The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 am on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.

 Employee recognition:

The Commission recognized Troy Frye, Corrections Officer, for 5 years of service to the County.

 Public Comment: none

 Adjustments to / approval of agenda: Jail Administrator Richardson told the commission item 5A would not be necessary.

MOTION: remove 5A from the agenda, replace that with an update to jail operations (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: item 11B be removed from agenda with brief discussion to occur immediately (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 Commissioner Blasi read the following:

“March 6, 2018

Dear Mr. Salisbury, the Hancock County Commissioners received your written request for information on February 28, 2018. This does not qualify as an FOAA request, therefore no default occurred, as no documents exist which are responsive to your request. The County of Hancock has no information in the official records regarding the people’s common law court.  Again we emphasize that all communication be directed to the Commission through the County Administrator’s office either emailed to or delivered to 50 State Street, Suite 7, Ellsworth, Maine 04605, the phone number being 207-667-9542.”

 MOTION: approve the letter just read and send it to Mr. Salisbury in regards to a Freedom of Access request made to us (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

 Approval of minutes:

MOTION: to approve the minutes of the February 6, 2018 Commissioners Regular Meeting and the February 22, 2018 Commissioners Special Meeting (Clark/Blasi 2-0-1 Brown abstains, motion passed)

Commissioner Brown said he abstained because he was not present at the February 6, 2018 meeting.


Airport Manager Brad Madeira submitted his monthly report. Update on air carrier selection process: Madeira said he had been hoping to see a proposal by now, but has not seen it yet. It is possible the delay may impact air carrier service this summer. Cash management report- Madeira said the current liquid asset position for the airport is $1,276,204, which is roughly a $30,000 increase since April 2017. Manager Madeira said this suggests that the airport is self-sustaining. 

 Discussion: Land Lease Agreement with US Air Force Auxiliary – Civil Air Patrol, Downeast Patrol Squadron, ME 038 Discussion: Manager Madeira reminded the Commission of the land use compliance inspection with the FAA of July 2017, when the recommendation was made to have a land lease agreement with civil air patrol.  Madeira said he wishes to get the direction of the Commission, whether to continue to pursue an agreement or not.  The county may be carrying excess liability without a lease.  Commissioner Brown said he thought the FAA required some kind of lease or agreement with anyone who owns property at the airport. Madeira said this was part of the reason the FAA made this recommendation.  Commissioner Brown said he thinks it is important to have a “hold harmless” clause in any contract.  Commissioner Clark asked what the alternative was if we come to an impasse- if we insist on a lease which they refuse to sign.  Madeira said he hoped it would not get to that point.  Commissioner Brown asked if they had any insurance at all on the building. Madeira said he was not aware of any; there was none in their file.  Commissioner Brown suggested that Madeira ask Civil Air Patrol what they would suggest.  Commissioner Brown said he thought it was important to have a hold harmless clause in any contract.  Commissioner Blasi wanted to put the item on the March 20 agenda.  Commissioner Brown suggested we call Risk Pool to determine what the County’s liability is without a lease. Commissioner Blasi agreed.  Commissioners Brown and Blasi agreed the hold harmless clause was needed. 

MOTION: to have a hold harmless clause in any contract we have with the civil air patrol (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark suggested that Madeira discover why Civil Air Patrol didn’t want the hold harmless clause in the lease.

 Manager Proposed Adjustments Airport Reserve Accounts-

Manager Madeira proposed the adjustments to various Airport Reserve accounts. $136,127 of unused designated funds would be moved to undesignated, and then immediately designated for other uses.  This will be revisited with more detail at the March 20 meeting.  Commissioner Brown expressed that he would like to see a lot of the undesignated funds go to equipment such as vehicles and tractors. 

 MOTION: approval for Chairman to sign the Modification No. 1 to the Cooperative Agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: approval to issue RFP to complete Phase 2 of the Terminal Building backup generator project (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Phase 1 was completed in August of 2017.


Unorganized Territory Supervisor Millard Billings submitted his monthly report.

MOTION:  Approve Utility pole application- In the township if T7 SD: Gouldsboro Point Road, beginning approximately 1230 feet southerly of Old Route 1 and extending in a southerly direction for approximately 7 feet... (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

 Legalizing retail sale of marijuana- Supervisor Billings explained that the original language in the vote did not include unorganized territories. LUPC supplied a written synopsis to address those concerns.  Billings explained UT was left out of original decision regarding the sale of marijuana.  Commissioner Brown said marijuana regulation would be a bigger conversation than what would happen today.  He said any concerns we have regarding potential legislation should be directed to Charley Pray and MCCA at this point.  Commissioner Brown said at this point he did not have enough information.  Commissioner Blasi questioned the timeline for any Commissioner action.  Commissioner Clark said he believed whatever was determined for municipalities would apply to UTs.

 Supervisor Billings reported that county roads have been posted for weight limits.

 CBA underpayment- Supervisor Billings said he needs authority to release the TIF payment for Hancock Wind, and wanted to know how to proceed regarding the underpayment of CBA. Commissioners Brown and Blasi agreed that the TIF payment should be made.  Commissioner Brown expressed concern about the cost of litigation.  Commissioner Blasi questioned whether the contract allowed for legal and professional fees to uphold it.  Supervisor Billings said the CBA contract talks about the megawatt per hour rating, but it doesn’t specifically define what that is.

 MOTION: authorize director to release 70% TIF reimbursement (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

 Commissioner Clark said he would like to start the process of renegotiating our contract, making it clear that our reimbursement reflects what the actual output is. Billings said there was some danger to that.  There was some discussion on whether to pursue negotiating the contract. Commissioner Blasi asked if we are in the process of negotiating a new contract. Commissioner Clark said they could agree to come back to the table and modify the contract.  Commissioner Brown said he did not want to open the contract again at this point, and the decision should be whether or not to enter into litigation regarding whether we have been shortchanged- Commissioner Blasi agreed.  Commissioner Clark expressed that he wanted an agreement in place that everyone fully understands.  He said neither side would have to sign an amended contract that they did not agree to.  Supervisor Billings said he will talk with the attorney regarding options to renegotiate the contract, what is at risk if the contract is reopened, and costs for litigation.  CA Adkins suggested he also inquire about a 3rd option in order to clean up the misunderstanding of the contract language.


MOTION: approval for the purchase of firearms and a taser to outfit two deputies for a total cost of $3,356.65 – from account 70-305 Firearm Reserve $2,500; and from account

G-3014-00 SO-EQ/Tech. $856.65(Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: approval to hire David Lord of Brewer as full time deputy at step 12-C $20.24 per hour, effective March 24, 2018 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Sheriff Kane explained that this applicant has years of experience and past training which qualifies him for step C.


Jail Administrator Richardson updated the Commission on several jail issues. The State Fire Marshall will be doing the annual inspection tomorrow. The annual jail audit will be performed in April; Richardson said he was prepared for that.  Sergeant Pelkey is retiring April 13. Dr. Wilson, jail psychiatrist, is retiring; a vendor for mental health will be needed. Tim Jones, jail cook, will be retiring in June.  There was some discussion about funding for capital improvements in the jail. Commissioner Brown suggested we look for capital improvements for the jail when budgeting for next year.  There was some discussion on various needs, including a floating curtain in the day room and a van for transports.  Sheriff Kane asked the Commission to consider dates for their annual jail inspection.


MOTION: to approve the February GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #18-4, #18-5, #18-6 and #18-7 in the aggregate amount of $325,325.03 (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: to approve the February GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #17-103, #17-104, #17-105, #18-9, #18-10, #18-11, #18-12, #18-14, and #18-15, #17-106, #17-107, #17-108, #18-16, #18-17, #18 in the aggregate amount of $619,146.42 (Brown/Clark  3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: to approve the February UT Payroll Warrants #18-30, #18-31, #18-32, and #18-33, in the aggregate amount of $1,116.87 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: to approve the February UT expense Warrants #18-16 and #18-17, in the aggregate of $9,278.01 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: to approve December expenditures in the Health Insurance account of $167,719.17 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: to approve the expenditure from capital reserve account G1-3011-00 Garage Door to replace old garage door in the amount of $1,887.00 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


Facilities Director Walls reported he had gotten two prices for removal of the tank. Clean Harbors is the lower of the two.

 MOTION: authorize the director to work with Clean Harbors for tank removal at the cost of $17,446.25 (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

This will be funded as part of the wall project.

 Director Walls reported that more than a year ago we had applied for a certificate of appropriateness for outside work on the Annex, and finally had the hearing last month. Permission was given to attach signage to the building, and to remove curbing in the area in the parking lot where the tree had been removed, and curbing is now.  Walls said there is potential of a well being there, and he would prefer to leave that undisturbed. There is a potential safety concern, but at this point that is unknown.

 EMS- Maine controls has been onsite. The program is being built, and will be installed upon completion.  Director Walls said a wireless internet connection is required for the Annex to use a module that monitors building temperature and humidity.  The DA is hesitant about using the current networks, so Walls would like permission to install another wireless router.  Director Walls was directed to work with IT Admin. Grindle on the project.

 Master key assignment- Director Walls reported that IT Admin. Chris Grindle would need a master key to access the building after hours. Commissioner Brown expressed concern about the number of master keys that have been distributed. 

MOTION: Chris Grindle be authorized to have the master keys for courthouse, Sheriff’s Office, and Annex (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

 Generator repair- Director Walls reported there is a dual core radiator that is corroding. A coolant leak has been costly over the years.  He is requesting that it gets repaired now.

MOTION: recognize Milton Cat as the sole source provider, and authorize Facilities Director to contract with them to replace the radiator, total cost not to exceed $7,830.82 minus sales tax of $268.27 from the courthouse building maintenance account (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark moved this in light of the fact that we bought the generator from them and because it’s a Caterpillar.


Vacation Benefit Earned- Discussion on overage by union employees during transitional period:

The commission agreed to allow dispatchers to cash in up to 42 hours of accrued vacation time; CA Adkins said he would draft a side letter to the union contract for approval.


MOTION: approval to hire Elizabeth Linnell as temporary PT Probate Clerk from February 17, 2018 through March 6, 2018 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Deputy Register of Probate Velma Jordan said this position is paid for out of the restoration account.

 MOTION: approve the hire of Elizabeth Linnell of Mariaville as part time Probate Clerk, paid for out of surcharge money, no benefits at $12.50 per hour, effective March 7, 2018 (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


Commissioner Brown cautioned the use of Community Benefit money, and urged control in spending.

MOTION: move $150,000 from Community Benefits to budget (Brown/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

 MOTION: transfer from Professional Services Reserve account 3011-06 $90,000 to undesignated account, and transfer from CBA fund $35,000 to undesignated account to be used to reconcile the Jail A/R for 2017 (Clark/Blasi 2-1, motion passed, Brown opposed)

 Appointed exempt employee positions pay scale discussion: Commissioner Brown wanted time to work out a plan for this. CA Adkins will bring back information gathered from the administrators group.  Item will be carried forward to the April meeting.

 Treasurer’s position discussion- Commissioner Brown said he opposed dictating at this time the amount the new treasurer would receive, and when the new treasurer is elected, the expectations of the Commission and the Treasurer would be discussed, and come up with an equitable salary. He expressed concern over this action discouraging potential candidates to run.  Commissioner Blasi agreed.  Commissioner Clark said whoever runs should fully understand what the compensation level would be.  He wanted to come up with framework- Commissioner Blasi said that framework exists; it is the published budget.  Commissioner Brown pointed out that the treasurer is an elected official and the Commission cannot dictate the number of hours worked. 

 Animal Policy discussion:

Commissioner Blasi said the current animal policy is a robust policy that should remain. Commissioner Brown said one of the reasons we originally adopted a policy was that several people were bringing dogs in, and after a few months rugs had to be replaced due to the dogs.  He referenced those who can’t be around dogs due to allergies or other issues, they should be considered.  He did not want to amend the policy to include therapy dogs.  Commissioner Clark said he now understands the difference between therapy and service dogs, and it appears that the request refers to a therapy dog.  The request to bring a dog to the courthouse by a drug court employee was denied.

 County Administrator:

CA Adkins said he would like the contract with Sierra Communications to have the option of keeping Sierra here until the end of the year and to have a 30 day opt out clause. He thought it was necessary to have Sierra’s services during the transition period.  CA Adkins wanted to discuss with IT Admin. Grindle about how long he would need to completely take over IT services. 

 MOTION: Accept Sierra at $1,460 per month on the condition that Scott Adkins can get a reasonable out agreement (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

 Commissioner Brown asked RCC Director Conary about Waldo tower. Conary said it was working well.

 Deputy CA Knowlton informed the commission that the rate of pay approved for the recent dispatch hires was not the correct amount; the wrong pay scale had been referenced.

MOTION: correct the dispatchers’ rate of pay so it is compliant with the union contract (Clark/Brown 2-1, Blasi opposed, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark said he was not in favor of listing specific wage amounts, but to reference compliance with the appropriate union contract or county policy. Commissioner Blasi said the wage has been on the agenda historically, and the Chair approving the agenda should make sure that those are in place, and wishes to have them on the agenda.

 CA Adkins said he was open to conversations about consideration of his contract soon; it expires in May. Commissioner Blasi suggested discussing the contract in executive session in April.

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

 Respectfully submitted,

 Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator


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