Commissioners Regular Meeting
Commission Chairman, Percy L. Brown, Jr. called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 1, 2009in the conference room at the county courthouse in Ellsworth with Commissioners Joy and Lawson in attendance.
The commissioners congratulated dispatcher Rolly Means on his 10 years of consecutive service with Hancock County. Commissioner Brown voiced his appreciation for the exceptional service that Rolly has provided through the years.
Adjustments to the Agenda:
MOTION: to add item 8a, a request for a leave of absence and the request to hire a part-time temporary employee in the District Attorney’s office. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to add the hire a part-time temporary employee for a period of 2 weeks in the Office of Financial Affairs. (Joy/Lawson, 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to add item 3b, a request to authorize the chairman to sign a contract with Harold MacQuinn for the runway 4 safety area project and Hi-Way Safety Systems for the airport pavement marking project. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
6f – clarification of benefits for a temporary full-time employee in the jail. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to move item 6f up to item a1 under the sheriff’s department. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the minutes of the August 7, 2009 commissioners’ regular meeting to include an adjustment regarding Time Trak. (Joy/Brown 2-0-1 motion passed) Lawson abstained as she was not present at the 8/7/09 meeting.
MOTION: to make Time Trak the official time record keeping system for county employees as of Saturday September 5, 2009. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
- All employees with the exception of elected officials are expected to punch in and out on a daily basis.
- By-weekly payroll was discussed, implementation has been researched at length and the week of October 24th seemed to be the prime week to implement the change as it would least affect holiday finances for county employees. This would give the employees 8 weeks of preparation time.. Tax implications were discussed and a tax table and was distributed to the commissioners. CFO Roy stated there would be no tax implications to the employee what so ever.
- Commissioner Lawson reiterated that the best time for transition would be the 3rd week of October. The last check under the weekly payroll system will be received on October 22 and the first paychecks under the by-weekly system will be issued around the 5th of November. The following check will be received on November 19th
- CFO Roy requested to issue the first checks under by-weekly on Tuesday rather than Thursday. Bangor Payroll has assured the CFO that if payroll were in on Monday, employee checks would be available on Tuesday, November 3rd.
- Currently, there is no benefit to direct deposit; there will be in the future. Computer access to pay stubs will have to be in place prior to the implementation of mandatory direct deposit.
- Sheriff Clark wanted to know the compelling reason for changing to by-weekly payroll. Cost was the issue. The cost varies from week to week depending on how many employees are paid. The approximate savings would be over $3,700.00.
- Sheriff Clark stated that employees have voiced their opinions and they do not want by-weekly payroll due to the hardships it will cause.
- Commissioner Lawson stated that this was an administrative decision and that she has found that employees have come to appreciate by-weekly payroll.
- Assistant Airport Manager, Allison Navia stated that she has a letter from ARFF employees stating that they also do not want by-weekly payroll.
- Commissioner Joy stated that the Time Trak system was a needed management tool. By changing to by-weekly payroll, the savings will pay for the time tracking system. He stated his positive views with regard to by-weekly payroll.
- Patrol Deputy/Union Shop Steward Corey Bagley asked why the subject of by-weekly payroll was being addressed just prior to union negotiations. Commissioner Brown stated that this was not a union negotiation and he did not wish to discuss union negotiation issues in this forum. He stated this is a management decision that the commissioners are in no way trying to make it difficult for the employees. This is a commissioners’ decision and he felt that by next year, this will not be an issue at all.
- RCC Director Renee Wellman asked if there would be any issues involving new employees receiving their initial paycheck. She wanted to be assured that there would be no delay in paying new employees. CFO Roy assured her that, depending on the starting date, employees would be paid with in 2 to 3 weeks from the date of hire. A hand written check could also be written if necessary.
MOTION: as of October 24, 2009 the county will change to by-weekly payroll with the first check to be paid on Tuesday, November 3rd, the following regular payday will continue to be on Thursdays. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
A discussion followed regarding the cashing of payroll checks on Wednesdays verses Thursdays. Sheriff Clark was asked to research the issue.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY:
- EMA Director Ralph Pinkham stated the State of Maine has found excess funds in a 2006 homeland security grant and as such has issued the County of Hancock $51,000 intended to purchase narrow band pagers for local fire departments. The pagers cost approximately $300.00 a piece. The emergency management agency will purchase the pagers and be reimbursed by FEMA. This is 100% funded by the homeland security grant. 27 NIMS compliant departments will receive the pagers. Coordination of the narrow band frequencies was discussed.
- Director Pinkham touched on their responsibility of the emergency management agency helping with H1N1 immunizations this fall. Community and school meetings will be held next week in order to begin planning of the immunization program. Eastern Maine Medical Center will be the distribution point for the H1N1 immunizations.
- The county, as an employer, needs to emphasize what needs to be done in order for employees to avoid becoming infected. Hand washing and cleanliness are important aspects of the plan.
- A full scale communications exercise is scheduled for the end of October. Drop lines from the clerks office and Registry of Probate were discussed. These lines would be used for emergency purposes only.
- Commissioner Lawson suggested the EMA director and deputy director meet with a commissioner and department heads to discuss a pandemic plan for H1N1 awareness and policies of what should be doe if an employee is infected.
- The District II appointment to the airport advisory committee is yet to be determined. A meeting of the advisory committee was held last week. A description of up coming projects and meetings will be distributed to advisory members within the next few weeks.
- Airport Assistant Manager Allison Navia, presented a revised architect / engineering / consultant procedures for commissioner approval. Commissioner Lawson suggested minor grammatical changes. Commissioner Joy stated that he does not want to lose the language “employment of such firms should be made on the basis of negotiations and equitable fees.” He was assured that said language would not be lost.
MOTION: approval of the architect/ engineering/ consultant procedures with minor changes. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
- Commissioner Brown questioned why the commissioners would not address Mr. Tillinghast’s letter regarding safety issues associated with Colgan Air. He felt it was the responsibility of the county commissioners to question all safety issues associated with the airport. Airport Assistant Manager Navia’s was of the opinion that it is not the county’s responsibility to address safety issues regarding Colgan Air, and that the commissioners are responsible for forwarding the complaint to Colgan Air, not directly addressing safety issues associated with the airline. Assistant Manager Navia will follow up with Colgan Air regarding their response to the complaint. Commissioner Lawson suggested inviting Mary Finnigan and Buddy Casey of Colgan Air to meet with the commissioners to discuss the problems associated with Mr. Tillinghast’s letter.
- The clerk was instructed to send a letter to Mr Tilinghast stating that Colgan Air officials, Mary Finnigan and Buddy Casey have been requested to meet with the commissioners in order to resolve his complaint.
MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign a contract with Harold MacQuinn for the runway 4 safety area project. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign a contract with Hi-Way Safety Systems for the airport pavement marking project. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Airport Assistant Manager Navia reported that her recent trip to Washington DC was successful as the fire fighter language was not included in the bill.
10:40 a.m.: Break
10:52 a.m.: Back in session.
OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS:
MOTION: to approve general fund payroll warrants #09-32A, #09-32B , #09-33A, #09-33B, #09-34 and #09-35 in the aggregate amount of $282,044.46. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve general fund expense warrants #009-25, #009-26, #009-27, #009-28 and #009-29 in the aggregate amount of $525,616.73. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed
MOTION: to approve the jail expense warrant #10-01, #10-02, #10-03 and #10-04 in the aggregate amount of $100,870.10. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve the Unorganized Territory expense warrant #10-01 in the amount of $22,484.34. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
CFO Roy reported that town taxes have been coming in steadily and that is it anticipated that the TAN will not have to be used.
MOTION: to approve a capital expenditure from account 40-70-460 in the amount of $7,329.60 for terminal building roof replacement. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to approve a capital expenditure from account 40-70-460 in the amount of $2,332.79, for the consultant, for the terminal building roof replacement. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
Commissioner Joy asked if a final report of the inspection has been issued. A verbal report has been given to the assistant airport manager, but no written report has been received.
MOTION: to approve a transfer in the amount of $5,000.00 from UT budget to the UT capital road project account. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
CFO Roy requested to rescind the following capital accounts for the jail as approved in the July 7, 2009 minutes: $10,000 as contingency, $6,500. to the jail van account, $25,000., dedicated to the jail control panel, $20,000 for the comp-time buy-out and $8,000-$10,000 for capital improvements The 6 month anticipated jail surplus should be close to $8,000.00. Approximately $77,000 was used toward jail projects at the end of the 6 month budget.
MOTION: to rescind the capital accounts established for the jail as approved in the July 7, 2009 regular meeting, which include $10,000 as contingency, $6,500. to the jail van account, $25,000., dedicated to the jail control panel, $20,000 for the comp-time buy-out and $8,000-$10,000 for capital improvements. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
CFO Roy stated that Board of Corrections representatives will be visiting the county in order to look at the jail retaining wall that is currently in need of repair. An RFP will be created and distributed shortly and the process of repairing the wall will begin shortly thereafter. During this process outside recreation for prisoners will need to be addresses as well as the moving of propane tanks
- RCC/E-9-1-1 Director Renee Wellman presented the commissioners with a copy of the updated RCC by-laws for discussion. Commissioner Brown explained the process he used in changing said by-laws. Director Wellman explained that 51% of the technical advisory committee would need to be made up of law enforcement representation. The document was discussed in detail.
- Commissioner Lawson suggested postponing the adoption of proposed changes until she has a chance to discuss some of her suggested changes.ie..calling it an advisory committee rather than a technical advisory committee. She felt the committee should be made up of 11 members instead of 10 members. Commissioner Lawson will e-mail her suggested changes to Commissioners Brown and Joy as well as Director Wellman.. Commissioner Joy had questions regarding appointments / nominations. Commissioner Brown briefly discussed staggering terms.
- Commissioner Brown stated that the RCC was still governed by the Board of Directors. A board of directors meeting should be held once the new by-laws are complete. All agreed that appreciation of the board of directors should be expressed in person rather than by letter.
- Sheriff Clark stated that full-time temporary corrections officer Chris Stanley was approved as a temporary full-time employee at the jail with holiday and sick time benefits. He was sure that the commissioners would have intended for Mr. Stanley to receive regular full-time benefits as accorded to every full-time corrections officer.
- According to the sheriff, the CFO has interpreted that Mr. Stanley would follow the personnel policy rather than the union contract with regard to sick and holiday pay. He asked the commissioners to recognize that when Mr. Stanley was granted holiday benefits that they were recognizing this benefit as any other full-time corrections officer would receive.
- A discussion ensued regarding the sheriff’s payroll reporting system and the dates in which Mr. Stanley’s birthday/holiday was reported. Sheriff Clark stated that the commissioners have the authority to establish a unique set of benefits for temporary full-time employees, and that this person is not subject to the union contract. He stated that the level of benefits should be consistent with other employees working in this classification.
- CFO Roy stated that the question is where this employee falls; as he is not recognized by the union until 6 months after employment, therefore the CFO followed the personnel policy when awarding holiday comp time to a non-union employee. Sheriff Clark stated that there was no reason for the commissioners to impose the personnel policy on an employee working in a corrections officer position.
- Commissioner Brown stated that this person is a non-union employee and therefore the personnel policy will be followed. If the person was a union member, the union contract would be followed. Commissioner Lawson agreed with Commissioner Brown.
- Sheriff Clark stated that for 30 years the commissioners have been setting the level of benefits on their own, this has nothing to do with the personnel policies or the union contract.
- Commissioner Lawson stated that the commissioner’s interpretation on the day he requested benefits for Mr. Stanley was different, at that time, than the sheriff’s interpretation. Commissioner Joy stated that new employees are not long time; union represented employees, which is why he asked his vacation question that day.
- The sheriff withdrew his request to have Mr. Stanley’s holiday benefit time reconsidered.
- Commissioner Joy asked if any back benefits would be due to the employees that the sheriff is asking to be made full-time regular. The answer was no. Commissioner Brown suggested holding off hiring these people until just before their May and June full-time temporary hire dates. Cost savings were discussed.
- CFO Roy asked for clarification as to when their probation periods will begin.
MOTION: to promote corrections officer Nancy Holmes from temporary full-time to full-time status, at Step 9C $14.87 per hour, effective immediately and to establish her seniority/full-time date of hire as October 25, 2008. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to promote corrections officer Debra Z. Jones from temporary full-time to full-time status, at Step 9C $14.87 per hour, effective immediately and to establish her full-time date of hire as June 6, 2009. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to promote corrections officer Christopher Stanley from temporary full-time to full-time status, at Step 9C $14.87 per hour, effective immediately and to establish his full time date of hire as May 9, 2009. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to accept and approve the transfer of forfeited assets in the amount of $4,000.00 in U. S. currency and a used Chevrolet Express van. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Sheriff Clark requested that the commissioners set a date for a termination hearing for corrections officer Brad Ewing.
MOTION: to schedule a termination hearing for corrections officer Brad Ewing for October 6, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. or at the conclusion of regular business. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
12:45 p.m.: Recess
1:00 p.m.: Back in session.
Tax appeal hearing – Harris v. the Town of Blue Hill
Commissioner Brown called the tax appeal hearing of Harris v. the Town of Blue Hill to order at 1:00 pm. Participating parties were sworn in and testimony was heard. An audio tape of the hearing will be made available upon written request to the county clerk.
Commissioner Brown declared the hearing closed. Deliberations will be held on October 6, 2009 at approximately 1:00 p.m.
Commissioner Brown declared the regular meeting back in session.
- The unorganized territory E-9-1-1 addressing agent, Marc Perry, updated the commissioners with regard to his work over the past month. He asked if he could communicate with the commissioners outside the meetings. UT E9-1-1- Addressing Agent has received updated information from the State and is now able to go forward in publishing of maps. The finalization of Township 3 is in process. Townships 40 and 41 will follow shortly thereafter. Mr. Perry has been making changes that the state is responsible to make. Arc View of maps was requested by Commissioner Lawson.
- A fire renewal contract with the Town of Cherryfield will be received shortly. The trash contract for the Town of Cherryfield has increased to 44 people, usually $110.00 is charged per resident. A 40% additional charge will be requested in the coming year. The Tow of Cherryfield will be requesting $8,000 instead of $3,300 as traditionally charged. It was suggested that the Town of Franklin be contacted in order for T10 residents to take their trash there. Commissioner Lawson suggested bidding out trash for T10. Mr. Perry will come up with a solution and present it to the commissioners in a future meeting.
- Martin’s Ridge road has been mowed recently.
- Snow bids have been mailed for the FY09-10 snow season.
- Mr. Perry stated that once the E9-1-1 addressing was complete, he understood that the position was not a 26 hour a week position. He suggested paying the E-9-1-1 Addressing Agent at $20.00 per hour but once the bulk of this work is done, pay the UT Supervisor $15,000 as a salaried position.
- The commissioners will make a decision regarding his request
REGISTRY OF DEEDS:
- Register of Deeds, Julie Curtis stated that projected revenues were up by $41,000 in the Registry of Deeds.
- Register Curtis reported that she has been approached by Lois Stevens of the Able Network in order to enable senior citizens to obtain jobs within the Registry. The commissioners urged her to pursue this agreement.
- Register Curtis has received information regarding accepting passport information.
- Lost revenue from the website for the month of August was $10,689.75.
- Meritain Health representatives Malcolm Ulmer, Andrew Feingold, Kathy Gentry and Derek O’Dell were present to answer questions from the commissioners regarding issues with the health care plan.
- Commissioner Brown expressed his displeasure with the lack of customer service and confusion associated with the health care plan. He wanted to know how they were going to make it better for county employees. The biggest issues identified were that the providers were not following the instructions on the back of the ID card. Cards will be reissued to employees that include one address for the processing of claims. Steps have been taken to correct problems in recent weeks. Commissioner Brown stated that it was imperative that the commissioners provide good health care for employees and retirees. Open communication between the employer and health care network is of utmost importance. Commissioner Lawson agreed that changing the ID card is an important step in correcting the problems. All claims in network claims will go to Great West and be forwarded on to Meritain Health for payment. Out of network claims will automatically be forwarded to Meritain Health. The retirees were very understanding and understood the process. The plan document was distributed last week. Retirees attended in force in order to ask question of Meritain Health representatives earlier in the afternoon. Claims are being paid each Tuesday with the number of retiree claims increasing regularly. The retiree plan document will be available within the next few weeks.
- CFO Roy complained about Maritain Health in general, employees are dissatisfied with the service, the product, the lack of available physicians, and physicians who refuse to join Meritain Health because they tend not to pay claims on the first submission and sometimes not at all. CFO Roy also requested to speak with Mr. Ulmer regarding the reconciliation of the Meritain Health monthly bill. Mr. Ulmer reported that the county is in the black for now with regard to controlling its health care cost.
- Commissioner Brown ended the discussion by saying that the ball is in Maritain’s court and they know what is expected. Fix it, he said.
MOTION: to grant a long term leave of absence to part-time regular employee Andrea Nunn for a period of 6 months or longer, beginning immediately and to authorized the district attorneys office to hire Rosemary Campbell as a part-time temporary employee with no benefits for the period while Mrs. Nunn is on leave. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
A tax appeal hearing for Robert T. Lawrence v. the Town of Aurora was scheduled for November 3, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.
MOTION: to reaffirm the hire of Linda Babski-Smith in the Office of Financial Affairs for 20-25 hours, with no benefits for a two week period. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(A). A discussion related to a personnel matter. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
4: Commissioner Brown declared the meeting back in session
MOTION: to hire Allison Navia as acting airport manager for a period of six moths effective September 5, 2009, to be reviewed at the end of a 6 month period, at a salary of $43,000.00. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to offer Robert Cossette a contract to write the history of the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to adjourn