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Commissioners Regular Meeting

Commission Chairman Steven E. Joy called the regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2011in the conference room at the county courthouse in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Lawson and Brown in attendance.

Adjustments to the Agenda:

MOTION: to move the Registry of Deeds to the top of the agenda, to add item 3a-1, a discussion regarding the airline schedule, to add item 3d, authorize the chairman to sign final project closeout for AIP30, Airport Master Plan update. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Commission Business:

OLD BUSINESS:

MOTION: to approve: minutes of the September 6, 2011 commissioners regular meeting. (Brown/Joy 2-0, motion passed) Lawson abstained.

Commissioner Joy stated that according to attorney advice if a taxpayer wins an abatement for tax year 2010 he cannot also get an abatement for prior years unless he also filed an abatement request within 185 days from commitment of taxes.

MOTION: to deny the Blue Peninsula Holdings LLC tax abatement request because the abatement request was not filed within 185 days from commitment of taxes as required under MRSA Title 36 §841.1. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: Commissioner Brown felt the abatement should not be considered for denial/approval because, by law, the commissioners are not allowed to consider the abatement because it has been over a year.  Commissioner Joy agreed with Commissioner Brown and stated that either way, the commissioners were going to deny the appeal.

REGISTRY OF DEEDS:

MOTION: to approve the hire of Jerri Barnes, of Otis to fill the 10-hour per week vacancy in the Registry of Deeds, wage $12 per hour, to be paid from the surcharge account. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the request to hire a temporary part-time employee, to be paid from the surcharge account, for a 12-week period. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: this person would be working on the indexing project, the position is temporary part-time with no benefits.

Registry of Deeds revenue is on target and transfer tax is over for the year.

OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS:

MOTION: to approve general fund and airport payroll warrants #11-34, #11-35, #11-36, #11-37 and #11-38 in the aggregate amount of $248,914.48. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve general fund and airport expense warrants #11-33, #11-34, #11-35 and #11-36 in the aggregate amount of $457,062.94. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve jail and UT fund payroll warrants #12-08, #12-09, #12-10, #12-11 and #12-12 in the aggregate amount of $108,343.59. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve jail and UT fund expense warrants #12-07, #12-08, #12-09 and #12-10 in the aggregate amount of $87,544.64. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Financial reports to include a jail update were presented.  Overtime is up when compared to the past two years.  CFO Roy stated that a purchase from jail account 7307 should have been expended from a capital account rather than account 7307.  A capital expense transfer request will be presented at the November meeting for that purchase.  Sheriff's department 10 overtime is “creeping up.”  CFO Roy suspects that the overtime line will be over expended in the month of October.

Twenty-six towns have paid their county taxes to date.

September expenditures for the health insurance account were not available, there were no request for capital expenditures or transfers.  The total annual budgeted amount for health insurance accounts is approximately $1,064,000.

MOTION: to approve August expenditures in the health insurance account in the amount of $116,526.56. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

CFO Roy requested authorization to advertise for a part-time clerk for approximately 12-15 hours per week, through the end of the year, next year the hours would increase to 20 hours per week.  This individual would be utilized for UT and jail related work.  Commissioner Brown stated that a 5% administrative fee is already being paid in the UT, he did not feel a justification could be made.  CFO Roy also stated that funds could be utilized from the jail budget for this purpose.  Sheriff's Administrative Assistant M. Cote stated that she did not believe that there were funds available in the jail budget to fund an employee in the Office of Financial Affairs.  CFO Roy suggested running the Office of Financial Affairs in the “red” and to let the county "take up the slack."  Commissioner Joy agreed with filling the position for 12 hours a week from now until the end of the year, 4 hours of which would be paid from UT.  CFO Roy preferred to hire a professional, qualified individual and pay $12.50 per hour.

MOTION: to authorize the OFA to hire a part-time person for $12.50 per hour for 12 hours a week, of which 4 hours will be contributed by the UT.  No benefits are included. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: Commissioner Joy suggested contacting the UT Fiscal Administrative Office for prior approval of the allotted 4 hours.  CFO Roy agreed to do so.

Auditing RFP’s were received from  the following firms:

Runyon Kersteen & Ouelette and RHR Smith and Company.  Submissions were given to the CFO for review and recommendation.

CFO Roy requested approval of the Assistant Financial Officer job description.  Commissioner Brown did not agree with the job title. 

