The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday January 3, 2019 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Clark, Wombacher, and Blasi in attendance.

Vote: to elect a chairman

Commissioner Blasi brought the meeting to order and announced that nominations for Chairman would be accepted.  Commissioner Clark nominated William Clark for Chairman.  Commissioner Blasi nominated Antonio Blasi for Chairman.  Commissioner Clark said he wanted to make a comment before the vote was called.  He said he wanted to inform Commissioner Wombacher and remind Commissioner Blasi that a year ago Commissioner Blasi came to him and said that if Commissioner Clark supported his candidacy for Chairman for 2018, Commissioner Blasi would support Commissioner Clark as Chairman in 2019.  Commissioner Clark said he would like to believe that Commissioner Blasi was a man of his word and if he said something he is going to do it, and he would appreciate Commissioner Blasi’s support for this vote.  The vote was called; Commissioner Clark voted for Clark for Chairman, Commissioners Blasi and Wombacher voted for Blasi for Chairman.  Commissioner Clark said to Commissioner Wombacher that if Commissioner Blasi has made any assertions to him over the last few months, Commissioner Wombacher should let this vote decide whether or not Commissioner Blasi’s word is worth anything. 

The commission recognized Deputy Register of Probate Velma Jordan for 5 years of service to Hancock County, and Register of Deeds Julie Curtis for 15 years of service to Hancock County.

Adjustments to / approval of agenda: none

MOTION: remove item 10b from agenda (Blasi/Wombacher 2-0-0 Clark did not vote)

Public Comment: none

Approval of minutes:

MOTION: Approve the minutes of the December 4, 2018 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting (Blasi, motion failed for lack of second


December 2018 Monthly Report- Manger Madeira updated the commission on an incident involving an unsecured wheel lock that came loose from a county vehicle.  The incident was reported to Risk Pool.  Manager Madeira also updated the commission on the airfield lighting replacement project.  He informed Commissioner Wombacher that an airport advisory member is needed from his district.  Manager Madeira requested permission to overdraft 2018 account E40-07-100 Airport –Travel/Mileage by up to $200.00.  Madeira said a motion is typically used for this type of request.  Commissioner Clark said if department heads are doing well with their overall budget, the only time he would like to see a vote is if a reserve account is overexpended.   Commissioner Blasi said he was comfortable that it was in the report, and a motion was not required.

MOTION: to approve Project Contract with Jacobs Engineering to complete Obstruction Analysis for $25,555.72 (AIP Project No. 3-23-0006-044-2018) (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approval to promote Joshua George from ARFF to Lead ARFF at Step 9G1, $18.96 per hour, effective January 5, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


Monthly report- UT Supervisor Millard Billings was informed by the UT Director of Education that currently there is one UT 12th grade student, attending Ellsworth High.  Billings asked for direction from the commission- whether the scholarship would be available to high school students, or students who are already enrolled in post-secondary education as well.  Commissioner Clark said he would like to see $25,000 offered to a first year student, but if none applied, a student enrolled already could receive up to $10,000.  Commissioner Blasi asked for the balance in the education lines in both CB and TIFs.  CA Adkins suggested he and Supervisor Billings meet to review the accounts.  The commission agreed.  The commission discussed the postcard mailed to UT residents regarding development.  Commissioner Clark expressed frustration that question 4 was misleading.  Supervisor Billings will invite a representative from EMDC to the January 22 meeting to discuss what the next steps are.

Marijuana opt-in discussion- Supervisor Billings said we are waiting for DAFS to develop licensing criteria, and there was not much we could do until that happens. Commissioner Blasi said he didn’t believe there was anything precluding municipal officers to opt-in for their municipality while waiting for regulations to be finalized.

MOTION: draft an opt-in statement per the zoning in each township or island (Blasi/Wombacher, motion and second withdrawn

