Penobscot County Commissioners' Minutes from May 5, 2020
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Penobscot County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes May 5, 2020 2282 9:00 AM Commissioners Peter Baldacci, Andre Cushing and Laura Sanborn 46°
Roll call via team viewer was taken at 0900 with all three Commissioners present.
Approval of Minutes –
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve April 28, 2020 meeting minutes. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
EMA Update –
EMA Director Michelle LaBree reported the following:
Last Thursday EMA met with members of the Penobscot Tribal community on the alternate care site in Bangor. This meeting was very helpful for all parties involved. The agreement moving forward is to work as a community in collaboration with each other during all health need crises and not just in the time of COVID-19.
Scott Luciano has been working on finding additional companies that can sell PPE gear due to the CDC not approving Equipment for every agency. This will allow EMA to communicate to those businesses looking for an alternative way to receive PPE.
EMA received notification yesterday that FEMA is sending seven days’ worth of PPE to 93 licensed long term care facilities within the State for May and June. These facilities are licensed for Medicaid and Medicare; Penobscot County has 12 long term care facilities that will benefit from this.
EMA received word that Penobscot Valley Dental Society ordered a significant amount of PPE gear including the N95 masks. We’re in hopes this will help out the area dentists.
There are currently 16 Covid patients hospitalized in Penobscot County. There are currently no positive patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital; they do have 50 beds available if needed.
Deputy Brad Nuding is handling the corona grant supplemental funding and the call for applications closes this Friday. Brad will work with Bill Collins next week on next steps prior to submitting our County Application.
Sheriff’s Update –
Sheriff Troy Morton reported the following:
Today’s jail population is 114 inmates in-house; 33 boarded out to other county jails; no US Marshalls; and just under 100 in Pre-trial services. Sheriff stated that four (4) inmates that have been sentenced to MDOC as agreed are held at our facility to minimize movement between facilities. This is National Correction Officers Week. Sheriff is proud of our employees in the jail. Times have changed with the jail becoming more of an ED; housing individuals with substance use disorders, mental health illnesses and now adding COVID-19 into the mix. These men and women are our unsung heroes.
Sheriff participated in a conference call including MEDPRO, Bangor and Brewer Police Departments and Northern Lights discussing COVID-19 procedures and best practices.
There has been a small modification made in the jail; Inmates are allowed some recreation time. Since cell blocks are not being merged together, it is taking more man power and time to allow everyone to get their chance outside with fresh air. Sheriff feels this benefits the inmates both physically and mentally.
SECURUS issues have been recently resolved. As long as attorneys have registered with SECURUS, they can have additional calls free of charge. Kudo’s to C/O Dustin Umlauf who has developed a coupon type system for PIN codes to inmates for fair distribution for video visitations.
Wally Fraser and Ashley Homstead, two members from the Board of Visitors held a virtual visit with four (2 males; 2 females) inmates. Their discussion has been reported to the rest of the Board of Visitor Committee members.
Sheriff has made a request that the City of Bangor be more communicative with his Office in regards to COVID-19. This request came after there were multiple positive results at the Hope House.
Although call volume has been down for Patrol; there have been more incidents involving domestic violence the last couple weeks.
There were 12 outside academy graduate applications for the Patrol position that recently closed. The first round of virtual interviews will be held at the end of this week or beginning of next.
Patrol staffing is healthy. One deputy that was injured in February will be out for several more months.
The Civil department is working with the Courts and there is still limited service in serving papers.
We currently they have enough PPE gear. The State provided about 15% of what Sheriff’s requested; we were fortunate to receive what was needed with the help from the public and businesses. Portsmouth Ship Yard provided 100 plastic face shields free of charge.
Commissioner Baldacci is pleased that law enforcement is being more selective in who they bring into the jail and is hopeful that this trend continues. Sheriff reported that some of the agencies are voicing concerns that they are having some of the same individuals being summonsed because they know they can get away with it. Sheriff has requested to all agencies to keep a record of these incidents.
The seven-day diversion program has been postponed due to COVID-19. The Sheriff is still looking for a way to make this happen because of the value of this program. There may be a need to offer back to back programs at the end of the summer.
UT Update –
Administrator, Bill Collins reported the following for UT Director, Shaw Weeks:
The Mattawamkeag Fire is requesting we purchase radio and pager batteries and a charger for the former Kingman Fire Fighters. This equipment is quoted to cost $368.20 We have plenty of funds available in the UT Fire Protection Budget.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to approved $368.20 as recommended by Director Weeks for purchases stated. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Director Weeks received a letter from Maine DOT in regards to a paving contract that has been awarded in Aroostook County and Mount Chase.
Administration Update –
Administrator Collins announced that the Assistant Finance Director position has been filled with a start date of tomorrow. Serena Bemis-Goodall will be replacing our current Assistant Director Tyler Thompson. His last day of work is May 15th.
The Managers. Administrators and Clerks recently completed a zoom meeting. Most Counties are following the Governor’s Phased opening of June 1. In addition, most will continue to utilize remote work as much as possible to minimize the number of employees in their buildings. Facilities Supervisor Cap Ayer is getting plexiglass barriers set up in most of the departments.
Commissioner Baldacci and Administrator Collins participated in a legislative conference call yesterday for MCCA. Discussion was the State revenue shortfalls and how it may affect counties going forward.
Administrator Collins will seek Commissioners input on how we re-open our buildings. Do we require masks? Do we reduce entrances to the buildings? Should we continue with a station set up at the Hammond Street door to manage the public? Should we have some type of kiosk linked to departments for the public to communicate instead of allowing wandering in the building? Kudo’s to the IT department. They have been working around the clock to expand our band width.
General Unit negotiation meetings for a three-year contract continue. We are hopeful this will lead to a vote.
Commissioner Sanborn moved to extend the re-opening of the County Building until June 1, 2020 as recommended by Administrator Collins. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Treasurer John Hiatt may have access to the building during normal business hours.
Change Notices signed for: Serena Bemis-Goodall and Diana Ronald – Hired Full-time; Craig Johnson – Deceased.
Commissioner Sanborn made a motion to approve the payroll and accounts payable warrants as presented. Commissioner Cushing seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Payroll Warrant to be approved for week ending 5/1/2020: $260,845.92 Accts Payable Warrant to be approved for week ending 5/5/2020: $389,071.94 Unorganized Territory Warrant to be approved for week ending: NONE 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. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Commissioner Cushing moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:58 a.m. with no further business on the agenda. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0 Certified By: Administrator, William Collins Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner______________ Andre E. Cushing, III, Commissioner