MOTION: to table the Assistant Financial Officer job description. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

CFO Roy stated GASB standards require original bank statements, therefore bank accounts will continue to be supplied by the banking institution.  Paperless payroll will be available in January or February 2012.  Employees will be able to print payroll stubs online.  Bangor Payroll has indicated that there would not be a cost savings if the county chose to "go paperless."

Bank account conversion has been set-up but the sheriff’s and jail accounts have not been moved yet.  Sheriff's Administrative Assistant M. Cote stated that they are waiting on jail checks to be correctly printed prior to conversion.

The OFA rug needs to be removed due to a “stench.”  CFO Roy suggested utilizing funds allotted from the capital account to replace the rug.  The Facilities Director was directed to look into the cost of replacing/removing the rug.  Estimates will be submitted during the November regular meeting.

The jail and UT audit was finalized last Friday, September 30, 2011.  As of July 1, 2011 the jail is being billed for former jail employee's retiree benefits.

A letter along with a cost estimate has been sent to BOC Chairman Mark Westrum and Scott Ferguson regarding the repair of the jail retaining wall.

CFO Roy stated that the commissioners have made a policy that everyone must punch in and out utilizing the Time Trak time record system with the exception of the Chief Deputy, EMA Director, Sheriff, Jail Administrator and Patrol Deputies.  A memo will be sent, from the commissioner’s office, reinforcing the position that employees, who are not exempted, must punch in and out.

CFO Roy stated that overtime has to be paid when worked.  There is no unauthorized punching within the system unless there has been disciplinary action.  Supervisors have been taking away overtime rather than “dealing” with individuals.  Airport Manager Navia suggested reviewing this issue during a department head meeting.  Chief Deputy Bishop agreed that department heads should review the issue in a meeting.

AIRPORT:

Airport Manager Navia expressed her concern with the current airline schedule.  Chip Gentry, Senior Manager of Market Planning for Pinnacle Air presented a brief overview of the proposed scheduling change and answered questions, discussion followed.  Airport Manager Navia suggested utilizing available advertising funds towards the cost of Boston fares in order to meet enplanements for 2011.  Commissioner Joy stated that the FAA has cut funding to smaller airports and asked Mr. Gentry’s opinion regarding the issue.  Mr. Gentry felt that the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport should survive the cuts due to the amount of summer enplanements.  Regarding proposed air service providers; once request for proposals are opened and recommendations are made by the airport manager, it is very difficult for the FAA to go against the manager’s request.

MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign the contract with MDOT for AIP 33, Wildlife Fencing and Taxiway project. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: This contract secures the MDOT's 2.5% share of the project to construct the Wildlife Fence and design the Partial Parallel Taxiway "D" and Taxiway "F".  The amount of the contract is $18,625, the total project being valued at $745,000.

MOTION: consent to overdraw account 40-30-205 Advertising. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: No paperwork/form was submitted with this request.  Commissioner Joy preferred not to exceed the projected monthly amount of $2,000.

MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign the final project closeout for AIP 30, Airport Master Plan update. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Airport Manager Navia explained that the pavement marking project is complete.  The full scale exercise was conducted on October 1st and was a huge success.  Much was learned and planning for the next exercise scheduled for 2014 is underway.  The fencing project will begin this week and should be completed by December 2012.  The Part 139 Certification inspector will return to the airport for the annual inspection on October 19th.  EMA Director Pinkham requested to be a part of the proposed Trenton park conversation once it begins.

10:41 a.m.: Break
10:48 a.m.: Back in session

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY:

EMA Director Pinkham stated that the mass casualty drill held at the Hancock County - Bar Harbor Airport on October 1st was a success.

RCC/E-9-1-1:

Commissioner Brown requested that monthly reports be received in a timely manner.  County tower locations were questioned.  A list of licensed tower locations will be obtained from the FCC.  Priority space on the Sedgwick tower and the cost of training dispatchers was discussed.

MOTION: to accept the resignation of part-time dispatcher, Miles Block effective September 11, 2011. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

RCC Director Wellman requested approval of a temporary supervisor for the period of October 11-17, 2011.  Two employees would be utilized.  Commissioner Brown was concerned that this would result in a union issue.  Director Wellman stated that the temporary employee would be paid $2 per hour to be on-call and time and a half for actual time worked.  A side letter agreement could be written stating that this arrangement will not become past practice and that it is a onetime temporary appointment and moving forward this will be considered a one time event.