Supervisor Billings asked if the commission’s intent was to opt in the different UTs or to get the document ready in case petitions to opt in are submitted.  Billings said if the commission does not act, they would wait for a petition from citizens and then act on the petition.  Commissioner Clark said he thought that would be the appropriate way to go; he said the regulations have not been defined and no one has expressed interest in starting an establishment.  He said he thinks charging ahead like this is reckless.  Sheriff Kane said he did not see why the county needed to be involved in this and he would not support this.  Commissioner Clark said absent a petition the county should refrain from this.  Supervisor Billings suggested at least having a public hearing first to determine if there is interest.  Commissioner Clark agreed- he said he wanted to see what the public opinion would be.  Billings pointed out the map of the UT and referenced the difficulty of policing activity there.  Commissioner Clark said endorsing this is encouragement and taking no action means the commission is taking no position.  Sheriff Kane said the commission would be taking a vote on something and the guidelines are unknown, and reasoned that it would make sense to wait and hold a public hearing when someone does come forward with interest.  Commissioner Blasi said it would make sense either way in his mind. Commissioner Wombacher asked if any other counties have done this; Supervisor Billings said he did not believe so.  Commissioner Clark asked Supervisor Billings for his recommendation. Supervisor Billings said his recommendation would be to wait, and his personal opinion was that marijuana should be grown in municipalities that have their own police forces.  Commissioner Clark said he shared that opinion.  Commissioner Blasi asked Billings if this would bring in any revenues- Billings said MRS will assess any taxation in UTs, and the county itself would see no revenue.  Commissioner Clark said the county would see no revenue, but the work for the Sheriff’s Department would increase.  Billings said the LUPC would treat all marijuana uses as commercial and industrial, not agricultural.  Commissioner Blasi said he would withdraw his motion, but wanted to the public to understand the petition process.  Commissioner Clark questioned why the county would encourage a petition without regulations in place.   Commissioner Blasi said he would not opt in without holding a public hearing and a petition.  Commissioner Wombacher said he would withdraw his second; he said he was in agreement that this may be moving a little fast, but at some point someone will be coming to the commission with a petition; pretending it won’t happen is not a solution. 

MOTION: approve 2019 Stray Contract and abandoned or surrendered animal policy with Small Animal Clinic (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Supervisor Billings introduced Ray Slaybaugh, Chair of Selectboard in Osborn.  He said the cell phone coverage in that area is very spotty and citizens have interest in using Osborn’s CB dollars from Weaver Wind to improve cell phone service in Osborn and township 16.  They would be willing to pay for that with their town’s community benefit funds if US Cellular was willing to go along with it, but they need to secure space on the Bull Hill tower for installation of a repeater.  Commissioner Clark said he saw no reason why the county would not assist Osborn with that request, provided technology allows that.  All 3 commissioners agreed. 


MOTION: approve the warrants as shown on the Treasurer’s memo to the commission (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

The Treasurer’s memo showed the following:

December GF, Airport, and Jail Payroll Warrants #18-49, #18-49, #18-50, and #18-51in the aggregate amount of $347,224.01;

December GF, Airport, and Jail Expense Warrants #18-89, #18-90, #18-91, #18-91, #18-92, #18-93, #18-94, #18-95, #97, and #18-98 in the aggregate amount of $928,131.77;   

December UT Payroll Warrants #19-22, #19-23, #19-24, and #19-25 in the aggregate of $1,285.09 ;

December UT Expense Warrants #19-11 and #19-12 in the aggregate of $18,829.66  

Commissioner Blasi questioned the amount due from Peninsula Airways.  Airport Manager Madeira said all the assets for Penair have been purchased.  County of Hancock was listed as a creditor-Madeira said he has received nothing to date.  Commissioner Clark said he wanted to see where the assets were distributed.


MOTION: approve $209,339.96 for December health care costs (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)


Business Holiday Calendar – Consider Changing to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

MOTION: move to change what is now Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the County Holiday business calendar (Blasi/Wombacher 2-1, Clark opposed)

Commissioner Clark said he thought we should be recognizing our history and the part that Columbus played in our history is significant. He said he is bothered by some of the efforts to change history, and this is one of them.  He suggested dropping one of the other holidays and adding Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  Charles Stevens of Blue Hill Maine spoke in favor of recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day to replace Columbus Day. 

Resolution to the Land Use Planning Commission to retain the existing Adjacency Principle-

Commissioner Blasi read the following:

“Resolution to the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) to retain the current one mile Adjacency Principle under the LUPC’s statute 12 M.R.S.A §681 and consistent with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan

We, the commissioners of Hancock County, are concerned about protecting water quality, wildlife habitat, and forests from expanded commercial, industrial, retail, and residential development, which would also impact county residents’ outdoor recreation opportunities and the state’s tourism industry.  Resulting sprawl would damage natural resources and would place additional burdens on Unorganized Territory taxpayers. Water quality protection must become a top priority of all land use planning, and the one mile Adjacency Principle that has been in place should be retained to achieve that objective.” 

MOTION: adopt this petition and submit it to LUPC and copy it to Governor Mills (Blasi/Wombacher 2-1, motion passed Clark opposed)

Commissioner Clark said he was opposed to the petition referencing the county commissioners, but wanted it to reference a majority of commissioners.  He said he intended to submit a minority letter expressing his position because the commissioners in totality do not support the petition.

Commissioner Clark said from what he can determine this is making a mountain out of a mole hill.  He said this was short-sighted, that there is not a host of developers waiting for available land and any development is going to meet strict criteria for consideration.   It is short-sighted to limit developers to one mile because development will be forced where regulators might not approve if they had better options.  Commissioner Wombacher said when he ran for office he ran specifically as this being one of the main issues, and was elected to the office over this issue.  He referenced the development that we don’t know might happen and said over a million acres will be open to development.   Commissioner Wombacher said the one mile rule has been around for 45 years and served the north woods well and he does not support the expansion.  Commissioner Blasi invited members of the public to speak.  The following members of the public spoke in support of retaining the existing adjacency principle: Patsy Shankle of Surry; Jennifer Riefler of Verona Island; and Peter Crocket, a resident of UT in Penobscot County.

