COMMISSIONERS REGULAR MEETING
The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Clark at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday July 7, 2020. The Commissioners attended remotely using a Zoom meeting. County Administrator Scott Adkins and Deputy County Administrator Rebekah Knowlton were also in attendance, as well as several Department Heads. The meeting link was made available to the public on the Hancock County website; more than 40 members of the public attended.
Adjustments to / approval of agenda: none
Commissioner Clark opened the floor for public comment.
Greg Schulz of Brooksville asked if the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department worked with MIAC previously or have reason to believe Hancock County’s citizens’ information has been collected illegally by MIAC. Sheriff Kane said his department has received information from MIAC and could only recall a couple of incidents when information was shared with MIAC.
Zachary Taibi spoke regarding the community crisis intervention committee. He said he put his full support behind it and urged the commissioners to take it seriously. Ms. Stiles also spoke in favor of the committee, referencing a collaborative effort with local agencies as well as law enforcement.
MOTION: Approve the minutes of the June 16, 2020 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
CA Adkins said we are well prepared to open back up when the Commission approves it. He said the appointment method works well to reduce the number of people present at one time. Plexi glass barriers have been installed and employees are expected to wear masks when working with the public or when social distancing is not an option. The drop box in the entry has worked well and will continue to be an option for the public to use. Commissioner Blasi read a statement, saying that because adequate protection is not in place we need to discuss hiring a cleaning and disinfecting company. He stated that CA Adkins ignored the written directive of 2 Commissioners regarding facial coverings in a memo to employees and we now have unsafe working conditions. He said he is opposed to opening the courthouse. CA Adkins said he opposed the notion that we have not been performing as we should; he said we have been all along and the Commission has been kept informed. We have been practicing safety measures per CDC guidelines. Commissioner Wombacher asked about the operations of the courts. CA Adkins said the courts have been operating and mask wearing has been enforced. Any public entrances to the courthouse that are open are screened by the court marshals; they enforce the requirement of mask wearing. Commissioner Wombacher said provisions in place to serve the public are working and there is no rush to open the courthouse. He said it should be reiterated to employees that if they need to be within 6 feet of others they should be wearing a mask. CA Adkins said this has been the practice and will continue to be. Register of Deeds Curtis said that every department is doing their best to continue to work while following guidelines.
At this point in the meeting there were some technical issues that ended the Zoom call. The issues were managed, the Zoom call resumed and the meeting was called back to order. The general consensus among the Commission was not to open up yet; they agreed that the public has the ability to call and make an appointment with any of the offices if they need to meet on site.
MOTION: for the next 2 weeks and until the next Special Meeting we modify access to the courthouse that allows citizens to call and make an appointment with all offices within the county and that citizens will be escorted to the office and back to the front lobby by that office staff (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Blasi said he wanted the Commission to keep the court’s schedule in mind as this discussion proceeds.
Discussion regarding Community Crisis Intervention Committee-
Leslie Ross said the goal is to establish a community mutual accountability and engagement mechanism where law enforcement and community members meet on a regular basis. The committee would review currently existing policies, trainings and budgets. The committee would also see an open dialogue between departments and community in reviewing where and how some of these policies and training may be supplemented or changed, without falling below minimum standards. Hanna Gutow listed examples of similar committees elsewhere and said the group is calling for a space for open dialogue between law enforcement and community members so the community can be more informed about policies and training; she said it is important those practices are made accessible to the public. Commissioner Clark said statute allows the County Commissioners to have final authority in only some situations, but they do not have final authority over operations of the Sheriff’s Department. He said he was concerned that if this is not an effort directly between the public and the Sheriff that there is going to be an expectation that any outcome of that committee is enforceable by the Commission. He said the Commissioners may embrace the notion that there is a collaboration but the group’s efforts need to be directed to the Sheriff. Gutow said that is what they are looking for: direct communication with the Sheriff that may be facilitated by the Commissioners. Gutow said they don’t envision these meetings as necessarily coinciding with the Commissioners’ meetings, but they would appreciate the support of the Commissioners and referenced the Commissioners’ budgetary responsibilities. Sheriff Kane said he said he is willing to work with the committee but doesn’t want this to be a fishing expedition; he is willing to address specific concerns. He said he would not release policies because some held details that, if released, may compromise officers’ safety. Sheriff Kane said he would keep the Commissioners apprised of committee developments. Commissioner Wombacher said he was willing to attend the meetings. Brett Ciccotelli said they are looking for ethical oversite and an understanding of who or what is driving law enforcement decisions. Rebecca Wentworth said although there are laws who designate who has control over departments, the Commissioners have an ability to connect with towns in terms of what they would like to spend their taxes on and this is a great opportunity for the Commissioners to act as a bridge between the Sheriff and community. Zachery Taibi referenced the breadth of responsibilities that law enforcement has, and suggested that law enforcement may not be the tool for every job. He said he would offer identifying jobs that may be better served by other organizations as a potential starting point.
MOTION: install the community crisis intervention committee as an operating committee to work on drafting a policy that could cover all county operations and has the Sheriff’s input (Blasi/motion fails for lack of second
Sheriff Kane invited Leslie Ross to contact him to set up the first meeting and said he would keep the Commission informed.
Essential Air Service proposals:
Silver and Cape Air addressed the Commission regarding their recent proposals. Airport Manager Muise said during review of the proposals several Airport Advisory Committee members expressed concern about winter operations and the availability of hangar space during the winter months. In light of this he recommended accepting Cape Air’s proposal. Commissioner Blasi questioned the change from the current two-airline arrangement to one. Muise said the idea to leave things status quo was brought up by Silver only last week. Silver’s original proposal was for year round service. In order to have both airlines the DOT would have to be petitioned to begin the process for new proposals.
