Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from September 24, 2019
For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes September 24, 2019 2256 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 66°
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve September 17, 2019 meeting minutes. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Public Comment –
Larry Dansinger stated he believes we all have the same goals in mind which is having a smaller size jail while still committed to a safer community, healthier people and a cost effective system that doesn’t impact the tax payers of Penobscot County.
Larry reports that the concerned citizens group have been looking at Criminal Justice changes in the system. Larry appreciates reading in the Bangor Daily about the Board of Visitors committee. Knowing the people involved the concerned citizen group can channel their questions to them.
Larry presented an article that shows the effect of being incarcerated too long and the likelihood of reoffending due to behaviors learned while incarcerated. Larry says that other problems when inmates are held too long that they’re not able to work, lose their benefits, home and sometimes jobs. This places them at a disadvantaged situation and desperate enough to go out and reoffend.
Commissioner Baldacci states that the he appreciates Larry’s comments but reiterated that the intent is to build a correctional facility, not just a jail.
Jenna Mehnert, Executive Director of NAMI Maine (National Alliance on Mental Illness) spoke next. She provided history on how she’s been involved with Penobscot County Jail.
Jenna started six years ago with Sheriff Ross. They met the first Friday of every month coordinating comprehensive jail diversion efforts with the entire County to speak of substance abuse and treatment and how that impacted the community.
Your Jail Diversion committee meets frequently with the sole focus on mental health purposes.
This County was the only county in the State to sign on the Stepping up Initiative.
NAMI Maine has a long history working with Penobscot County and appreciates the active engagement that Sheriff Morton provides. Sheriff Morton always get back to Jenna when she calls with a situation that needs resolve and that she doesn’t always get that with other Sheriff’s. (Jenna went on to elaborate about the CIT program, etc.)
Jenna coordinates quarterly meetings with the DA’s office and Sheriff’s department. This is not funded by NAMI Maine.
Probate Update -
Registrar Renee Stupak reported that her office is fully staffed with the new clerical specialist and her new Deputy of Probate starting last week. The new Deputy has 15 years’ experience working with Judge Faircloth.
Renee and Judge Faircloth are looking for the front office to handle cases independently with the amount of cases being seen in court.
Renee states that the new guardian statute came in place September 1 with a lot of changes. Basically the courts and the judges are doing the best we can, this first year the Committees will be getting together to see where changes should be made.
Renee reports that she is having issues with DHHS paying court appointments. Judy is going to make a separate line item on the budget so we can get reimbursed for outstanding bills paid by Penobscot. DHHS will pay a flat fee of $150.
PRCC Update –
Director of PRCC, Chris Lavoie recognized his staff that was working Saturday on the fire in downtown Old Town. This crew was able to dispatch 21 agencies in total. Many stayed later due to the amount of calls and to accommodate department needs.
Chris reported that PRCC is now ahead of Portland’s call volume making us the busiest 9-1-1 center in the State.
Chris attended the Aroostook County Commissioners meeting in Caribou last week where they voted unanimously to accept our 911 bid for the next three years.
Deputy Josh Lilley reported on the stakeholders group meeting regarding police protocol legislation. If it is passed, we would have to increase staffing. We are not in favor of the police protocols. The only county that seems to be in favor is Cumberland County. The last date to share your thoughts is October 3rd back to the EUT (Energy, Utilities and Technology) for advisement and discussion. Counties will be submitting letters to send to (ESCB) Emergency Services Communications Bureau and voice their suggestions. Josh reports that they are putting the finishing touches on our draft and will send the Commissioners a copy.
Chris provided additional background. In Penobscot County we have three stand-alone dispatch centers; there is Penobscot Nation, UMaine and the City of Bangor. Some of their calls would have to come to our Center; the City of Bangor would add about 40-50K calls annually if protocols were approved which would be detrimental to our center.
The Commissioners suggested that this should be discussed with the legislature. Maintenance Update –
Cap Ayer stated that the paving of the post office parking lot has not been rescheduled by Eaton Paving. He will report when he has a date.
There are two departments that need new flooring – Registry of Deeds and Probate. Cap presented the Commissioners new vinyl laminate samples he recommends to be used. They can easily be laid upon the existing flooring and easily cleaned with just water and no chemicals.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to have Cap to prepare bid specs for the Probate and Deeds departments. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Building and Grounds (Dept. 8) Budget Presentation-
Department Head Cap Ayer presented his Building’s department budget for the 2020 year. Cap stated the overall increase of 3.4% is largely due to payroll and benefits.
Cap stated that the fuel increase went up a little and uniforms went down.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to accept the Building and Grounds (Dept. 8) budget. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Building Improvement (Dept. 32) Budget Presentation-
Cap presented the Dept. 32 budget for the 2020 fiscal year. The major capital improvement is budgeting $100K to help defer the cost when the boilers need to be replaced in the jail.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve (Dept. 32) Budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Administration Update –
Spirit of America invitations will go out today to the recipients with RSVP for the October 15th ceremony.
A FOIA for Deeds Records Management System is being prepared to go out tomorrow.
Update from STV and WBRC –they have been working very closely with the Sheriff’s Office this past week. Jail tours did not take place but they will on their next visit. They are working on a parking study too.
MCCA Convention begins Thursday night and concluding Sunday.
Commissioner Sanborn has spoken to Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. He is scheduled to be here on October 22. This is regarding the Jail referendum. We have received this week multiple letters from some members of the public expressing their concern in regards to building a new jail.
Last week we had issue with our outgoing main telephone line. This took most of the day to resolve.
We received the layout an taking notifications the State of Maine regarding the cemeteries on Ohio Street.
Bill reminded the Commissioners to RSVP to the EMERA meet and greet for next Tuesday.
Finance Director Judy Alexander presented a Representation Letter for signature for our auditing firm, Chester Kearney for the County’s 2018 audit. Commissioner Cushing made a motion to approve signing the letter for Chester Kearney. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0. Signed.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Jesse McCombs – Hired part-time; Cory Hamilton and Dustin Umlauf - Payroll Changes.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $226,090.49 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $245,645.83 UT A/P Warrant to be approved for: NONE UT TIF Warrant to be approved for: NONE
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:05 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter GCN #157. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approve 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Captain Clukey, Lt. Babb, Lt. Hardwick, Chief Birch, John Hamer and James Mackie. Sgt. John Nuttall entered at 10:25. He exited at 10:31 a.m. Session ended at 10:52 a.m. No votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:53 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter GCN #156. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Captain Clukey, Lt. Babb, Lt. Nick Hardwick, Detective John Trask, Detective Bob Jordan, Chief Bill Birch, John Hamer and James Mackie. Session ended at 11:25 a.m. No votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:27 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter GCN #157. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Present were: Bill Collins, Captain Clukey, Lt. Babb, Lt. Nick Hardwick, Chief Bill Birch, Detective John Trask, John Hamer and James Mackie. Detective Bob Jordan entered at 11:36 am. Session ended at 11:45 a.m. No votes taken. Meeting Adjourned-
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:46 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0.
Certified By: Administrator, William Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner