Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from April 14, 2020
For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes April 14, 2020 2280 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing & Laura Sanborn 46°
Roll call was taken at 0900 with all three Commissioners present via team viewer.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff Morton stated that today’s jail population is 111 in-house, 43 boarded out to other county jails, no federal inmates, no county swaps and 100 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.
Sheriff reported that with daily video arraignments, it has been helpful keeping down the daily inmate population. A challenge, however, is that we lack enough computers and an area designated for inmates to talk to financial screeners and legal counsel. Lt. Hotaling and the IT staff have developed a system on a laptop for the detainees which has been useful. Unfortunately, it is only one computer and we are unable to leave it unsupervised in the cell blocks.
Sheriff is participating in conference calls with DOC and CDC making sure we have the best practices in place. We have had zero presumptive positive for both detainees and staff. Sheriff’s Office has a system in place where anyone (staff, detainees, and law enforcement) entering the premises are being screened at the doors. Sheriff believes it has been helpful by reducing movement in the facility.
We are providing free video visitations and extended phone call hours for the inmates.
Sheriff reported last week was the first Board of Visitors virtual meeting and feels it went pretty well. Sheriff is hopeful that another virtual meeting can be held with two Board members and include a few inmates that participate in the MAT program.
Sheriff states law enforcement has been busy with suicide attempts and medical calls. Sheriff has placed a small Public Service Announcement on social media letting the public know that services and courts are still open. Sheriff reports that the last three months statistics are not showing higher domestic violence incidents.
Sheriff reports that we have two case workers for Maine Pre-Trial; Commissioner Baldacci feels it would be good use of funds if we were able to hire an additional social worker to work with Maine Pre-Trial. Commissioner Baldacci is pleased that we finally have the entire justice systems attention and we are seeing impressive results.
Sheriff reported that in conversation with the MDOC Commissioners, they are requesting that the State Sheriff’s keep inmates in their facilities when they have been sentenced.
Sheriff reported that he has been in communication multiple times with the grant’s manager for the State of Maine and grants manager for the federal JAG (Justice Assistance Grants). Sheriff has received communication that JAG funding cannot be used for all county purposes, only for the jail. The second grant Sheriff refers to is State grant that is available. A municipality or town can apply for part of that $3M grant. PRCC Update –
Director Chris Lavoie reported his center was very busy last Thursday night into Friday with the big snowstorm. In a 24-hour period his staff responded to 2,302 business line calls, not including any 9-1-1 or radio traffic.
Director Lavoie complimented his staff on their devotion to the agency. Staff members stayed late and came in early to complete the mission and put the needs of the agency before themselves.
Director Lavoie stated that were some radio problems in the southern part of the county during the bad weather. The backup center had to be activated and we placed a couple of our staff members there.
Director Lavoie stated one supervisor stayed for 22 straight hours until things were up and running. Deputy Lavoie thanked the Hermon Fire Department for their assistance during this time to restore communication.
Formal decisions on the RFP were sent out last week.
This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Director Lavoie thanks each and every member of his staff for their professionalism, dedication and commitment. Director Lavoie feels that he cannot express of how privileged he is to work with such a superb group of people.
Deeds Update –
Human Relations Director, Erika Honey provided the following for Register of Deeds, Susan Bulay:
Staff in Deeds are continuing to work in teams of two, one team off and one team on
Work has not slowed down at this time, although it has been shared to Register Bulay that title companies are coming to an end in sales that were started before the shutdown
Work may mean a slow start up once restrictions loosen
EMA Update –
Director Honey reported for Director Michelle LaBree and Deputy Brad Nuding as they both were currently involved in other meetings.
Alternate Care Site in Bangor is waiting for contracts to be signed between the City and Healthcare. There have been some issues on financial liability. Once signed, EMA will move forward with getting equipment and supplies in place. We had the storm over the weekend and had daily conference calls with EMERA on progress. EMA received many calls over the weekend requesting restoration times on our critical infrastructure. Communication flow between EMA and EMERA was on point. With this current storm, calls have been scheduled for the remainder of the week as needed.
Ongoing efforts with resource requests for PPE, hand sanitizer, etc. Scott Luciano (LEPC) is keeping very busy with those requests. EMA is fielding a lot of calls from local businesses with their fears and frustrations on trying to obtain PPE for their staff.
EMA is dealing with issues stemming from lack of communication with MEMA down to our level on day to day job responsibilities; i.e. grant opportunities, bill pay and questions answered on day to day responsibilities has been a challenge.
UMaine has been making hand sanitizer for hospitals and healthcare organizations. Last week they opened it up to other businesses, EMA ordered some for the jail and other County Departments. The hand sanitizer comes in 5-gallon buckets so we can refill our desktop containers when needed. Our request has been approved and they will let us know when they plan to deliver. Director LaBree believes it may be 1-2 weeks out.
Please feel free if you have any questions during the week to reach out to Director LaBree.
Administration Update –
Director Honey reported that Administration is currently screening applications for the Assistant Finance Director Position. The plan is to have initial interviews via phone, then in-person interviews for final selection within the next couple of weeks.
Director Honey has worked with NACo and they are very interested in our attending their leadership program and offering to offer $400 discount training to staff members. However, given the current work conditions, this is a difficult time to engage our staff members. We will look to enroll them in the next session.
Director Honey reported on the challenge she is facing in Human Relations currently:
o A few employees are out on limited duty on workmen’s comp and it is difficult to get follow-up appointments, Physical Therapy, etc. since these services have been placed on hold. Trying to get staff back to work that are out unrelated to COVID
Director Honey reports that PRCC and the SO have been fantastic with communication Director Honey states having Kristen Roemmich from the DA’s Office manning the front lobby area has been incredibly helpful. Kristen is managing communications between the departments and the public.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: None
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the payroll and accounts payable warrants as presented. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Motions approved 3-0.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 225,958.05 Accounts Payable to be approved for: $ 92,427.80 Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: $140,429.39 Unorganized Territory TIF Warrant to be approved for: NONE
Commissioner Cushing made a motion to close the public session of this meeting. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 9:51 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (D) Contract Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Director Honey, Finance Director Judy Alexander, Treasurer John Hiatt, Director Lavoie, Deputy Director Lilley and Attorney Ed Bearor. Session ended at 9:55 a.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 9:57 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Director Honey and Deputy Director Josh Lilley. Session ended at 10:06 a.m. NO votes taken.
Executive Session---Commissioner Cushing made a motion to go into Executive Session at 10:15 a.m., under 1 M.R.S.A. § 405 (6) (A) Personnel Matter. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0. Present were: Commissioners, Director Honey, Treasurer John Hiatt, Attorney Ed Bearor and Attorney Pat Ende. Session ended at 10:46 a.m. NO votes taken.
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:47 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0 Certified By: Human Relations Director, Erika Honey for Administrator, William Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner