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Commissioners Regular Meeting

Commissioner Percy L. Brown, Jr. called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on January 5, 2009, in the conference room at the county courthouse in Ellsworth with commissioners Lawson and Joy in attendance.

MOTION: to appoint Percy L. Brown, Jr. as chairman of the Hancock County Commissioners for the year 2010. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA:

MOTION: to add item 3-e, a discussion regarding an employee status. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to schedule the Patten v. the Town of Swan’s Island tax appeal hearing. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to add item 6-c, the sole source purchase of camera equipment for the jail. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to add item 4-h, i and j, payment of the January health trust bill, permission to write an energy RFP and a request to purchase county equipment. (Lawson/Joy3-0, motion passed)

COMMISSIONERS:

MOTION: to approve the minutes of the December 1, 2009 commissioners’ regular meeting and December 14 and 17th commissioners’ special meetings. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to pay travel expenses for commissioners living over 5 miles from the county seat. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to set the FY2010 mileage rate at .44 cents per mile. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign warrants. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to authorize the treasurer and county clerk to issue checks up to $1,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to appoint Commissioner Joy to the MCCA Board of Directors and Risk Pool. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Commissioner department liaisons will remain the same as last year. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Lawson: Airport, Office of Financial Affairs, Emergency Management Agency, Regional Communications Center.

Commissioner Brown: Maintenance Department, Unorganized Territory, Commissioners Office and District Attorney’s Office.

Commissioner Joy: Registry of Deeds, Registry of Probate, Sheriff’s Department.

Judge Cuddy addressed the commissioners regarding the drug court and its use of the Superior Court courtroom. He assured the commissioners that he is sensitive to the maintenance department staff needs and assured the commissioners that the drug court has been supplied with cleaning equipment in order to clean up after drug court attendees. He assured the commissioners that he will be keeping an eye on drug court activities for the 7 months he is utilizing the Hancock County Superior Court courtroom. Commissioner Brown thanked Judge Cuddy for his assurances and appreciated his sincerity in addressing the issues at hand. Judge Cuddy stated that janitor; Horst Kuehn is an asset to Hancock County and does a good job.

Maintenance Director Davis stated that a group that negotiates insurance settlements is utilizing the courthouse afterhours. They have been advised that they are not to use the courthouse after 4:00 p.m. and Davis requested authority to ask them to vacate the building after 4:00 p.m. The commissioners agreed that the facilities director has the authority to ask any person(s) utilizing the courthouse or district attorney’s office on an unscheduled or unapproved basis, to leave the building.

MOTION: to confirm that the Facilities Director has the authority to ask any group that does not have prior approval to leave the building after hours. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

AIRPORT:

