COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING
The special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Blasi at 8:30 am on Thursday, September 13, 2018 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Brown and Clark in attendance.
Charles Earley- Jail Wall / Mesh Fence Completion
Charles Earley of Lewis and Malm informed the commission that a situation has come up pertaining to the chain mail, the second piece of fencing that goes on top of the fence. The existing (this was taken off from above the previous fence and salvaged) chainmail was installed on the bottom in the interest of not stalling the project. The specification from addendum #2 matched, however, the specification had a measurement of 5/8; this was an inaccurate measurement- it should have been 3/8. The 5/8 was installed and it was discovered that the fence was scalable. Commissioner Clark was interested in determining who was responsible for the error. Earley explained the process for reviewing and matching specifications. Engineer Eero Hedefine claimed responsibility for the designated specifications. There was some discussion on the responsibility of the cost to fix the error. Commissioner Clark said he thought the only solution was to remove the 5/8 and replace with 3/8. Alternatives to address the issue were discussed. Earley referenced the installation of spreading bars and recommended designing a smaller section of that to determine if the fence could be climbed with them. Options will be looked into further- installing spreading bars or removing what was installed and replacing it with appropriate materials. Earley was directed to get pricing on the two options and bring it back to the commission as soon as possible.
Adjustments to / approval of agenda:
MOTION: Add executive session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(E) to 8(e) to discuss a matter from our attorney (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
Public Comment: none
Discussion on temporarily exceeding maximum on benefit time- Sheriff Kane said his department was having difficulty filling shifts because of short staffing. Employees are not able to use vacation time, and in several cases are meeting the maximum vacation time allowed by contract.
MOTION: Sheriff’s patrol employees be paid each week for all vacation benefit time exceeding the maximum accrual up to and until December 31, 2018, all in an agreement letter with the teamsters union (Clark/Brown 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: that the commissioners revise and vote on their budget for department 10 (Blasi/motion failed for lack of second
Commissioner Brown said he would like to hear what the sheriff’s proposal was, and when the budget went to the BAC it would be the commissioners’ budget. Commissioner Clark said in his mind there was one budget with comments from the department head, and he wanted to hear the sheriff’s proposal.
Sheriff Kane said the only addition in revenues is line 200 School Resource Officer at $160,000.
Commissioner Blasi made the following statement: “with the series of letters and verbal statements we have received and that I have heard from people in diverse positions and occupations, including the Ellsworth Police Chief’s front page interview, the overwhelming majority opposed to the idea of county government placing an armed law enforcement officer in some schools. Former prosecutor Gail Marshall’s letter highlights several questions that I have not heard answered. I am voting against the revenues and expenses for the school resource officer position, or positions.” Sheriff Kane questioned how many letters were received. Commissioner Brown said he was willing to listen to the budget first and to move the budget process ahead, the sheriff should present the entire budget to the commission, and the commissioners will look it over to see what changes they wanted to make. Sheriff Kane said that Gail Marshall is in full support of a school resource officer and that she was the one who helped write the MOU that is currently in place in Mount Desert Island. Sheriff Kane said she was originally opposed to it, and she worked to craft the MOU with guidance from the ACLU to put that together and she was in full support of it, and referenced a meeting they both attended. Commissioner Clark would like to see an agenda item on whether or not the commission would approve a SRO. The expenditure changes related to the SRO are in line 01-130. There was some discussion on overtime increases. Commissioner Clark wanted to flatline OT at $67,500; Commissioners Blasi and Brown were not ready at this point. Line 10-012 Public Safety was increased to $10,500. Commissioner Clark wanted to see a breakdown of the $58,000 in line 20-100 Computer. There was some discussion on adding money for a future copier purchase. Chief Deputy Kane referenced that the equipment reserve account has been building for other projects. Commissioner Clark wanted to see a decrease in the 70-300 Vehicles account. Chief Deputy Kane said this figure is in line with the SRO decision.
Town Contracts (12)
Commissioner Brown questioned whether the stipend for Swan’s Island was in revenues; Sheriff Kane indicated that it is. Revenues and expenditures are balanced.
Civil Process (13)
Sheriff Kane said this was relatively consistent with the 5-year average. He said his attempts to see an increase to fees were unsuccessful.
Drug Task Force (46)
There was some discussion on where revenues from forfeitures go, and using that to increase line 900 reserve transfers. Commissioner Brown referenced the overtime line. Chief Deputy Kane said this was reimbursed 100%, and this is shown in the revenue side. Commissioner Clark said he was opposed to taking all of the cost of the K9 from this department. Commissioner Brown questioned why the state doesn’t pay the $10,000 for K9 overtime.
Approval of minutes:
MOTION: Approve the minutes of the August 31, 2018 Commissioners’ Special Meeting (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Review of the State Risk Management Policy- DA Foster said based on his review of the documents he believes the county is responsible for paying the $1,000 deductible. Commissioner Clark said statute says that the county should pay reasonable expenses, and he thought the county should pay this and it should come out of the DA budget. Commissioner Blasi referenced that the advice from our risk pool representative was not to pay the deductible.
MOTION: authorize to pay the invoice of $1,000 deductible bill in this matter (Blasi/Clark 1-2 Brown and Blasi opposed, motion fails
Commissioner Brown said any deductible should have been settled as part of the claim; DA Foster agreed with him.
Review of the RFP for Auditing Services-
Commissioner Brown expressed frustration that we still do not have a completed audit; it is a useful tool in crafting the budget for the coming year. CA Adkins said that he has spent a considerable amount of extra time, and was frustrated with the auditor’s lack of timeliness and difficulty with working through the constant requests. Commissioner Clark questioned the time requirements in the contract / RFP; he wanted to articulate under the contract what violations have occurred, although the general consensus is dissatisfaction.
MOTION: To hear an item from Jail Administrator Richardson that just developed (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Jail Administrator Richardson informed the commission that he had a request for a leave of absence without pay from a corrections officer. There was some discussion about holding the discussion in executive session; it was held in open session.
MOTION: to grant the Jail Administrator’s request for Heather Sullivan, who requested a leave of absence without pay in accordance with article 29 of the union contract (Brown/ Blasi 2-1, Clark opposed)
The employee is under obligation to remain in contact with her supervisor regarding progress. In accordance with union contract, the leave of absence was granted without pay or benefits.
RCC Director Conary said at this point his intention was to fund both positions through the QA position; this should carry both through the end of the year.
MOTION: Request approval to hire Brandon Eugley of Hancock as full time RCC dispatcher at pay grade/step 9A $15.98 per hour, effective September 22, 2018 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: Request approval to hire Madysen Robichaud of Orland as full time RCC Dispatcher at pay grade/step 9A $15.98 per hour, effective September 22, 2018 (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Reserve Fund Addendum- the commissioners signed the document, which was approved on August 7.
Discussion: donation of sick time- the commission agreed the union should be consulted regarding this, and if there was no issue language addressing this should be included in the personnel policy. The commission will revisit the issue at the next meeting.
Spirit of America- the commission scheduled to recognize award recipients in November.
Review of September 12 meeting with EMDC –
Commissioner Blasi reported that during the meeting it was agreed that a letter with a self addressed stamped card will be sent to all property owners in Fletcher’s Landing, referencing that the advisors will meet and take property owner feedback into consideration. The letter would invite discussion regarding residential, commercial, or agricultural development. It was also suggested that the commissioners could hold a public hearing. A draft letter will be discussed at the October 2 meeting. One of the concepts discussed was a storage facility. If commercial development was declined, we could look into a loan program, interest could be revenue for the county.
Jail Bond Expense Deferred-
The county no longer has the $300,000 bond obligation for the jail after this year. There was some discussion on whether this would remain in the 2019 budget. Commissioner Brown referenced the extensive work needed at the jail facility, and perhaps funds should be set aside for that. The commissioners agreed that line 30-150 TAN Interest should be in Treasurer (05) and Dept. 16 should be dissolved.
Budget Workshop, continuation of previous workshop sessions-
There was some discussion on determining the COLA for 2019, and when health insurance figures would be ready.
Commissioner Blasi said he would like to approve some funds for the Reparations Board. He suggested offering physical space in the courthouse for them to operate, but the commission agreed there was no space available at this time. There was some discussion on the applications submitted. The commission discussed flatlining dept. 17 budget at the 2018 level; various strategies were discussed. After discussion the commission agreed to add $6,000 in funding for the Reparations Board, and fund the following: EMDC $9,245; Special Children’s Friends $4,000; UMaine Extension $70,000; Soil/Water Conservation $14,000; Next Step $8,930; HCPC $14,000; HC Volunteer Firefighters Assoc. $42,900. This matched the dept. 17 budget for 2018, $169,075.
MOTION: to enter executive session under MRSA Title 1§405 6(E) to 8(e) to review advice from our attorney (Brown/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
MOTION: to adjourn (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)
Deputy County Administrator