel of OTELCO has reached out to Barbara with a possible opportunity to receive a planning grant through the ConnectME authority for Argyle Township. There are quite a few steps to pre-certify or even apply. She has offered her services. The five steps to start the process include:
o Create a community broadband team
o Hold at least one community meeting
o Identify key documents and existing efforts
o Identify potential community anchor institutions
o Create a vision statement
Barbara was told that a matching grant is necessary. We will have to wait until they put the grant out before we see how much the matching grant will require. Barbara will get started on the process and keep the Commissioners updated.
Barbara spoke with Rick Worster of Kingman Fire last week to see how they’re doing on reducing the list of deficiencies that were identified by Safety Works. Lisa Kettle is still working on them. Rick is uncertain as to where she is on the list. There was mention that they may be asking for more funding. Barbara has requested they forward a list of what and what is not left to do before we release any funds. They have until May 22nd to complete the list.
Barbara states that all the required paperwork for Peter Pray’s nomination for the LUPC seat has been forwarded. It typically takes two weeks for a confirmation hearing. It may be longer this year since they are behind.
This afternoon there is the work session on a road posting bill limiting the authority of the posting of roads.
Barbara states that she has received many responses from our towns in regards to the cooperative salt purchase. We give them a month to reply as some of the smaller towns only meet monthly.
Concerned Citizen Jail Building Discussion –
Larry Dansinger brought to the Commissioners additional information he feels important to consider while deciding on the new jail building.
Presented was an article of the newly formed Knox County Recovery Collaborative. They are partnering with resources in the local community to address the harmful use and effects of illicit substances. Larry would like the Commissioners to consider some of the strategies found in this program. Larry stresses it is not just the structure but what is going on inside. He thinks it may be helpful for the Commissioners to step in and get the courts to speed up their process and assist with opening up treatment facilities.
Larry also provided questions for both DA Marianne Lynch and Sheriff Morton in what can be done, is being done to bring the numbers of incarcerated down in the jail. Larry questions if it is because they can’t make bail, or if they can’t be diverted outside. What changes have been made with the new district attorney in place?
Commissioner Baldacci responded stating most of the questions he’s presented have already been answered and worked through by both the Sheriff and his staff as well as DA Lynch. He does agree that they can be reviewed again. Commissioner Baldacci reiterated that the 400 bed facility recommended by STV was rejected and all have agreed upon the need of a 300 bed facility.
Commissioner Cushing thanked Larry in the manner he is approaching his mission. Commissioner Cushing stated that was he has learned since coming on board as a Commissioner is not so much that we need a jail, but a correctional facility that will provide various levels of service. The Sheriff and his staff have been working on bringing in resources into the jail to correct some of problems identified. The Court system is working on different systems too that don’t require as much incarceration. We are in no way discrediting your concerns. We have a commitment to the County to continue to do what is right for the citizens and stakeholders.
Red Flag Law Discussion –
Don McCann, citizen from Corinth, is requesting from the Commissioners for Penobscot County to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary. He brought before them a packet supporting his stance.
Mr. McCann stated there was a public hearing held yesterday in Augusta debating a Red Flag Law for Maine (LD 1312). Some people felt that the committee had already made up its mind and those that testified felt their views were not being heard.
Mr. McCann feels that gun confiscation is against the people’s second amendment rights. That the guns are sometimes taken from people who have not committed a crime and sometimes are met with aggression.
Mr. McCann states that some of the confiscation is unnecessary because the family or household members providing the information to have the guns removed can have their own personal agenda or vendetta. There isn’t a trial or hearing to defend on baseless accusations to the right to own or operate a firearm until much later. Homes are thoroughly searched and sometimes ransacked when no crimes have been committed.
Mr. McCann mentioned that the storing, cataloging and tagging of firearms until they are returned back in the owners custody can be problematic and costly.
Commissioner Baldacci stated that this law is similar to Protection of Abuse Law in which there is a 7-10 day period where there is no access to guns. Then there is a hearing in which both sides present their case. This is something that Mr. McCann objects to. Other than family members being able to make a request to have guns removed, law enforcement has that right as well. Commissioner Baldacci understands that most law enforcement support the Bill, where Don believes that they are not in support of the law due to holding and cataloging/tagging the guns.
Commissioner Cushing recommended Mr. McCann call the Secretary of State to see what steps would be needed by a citizen to make Penobscot County a Second Amendment Sanctuary. Commissioner Cushing shared that there will be a work session on the bill and he thought best Mr. McCann attend.