  • Interim airport manager Allison Navia updated the commissioners regarding her work on the airport master plan. She is currently in the process of scheduling a scoping meeting. An independent fee estimator (IFE) is needed to assess the cost of the master plan update scope of work. The cost of an IFE is approximately $3,500 and is eligible for 95% reimbursement as part of the AIP grant. The goal is to have the grant proposal to the FAA by the end of January 2010.
  • Interim airport manager Navia stated that the public meeting associated with seaplane ramp usage went well. She suggested the addition of a sign that directs the public to contact the airport manager if vessels, equipment, or other vehicles will be left for an extended period of time.
  • Commissioner Joy pointed out that the current sign does not allow for extended parking. He clarified that vessels should not be left for a day and suggested adding contact information to the existing sign.
  • Commissioner Brown stated that the work day should be defined as 24 hours. He also mentioned that the transfer of fuel on the ramp was not addressed. Painting and scrapping of vessels were not addressed. Commissioner Brown stated that $40 to remove a vessel is very inexpensive and not a deterrent. Laws governing documented vessels and moorings fall under federal law. Documented vessels can not be removed.
  • Airport Maintenance Supervisor Richard Gray stated that if a vessel is on the beach, it can be removed.
  • A release for persons utilizing the seaplane ramp was distributed prior to the meeting. Commissioner Brown wanted an assurance that the county would not be liable if vessels were removed or damaged.
  • Commissioner Lawson stated that vessels should be parked off the seaplane ramp, which should be for emergency or very short term use only.
  • Paul Bean, a retail electricity supplier from Glacial Energy, was in attendance to discuss possible electricity savings for the airport. Glacial Energy is a retail supply energy company, Mr. Bean is a retail electrical supplier who has conducted a free analysis of airport electricity usage and stated that he can save 12% of the electricity bill for the airport or $412 a year. He explained how the company works and that they purchase power month to month. If the county should choose to join Glacial Energy but at some point decided to leave them, no penalty is incurred.
  • CFO Roy stated that an RFP with Maine Power Options is due soon and suggested that Glacial Energy is not the only provider of this service and stressed that an RFP for electrical services be written.
  • Mr. Bean asked for copies of Bangor Hydro bills in order to conduct an analysis of the courthouse energy usage. He will report potential savings in 7 days.
  • Commissioners Lawson and Joy were in agreement that an analysis for electricity supply should be conducted.
  • Interim airport manager Allison Navia updated the commissioners on the recent enplanement promotion. Final counts were not available but she felt strongly that the goal of 10,000 enplanements was reached. The commissioners were thanked for their support.
  • Commissioner Brown asked how much money was taken in due to the promotion. 90 tickets were given away and 135 tickets were sold. Numbers will be submitted as soon as possible. The cost of radio advertising was $500.
  • Interim airport manager Navia expressed her concern about the approved 2010 airport budget. Her concern stemmed from seven changes made to the budget without notification. The most disconcerting of these changes was Richard Gray’s wage increase. She felt this was a suggestion during budget discussions and was never discussed with her formally. Currently Mr. Gray supervises 2 people but does not handle confidential information.
  • Commissioner Brown stated that it was his understanding that Mr. Gray was going to be made an exempt employee because of his supervisory status. Commissioner Lawson stated that the exempt status is on the position, not the person she felt that the position does not qualify as an exempt position.
  • Commissioner Joy was concerned with the overtime associated with leaving the position non-exempt. Overtime varies from year to year.
  • Commissioner Brown asked if Mr. Gray uses his personal vehicle for airport use. The answer was yes, due to the airport truck being used by the airport manager he had to use his personal truck to plow the airport this past weekend. This happens on rare occasions. Commissioner Brown stated that the maintenance supervisor should have use of the airport pick-up during inclement weather.
  • Commissioners Brown and Lawson did not feel that the position qualified as an exempt position.
  • Interim airport manager Navia praised Mr. Gray’s work ethic and stated that he was a valuable employee.
  • Commissioner Brown stated that Mr. Gray should be reimbursed for his mileage if he uses his personal vehicle for airport use.
  • Interim airport manager Navia stated she should have been notified that the airport budget was being discussed and felt disrespected because changes were made to her budget with out notification.
  • Commissioner Joy stated that every budget was open to change up until the December 14th meeting. Budget changes were discussed to include the deletion of rental space. Commissioner Joy stated that it was his understanding that the managers’ office has always been a desirable rent and that the rent issue would be a wash in the budget. Due to her presentation, it was his understanding that rental was not a problem. Interim airport manager Navia stated that she has not had any time to seek renters for the current airport managers’ office.
  • CFO Roy stated that because the airport is an enterprise fund, the budget can develop during the year.
  • Commissioner Lawson suggested adding a discussion to the February agenda to discuss the airport budget. She also wanted to discuss the request for a clerical assistant at the February meeting.

SHERIFF:

MOTION: to approve the hire of Andrew Leeman of Ellsworth as a part-time/on-call/as needed corrections officer, at the rate of $12 per hour, effective January 16, 2010. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to abolish one of the assistant jail administrator positions. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to establish an administrative assistant to the jail administrator position. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to assign Wayne Cross to the position of Jail Sergeant at grade 12, Step G-1 with an anniversary date of May 9, 2000, at a rate of $19.59, effective January 16, 2010. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to reclassify Eleanor Truesdale from acting jail sergeant to jail corporal effective January 16, 2010, Grade 11 Step F-3 at a rate of $18.05 per hour. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to promote Frank Shepard from jail clerk to administrative assistant at Grade 10, Step F-1 at a rate of $16.73 per hour, effective January 16, 2010. (Lawson/Joy, 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown expressed his confidence in Frank Shepard.

MOTION: to promote Karen Brasslett to the position of jail records clerk at Grad 8, Step C $14.10 per hour, effective January 16, 2010 with a seniority date of October 10, 2009. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

  • Jail Administrator Carl Dannenberg requested the sole source purchase of camera equipment for the jail. Commissioner Brown felt strongly that the equipment should be provided.

