top of page

Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from May 7, 2019

For a downloadable copy click HERE

Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes May 7, 2019 2237 9:00 AM Commissioners Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 43° Late (9:20) Commissioner Peter Baldacci

NWDB Update -

Joanna Russell reported on the most recent workforce activities in Aroostook, Washington, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Hancock counties from the last few weeks.

The State Workforce Board met on April 26th in Augusta with Commissioner Fortman facilitating the meeting. Some important points during this meeting were she introduced herself and asked each board member to do the same. She asked members to share with the board what they felt were our greatest workforce challenges in the State. The members agreed:

o That a large percentage of our workforce have a skill gap and are not prepared for the job market today

o Many pointed to a declining population and stated that we need to consider attracting more people to the State of Maine

o Business members agreed that the State would benefit by allocating more training dollars to specific industries and projects unique to the individual business

The State Workforce Board discussed the 70/30 policy and requested more information prior to voting to rescind the policy. Commissioner Fortman has put a proposal out to the State Workforce Board to rescind this 70/30 policy. They moved to meet in June to discuss the data. After review of the data they may take further action with the 70/30 policy.

The Local Boards were asked to develop their new Program Year 2019 budgets so that MDOL could begin the transaction with USDOL to receive the funds. They usually have a notice of agreement (NOA) in order to move the Workforce funds from Washington to the State of Maine. In order to get the NOA we have to have budgets submitted. We have been told that they will continue to work on the 70/30 policy issue. If the 70/30 policy remains intact, there is no way the NWDB will meet any of the performance goals. There is a document that has been put together that outlines the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act with the regulations for the service providers and it outlines all the services required to be provided to all the job seekers. These are required services and not something that the local board has come up with.

Joanna then reported on the Quarterly Program Performance Report covering April 1, 2018 until March 31, 2019. The required services to each individual are:

o Basic Career Services o Once deemed eligible and qualified for the WIOA funding, Individualized Career Services. This is not something that can happen in a group forum, due to confidential information of the person provided during the session between the career advisor and the job seeker. If the job seeker is looking to qualify for a degree or certificate then they are provided with guidance and possibly allocated funding for these services for these adult services.

When asked the question on how these numbers compare to previous years, Joanna responded numbers are down. She reiterated that the funding was withheld for a long period of time so the service providers were not able to act as they normally would. Therefore the numbers for the next year will be down too.

Everyone throughout the state is in the same boat. Joanna reported that with this policy, 70% of all the adults and dislocated worker funds must go to what is termed “BIG T” training. That funding is going to Eastern Maine Community College, NTI, Beal College and some of the other certificate programs. In order for us to be able to approve that training plan we have to go through all these services first; we cannot just write a check out for these programs. We must have academic assessments to make sure the person qualifies and successfully complete the program. The career advisor will meet them for a period of time to discuss and access and outline their career training plan and sign a commitment letter. The letter outlines that the student will attend the classes and submit their grades to the advisor at the end of every quarter. The entity is responsible for paying all disallowed costs and the five counties are responsible for payback. The average costs for programming is approximately $3-4K per person which fluctuates depending on the job training, colleges, certificate programs, and also funding on the job training and work experience.

Joanna will send out to the Commissioners PY16 budget when funding was available.

The Workforce Board is responsible for workforce development throughout the state. The funding we’re talking about is one very small percentage that is allocated to the Workforce Development. We are required to serve the most “at risk” people. When you look at the funding it is important to bring in all the pieces that are contributing to Maine’s workforce development.

Joanna offered Commissioner Cushing, as a member of the Workforce Board, to meet a service provider and walk you through the process so that there is a better understanding of how it works.

Joanna reported she received correspondence from Ginny Carroll of Maine DOL that she was coming up to Bangor to conduct a review of the PY17 programs. The monitoring went well. There was also talk on linking up workforce with recovery.

Sheriff’s Update –

Sheriff reported that today’s jail population is 176 (141 males, 35 females) with 48 boarded out to other county jails. There are no county swaps and no federal marshals and 81 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.

Sheriff stated that this is National Correctional Officers week. In 1984, then President Reagan recognized the inherent struggles correctional officers face daily.

Sheriff is pleased with the number of pre-bid applicants that attended yesterday for the RFP for Architectural/Engineering Services for Schematic Design. There were 13 companies represented with 11 people taking the tour of the jail and the county complex.

NAMI recently awarded two awards last week to employees of our jail. Cpl Chaz Gray was recognized for his leadership in dealing with inmates with mental health challenges and CHCS was recognized for their amount of work in the jail facility.

