Commissioners Special Meeting
Commission Chairman Steven E. Joy called the special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2011 in the conference room of the Hancock County Courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Brown and Lawson in attendance. Other attendees included M. Allison Navia, Renee Wellman, Philip Roy, William Clark, Janice Eldridge, Ralph Pinkham, Richard Davis, Robert McKenney, Julie Curtis and Jim Straub.
Adjustments to the agenda:
MOTION: to add a request by the CFO for the commissioners to sign a letter allowing the treasurer access to and signatory privileges on the BHB&T employee fund account. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
Rick Malm and Charles Early of Lewis + Malm Architecture were present to discuss the RCC renovation/rebuild project. The June 12th job meeting sign-in sheet and memo along with the June 22nd allocation spreadsheet and June 24th space allocation floor plan and bi-weekly report 001 were e-mailed prior to the meeting. Mr. Malm gave a brief overview of the meetings and work performed throughout the month. An assessment of the Penobscot and Waldo County communications centers has been conducted and ideas were discussed for implementation in the proposed Hancock County center. The RCC Director is looking into an Emergency Operations Center grant in 2012. Skowhegan, Lewiston and Brunswick facilities will be visited in July 12th.
A large diagram of the basement, showing designated zones for the Sheriff’s Department, RCC, Maintenance Department and Emergency Management Agency was presented. The existing area is 14,008 square feet to which an additional 4,940 square feet would be required. Comparable programs for a free standing facility will be presented at the next meeting. During the next month Mr. Malm will be looking for additional space within the courthouse campus.
Commissioner Joy stated that Ellsworth City Manager, Michelle Beal is open to exploration of utilizing space at the new Ellsworth Fire Department for the RCC. “Aeronautical use only” of airport property and the release of property for said purpose by the FAA is a factor in locating the facility on the airport. Exploration into both locations will continue to be discussed.
Commissioner Joy directed Director Wellman to determine the height of an antenna to be utilized on airport property in order to determine if the building can be located at the airport. Tower funding would be included in the RCC building project. Community Benefit funds from the Wind Project could also be utilized for this purpose.
Mr. Malm requested direction with regard to the location of a free standing building. Towns should be contacted in order to explore a free location within Hancock County. Major towns will be contacted inquiring about available land. Airport land would need to be eliminated prior to researching other locations.
Next meeting date: July 28th at 9:30.
Means grievance outcome discussion:
Commissioner Joy stated that the Means grievance, approved by the commissioners on June 2, 2011, would bring about a change in the way holiday time is paid for SO/RCC employees. Beginning Labor Day, September 5, 2011 holidays will be paid in compliance with the union contract. Article 37 states "Each employee who works on a holiday will be compensated at the rate of one and one-half (1 1/2 ) times his/her regular hourly rate for each hour actually worked on that holiday and will also receive an additional compensatory day or cash equivalent." He asked for questions and or comments from attendees.
Sheriff Clark stated that this would be a booking keeping nightmare and that for the past few years management and employees have recognized “holiday shifts." Commissioner Brown stated that it was his impression that the commissioners intended to follow the contract until negotiations begin in 2012. Sheriff Clark stated that past practice weighs far more than following the contract and that past practice should be followed until the contract is renegotiated adding that the time frame for past practice is obscure.
Commissioner Joy stated that the commissioners were not aware that the contract has been interpreted incorrectly for several years, with the Means grievance it was brought to light and now the commissioners would like to follow the contract as written. Sheriff Clark stated that problems began with the implementation of Time Trak. Commissioner Joy disagreed and stated that Time Trak brought the problems to light and can be programmed to pay as per union contract. Commissioner Joy encouraged attendees to voice their concerns prior to implementation of the contract language.
The following bids were received for the airport fencing project:
Harold MacQuinn, Inc. of Ellsworth - $487,775
Sargent Corporation of Stillwater - $418,636
Bids were given to Airport Manager Navia for review and recommendation.
Airport bid protest:
Kevin Fowler, General Manager of NorTrax was present to protest the airport loader bid awarded to Beauregard Equipment, Inc. on June 2, 2011. He disputed the process but stated that he could see clearly that the TM missed several items and that they were at fault. Mr. Fowler noted several deficiencies associated with his bid. The bid list was discussed noting that Volvo and Matsu were excluded. These two companies did not meet the 65% American made requirement. Commissioner Brown stated that he was not convinced that NorTrax received fair treatment as the bid was not approved at an open meeting and he felt the loader should be put back out to bid. Commissioner Lawson stated that the bid was approved by formal vote at an open meeting.
MOTION: to deny the appeal. (Lawson/Joy 2-1, motion passed) Brown opposed.
MOTION: to recess until 12:30. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
Airport financial discussion:
Commissioner Joy asked the commissioners if they felt the financial discussion needed to be held in executive session. Commissioner Lawson did not feel it was necessary. Commissioner Brown stated that some of the accusations in the complaint were directed at the commissioners and was not sure if the complaint was against the commissioners or Phil Roy. If it was against the commissioners, he requested to have legal representation present. Commissioner Joy read the first paragraph of the complaint and stated that it was against Phil Roy.
The airport manager stated that she was under the impression that this was a discussion to see if a hearing was warranted. Commissioner Joy stated that he preferred to have the discussion open session but will bring it into executive session, if needed. CFO Roy stated that if this is considered a hearing, then he would prefer to enter into executive session adding that if the discussion stayed in the broad spectrum it could be held in open session. Sheriff Clark cited Underwood vs. the Town of Presque Isle. He stated that this is a fact finding meeting and is not considered in an executive session.
Airport Manager Navia stated that she would like to keep the discussion as factual as possible and referred to a time timeline distributed to the commissioners and Mr. Roy prior to the meeting. She stated that the FAA was contacted to investigate a claim of revenue diversion.
The differentiation between co-mingling of funds and revenue diversion was clarified. Investments and loan documentation was clarified. Airport Manager Navia stated that clear lines of communication need to be in place with regard to airport finances.
CFO Roy stated that his written comments stand. He explained that the airport is not an enterprise fund and does not rise to one. He felt the complaint should be dismissed and that the airport manager had full knowledge of her account as far back as February during truck purchase discussions. He explained that he has not done anything wrong and that he has no recollection of utilizing airport funds for county purchases. On the contrary, county funds have been utilized toward airport purchases.
Airport Manager Navia has kept track of her accounts via her own personal accounting system. Copies of each bill and check received are kept with her personal accounting system.
Commissioner Brown asked if the airport capital accounts were invested. Mr. Roy stated that there was a designation to the investment fund for the airport funds, $500,000 in airport funds were designated in the CDARS fund. Access to transferring funds within Machias Savings Bank was not available until June, once this process was allowed the funds were transferred and interest was computed and paid to the airport fund.
Commissioner Joy stated that he has charged the CFO to make the county money and to save the county money. He felt the CFO was a little overzealous in investing funds and invested too much. He explained that all funds are county money. He stated that the airport manager did not speak to the CFO or himself prior to contacting the FAA with her complaint.
Treasurer Eldridge stated that she knew her job was to transfer funds and sign checks. On February 28th she was asked to transfer $500,000 from the airport into the general account. Ten days later she was asked to transfer another $250,000. She contacted Commissioner Joy on March 13th and 17th to express her discomfort with the transfers. She stated that until last Monday she had not heard from Commissioner Joy. Commissioner Joy corrected her recollection stating that had relayed the auditors opinion to her. Commissioner Joy questioned why the treasurer would transfer $750,000 without the advice and consent of the commissioners. The treasurer did not relay her discomfort to the CFO regarding the transfers.
Airport Manager Navia was concerned with the untimely manner of the funds being returned. CFO Roy stated that the reason for not transferring the funds was due to a higher interest rate being earned at the bank location where the funds were being kept. Ms. Navia stated that her entire complaint was completely factual. She stated that there was an inequity with how the complaint was being treated and that the reputation of county financial responsibility vs. accountability should be considered.
Commissioner Lawson stated that the basic item that needed to be discussed was communication. She stated that communication needed to be worked on. Airport Manager Navia questioned if county bills were paid with the funds. The answer was yes. Commissioner Brown stopped the discussion due to the possible violation of federal law. Commissioner Joy stated that the FAA is conducting an investigation and we will know if revenue diversion occurred soon.
MOTION: to dismiss the formal complaint. (Brown/Joy 1-2, motion failed) Joy and Lawson opposed.
Discussion: Commissioner Joy stated that, although he recognized it was at the request of the CFO, the treasurer transferred the funds without authorization by the commissioners. He stated that there were mistakes made all around. Commissioner Lawson stated that she was not going to vote on the motion and she felt the complaint should stand until they hear from the FAA.
Commissioner Joy stated that the FAA will tell us if something was done wrong, he was not blaming anyone here, mistakes happen and can happen faster than you think.
Treasurer key discussion:
Treasurer Eldridge stated that as treasurer she has custody of the records. On Monday she was accused of covert participation and her keys were requested by the CFO. After contacting Commissioner Joy, she was instructed to keep her keys, for now.
CFO Roy stated that as part of his job description he is responsible for information located in his office. He stated that once he found out that records were copied and removed from his office, without his knowledge, he ordered new locks for the cabinets.
MOTION: to give the Treasurer a copy of the filing cabinet keys. (Joy/Lawson 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: that the Director of Deeds go ahead and purchase the Bizhub copier at a cost of $$6,164. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
CFO Roy requested replacement of the District Attorney’s copier at a cost of $4,902, to be paid from the District Attorneys copier account and the courthouse technology reserve. District Attorney Bassano was concerned with spending funds from the DA’s account.
MOTION: to postpone the request until the DA is comfortable with the funding. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to transfer $7,966 from account 7201 Buildings and Building Improvements and $1,500 from account 7402 Furniture and designate it to a capital improvements account. (Lawson/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Discussion: Sheriff Clark felt this was not right, Commissioner Joy stated that he is going to ask other counties what they do in this situation.
MOTION: to add Treasurer, Janice Eldridge to the Bar Harbor Banking and Trust account. (Lawson/Joy 3-0, motion passed)