  • CFO Roy stated that the board of corrections would like to be notified of purchases under $5,000.

MOTION: to authorize the jail administrator to speak to the same vendor that provided the current jail camera equipment and to seek a cost to purchase more equipment. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed) A not to exceed amount will be approved via telephone or e-mail.

Discussion: Commissioner Joy expressed his concerns with what is currently being done to correct incidences like the Gardner and Eaton incidences. He would also like to know what is being done to correct the recent escapee incident.

OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS:

MOTION: to approve General Fund Payroll warrants #09-49 and #09-51 in the aggregate amount of $286,480.76. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve General Fund Expense warrants #09-37 through #09-42 in the aggregate amount of $1,248,556.50. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the Jail & UT Expense warrants #10-09 through #10-14 in the aggregate amount of $108,558.17. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to restore the contingent fund to $100,000 per MRSA Title 30-A ss. 924 (1). ( Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

The tax levy was not reduced as the county is under the 20% surplus.

MOTION: to approve the transfer of $350,000 from Undesignated Funds to account G1-3011-00. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown proposed creating capital accounts for the RCC in order to have two person 24/7 coverage, and creating a technology account in the RCC. He also suggested adding a sheriff’s vehicle reserve and health insurance reserve account.

  • Commissioner Brown suggested deleting $6,000 from the Probate Storage account and $5,000 from the Civil Process Vehicle account. Commissioner Lawson agreed with the suggested proposals.
  • Commissioner Joy questioned the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association Radio Reserve account as he felt that the purchase of radios would be covered by the State.

MOTION: to approve the proposed funds be transferred to capital reserve accounts per MRSA Title 30-A ss. 924(3) in the amount of $333,533. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed) Copies of the approved capital reserve accounts are available, upon request, in the commissioners’ office.

MOTION: to set the 2010 Overlay at $100,000. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve an expenditure from account G1-3022-00 to E10-50-420 for the purchase of bullet resistant vests. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

  • CFO Philip Roy updated the commissioners regarding his monthly report.

MOTION: to approve the January health insurance bill in the amount of $84,945. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

  • $41,000 will be received from the energy grant by the end of next week. A public hearing in connection with the energy grant will be held soon. The commissioners agreed to allow the CFO to write an RFP for an energy audit for the courthouse complex.
  • CFO Roy requested commissioner permission to purchase his county laptop at 50% of its original value. Commissioner Brown was concerned with the personal information that may be on the laptop. Commissioner Joy was not interested in perusing the request and requested clarification. A new county laptop will be purchased in 2011. Commissioners Joy and Lawson agreed with Mr. Roy’s request.

MOTION: to sell a county laptop for $500 to the CFO. (Lawson/Joy 2-1, motion passed) Brown opposed.

Neil Douglas interrupted the meeting to present a document to the commissioners. Commissioner Brown stated that he was out of order and that if he wanted to be put on the February agenda to contact the clerk.

1:05 p.m.: Break

REGISTRY OF DEEDS:

  • Register of Deeds Julie Curtis distributed a monthly report showing revenues up for the month of December. She requested that the commissioners set a fee of $15 for passport photos. Seven passports have been processed since December 24th.

MOTION: to set the fee for passport photos in the Registry of Deeds at $15 per photo. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

  • Register Curtis requested to travel to Florida to the Aptitude Solutions conference on April 28, 2010.
  • Commissioner Joy asked if MacImage of Maine should now be charged for bulk internet purchases. Register Curtis stated that she has figured the cost to the penny and in her opinion, MacImage will not pay for copies. Commissioners Joy and Lawson disagreed and felt he was breaking the law by not paying. Commissioner Joy and Lawson agreed that security protocols needed to be changed in order to stop free bulk downloading, rules and regulations will be established.

MOTION: to approve Register Curtis to travel to Florida for the Aptitude Solutions conference in April 2010. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

DISTRICT ATTORNEY:

MOTION: to affirm the hire of Nicole Luce of Ellsworth as a temporary full-time Legal Secretary III in the District Attorney’s office at the rate of $12 per hour, benefits include vacation and sick time. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to affirm the temporary transfer of Jessica St. Germain of Bar Harbor from Legal Secretary III to Victim Witness Advocate at Step 12A, effective December 21, 2009. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

NEW BUSINESS:

The FitzGerald v. the Town of Swan’s Island tax appeal hearing was scheduled from 9:00-10:30 a.m. on February 4, 2010.

