Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from December 17, 2019
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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes December 17, 2019 2267 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 27°
Public Comment –
Larry Dansinger reported that he has been attending some of the arraignments at the judicial center and he noted the following:
A constant theme of people being arraigned of not having jobs or a consistent job. Low on cash or lack money for bail; typically, no place to call home – living with family or couch surfing; and State assigned lawyer representation which sometimes means inadequate services.
If we identify those individuals beforehand, it might be cheaper for the County to pass out thousand-dollar checks. Larry figures if they’re there nine days, which would be the same price it would cost to house them. This way it would empty out the jail and there would be no need to keep them incarcerated.
Commissioner Cushing reported that the Governor and Chief Justice Saufley will be convening with members of the Criminal Justice and Judicial Committee to discuss Justice Reform on January 15, 2020. They will be looking at the public defender program, bail reform and sentencing options.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff stated that today’s jail population is 152 (124 males, 28 females) in-house with 62 boarded out to other county jails. There are no federal inmates, no county swaps and 99 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.
o There are a number of our deputies/detectives in Glenburn on a home invasion burglary that is currently taking place. A couple of the individuals involved in this home invasion are currently out on probation o Patrol hiring has stalled as one of the new hires has rescinded his acceptance; the other three new hires are all set to start o Year-end training taking place o Deputies Gastia and McCarty recently travelled for the two day “Wreaths Across America” event
o Thank you to the Commissioners for allowing the elevator to be hooked up to the generator in the jail o The “F” block ceiling repairs are underway o Sheriff had a great discussion with the Department of Corrections. Troy believes that discussions can be transferred from funding the jails toward opportunities to work together could benefit everyone involved. DOC was very interested in hearing about our Day Reporting Program o Sheriff let the DA’s office know that the Day Reporting Program should be ready the last Friday and Saturday at the end of January. This program has a lowered fee of $75 which will include meals, credentials and funds to secure a site to hold the Program o The second Board of Visitors meeting has taken place. All but three members were able to attend. It included an orientation with a tour of the jail, and the PREA video. The Board discussed policy for future quarterly meetings. After legal review, it was agreed that the quarterly meetings will be open to the public However, other meetings that will include training will not be open to the public. o Sheriff will have a conference call with PCHC and MEDPRO surrounding the MAT funding. Our focus on the program will continue to be recovery; and we will not prescribe medications for those not already involved in recovery. Sheriff will meet with Dr. Gordon Smith next week in Augusta o Sheriff and Elizabeth Simoni from Maine Pre-Trial Services have discussed increasing the number of case workers from two to include clerical assistance. A problem Sheriff has where these offices currently are located which is in the middle of the jail lobby and Civil Division
NWDB Update –
Joanna Russell reported that the Chief Elected Officials (CEO’s) for the Northeastern region met and voted unanimously to move forward with putting the WIOA program services out to bid. Below is an estimated timeline of the process and will be clearer once approved by Ginny Carroll from the Department of Labor:
o Develop a request for proposal (RFP) for the WIOA Adult and Dislocated Workforce Programs and WIOA Youth Program. o Develop and coordinate a proposal review committee. There is a request for a County Commissioner to sit on the board so that they will have a voice. The review committee will be asked to review and approve the RFP documents first. Once the NWDB receives all the proposals, the review committee will review and score all proposals and use a consensus vote to determine the winning application. The review committee will make an award recommendation to the CEO’s and the NWDB.
o Post the RFP by mid to end of January 2020 o Hold the bidders’ conference – March o Collect the proposals for reviewing and scoring (depending on post) o Make the award o Onboard the service provider chosen by the review committee and approved by the CEO’s and NWDB
Joanna provided the Commissioners with the NWDB Labor Market Information. This was created by EMDC and provided an economic overview that was requested by the Department of Labor.
Joanna still has had no word on the Opioid Crisis NEG as of yet. Joanna understand that they met and reviewed the requested information last week. Joanna is hopeful that she hears back shortly on this grant proposal.
Probate Update –
Registrar Renee Stupak reported that she has received the first payback check from the State and is hopeful that others will follow.
Her office staff is doing wonderful and a new intern from Husson Law will be starting January 21.
Administration Update –
Administrator Bill Collins reported on the opioid lawsuit. Attorney Shayna from Napoli Shkolnik states that there will be a meeting with Attorney General Frey in Augusta January 27th and Penobscot County is one of four counties invited to attend.
