Penobscot County Commissioners Minutes from Feb. 25, 2020

April 16, 2020

For a downloadable copy click HERE

 

Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes February 25, 2020 2275
9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci and Laura Sanborn                       37°

Commissioner Andre Cushing - Absent


Public Comment – None


Opening of Certified Police Vehicle Bids


Commissioner Baldacci opened two bids that were submitted for up to nine (9) police
vehicles. These bids were received by the date and time requested.


o Darlings Ford of Bangor – Certified Police Vehicle 2020 Ford Utility Police
Interceptor $36,225 per vehicle for a total of $326,025
o Quirk Ford of Augusta – Certified Police Vehicle 2020 Ford Utility Police Interceptor
(Hybrid engine) $39,386.14 per vehicle for a total of $354,475.26
o Quirk Ford of Augusta – Certified Police Vehicle 2020 Ford Utility Police Interceptor
(Gas engine) $36,188 per vehicle for a total of $325,692


Commissioner Sanborn moved to take the bids under advisement. Commissioner
Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion approved 2-0.


Sheriff’s Update –


Sheriff Morton stated that today’s jail population is 158 in-house, 73 boarded out to
other county jails, no federal inmates, no county swaps and 87 inmates in Pre-Trial
Services.


We have not heard back from any of the other counties for longer term consistent
housing arraignments.


Sheriff was in Augusta yesterday testifying in a press conference on LD803 (An Act to
Stabilize Mental Health Crisis Services Unit). Initially this bill started out to create four
restoration centers. Sheriff and Commissioner Sanborn had attended meetings
regarding the NAMI: Stepping Up Initiative. (A national effort to divert people with
mental illness or substance abuse from jails into treatment centers immediately.) The
Centers are not hospital’s and were run by the counties. There is much support for this
initiative with four facilities strategically placed around the State. The cost was
astronomical. This bill will allow for more crisis response and people able to come out to
assist when needed. Sheriff is unsure of how the vote went because he had to attend a
meeting with Maine Attorney General Frey.


Sheriff states that he met with the AG’s Office, attorneys of 13/16 counties, City of
Bangor attorney, and representatives from nine municipalities regarding the opioid
lawsuit. The discussion was that they are working with pharmaceuticals companies and
regarding settlements. This will potentially be a source of funding that will help the Jails
with programming on substance abuse.

Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the bid $28,745 for the 2020 Chevrolet Express Cargo van through O’Connor Auto Park. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion approved 2-0.


Deeds Update –


Susan Bulay, Register of Deeds requested to have seven map plan books restored as we did last year with monies paid from the surcharge account. Commissioner Sanborn moved to have up seven books restored. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion passed 2-0.


NWDB Update –


The Northeastern Workforce Development Board, MDOL, Coastal Counties Inc. and Central Western Workforce Board were awarded a substantial grant to address the opioid crisis. The total amount of the grant was $6.28M and the NWDB will receive about one fourth of those monies. The NWDB region includes Penobscot, Aroostook, Washington, Piscataquis and Hancock counties. Maine Department of Labor (grant lead) were joined by the three local workforce boards. Director Joanna Russell participated in a conference call with MDOL and the other two workforce board directors on Monday February 24, 2020. MDOL has received the notice of agreement, (NOA) which was quicker than expected.


Next steps include:


o Wait for MDOL to negotiate the project start date as the award is three months past the proposed start date (December 2019)
o Wait for contracts to begin staff hiring/training and project start up. EMDC and ACAP will need their contract before they can begin to allocate resources and services
o Need to finalize the budgets and program implementation plans


Director Russell is connecting with the recovery centers in Aroostook and Washington counties that are run through the Aroostook Mental Health Care Association.


NWDB, EMDC and ACAP will start with staff training since we are familiar with this program and future direction. Training and staff development must be finalized before we can connect job seekers with local employers.


The project will utilize two strategies to recruit and enroll participants:


o Enroll individuals who want to work in the social service field to address the opioid crisis. Examples might include: individuals working with pain management, substance abuse disorder counselor, intake in one of the clinics facilities – someone working in the field as a professional. These individuals must be long term unemployed, 27 weeks or more.
o Enroll Individuals who access services through the career centers and extension sites and have been affected by the opioid crisis. This does not have to be an individual who has been addicted and in recovery, but someone who is a family member or relative that has been impacted by the loss. The project includes looking at our work holistically in terms of working with family and friends.


The resources in this project could provide a months’ worth of rent for sober housing for someone who needs financial support in order for them to get a job. For somebody new in recovery who needs counseling we can allocate funds to help them get started.


The next NWDB meeting will be held at the Machias Career Center on Thursday March 12th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


PRCC Update –


Director Chris Lavoie reported that the legal ad for the RFP Project Manager for the radio system never made it into the BDN. Director Lavoie spoke to our attorney that stated that there was nothing legally binding that it must be posted in the newspaper, and that we are all set to continue with the process as long as we received proposals from enough vendors. Director Lavoie said that he received four inquiries.


Director Lavoie informed the Board of Directors at the December’s meeting that dispatchers are being tasked with a lot of non-emergent transfer calls that are creating a lot of workload for the dispatchers. Director Lavoie sent out a letter last week to fire and police chiefs requesting that they police their radio traffic.


Project Manager and Radio Communications RFP’s are both due next Friday, March 6th. The bids will be opened at the Commissioners Meeting Tuesday, March 10th.


Staffing is down two dispatcher positions. Director Lavoie is hopeful that after training is completed with his newest hires, he will be able to fill those positions.


UT Update –


UT Director Shaw weeks reported that with the warm weather roads will be posted.