The Patten v. the Town of Swan’s Island tax appeal hearing was scheduled from 10:30-12:30 a.m. on February 4, 2010.

The Eaton v. the Town of Castine tax appeal hearing was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on February 4, 2010.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY:

  • Emergency Management Director Ralph Pinkham asked the commissioners if they had any questions regarding the monthly report. Deputy Director Feury answered questions associated with assistance to Southwest Harbor.
  • Commissioner Lawson asked about disaster behavioral health training. Deputy Director Feury has attended such training and explained that currently Hancock does not have protocol written on this subject.
  • Commissioner Lawson was interested in the table top marine mass casualty training for 2010. The full scale exercise training will take place in 2011.
  • Funds used from an old grant were used to purchase additional pagers for Hancock County Fire Departments. NIMS compliant fire departments received 5-7 narrow band pagers.
  • Commissioner Brown asked if the EMA department has reviewed the events of last week. The panic button systems were not used in the incident. A breakdown in communications occurred and protocols should be exercised from time to time. A “hot wash” will take place once the investigation is completed.
  • Due to the retirement of Linda Feury scheduled for February 26, 2010, Director Pinkham suggested splitting the Deputy Director salary and appoint Robert McKenney as Deputy Director on a part-time basis. He would also like to use the rest of the salary line to hire a part-time administrative assistant.
  • Commissioner Joy stated his concern with the perpetuation point of hiring someone who may choose to retire in the near future. Director Pinkham stated that Linda Feury could be hired on a part-time basis in the future.
  • Commissioner Joy reiterated his concern about when the director leaves.

MOTION: to accept the resignation of part-time EMA employee Lynn O’Kane. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

  • The commissioners requested that a job description be prepared for a part-time administrative assistant.
  • Planning grant funds and mitigation grants were discussed at length.
  • Director Pinkham asked how much vacation time he could take in 2010. Being a part-time exempt employee, the director is allowed to take the time that he needs.

2:20 p.m.

MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 ss. 405 6(1) in order to hear a complaint. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Allison Navia, Philip Roy, Clerk DePrenger and Commissioners Lawson, Joy and Brown were in attendance.

3:15 p.m.

Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into session.

3:22 p.m.

MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 ss. 405 6(1) in order to hear a complaint and to conduct a grievance hearings. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

3:26 p.m.

Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into session.

Commissioner Brown asked clerk Doe if she wanted the complaint to be held in executive session. The answer was yes.

3:29 p.m.

MOTION: to enter into executive session under MRSA Title 1 ss. 405 6(1) in order to conduct a grievance hearings. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Attendees included Rick Violette legal representation for Register Bonnie Cousins, Kenneth Eaton legal representation for Stacey Doe and Tim Pease legal representation for the County Commissioners. Register Cousins, Stacey Doe, Commissioners Lawson, Joy and Brown, Shop Stewards Judie Dannenberg and H. Lincoln Ehrlenbach and clerk DePrenger were also in attendance.

The hearing was closed at 4:58 p.m. A decision regarding the previous hearing will be rendered .

The second grievance hearing began at 5:09 p.m.

The hearing was closed at 5:32 p.m. A decision regarding the previous hearing will be rendered .

5:39 p.m.

Commissioner Brown called the meeting back into session.

RCC E-9-1-1:

RCC Director Renee Wellman presented the commissioners with her monthly report. She was apprised that earlier in the meeting the 8th dispatcher position was funded and $25,000 was set aside in a capital reserve account for RCC technology.

  • Island dispatching was briefly discussed.
  • An employee probation period was briefly discussed. Director Wellman stated that she is very happy with the progress of this employee.
  • The full-time temporary hire of Nikki Dennison was discussed. Director Wellman suggested that this position be paid at $12 per hour and include health benefits. Commissioner Joy was concerned with paying a temporary full-time employee a part-time rate. He preferred to pay her at the regular full-time dispatcher rate.

MOTION: to promote Nikki Dennison to the status of full-time temporary dispatcher at Step 9-A, benefits to include health insurance. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed) Vacation, sick time and holiday benefits will follow the personnel policy.

  • Recommendations to the RCC advisory board were discussed. The fire fighters association will make their nomination on January 19th. There was only one EMS nomination received. There were two elected officials names submitted.

6:00 p.m.

MOTION: to adjourn.

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