Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from April 7, 2020
For a downloadable copy click HERE
Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes April 07, 2020 2279 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing and Laura Sanborn 40°
Roll call was taken at 0900 with all three Commissioners present via team viewer.
TAN Bid Openings –
Finance Director, Judy Alexander reported that eight banks were solicited for the 2020 Penobscot County TAN in the amount of $4,700,000. The following four banks submitted their bid by the April 6th deadline.
1. Bangor Savings Bank 1.7% as needed or on a lump sum basis 2. First National Bank 0.9% as needed or on a lump sum basis 3. Katahdin Trust 2.57% as needed or on a lump sum basis 4. Machias Savings Bank 2.25% as needed or on a lump sum basis
Commissioner Cushing made a motion to accept First National Bank 0.9% bid for $4,700,000. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Moved to approve passed 3-0.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff Morton reported today’s jail population is 115 in-house, 48 boarded out to other county jails, no federal inmates, no county swaps and 93 inmates in Pre-Trial Services.
The Sheriff’s office has been given a direct award of an $58,800 from JAG (Justice Assistance Grants) for the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past Penobscot County had to share these grants with others. This two-year grant will be backdated to January, 2020 and has to be used for planning, education, equipment and supplies. This will help us offset the impact of this pandemic. This grant will be used mainly for supplies.
The State has provided 300 surgical masks and two boxes of gloves. They have not sent cleaning supplies, face shields, gowns, etc.
Sheriff reported on the COVID-19 affects to his departments.
o Sheriff ran statistics on domestic violence cases. He is not seeing a trend on an increase from the last couple of months o Sheriff is finding that there has been an increase of incidents of people sharing information on individuals testing positive on COVID-19. Sheriff has found these incidents to be unfounded which is a drain on our resources. o Sheriff is still participating in a federal conference call meeting once a week with 40 other federal agencies. o Sheriff received a generous gift from Advance Auto Parts of many cases of gloves. o Some outside organizations have reached out offering home sewn masks. This is appreciated. Unfortunately, these masks are not medically certified. o Sheriff reached out to MDOC regarding a stockpile of equipment. We have applied on behalf of all 15 State run facilities. The application is currently under review o Sheriff reports that he is lacking face shields and gowns and is hopeful to receive more for his department
Sheriff’s department has been investigating two deaths over the last few days. Protocols on death investigations have drastically changed with the pandemic. This is why it is so important we get supplies.
Sheriff reported on a continued partnership with the DA’s Office. Sheriff and members of the DA’s staff study the jail population daily. The DA’s Office, Courts and our Staff are working well together pushing to have cases heard well before their actual court date. It is helpful that the arraignments are held five days a week. Once inmates are sentenced, they can get the help needed through programing.
The greatest impact we have reducing the inmate population is less regional booking. Our population has drastically changed. Instead of receiving 18-25 to process per day, we are receiving 5-7.
Our staff has done an amazing job during these trying times. As a result of the lower population, Staff is under less pressure. We are able to activate new processes for when inmates arrive and we are able to do more cleaning.
PRCC Update –
Director Chris Lavoie reported that two weeks ago the Bangor back-up site was activated. It was during that time, it was noted that one of the antennas was bad. Whitten’s was called and has since replaced the antenna. It is now working.
A cleaning company was brought in to deep clean and disinfect the entire center.
Director Lavoie is working with Maintenance Director Cap Ayer on purchasing additional cleaning supplies.
A conference call with Emergency Services Communication Bureau (ESC) regarding the COVID-19 crisis was held. It is recommended that his department set aside a workspace with additional stations in the events that there is exposure in the center. Director Lavoie will be making three work stations in the training room in case the need arises. Consolidated Communications is running the wire to get this project started. This coming week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Director Lavoie couldn’t be prouder of how his staff are handling all the changes with new protocols. These changes are happening weekly, if not daily. Administrator Bill Collins spoke on the Radio Communication Referendum Bond. o Mr. Collins has been in communication with Julie Flynn (Deputy Secretary of State Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions). A week ago, it was said that the State of Maine may move the June 9th election date to a later time; that decision has not been made yet.
o Administrator Collins has also been in communication with our attorney Ed Bearor too. The Commissioners will be required to have a meeting with the budget committee in each of their districts prior to a referendum vote. o The Secretary of State’s office knows that it is the desire of Penobscot County to move forward with the Radio Referendum in the next Election. o Mr. Collins has also spoken to our IT Director, Cliff Warren in the event that the Commissioners District meetings will be held remotely.
EMA Update –
Administrator Collins reported on behalf of Director Michelle LaBree and Deputy Brad Nuding.
o Last week Scott Luciano (LEPC) hours were increased from part time to a temporary full time. Scott is handling all resource requests that come into the Agency. The information is entered into the system. He is sending confirmation emails out and then updating their status in our WebEOC (a platform used statewide to manage resources with the State of Maine). In 5 days, we’ve received approximately 40 requests. o The State (DHHS & Maine Housing Authority) are pushing down funding for “wellness” shelters and a potential Penobscot County site was introduced to us last week. Other options are still being looked at as well as the need is being determined. These sites are mainly for the homeless communities. o EMA is participating in the planning conference calls. We continue to take calls and emails from the general public. All media requests are being diverted back to the State Joint Information Center (JIC) when appropriate. o EMA is hoping to get a list of all agencies within Penobscot County that have been provided PPE equipment since distribution started. We asked a few weeks ago and to date, we still haven’t received it. The only orders we are aware of are those that started after we started taking requests and are tracked in WebEOC. o Non COVID-19 Business – EMA was approved to receive the additional funding Michelle applied for last week from unspent funds at the State. This is from the 18-19 funding year in the amount of $6,188.46 (this would bring EMA to the true 50% match for that year). This brings our total for that performance period (although we’re in a different budget year now) to $99,175.96.
EMA is working very closely with the City of Bangor, Northern Lights and St. Joseph’s. One major exercise being looked at is increased capacity for ICU/beds in Penobscot County should this pandemic progress.
NWDB Update –
Administrator Collins forwarded to the Commissioners Directors Joanna Russell’s Update.
DA’s Update –
The DA’s office has been very busy and is working hand-in-hand with the Sheriff’s Office. DA’s, ADA’s and Clericals continue to work remotely.
There is a payroll change notice to be signed for a Shelly Blaisdell. She will be the new part-time Victim Witness Coordinator with a projected start date for the first week of May.
UT Update -
Director Shaw Weeks shared that a TIF contract will be forwarded for your signature next week
Administration Update –
Administrator Collins forwarded an email from Shayna Sacks of Napoli Law regarding an update of the Opioid lawsuit and where it stands in various States.
Mr. Collins has executed a contract with DocuSign. Once we complete a tutorial we will move forward. The Commissioners will be able to sign warrants, meeting minutes and payroll status change notices remotely.
Maintenance Director Cap Ayer reported that a timer device for our generator needs to be replaced; unfortunately, the part is not available so the generator will not be repaired this week.
Commissioner Cushing forwarded information for a scholarship from NACo Leadership Academy. This is the same 12-week program that HR Director Erika Honey attended last year. We need Commissioner support for two employees to attend. After discussion, all three Commissioners are supportive of sending two candidates. Administrator Collins will provide the cost information next week.
Mr. Collins forwarded to the Commissioners a memorandum from MDOC in regards to Hazard Pay. This is a statewide topic. AFSCME representative Mr. Mackie would like to discuss this with our County too.
Kudo’s to Director Warren and the rest of the IT department for their hard work last night in getting out email system back up. Fairpoint had a failure and it took until very late last night to repair it.
Director Honey put together an “Essential Travel” document for County employees last Thursday in the event they were to get stopped by Law Enforcement.
Administrator Collins thanked the Commissioners in hiring Director Honey; the Director has been extraordinary in communicating with department heads and employees during this COVID-19 pandemic. She has researched and has kept everyone abreast of what rights are available to them at this time.
The approved camera and intercom system in the front entrance of Hammond Street vestibule is being installed today.
Commissioner Baldacci and Administrator Collins meeting with MCCA has been cancelled for tomorrow; however, Risk Pool will be conducted with a 9:00 a.m. conference call.
Payroll Change Notices signed for: Shelly Blaisdell – Hired Part time; Tracy Hall – Comp time.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for: $ 225,991.00 Accounts Payable to be approved for: $ 105,939.76 Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for: NONE Unorganized Territory TIF Warrant to be approved 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.
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 10:15 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, Administrator Collins, Finance Director Judy Alexander, Treasurer John Hiatt, Director Lavoie, Deputy Director Lilley and Attorney Ed Bearor. Session ended at 10:38 a.m. No votes taken. Meeting Adjourned-
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:40 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