Meeting was recessed at 9:30 and resumed at 9:45


Administration Update –


HR Director, Erika Honey filled in for Administrator Bill Collins who was out and provided the following:


o Director Honey had a second meeting regarding the General Unit and a third meeting is scheduled for March 12th.
o FOP Contract meetings will also begin March 12th
o We will be interviewing for the part-time Victim Witness Coordinator position this coming Wednesday and Thursday. We had 15 applicants and will interview eight
o Director Honey forwarded an email from Shayna Sacks of Napoli Law regarding the Purdue bankruptcy. Sheriff mentioned his meeting with her yesterday in Augusta
o Director Honey requested a list of who will be attending MSA Convention next month (Agenda provided). The MCCA meeting will be held Thursday, March 26th at the Cross Center
o As a reminder there is no Commissioners meeting next week (March 3rd)
o There will be two grievance hearings at the Commissioners meeting, March 17th
o Director Honey provided the documents related to the claims for the dispatchers whose vehicles were damaged in the parking lot
o Director Honey provided an email Administrator Collins received regarding the Building Project from an individual interest in being a part of the planning going forward
o Sheriff’s Office and PRCC will be providing an overview of Law Enforcement in local governments as part of the Civics/Government curriculum on March 5th for 15 students from Old Town High School

o Administrator Collins and Director Honey will be attending “The Hero’s Breakfast” Wednesday, March 25th. Deputy Director of EMA, Bradley Nuding will be the recipient of one of the awards for his quick CPR actions last year.


Payroll Change Notices signed for: Duncan Kane and Robin Gerry – Payroll changes; Terry Sullivan and Jordanna Sprague – Comp time.


Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $238,880.90
Accounts Payable to be approved for: $150,068.90
Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: NONE
Unorganized Territory TIF Warrant to be approved for: NONE

Jail Building Project Discussion –


Members of the Jail Advisory Committee present were: Harry Sanborn, Rick Bronson, John Rouleau, Jim Ring, Sheriff Troy Morton, Finance Director Judy Alexander, and Jail Administrator Captain Clukey. Representing WBRC was Rob Frank.


Rob presented a PowerPoint presentation that was shown at the City of Bangor workshop on February 10th. Rob clarified that the building would not be white as in the images shown, but brown brick that will match the Penobscot County Courthouse. Rob stated that there will be 48 specialty beds and 16 detox beds.


Commissioner Baldacci stated the Commissioners decided to withdraw their request for a zone change (adjust the height and setback requirements needed for a new jail) from the City of Bangor.


Commissioner Baldacci expanded that after hearing negative feedback from the public at last week’s meeting, the Commissioners decided to take pause in the process. Members of the community were opposed on the projected eight-story, 250-bed jail that was to be located at the site of the former Y. The Commissioners met via teleconference with the architects last Thursday and told them that this is no longer a viable plan. We need to re-look at our decision. We will re-engage our architects and go back to the drawing board.
Commissioner Baldacci said that during the process we spent so much time in executive sessions, that when the project was finalized, it touched nerves. We have an issue we must address. Our current facility is licensed for 157 inmates and our jail population has exceeded that number for over ten years. Our boarding out costs are a large expense; along with transporting inmates to other counties which delays trials, separating families and stresses our resources.


Ideally, we would like to keep everything together. We still feel that the current location is beneficial to law enforcement and being close to the court house. We looked at other options such as building in a greenfield site but that would not be convenient. We need to look at renovating or adding onto the current facility or perhaps identifying a different location.


Rick Bronson, Building Advisory Member stated he is very supportive of a new jail to be built at the former Y site. What Mr. Bronson suggests is the county purchase nearby properties and spread the campus out so that it is three stories tall and not eight.

John Rouleau, Building Advisory Member, stated that he is in support of this design. John said, “I think this is an elegant solution to a difficult problem”. John feels that this will take care of the big problems we have caring for our inmate population.


Doug Dunbar, of Hermon stated there is a group campaigning against a bigger jail. Doug suggests that you could put the female population and intake area in the Y site in a colonial size building. He believes that are more alternatives we could be addressing, such as inmate population by redirecting the repeat offenders. Doug feels more funding should be allocated to more clinicians. Commissioner Baldacci reiterated to Doug that today’s inmate population is 231 in our custody; 87 are boarded out. We must not count on the legislature to change laws in order to bring down inmate population.


Larry Dansinger, of Bangor urged WBRC to design a small number bed facility (150), wanted to know about data – use of space and mental health services, and continue boarding out since the cost will be cheaper. Larry feels that more focus should be on medical and not criminal issues. Larry questioned what will be the operational costs when you build a 250 bed? The operational costs has been gathered from STV and the project submitted is very efficient.


Commissioner Sanborn encouraged members of the audience to tour the current jail facilities so that they could have a better understanding of the challenges we are facing.
Phil Locke of Bangor stated that he feels this is a multimillion dollar boondoggle and he opposes this jail project.


Commissioner Baldacci stated in order to have a bond on the November ballot, we need to have something ready by August.


Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:15 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion approved 2-0. Present were: Commissioners, Erika Honey and Susan Bulay. Session ended at 11:20 a.m. NO votes taken.


Executive Session---Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to go into Executive Session at 11:21 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Motion approved 2-0. Present were: Commissioners, Erika Honey and Sheriff Morton. Session ended at 11:54 a.m. NO votes taken.

Meeting Adjourned-


Commissioner Sanborn moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:55 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Baldacci seconded the motion. Moved to approve 2-0


Certified By:

Erika Honey
for Administrator, William Collins

Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
ABSENT - Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner

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