Reminder that a meeting will be held tomorrow afternoon with WBRC on the Building and Site Progress.
EMERA’s project has been postponed until December 30th through January 2nd. EMERA and the contractor are being flexible as to when to work on this project making sure that we are prepared for the outage.
Bill reported that the FOIA requests were responded to last Friday.
The Chamber Annual Breakfast and Business meeting will be held Wednesday, January 8th, and the Annual awards dinner is Friday, January 24th. If anyone plans on attending let Bill or Mary Anne know in advance and arrangements will be made.
Dignity First has made the decision to cancel their overnight event that was to be held this Saturday in the old Y parking lot.
Bill reminded the Commissioners that he will be away next week.
Bill discussed the First Amendment Audit Experience incident in Oxford County. Bill has shared legal advice with department heads in the event something like this happens. Barbara Veilleux’ retirement party will be held tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m.
Friday from 11:30 to 1:00 pm we will be hosting the Annual Holiday in the Third Floor Great Room
Bill and Commissioner Baldacci attended the MCCA meeting last Wednesday in Augusta. An alternative budget was presented and received unanimous support with an amendment. MCCA will fund a full-time executive director until May 2020. Then transition to hiring a lobbyist to cut costs the following year.
Bill attended the Risk Pool meeting. It appears Penobscot County will see a 1% increase on our liability insurance next year.
The Commissioners made a decision not to hold a meeting next week. (December 24)
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Robert Booth – Resignation; Christopher Wilson – Payroll Change.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $231,798.45 Accounts Payable Warrant to be approved for: $407,906.22 Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $11,112.66 Unorganized Territory TIF Warrant to be approved for: $5,855.87
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 9:45 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Bill Collins, Erika Honey, John Hiatt and Judy Alexander. Session ended at 10:19 a.m. NO votes taken.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the hiring of Sheila Wakefield as the part-time clerical assistant at $15.25 an hour for the Finance Department. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Public Hearing –
A public Hearing on the proposed 2020/2021 Unorganized Territory were opened at 10:30 a.m. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to close the public hearing when no comments were received. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the Unorganized Territory FY20 (July 2020 – June 2021) in the amount of $2,009,001 (Two Million, Nine Thousand, One dollar / NO cents). Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
A public Hearing on the proposed 2020 Penobscot County budgets were opened at 10:35 a.m. Larry Dansinger, citizen of Bangor feels that with this budget the County will start considering other approaches in addressing the jail. Specifically, the jail funding that is coming up from the State refers to 25% of funding that must be used for programs and services. Larry asked if anything in this budget refers to programming and services. Commissioner Baldacci stated that the percentage of funding is arbitrary at this time and it may not even workable. The Criminal Justice Committee is still looking to determine what is workable. Commissioner Baldacci noted that the program line expenditures in the budget is used for Maine Pre-Trial Services that pay for two full time employees. Our County always exceeds programming costs required by the State.
Doug Dunbar, citizen of Hermon reported that there are very few programs currently in our jail for male inmates; the reality is there are plenty of programs for female inmates. Doug and his family are offering to pay for mental health service training for correction officers. Doug feels that there needs to be more than an eight hour educational requirement for officers.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to close the public hearing after no additional comments were received. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the 2020 calendar year budget in the amount of $20,754,197 (Twenty Million, Seven Hundred Fifty-Four Thousand, One Hundred Ninety-two dollars and NO cents) Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to close the public hearings on both budgets. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion to approve passed 3-0.
County Audit –
Tim Poitras of Chester Kearney presented a summary of Penobscot County 2018 Audit. This year’s report shows an adverse opinion to the governmental activities. Tim explained because of a new standard regarding unfunded other than pension liabilities. In order for this to be resolved a “certified actuary” has to complete the work to make this calculation and to hire an actuary would be costly. Tim feels that this adverse opinion will not be detrimental to the operation.
Tim discussed that the big pension recovery of $ 68K has a lot to do with the new standard he referred to in the beginning of the report. In Tim’s opinion, everything else looked good with no significant adjustments. Tim stated that the other finding referred to being the fiscal agent for the NWDB because of the State withholding funding in 2018. County Audit –
Finance Director Judy Alexander and Treasurer John Hiatt had no additional comments. Judy provided the engagement letter for the UT FY19-20 Audit. Signed.
PRCC Update –
Director Chris Lavoie reported that the desk parts are on order to replace two more broken desks.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:55 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Moved to approve 3-0
Certified By: Administrator, William Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner