Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from February 11, 2020
For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes February 11, 2020 2273 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Laura Sanborn 28° Commissioner Andre Cushing arrived 9:20 a.m.
Approval of Minutes -
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve January 21 and January 28, 2020 meeting minutes. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 2-0.
Public Comment –
Larry Dansinger, a citizen of Bangor reported that the education event that was set for April 4th “Reducing Jail Populations in Maine” will now be March 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Together Place, 150 Union Street in Bangor.
Larry was at the meeting last night with the City of Bangor and the unveiling of the proposed new jail. Larry described an issue that both he and Doug Dunbar would like revisited in regards to the meeting last night with the City of Bangor. They both feel strongly in opposition about having an actual treatment facility for mental health and substance abuse in the new jail complex. They question whether or not that would be appropriate to offer treatment and feels that all stakeholders (including current and previous inmates) should have been consulted and represented in offering their views. Larry would like to know who WBRC spoke to in order to come with the proposed design.
Sheriff reported that WBRC and STV spent a year meeting with correction officers, administration, service providers (mental health, dental and medical), volunteer services, and faith based groups. All these folks had input on how to provide the best services for the inmates. Sheriff states that one of the biggest challenges is we’re constantly moving inmates around. In order to attend recreation time or faith services, inmates must be divided by classification since the population cannot always be together. This new jail is a mini jail concept which allows for all providers to gain better access.
Sheriff disagrees with Larry’s statement that we don’t provide enough resources for the inmates. Our current facility is a very rich service environment for mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment. You cannot force any person to go to treatment. Unfortunately, when people come to jail that might be the only time that they get access to treatment. This may be the only opportunity awarded to them to get the help they need. This is only an introduction, so when they leave the building we can connect them to the help they need should they choice to accept.
Commissioner Baldacci agrees with the Sheriff’s statement. He feels that one of the fallacies Doug Dunbar presented last night is that this is the wrong place to have this treatment. It is harder now with the overcrowding to provide the services needed. Commissioner Baldacci has seen first-hand with clients that they have become sober while in jail and have taken the treatments offered to them. It is important to connect them to services before they leave so that they can succeed when they are out and know who to contact. Commissioner Baldacci stated that one of the problems that Maine faced is that Medicaid and Medicare was terminated when Governor LePage was in office while people were incarcerated. When inmates left, they had to reapply for these services. This policy has since been changed from terminated to suspend.
Larry is curious if there is any sort of “exit interview” with inmates. Larry is hopeful that it isn’t “face-to-face” interview, something a little more anonymous and with someone who wouldn’t be perceived as a jailor. Sheriff provided information on that question by stating, “Two member that are currently participants on the Board of Visitors Committee are former inmates within the last five years.” Sheriff states that he had sent out a survey to previous inmates about two and a half years ago with requests of what was needed. One response that came back was “series books” (Harry Potter).
What is important to remember that we study the population more than anybody. We work very closely with the court in moving people into alternative sentencing; Penobscot County were the drivers in the pre-trial list and moving those that had been incarcerated and still sitting in jail far too long. Sheriff states that between all the parties involved (DA, Courts, Jail and Administration) possibly we could pull a couple more out of jail, but certainly we would not be able to reduce the jails population by a 100.
Sheriff did appreciate Larry’s comment that he feels the Correction Officers should be paid more. Unfortunately, the bill that is currently up for legislation is only State Correction Officers and not county. It would be nice if the State would make the same dollars available for government correction officers.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff Morton stated that today’s jail population is 160 in-house, 72 boarded out to other county jails, no federal inmates, no county swaps and 93 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.
Sheriff reported 21 inmates will be going to court today. Yesterday 41 inmates went to court; Administrator Bill Collins heard from someone in the DA’s office that yesterday there was a large lag time for the judges in the afternoon causing frustration. Sheriff responded that moving around 41 inmates to the Court to make hearings in a timely fashion is a nightmare and this is what has been tasked since we no longer having video arraignment available.
Sheriff has made a formal request to three counties for longer term housing arraignments. There will be a time delay since they have to go to their Commissioners. Sheriff has received some assistance boarding on the short term.