SHERIFF:

MOTION: to approve the hire of Shaine J. Gross of Brooklin as a part-time, on call, as needed corrections officer, effective 10-08-11 at the rate of $12 per hour, no benefits are included. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
Discussion: This position includes 40 hours of training for a part-time individual.

MOTION: to approve the hire of Justin E. George of Orland as a part-time, on call, as needed corrections officer, effective 10-08-11 at the rate of $12 per hour, not benefits included. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the hire of Marion L. Strout of Ellsworth as a part-time, on call cook effective 10-08-11 at the rate of $12 per hour, no benefits included. (Brown/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

DTF Officer Christopher Thornton presented Bath Salts video.  As of July 31, 2011 there have been 4,100 Bath Salts related calls in the State of Maine.  Due to the nature of the drug, law enforcement is usually the first responder in a Bath Salts incident due to the combative nature of the user.  Once contained, EMS may be able to treat a user.  These incidents are considered a medical emergency rather than a law enforcement issue.  Unbelievable strength, paranoia and hallucinations along with accelerated pulse rates and high fevers are symptoms of Bath Salts usage.  Taser’s, which work on the central nervous system, are a viable option to control the person under the influence of Bath Salts.  There was concern with the use of taser’s because of the accelerated heart rate already caused by the use of the drug.  Specific training, in order to differentiate symptoms of Bath Salts vs. other mental issues, will be conducted.

MOTION: to authorize the purchase of 8 Taser’s at a cost of $12,609.53.  The cost will be paid from the Sheriff’s Forfeiture account and Public Safety account. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

UNORGANIZED TERRITORY:

MOTION: to accept the bid from RF Jordan in the amount of $12,000 for snow plowing and sanding for Fletchers Landing Township for the 11-12 season. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to accept the bid from City Line Snowplowing in the amount of $3,494 for snow plowing and sanding for Township #9 (Martin's Ridge Road) for the 11-12 season. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to grant permission to renew snow contracts with Roland Robinson for Township #7, Randy Perry for Townships #22 & 28.  Costs to be the same as the FY10-11 season. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

COUNTY CLERK:

Commissioner Brown stated that when part-time employees are hired, the department head  chooses to pay or not pay benefits for the chosen employee.  Commissioner Brown chose to stand by that action.  Commissioner Joy stated that at no time were benefits requested for the particular employee in question and at all times she was considered a part-time employee of the county.  Commissioner Lawson concurred.  Commissioner Lawson suggested that the definition of a regular part-time employee be changed to the following: A regular part-time employees holds an ongoing position and are not eligible for benefits.  Full-time should be considered as 40 hours or more per week.

MOTION: to change the definition of regular fulltime employee to: A regular full-time employee holds an ongoing position and works a regular schedule of 40 hours or more per week. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: move to change the definition of regular part-time to: Regular part-time employees hold an ongoing position and are scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours per week and are not eligible for benefits. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Discussion: Temporary full-time employees will be allowed benefits as requested by the department head and approved by the county commissioners.

Commissioner Joy stated that the precedence of a 20 hour workweek has been followed for years, the precedence has been set, and the policy has been changed.  Commissioner Brown stated that he believed that the employee was hired on a part-time basis with no benefits in maintenance and in the RCC.  In each department she worked in, no benefits were requested.  Clerk DePrenger suggested that beginning with the hire at the RCC, and because 16 hours were worked in each department per week, vacation and sick time could be accrued for that time period.  Commissioner Brown was concerned with the lack of management of this employee.  He stated that no benefits means no benefits.

12:28 p.m.: Break
12:43 p.m.: Back in session

Commissioner Joy brought the meeting into Executive Session pursuant to MRSA Title 1 § 405 6D to conference with the county's attorney regarding a pending legal matter at 12:44 p.m, included in the executive session was a discussion regarding a retiree insurance question under MRSA Title 1 §405 6(a).

Commissioner Joy declared the hearing back in regular session at 2:01 p.m.

MOTION: upon evidence from a retired employee having Medicare Part A & B and Part A for his spouse, we have determined a fee of $915.21 (this is a split contract rate) per month through 2011, we have determined an 18% increase on January 1, 2011.  This agreement will expire June 30, 2012.  This is a onetime agreement that will not affect any other county employee. (Joy/Lawson 2-1, motion passed) Brown opposed.

2:05 p.m.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed

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