Sheriff injected that this is a very complicated and complex bill. We need to make sure that we are protecting people. Sheriff feels we should have documentation, such as a medical report when there are allegations made. When asked how MSA feels on the bill Sheriff responded it was a split.
Probate Update -
Renee Stupak reported that she and Judge Faircloth attended the MARP Association Conference in Freeport on April 10 and 11th with discussion on the new changes with the probate code. Most of the challenging changes will be in how they will affect the probate court financials and the legal community representing people from guardianship's and minors. A couple changes proposed for this Thursday are supporting counsel for every single guardianship. The amount of attorneys willing to work at $ 60 an hour is minimal and another bill is to make the State pay for these attorneys.
The minor guardianships haven’t changed much; however, there are a lot of changes with the adult guardianship in which there will be new hearings on those. The July 1st probate code changes may not go out until September because of the many unanswered questions.
Renee states the proposal of Probate Judges being appointed by the Governor are still in discussion. Right now they are reviewing how many cases are being heard in the probate court. They now realize three appointed judges are not enough.
Renee said the renovations in her office are almost complete. It is a wonderful change.
Renee stated that she is Chair for the Uniform Practices Committee. A survey was made to send out to all probate courts to see how they operate. The thought is to make sure everyone operates the same.
Deeds Update –
Susan Bulay said the Map Legislation passed with the amended language that interested parties, such as the surveyors, agreed on.
Susan provided a quote from Ko-File on the map books to be refinished which included some from the UT in the amount of $39,560 for a total of 261 maps in this round. UT Director Barbara Veilleux will check to see if some of the maps that are to be refinished for the UT can be paid for by PILT money.
Susan is requesting to start the process of hiring a replacement for her Deputy Register who will be retiring August 2nd.
Administration Update –
Bill Collins reported that he has not yet met with Judge Faircloth.
Bill presented for signature a criminal forfeiture funds for the DA’s Office.
o State vs Joiner in the forfeiture amount of $324.15
Commissioner Cushing moved to approve receipt of these funds. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. Signed.
Bill reported that the City of Bangor is having their parking committee meeting this morning. An item of interest is removing the two hour parking limit on Court Street which we would be in favor to do.
The Sheriff’s Department will be involved again in the Drug Take Back Day which will be held this Friday and Saturday.
Lee Umphrey informed Bill that they have hired Mike Elliott as Economic Development Director for Katahdin Region. Also local citizen Doug Dunbar has been hired by EMDC.
Towing and Recovery will be using our third floor Great Room for their meeting next month.
PRCC received an official grant denial notification from the McKenzie Foundation.
Bill presented an article from Matt Byrne from the Portland Press Herald article to make changes for Maine PERs benefits for Dispatchers.
Bill reported that Erika Honey, Judy Alexander and Tyler Thompson will be in Augusta tomorrow meeting with Maine PERS officials.
Bill presented Correspondence of a bill to amend the laws governing nominations of County Commissioners.
Aaron Newcomb is within his timeline on the building projects.
Cap Ayer, Maintenance Supervisor should be back to work next Monday.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Joshua Lilley
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 222,369.50
Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $255,454.34
UT A/P Warrant to be approved for: -NONE-
UT TIF Warrant to be approved for: -NONE-
Public Comment - None
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:20 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, John Hiatt, Troy Morton and Judy Alexander. Session ended at 10:35 a.m. No votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:36 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, John Hiatt, Troy Morton and Judy Alexander. Session ended at 11:30 a.m.
Commissioner Cushing made a motion to approve the HR and Finance Directors to interview, screen and find a new AFLAC Representative for County employees. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0.
Commissioner Baldacci noted for the record that Treasurer John Hiatt was provided the opportunity to speak to an email he had sent to the Commissioners and chose not to address it.
Commissioner Cushing made a motion for the Commission to move forward to advertise for a Request for Proposal for an Architectural/Engineering Entity to provide schematic designs for a 300 +/- Correctional facility to be built behind the existing Jail. The Ad will include a Mandatory Pre-Bid at 9:00 a.m. on May 6th in Commissioner Chambers and a response back due on May 20th at 4:30 p.m. Proposals will be opened at May 21st Commissioners meeting. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3 – 0.
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:34 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3 – 0.
Administrator, Bill Collins
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner