May 6, 2014

Commission Chairman, Steven E. Joy called the meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 in the conference room at the county courthouse located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Brown and Blasi in attendance.


Chief Deputy Richard Bishop was recognized for his 30 years of service to the citizens of Hancock County.  Commissioner Brown personally voiced his appreciation for the job Chief Deputy Bishop has done.  The commissioners congratulated him on a job well done.

The following bids were opened for the used 2006 Dodge Charger:

Spencer Preble: $1,800              Ron LaPlant: $1,576.86

Jeffrey Hooper: $851.43             Chicago Motors Inc.: $2,807

Ed McFarland: $1,252                Land Jet Transportation: $2,500                                                          (check enclosed)

Bids were given to Sheriff Clark for review and recommendation.

Adjustments to the agenda:

MOTION: to move item 7 to item 2 and add item 5f a discussion regarding cruiser laptops. (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Public Comment:

Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin updated the commissioners on his efforts to educate the public regarding the establishment of Charter Commission.  Commissioner Joy questioned if a fiscal note was attached with Mr. Gideonse' presentation to the towns.  It was not mentioned, Mr. Gideonse stated that he did not see a large cost associated with the transition.  Commissioner Joy stated that during the initial discussion with the commissioners, they discussed a county administrator and a 5 member commission that has a large fiscal note attached.  Mr. Gideonse responded by saying, yes, that is a part of what the Charter Commission would talk about and address, there would need to be tradeoff, for example, if a county administrator is added, there may be a trade off for example, would you need a Chief Financial Officer under a different structure?  This would need careful consideration from the county commissioners.

Commissioner Blasi read the following statement: "This discussion should begin with a job description established by the County Commissioners.  I am speaking of adding a county administrator.  I am wary of an amalgamation of administrator power that would be self-serving and not in the public interest.  This historical decision should be a unanimous vote to foster public confidence.  Why should the county spend at least $90K to hire an officer who will not have authority over elected officials?  Commissioners would be pressed not infringe upon municipal control of services.  I don't wish to establish another position where the commissioners' vote is needed to terminate such an upper level appointment.  Election is the guaranteed endorsement or rejection of performance.  What revenues will fund an administrator position, which by statute needs to be full time?  The administrator does not "keep the books" which is the treasurer's job under statute.  The administrator can only make financial reports.  Having an administrator still requires having a treasurer.  I prefer to operate with a clerk at the top of the county commissioners staff, which Hancock County would statutorily lose due to administrator appointment.  The administrator would favor other tasks, thereby neglecting clerical tasks to perhaps our frustration.  I do not approve of spending money on an outside consultant to search for candidates, a process which should occur between commissioner electoral cycles.  I have never been convinced that appointing an administrator guarantees any more efficiency than what's inherent to the statutory system of county commissioners managing the department heads."

Commissioner Brown stated that there has been research done regarding the hiring of a county administrator and charters, he stated that in some areas, the commissioners do not have the expertise, such as that of the CFO position.  He stated that, in his opinion, the best way to hire a county administrator is to go to MCCA to ask for their help.  He thanked Mr. Gideonse and stated that if he had his choice, he would favor the administrator because he has looked at other counties, he preferred to stay away from a charter.  Mr. Gideonse, in response to Commissioner Blasi’s comments, stated that he felt Commissioner Blasi's remarks were premature, and that he has done what he can do and has other things on his agenda, the alternative to pursue this is for someone younger than he.  Commissioner Joy stated that perhaps the commissioners have not communicated well and have not been involved with town officials as much as they could be.  The commissioners have to be cognizant of that.  There is a movement afoot to ask the towns if county’s can be more helpful to them.  Mr. Gideonse was thanked for his hard work.

Commission Business:

Old Business:

MOTION: to approve the minutes of the April 1, 2014 commissioners' regular meeting and April 18, 25 and 29, 2014 commissioners' special meetings. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

A Policy Workshop to discuss the Appointed/Exempt policy and the Cumberland County Earned Time Leave Plan was scheduled for May 16, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.


Director Wellman updated the commissioners regarding her monthly report.  Mice and a power spike recently caused problems with the Bull Hill generator.  The switch has been repaired and the board has been replaced under the warranty.  Vermin proofing of the generator unit and regular maintenance of Bull Hill systems was discussed.  An indicator could be placed on the unit to indicate if the generator is working/not working.  A combination lock or Knox Box was suggested so that maintenance workers could access the building.  The RCC can now tone out the Airport Rescue Fire Fighters.  SBA is the entity that owns the Caterpillar Hill tower.  Director Wellman stated that SBA is willing to allow 30 ft of space on the tower to Public Safety, this is not enough and the idea should be reevaluated.  Director Wellman was working toward having four frequencies were on the Caterpillar tower.

MOTION: to appoint HCFFA representative nominee, Sam Friend of Brooklin Fire Department to a 3-year term on the RCC Advisory Board. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve out-of-state travel for Rolly Means out of accounts 07-07-100 and 07-07-600. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion:This was a budgeted expense in the RCC Travel Account #07-07-100 at an estimated cost of $1,600-$1,700.  Commissioner Joy stated that he would like to send the RCC Director or another individual from the RCC next year as he likes to spread the knowledge around.

Commissioner Joy stated that he and Director Wellman are meeting with the City of Ellsworth to discuss the initial stages of consolidating the RCC with the City of Ellsworth.  He has not empowered himself to agree to anything, the meeting is for discussion.  If the process moves further along Commissioner Joy will report the progress to the commissioners on a monthly basis. The meeting is scheduled for May 23rd from 9:30 to 11:30 in the City Managers Office.  This is a public meeting.  Commissioner Blasi will also be attending therefore an agenda will need to be posted.


Airport Manager Madeira presented a Resolution for Taxi Operations at the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport.  The new proposal eliminates the Airport Advisory Board from signing off on changes to the document.  This is a function of day-to-day airport management and should be under the airport manager’s purview.  Commissioner Joy stated that he did not want taxi’s parked in the airport crosswalk.  Commissioner Brown stated that according to statute, the commissioners control all parking on airport property and questioned if the commissioners could give control of parking to the airport manager.  They can, but the airport manager would be acting under the county commissioner’s authority/direction.  It was stressed that the commissioners were not against giving the airport manager the authority, the language just needs to be cleaned.

MOTION: to approve the 2014 Airport Taxi Operations Resolution with suggested changes. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

AIP 37 Update: Windows are on site and half of them are installed, exterior siding began last week, the line to the old septic tank has been installed, parking spots for rental car operators are now available, the new septic tank was installed and interior framing is suppose to begin today.  The roof top unit was suppose to be set today, weather permitting.

The project is currently 4% over the original amount of the contract after VE.  Most of the changes have been brought about by the commissioners to better the building for the future.  A central computer for heating was discussed previously, it makes good sense for the building as a whole.

2014 1Q Enplanement Report: Enplanements are up 2.4% over the previous calendar year after Q1.  The airport manager stated that if the current trend continues, he is confident that the airport will exceed 10,000 enplanements for 2014.  How the Pen Air schedule will impact the overall enplanements, only time will tell.  2012 and 2013 charter numbers were not included on the report as they are normally submitted in the fall.

Touch-A-Truck is scheduled for Saturday, May 17th from 10am until 2pm at the airport and has FAA approval.  It is the 6th year of the event.  All proceeds will go to the Harbor House Community Service Center located in Southwest Harbor.  Parking is in the lower lot next to the ARFF building.

The Hancock County RCC now has the ability to notify BHB Airport Rescue Fire Fighters of an emergency occurring at or affecting the airport through the alert tone system.  This was done at a minimal cost of $375 within the airport operating budget from account E40-10-405.  Next year the cost of a pager/radio will be included in the airport budget.

Unorganized Territory:

Supervisor Billings presented his monthly report and asked if there were any questions.  Commissioner Blasi’s response was “none further.”  Supervisor Billings distributed pictures of the Martins Ridge Road and stated that storm damage occurred on January 16, 2014.  Lane Construction was contacted to temporarily fix the washout and repair the shoulder.  A rut was installed at the top of the town road to divert the water.  A project time line was presented for the Nicatous Road Rehabilitation Project.  Commissioner Joy questioned the specifications for building up the road by 10 inches; this was included on page 2 of the RFP.  Commissioner Blasi questioned “culverts,” 10 culverts will be replaced.  Plastic culverts will be utilized if there is enough depth to use them, most replacements will be steal.

MOTION: to authorize the UT Supervisor to proceed with the RFP for the Nicatous Road Rehabilitation Project as presented to the commissioners on May 6th. (Blasi/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the snow removal contract for Township 7SD with the Town of Steuben at an annual price of $4,400 for a term of 6 years. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi stated that this is a new approach for the county.  Commissioner Joy stated that we do this with salt and sand.

Supervisor Billings stated that he received a phone call concerning the Bogus Meadow Road in Township 7; he has assessed the road and stated that 2 culverts need replaced and the road needs 4 truckloads of gravel and grading.  Commissioner Joy questioned if the Bogus Meadow Road was actually a county road.  Supervisor Billings was not 100% sure.  Due diligence will be followed in order to make that determination.  This project would cost more than $2,500 and would have to go out to bid.  Commissioner Blasi stated that he would like to hear from the “state department.”  Prior supervisor, Walter Bunker had written to the DOT several years ago stating that the county maintains that road.  Commissioner Joy would like to see paperwork stating that the “commissioners” have accepted responsibility for that road and suggested holding the Steuben plowing contract until proof of responsibility is clear.  Commissioner Blasi agreed with Commissioner Joy’s request.  Commissioner Brown stated that District 2 gained a couple UT islands thanks to the state reorganization a few years ago.

MOTION: to reject all bids for solid waste disposal for Township 10. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Bids were rejected as it is more cost effective to continue service with the Cherryfield Transfer Station.

MOTION: to approve the fire suppression contract with the Town of Sullivan for 11 camps in Township 7SD on the south end of Tunk Lake, pending receipt of the liability insurance binder. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi mentioned the Ulmer Letter and stated that the liability insurance binder is still needed, it is important for the county to be named as additional insurer on the other parties’ liability coverage.  Supervisor Billings has requested that the Town of Sullivan add the county to their policy.

A proposal from the Town of Franklin for fire suppression for Townships 9 and 10 was distributed.  It had been changed considerably from the original county proposal.  Commissioner Joy stated that the county is trying to develop a standard contract, other than that, we are asking the fire department to agree to our contract.  Article 2 of the proposal states the purpose of the contract, it included motor vehicle heavy rescue, wild-lands search and rescue, low-angle rescue, confined space rescue, cold water/ice rescue and traffic control.  The county contract is for structural fires only.  Supervisor Billings suggested rejecting the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department proposal.

MOTION: to reject the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department proposal. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi encouraged the idea of working toward approving the standard contract that the county proposed.  This would be an additional budgeted amount of $2,500.

MOTION: to designate UT Supervisor Billings as the contact person regarding First Wind, not at the exclusion of the commissioners. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Supervisor Billings stated that he would like to see job descriptions for the UT Supervisor and CFO in this regard to clarify each other’s responsibilities.  Commissioner Blasi suggested that the duties be added to the UT Supervisor job description.

MOTION: to approve the Airline Lodge & Snack Bar liquor license. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: the paperwork was in order.

Broadband access: Fair Point has been contacted, high speed internet goes approximately one mile beyond the 180/179 split, Fair Point has no plans to extend their service and it is not possible to buy in with Fair Point to extend service.  According to Fair Point, the only other option is Time Warner.  Time Warner can go in because they provide Cable TV service.

A draft letter to UT residents regarding services provided was included in commissioner workbooks.  Commissioner Blasi stated that it was a well written letter, not intrusive.  Its intention is for emergency planning.  A cost estimate to send this letter was submitted during the winter months but, according to Supervisor Billings, it would be cost prohibited.  The Bogus Meadow Road is mentioned in the letter, resolution of the Bogus Meadow matter would need to occur prior to posting the letter on the website.  Questions should be directed to the UT office/supervisor.

Registry of Deeds:

Register Curtis requested to change the status of Anna Jordan from temporary part-time to part-time.  This employee would work full-time in the summer and approximately 3 weeks during winter and spring breaks.  The average hours worked over the year was questioned due to Affordable Care Act requirements.

MOTION: to approve the transfer of Anna Jordan from temporary clerk to part-time clerk, without benefits, this will add no health benefit liability. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown questioned the employee’s hours in 2013.  Register Curtis stated that she would work approximately 15 weeks in the summer at 40 hours per week.  Commissioner Brown stated that this may be affected by the Affordable Care Act.  According to Trenton Selectman Ehrlenbach, 1,400 hours annually is the cut-off for the Affordable Act.  Sheriff Clark stated that his is an issue for all departments, guidance is needed.  Scott McKee of Acadia Benefits will be contacted regarding parameters and clarification.


MOTION: to award the bid for the used cruiser to Chicago Motors unless they reject the bid and then it will be sold to the next highest bidder.  (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to accept the resignation of part-time corrections officer, Michelle Silvestrone effective April 8, 2014 and full-time corrections officer Roger Smith effective April 29, 2014. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve the promotion of Patricia Rossi of Cherryfield to the position of full-time corrections officer at the Step 9C $15.32 per hour, effective May 10, 2014. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: this officer has completed the academy.

MOTION: to approve the request to correct the pay grade of corrections officer Shaine Gross from Step 9A $14.44 per hour to Step 9C $15.32 per hour, retroactive to April 5, 2014.  Correction is based on academy certification. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown questioned if the certification warranted the increase.  It was explained that his Step and pay were originally set in error and this will fix the error.

Sheriff Clark stated that the FY15 budget had been previously approved.  The Board of Correction (BOC) has directed Hancock County to resubmit their FY15 jail budget proposal to meet the FY13 funding level.  The FY14 budget and proposed FY15 budget does not increase the BOC investment fund payment.  Because Hancock County is close to the Federal Court in Bangor, we can board Federal Inmates.  Hancock County will receive approximately $160,000 this year for boarding Federal Inmates, this help keep the facility open and maintain staff, the BOC is refusing to allow the increase in the budget.  The proposed FY15 budget would eliminate 4 positions, ½ the jail would be shut down and 15 inmates would have to be boarded elsewhere.  A plea has been made to the BOC and an appeals process will begin in July to allow for a waiver to exceed FY13 levels for the FY15 budget year.  In the meantime there is no choice but to submit the FY15 budget based on FY13 funding levels.  LD1824 states that 25% of all unbudgeted Federal Board must be sent to the BOC.  $100,000 in Federal Board was received this year, every dime is needed to keep the jail open and the staff working.  Currently, $59,700 is the most that the sheriff can put in the budget for Federal Board.  The revenue cap can only be $2,228,000 despite the fact that the actual revenues could be $2,364,000.  The problem is, revenues cannot exceed expenditures.  Short of getting the BOC to approve a waiver, there is no way of getting around it.

The FY15 budget calls for laying off 4 corrections officers, Sheriff Clark will be working with the BOC to obtain a waiver.  If negotiations breakdown or if there is a delay, the county will have to look at what it is going to take to stay in the black, there may be a $164,000 shortfall.  If all else fails and we are locked into the FY13 levels, line items can be revised.  The submission of the FY15 budget is already late.  Sheriff Clark requested approval of the FY15 budget and to allow him to revisit the line items should his attempts at a waiver fail.  Commissioner Joy was concerned with the amount budgeted for employee medical.  Sheriff Clark stated that he is hoping for a better year in 2015 and that this can be revisited at any point.  Commissioner Joy suggested submitting an average of employee medical cost rather than the under budgeted submission.  Marginal Rates for Federal Inmates was questioned; there is an expense to the county for housing Federal Inmates; the accounting for this cost was questioned.  The cost to feed inmates is under $5 a day.  The Federal Government/Marshall Service pays medical bills and prescriptions.  Commissioner Joy questioned why the BOC would like a budget submitted without real revenue numbers included.  Sheriff Clark stated that the commissioners decide the line item budget; the BOC decides the gross budget amount.  Commissioner Blasi suggested that the sheriff schedule another agenda item to discuss the inner workings of the budget.  Once a waiver is approved, the sheriff will come back to the commissioners for a discussion on the specifics of the budget.  If he has to stay with the FY13 budget, 4 positions will be cut.  The BOC will have their appeal process in place sometime in July.

MOTION: to allow the sheriff to submit the FY15 budget at the FY13 level. (Brown/Blasi 3-0 motion passed) Discussion: The sheriff will seek final approval from the commissioners should the budget need to be changed.  Commissioner Joy was struggling with the BOC not allowing the inclusion of the real Federal Board numbers in the budget.  Sheriff Clark stated that the budget will be transparent; the BOC will see unanticipated expenses reported.  Unbudgeted revenues will cover under budgeted expenses for corrections officers.  If Penobscot County has to lay-off 14 people they will shut down the “hub.”  A presumption of a wage increase is built into the budget.

Lt. Tim Cote distributed a quote from Telrepco in the amount of $25,595 for replacement of cruiser laptops; a brand new Toughbook cost approximately $3,500-$4,000.  The quote is for reconditioned laptops.  $23,672 has been secured in grant money along with budgeted funds to pay for the purchase.  The price negotiated is good for all other agencies within the county.  Microsoft stopped supporting XP which caused the needed change.  Old laptops would be re-purposed.  The new laptops would come with Windows 7 already installed, they are plug-and-play.  Windows 7 is already old.  Microsoft has stated that Window’s 7 will be supported through approximately 2020.  Maintenance should not be a problem according to Lt. Cote.  There has only been one issue with a touch screen with the current laptops, the new ones come with a 3 year warranty.  Grant funding is through the EMA department.  Commissioner Joy stated that we probably have to go out to an RFP for the purchase, Lt. Cote stated that he has not found any other company that offers this kind of a deal and warranty.  The additional funds would come from account 10-70-200.

MOTION: to purchase the laptops out of the grant funds and from account 10-70-200. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Brown stated that a case could probably be made for sole source.  Commissioner Blasi stated that he is confident that the SO has researched enough that they do not have put out an RFP.

Office of Financial Affairs:

MOTION: to approve April General Fund and Airport Payroll Warrants #14-13, #14-14, #14-15 and #14-16 in the aggregate amount of $207,135.84. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve April General Fund and Airport Expense Warrants #13-72, #14-16, #14-17, #14-18, #14-19, #14-20 and #14-21 in the aggregate amount of $420,903.71. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve Jail and UT Fund Payroll Warrants #14-39, #14-40, #14-41 and #14-42 in the aggregate amount of $91,845.69. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to approve Jail and UT Fund Expense Warrants #14-40, #14-41, #14-42, #14-43 and #14-44 in the aggregate amount of $107,152.36. (Brown/Joy 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to authorize the airport manager or CFO to take Account 171, Jonathan Austin to Small Claims Court. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: to authorize April expenditures in the health insurance account in the amount of $94,437.45. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi stated that this is a big drop from last month.  Previous bills from last year are not included in the April submission.  Commissioner Joy commented on the jail health insurance numbers.

New Business:

Commissioner Joy questioned the right-of-way by the State of Maine, and asked the clerk to find the right-of-way in the Registry of Deeds.  The clerk stated that the persons requesting the appeal and the town are suppose to present this information to the commissioners.  Commissioner Joy stated that the commissioners should hear the appeal, Commissioner Brown disagreed.  Commissioner Joy explained the appeals process which includes the county commissioners.  Commissioner Brown stated that the town has no jurisdiction to the low water mark and questioned why the Swan's Island Electric Coop is appealing to the town, they should be appealing to Superior Court.  The Town of Frenchboro would need to prove why they can collect the taxes.  Commissioner Brown agreed to hear the appeal but a lot more information is needed.  The hearing was scheduled for June 3, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

MOTION: to schedule the Swan's Island Electric Cooperative v. Town of Frenchboro tax appeal hearing for June 3, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

County Clerk:

Discussion: Telecommunications parameters - Commissioner Joy stated that he was looking at telecommuting as an accommodation, not a viable way to work.  Commissioner Brown stated that if this allowed to happen, Workers Comp would need to be considered.  The draft presented was taken from a non-profit organization that Commissioner Brown is associated with.  Commissioner Joy only wants employees to telecommunicate for specific reasons.  Commissioner Brown was concerned that it would become a union issue.  He felt that if it were a policy the union would question why they were not included.  He was also concerned with employees who may be currently telecommunicating.  A definition would be needed.

Commissioner Blasi read the following statement: "All exempt employees should work under the existing appointed exempt policy.  They are our staff managers.  They must be in their offices when employees are on duty to implement county policies and state/federal laws.  For employees on leave, Commissioners need only approve a physician's note stating that their patient has been recommended to work from home for a specified number of hours weekly."  Commissioner Brown cautioned designing a policy for one person.  Commissioner Joy stated that he was interested in the volume of their work.  Commissioner Brown cautioned putting a policy out that did not encompass all employees.  A Corrections Officer has to be in the jail, a patrol deputy has to work from a patrol car but an RCC dispatcher could work from home.  Commissioner Joy preferred the language “this is a privilege” to work from home.  Some circumstances may require the employee have to work from home, they could be medical, or fiscal.  The home work place was discussed along with measuring work performed at home.  Measuring the volume of work was discussed.  Each situation would have to be investigated on its own.  Commissioner Joy stated that the topic bares more investigation.  Other counties will be contacted to see if they have telecommuting policies in place.  The policy is not to allow someone to work from home; it would be due to an issue that necessitates working from home as an accommodation.  Commissioner Joy did not care for weekly visits but did like the language in #14 “but will focus on work output and completion of objectives rather than time-based performance.”  Commissioner Blasi stated that this correlates with the Continuity of Government plan.

The clerk gave a brief overview of the grievance submitted.  The jail grievance hearing regarding jail overtime was scheduled for May 16th at 10:00 a.m.

MOTION: to adjourn. (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)



C. DePrenger

County Clerk




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