Chief Court Marshal- discussion regarding access control

Mike Coty, Director of Judicial Marshals for Judicial Branch, addressed the commission regarding courthouse screening.  Coty said one of his goals is to achieve 100% screening in all the courthouses across the state, and explained the mechanics and difficulty of staffing that.  Coty said they try to have a minimum impact on the people who work in the courthouse.  Hancock County is one of the more difficult courts because of multiple entrances.  The number one goal is to have one public entrance- this keeps the building safer and weapons out of the courthouse.  Commissioner Clark asked how that would happen in this building- Coty said this building would have 2 entrances- an entry system and a buzzer system.  The other entrances would be locked entrances, or if the staff uses those a card reader would be installed so that employees who are already vetted can gain access.  Commissioner Clark asked how people would be able to access the Sheriff’s Department for complaints, civil papers, etc.  Asst. Facilities Director Dave Linnell said the Sheriff’s Department will remain open to the public, but the public would not have access to the rest of the courthouse. Travis Oakes, Sergeant for Washington and Hancock County said at the staffing level they have now they would not be screening every day, and are attempting to get more applicants.  The screening units would be permanent. The Court Marshal is looking for consensus that the county and court marshal offices are working together- all commissioners agreed to work in cooperation with the Court Marshal’s office.

Water Quality Protection Ordinance- Schedule Public Hearing

MOTION: hold a public hearing on February 7, 2019 at 6 pm to hear the Hancock County UT residents input on whether we should adopt the water quality protection ordinance to prohibit construction of the east west corridor through the unorganized territory of Hancock County and that the territorial property owners of Hancock County be notified by mail and that a copy of the ordinance be in our office for their review and to advertise for the public hearing in the normal channels of advertising and to refer the public to a link that would contain the ordinance on the county website  (Blasi/Wombacher 2-0-1 Clark abstains)

The original motion was for January 24, 2019; after discussion Commissioner Blasi modified that to February 7, 2019


MOTION: Accept resignation of Eric McLaughlin effective January 4, 2019 (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approval to hire Christopher Sargent of Surry as full time Deputy, effective January 19, 2019, step 12C $20.65 / hour (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approve purchase of 2018 cruiser from Darlings at the price of $30,975.00 from Sheriff’s account 70-300 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

This is agenda item 5(d).

MOTION: Deputy McLaughlin be designated as part time patrol officer (Blasi/Wombacher, motion and second withdrawn

MOTION: employ Eric McLaughlin as part time employee in Sheriff’s department (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Blasi opened the cruiser bids.  Three bids were submitted; the results are as follows:

Quirk Auto Group-2019 Chevrolet Silverado- $28,722.00 (after $14,133.00 trade for 2013 Tahoe)

Darling’s- 2018 Silverado 1500- $24,725.00 (after $14,000.00 trade for 2013 Tahoe)

Darling’s- 2018 GMC Sierra 1500- $29,434.00 (after $14,000.00 trade for 2013 Tahoe)

Sheriff Kane took the bids to review and advised he would return with a recommendation.


MOTION: approval to hire Isiah Davis of Bangor as a part time on call as needed corrections officer, at the rate of $14.00 per hour with no benefits, effective January 5, 2019 not to exceed 29 hours per week (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approval to hire Daniel Cox of Brewer as a part time on call as needed corrections officer, at the rate of $14.00 per hour with no benefits, effective January 5, 2019, not to exceed 29 hours per week average (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


Monthly report- Asst. Facilities Director Dave Linnell said the access control system is installed and operating on a limited (test) basis.  The system has a one-year warranty.  The other doors will require access policies.  Commissioners Blasi and Clark agreed that Department Heads should have the authority to determine employee access to their offices.  The Commission agreed to have the basement entrance be established as an employee only entrance.  Linnell will report to the commission once the entrance is switched over.

Lunch break 11:40 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

There was some discussion on the generator.  Commissioner Clark said he would like to see that as a non-jail expense.  He said anytime there is a resource at the jail that benefits elsewhere, it should be paid for elsewhere; anytime jail expenses can be legitimately paid for through another budget, we should do that.  Commissioner Blasi agreed.

Jail yard job- the job is complete to everyone’s satisfaction.  Linnell reported that the final disbursement was made- the county will hold the retainage until next October to ensure everyone is still completely satisfied; then that will be the final payment.  Jail Administrator Richardson said the electric lock for the rec yard is not working, so he has not used the rec yard.

Jail Emergency expenses- significant bills have come in relating to the jail, including generator repair and temporary generator rental, and the sprinkler system.  Currently the emergency expenses are estimated to be $26,893.  Commissioner Clark would like to see this be a non-jail expense, any time we can pay legitimately for expenses, we should.  Commissioner Clark suggested all repairs related to the generator not be funded by the jail, as the generator services the entire courthouse.  The invoices should come out of 2018, but may be able to borrow from 2019.  Generator expenses will come out of capital building account, and the sprinkler expenses from the jail.

RCC RFP recommendation

Asst. Facilities Director Linnell recommended Sealander Architects to be the architect for the RCC expansion job.

MOTION: invite Sealander Architects to visit us and discuss this topic (RCC Expansion) (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

Commissioner Clark did not think a motion was needed; he wanted to meet and discuss the project before taking any action.


Monthly report- RCC Director Conary updated the commission with his monthly report.  He attended the quarterly 911 advisory council meeting. One of the topics was the proposed emergency police protocols; they stated they had no position on the protocols at this point.  Conary reported that the total calls for service handled at the RCC in the last four years have increased 32.7%.

Ellsworth Dispatching Contract- Commissioner signature

MOTON: renew Ellsworth dispatching contract with the amounts specified with the 3% increase that the commission voted on during the budget cycle (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

This automatically renews, but any changes need to be agreed to by both parties.  This contract holds a 3% increase over the previous year.  Conary reported that there does not appear to be an issue with Ellsworth agreeing. 

Chief Deputy Pat Kane recommended that the commission recognize the bid from Darling’s Chevrolet in the amount of $24,725.00.

MOTION: Recognize the bid from Darling’s Chevrolet for $24,725.00 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Exec. Session under MRSA Title 1 405 (6) (A) / Personnel Matter / Probate Office (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)


MOTION: Appoint Commissioner Wombacher as Workforce and Investment Board Member Representative (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Appoint Rebekah Knowlton as Hancock County Public Access Officer (Clark/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: set mileage rate for FY19 at 50 cents per mile (Blasi/Wombacher 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Authorize the Treasurer and Deputy County Administrator to issue checks up to $1,000 (Blasi/Clark 3-0, motion passed)

Warrant Policy-

MOTION: Adopt warrant policy as amended, and adding a second commissioner may authorize his signature through email (Blasi/Wombacher 2-1, Clark opposed)

The policy change required warrant review and signatures from two commissioners. Commissioner Clark said this made things terribly inconvenient; Commissioner Blasi agreed but said it was an internal control and was long overdue.  There was some discussion on the process.

Community Benefit Grant Applications Review – schedule scoring and award workshop

Commissioner Blasi wanted to review scores on January 22.  He referenced the scoring process used for the previous round of grant applications.

Health insurance conversion to Maine Municipal Trust update- CA Adkins said he has completed all requests for information from the Union and is waiting for their response.

MOTION: prepare a letter for the January 22 meeting to issue notice of termination to Meritain on March 31(Blasi/motion withdrawn

Commissioner Clark suggested this action was premature.  Commissioner Wombacher asked how we get to the point where we are ready.  Commissioner Clark indicated that union communication and negotiation needs to continue.

MOTION: to pay travel expenses for commissioners living over 5 miles from the county seat (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: approve proposed language in the termination clause of the Hancock County personnel policy (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Advertising Policy regarding job vacancies- Commissioner Clark would like to see policy language that includes publishing job vacancies through a region-wide electronic media appropriate to the position.

Interest on Municipal Assessment – Town of Sorrento- Commissioner Blasi stated the interest on the tax bill from the Town of Sorrento should be collected.  This has not been enforced in the past.  Commissioner Blasi said today’s discussion will show the public that the county intends to enforce interest collection.  The commission agreed that going forward interest will be collected on delinquent tax bills. 

Reserve accounts-

MOTION: remove trio reserve accounts from the general ledger for non-revenue earning departments (Blasi/motion fails for lack of second

Commissioner Blasi said he was attempting to remove the discrepancy between what is shown on the ledger and what is in the bank.  CA Adkins said there was no discrepancy there; it is simply the premise in finance and accounting of cash flow versus budgetary.  Commissioner Blasi said he would answer questions about the discrepancy between bank statements and the reserve ledger account balances by referencing the bank statement when answering.

Commissioner Blasi suggested placing the unapproved December 4, 2018 CRM minutes on the January 22 CSM agenda for approval.  Commissioner Clark said they should simply go in the book in unapproved form; the true record is the audio recording.

Corrections Officers Union Negotiations will continue.

MOTION: to adjourn 2:54 pm (Wombacher/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

Respectfully submitted,

Rebekah Knowlton

Deputy County Administrator


Official Website of Hancock County, Maine.                              Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.