MOTION: support Cape Air Essential Air Service proposal for the year round service (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Blasi offered a friendly amendment to the motion: that the commissioners request the DOT to extend the deadline and consider funding two airline carriers. Muise suggested this would be appropriate in two separate motions. There was no support for the amendment.
MOTION: Request the USDOT to consider modifying the EAS proposal to allow the advisors to make two recommendations for air service (Blasi/motion fails for lack of second)
Law Enforcement contract-
Commissioner Blasi said he was unprepared to act on the contract because he did not receive a copy prior to this. Commissioner Clark explained that the FAA requires law enforcement to be in place at every departure, or that plane cannot leave. This contract covers the required law enforcement services. The figures included in the contract do not include the cruiser; the goal is to have the County fund it. Securitas is not able to secure personnel to fill the contract for law enforcement at the airport, as in the past. The contract with the County would require the Sheriff’s Department to hire another deputy. CA Adkins suggested using money in a G account to purchase the cruiser and reimburse that through the budget process.
MOTION: Approve the law enforcement contract between the Sheriff’s Office and the Bar Harbor airport (Wombacher/Clark 2-0 motion passed, Blasi did not vote)
Commissioner Blasi asked why a deputy can’t be assigned to the airport as a part time- on call. Sheriff Kane said that was not a possibility; he said he was doing a favor for the airport and this suggestion would only make more work for his staff.
MOTION: Sheriff be authorized to purchase a cruiser from Quirk in Augusta (Clark/Wombacher 2-0, Blasi did not vote, motion passed)
It is understood that the money for this purchase will not come from the Airport. By general consensus, the Sheriff was asked to complete the details for the new hire and bring a name back to the Commission for approval.
Break 12:10 pm -12:35 pm
MOTION: Approve the Solid Waste Agreement for 10SD with the Town of Cherryfield (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Approve the Town of Howland Fire and Ambulance Service for Hancock County (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Approve the hire of Alan Medina of Hull, MA for part time on call as needed Corrections Officer at the rate of $14.00 per hour with no benefits as of June 27, 2020; not to exceed an average of 29 hours per week (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Approve the hire of David McCarty of Hermon, ME for part time on call as needed Corrections Officer at the rate of $14.00 per hour with no benefits as of June 27, 2020; not to exceed an average of 29 hours per week (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Accept the resignation of Ryan Haines effective July 1, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Approval to work Cpl. Rebecca Long out of classification following the guidelines set by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, effective July 11, 2020 (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
Monthly report- Facilities Director Walls said the RCC Expansion project should be completed within 30 days.
Update regarding the unpaid leave of absence for Dianne Arriesgado-
Arriesgado is still unable to return from the Philippines due to Coronavirus travel restrictions. Director Walls asked for an extension for 30 days and reassess as the situation develops.
MOTION: approve a 30 day extension of unpaid leave for Dianne Arriesgado (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: approval to advertise for a temp/full time janitor (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
Discussion regarding erosion plan-
The affected area was noticed by the contractor when they fixed the other side of the propane field; the work would include riprap and stone and a direct water down to a catch basin at the foot of the hill. The Commission agreed that Facilities Director Walls should seek additional quotes and bring them back for review.
Old Jail Discussion/Review of Hedefine Engineering Report-
Hedefine’s report showed that although there is not imminent danger it is likely that within 3 years something will likely occur that will seriously harm the integrity of the building. The report offered a short term solution to stabilize the structure. The Commission agreed that the Historical Society must take the report seriously and they must address this on a long term basis. The Commission expects repair work on the temporary fix to be done in the fall of this year- before snow arrives. Facilities Director Walls and Commissioner Clark intend to attend the next Historical Society meeting in order to address this.
MOTION: Approve the Change Order for RCC Expansion Project: Exhaust Fan Switch & Relay $256.15 to be paid from the contingency (Wombacher/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Discussion: Outside Sanitation Services
Facilities Director Walls submitted a quote for additional outside sanitation that involves using an electrostatic discharge machine; Walls said this method is really the only thing that we do not do ourselves. Commissioner Blasi said if there is a positive test, this should be implemented. Commissioner Blasi wanted to consider implementing a testing plan for employees. At this point there is no way to facilitate that; we are not in the list of material priorities like healthcare workers. CDC guidance and information from Allegiant Care suggest that the most appropriate avenue is for employees to contact their health care providers. The Commission agreed that a memo should be sent to employees regarding available testing information so if employees are concerned there is knowledge of a remedy.
RCC Director Conary updated the Commission with his monthly report. Xybix is scheduled to install communications stations on July 28.
MOTION: approve the monthly bills and warrants for the month of June as presented by the Treasurer (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
The Treasurer’s memo listed the following:
June GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #20-22, #20-23, #20-24, #20-25, in the aggregate amount of $369,246.64;
June GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #20-31, #20-32, #20-33, #20-34, #20-35, and #20-36 in the aggregate amount of $529,209.82;
June UT Payroll Warrants #20-48, #20-49, #20-50, #20-51, in the aggregate of $1,098.04;
June UT Expense Warrants #20-22 and #20-23 in the aggregate of $1,682.41
Commissioner Blasi suggested freezing the 2021 budget to the levels of the 2020 budget. He said he was planning to caucus remotely and would be using the county Zoom account.
Next meeting will be July 21, 2020.
MOTION: to adjourn (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)
Deputy County Administrator