Sheriff reported he will be receiving an award from Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine (CCSME) Wednesday. They will be recognizing Penobscot County for their work with the RISE program using MAT with the vivitrol.

Sheriff will meet with Representative Talbot-Ross and others from the State regarding the partnerships, DOC board has been charged to reform corrections and find options for what we can do differently.

Sheriff shared a draft of a letter that has been signed off on by Governor Mills, Commissioner Liberty and Chief Justice Saufley. Sheriff will be meeting tomorrow in Augusta to discuss this letter further and will share with the Commissioners once finalized.

PRCC Update –

Chris Lavoie reported that last week was the second busiest this year with 6,544 calls. Maine Day was Wednesday which brought a high call volume day.

Two of our staff graduated from the C.I.T. program from NAMI. Chris plans on sending two more employees in the fall for the next program.

Chris shared that seven dispatchers are attending the NENA (National Emergency Numbers Association) conference in Portland this week.

Chris reported that all of our inventory of equipment has been moved to the fourth floor while other equipment is located at the tower sites. The only exception is the radio microwave that is still being bench tested.

Chris has reached out to Aroostook County and will joining them at their Commissioners meeting next week in regards to bidding for service.

At the May 29th Board of Directors meeting we will be meeting to finalize the RFP for a new radio system. Chris reports he should be presenting a draft letter to the Commissioners in regards to co-locating tower sites with the State.

HR Update –

Erika Honey thanked Sheriff Morton for mentioning it is National Correctional Officers Awareness Week. She will be sending out a thank you on behalf of all of us. In the four months Erika has been here she is taking notice of the work related injuries and recognizes that it not an easy job over there.

Erika states she will provide a monthly HR update.

The HR Department Plan was emailed to the Commissioners for the 2019 calendar year. Erika has developed a guide to ensure that the goals of the newly created position and the direction of development are in alignment with leadership’s vision. Erika is working on day to day activities, however, this plan is in the horizon.

Erika states with the tremendous help of Barbara Veilleux, UT Administrator and LT Hotaling from the Sheriff’s Office we are in the final set-up stages of implementing Power DMS for the departments who have not had access or utilized it previously. This will be a great tool to get out benefit info to County employees.

Erika states there will be a few trainings taking place:

o Karen Fraser, Maine DOL Director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. Will be training employees on visible and invisible disabilities and our interactions with people with disabilities o Karen will conduct a more in-depth review of ADA for supervisors training o Ergonomics training will take place in the next month.

MainePERS will be on-site to provide retirement overview to our employees and an opportunity to meet with them individually to discuss their specific retirement privately.

Erika has implemented an exit interview questionnaire and has met with one employee who has voluntarily resigned.

Erika and Susan Bulay will be interviewing for the Deputy Register of Deeds tomorrow.

The Probate Clerical Specialist opening will close on May 17th.

Erika attended a workshop last Thursday on an overview of HR practices. On the forefront what we need to pay attention to is Equal Pay Act with the new component of not asking upfront one’s previous salary history.

All the personnel files have been moved to the HR Office.

Erika reported last week was a higher number of work related injuries reported.

Administration Update –

Commissioner Sanborn will be leaving today for Augusta to attend Peter Prays LUPC hearing.

There was discussion on the Town of Orono requesting consideration of eliminating or reducing the late payment fee on taxes.

Commissioner Baldacci and Bill will be in Augusta tomorrow for an MCCA Board Meeting.

Bill will be in Kennebec Friday for a MCCAM meeting.

Friday Bill and Detective Garry Higgins from the DA’s office had to step in and issue a warning to a disgruntled citizen to leave the building.

Payroll Change Notices signed for: Melissa Boyle – Resignation; Leslie Chauvin – Payroll change. Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 219,835.72 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $277,147.90 UT A/P Warrant to be approved for: -NONE- UT TIF Warrant to be approved for: $12,850.00

Public Comment - None

Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:20 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (E) Legal Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Frank McGuire and Erika Honey. Session ended at 10:40 a.m. No votes taken.

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) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Cap Ayer and Erika Honey. Session ended at 10:41 a.m. No votes taken.

Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:50 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, Sheriff Morton, Capt Clukey, LT Hotaling, John Hiatt, Cap Ayer and Judy Alexander. Session ended at 11:08 a.m. No votes taken. Meeting Adjourned-

Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:11 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3 – 0.

Certified By: Administrator, Bill Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner

Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner

bottom of page