Sheriff will be attending the MCCA meeting tomorrow in Augusta with some other fellow Sheriff’s. We are requesting MCCA to support the risk pool paying for civil liabilities vehicle operation. We are also offering MCCA to hold their meeting at the MSA convention next month, attend lunch and class with members of MSA.
We are currently down seven (7) correction officers, one (1) supervisor, and one (1) clerical specialist. The most glowing issue that he has heard is the forced overtime. It is hard to maintain a family life when you are told you have to stay and work another shift. Human Relations Director, Erika Honey then spoke of surveying current employees and their overall picture of what they are looking for. Erika is in hopes by these interviews she will get a more comprehensive picture which will aid recruitment and retention.
There has been one officer hired for the UT opening and we will hold off on the other position for right now. Sheriff has spoken to colleges requesting that they do one step more – add a certification piece, not just a degree.
We needs to discuss the four (4) town policing contracts that need to be renewed in June in executive session.
UT Update –
Director Shaw Weeks revisited the construction project discussion on I-95 requiring over limit permits. Shaw and George Buswell are of the opinion that these projects will not affect any county roads.
o Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve I-95 Mill and Fill Project 2240200 Argyle TWP. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Signed. o Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve I-95 Mill and Fill Project 2024500 Mattamiscontis T2R9 NWP. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Signed. o Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve I-95 Pavement Milling Hot Mix Asphalt Overlay Project 2367900 & 2478900 T1R6 WELS and Herseytown Twp. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Signed. Shaw presented the addendum to the Grand Lake Road Snow Removal Contract with K & C QuikStop for signature. Signed.
Shaw reported that Shayne White, the Unorganized Territory Fiscal Administrator will be visiting tomorrow.
LUPC is holding their meeting at the same time to cover the overview of metallic mineral mining in Mt. Chase and conceptual standards for marijuana facilities. Shaw states that this meeting will be recorded and he will review that later.
PRCC Update –
Director Chris Lavoie reported that Bill Collins, Erika Honey, radio committee and our county attorney have all reviewed the project manager RFP and have made their edits. Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the RFP for the radio project manager. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Deputy Josh Lilley has been working with getting the new guardian software up and running. The implementation takes 4-6 weeks in a three phase roll out. Once it is set up and we feel comfortable we will present it.
Bill Collins wanted to share with the Commissioners at the recent Radio Board Meeting, Directors personally extended many thanks to Chris and Josh for their work with improvements and communication they see.
Installers were here yesterday to fix the broken desks. More parts will be ordered to have on standby in the event another desk breaks.
Administration Update –
Administrator Bill Collins reported that it’s been a busy week in preparation of last night’s City of Bangor workshop. Bill met with Cathy Conlow, City Manager in regards to discussing a parking deck. It was learned during the PowerPoint presentation, that WBRC is one of the vendors that leases parking spaces from the City.
Jack Parlon representing FOP supervisors would like to start up contract negotiations in March.
Commissioner Baldacci and Bill will be attending the MCCA meeting tomorrow in Augusta.
Erika Honey and Bill will meet with Sylvia Hebert regarding the General Unit next Friday. Erika and Bill will meet for the Quarterly Workers Comp review next Friday as well.
There is a blood drive set up for May 5th sponsored by a dispatcher from PRCC.
Commissioner Cushing moved to have Bill create an RFP for a firm for the Jail Bond. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Bill reported that he received a phone call from Dixmont Selectmen David Bright who would like clarification on the projected jail facility. The town works on a fiscal year and they are trying to budget for the construction of the jail.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: NONE Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $235,385.22 Accounts Payable to be approved for: $312,069.437 Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: NONE Unorganized Territory TIF Warrant to be approved for: NONE
Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:10 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Bill Collins, Sheriff Morton, Judy Alexander and John Hiatt. Session ended at 11:25 a.m. No votes taken.
Finance Update –
Finance Director Judy Alexander presented department carry forward requests to be transferred from 2019 into the reserves for 2020 in the amount of $98,623.56. Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the carried forward capital amounts; it was seconded by Commissioner Cushing. Motion was approved 3-0.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to approve the 2020 tax warrant in the amount of
$16,718,532. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0. Signed.
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:29 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn 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