The regular meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday January 22, 2019 in the conference room of the County courthouse located in Ellsworth, ME with Commissioners Clark, Wombacher, and Blasi in attendance.

Public Comment: none

MOTION: Recommend we proceed with Sealander Architects as the architect of choice for the RCC expansion (Clark/Blasi 3-0)

Mike Sealander, AIA, Sealander Architects came before the Commissioners to discuss his approach to the RCC expansion project per the recent RFQ.  After much discussion, it was agreed upon that Mr. Sealander would draft up a contract to include, but not limited to an hourly rate for services, estimate of time needed for the preliminary measuring & planning stages along with an agreeable retainer amount (not to exceed without Commissioner approval).

Adjustments to / approval of agenda

MOTION: Approve addition of Item 4b at the request of the District Attorney’s Office and Agenda Item of the Probate Agenda permission to advertise (Clark/Blasi 3-0)


Josh McIntyre & Vicki Rusbult presented the findings of the Fletcher’s Landing economic development survey.  There was concern by all regarding Question 4 conflicting with question 3’s answers.  Responses from mailing were split in theory and inconsistent with answers to questions 3 & 4.  Many residents didn’t want any changes. Some would be agreeable to agriculture.  

Commissioner Clark’s commented that perhaps we have devoted enough attention to this project.  CC Clark stated that the County didn’t need any additional services from EMDC at this time.  He made the consensus statement to terminate the County’s relationship on this project, thanked both Josh & Vick for their services and expressed that the two of them have enlightened the Commission as to some aspects.  All Commissioners were in agreement to terminate services.

In an effort to address the common replies in the survey, Millard Billings, UT Supervisor led the discussion regarding the boat launch in Fletcher’s Landing and the connection to the Sunrise Trail.  The Commissioners tasked Millard to look into the State’s ownership of the parking lot, plans for the boat launch and / or any possibility of dredging for access.  There was some discussion on how to connect from Fletcher’s Landing to the Sunrise Trail and it seemed as though very viable.  Supervisor Billings is to look into the matter further and report back.

The final topic was a discussion on whether the current educational scholarship opportunities would be made available to adults.  The Commissioners were in favor and would like the verbiage on the County website to be revised.   


MOTION: approve the resignation of Correction Officer Heather Sullivan as a full time correctional officer effective 1/18/2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0)


Dennis Walls, Maint. Dir., reported to the Commissioners that a vendor is being contacted to assess the capabilities and excess capacity of the current generator at the Jail.  There is interest amongst the Commission to enhance coverage to other offices not currently connected to the generator during a power outage. 

Dennis was questioned on the status of the cabling project.  This project is to re-route new improved technology cabling replacing the old lines that are buried under the Jail Yard.  These were the cables destroyed during construction excavation.  Ron Fortier, electrical vendor, is set to perform this project once the weather gets a bit better. 

The agenda was taken out of order while waiting for the DA Foster to appear and address his hiring request above.  The Commissioners moved to begin discussions on the scoring criteria and the spreadsheet that CA Adkins had developed and distributed to the Commission.

District Attorney:

MOTION: Approve the resignation of Legal Secretary Catherine Emerson, effective January 18, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)

MOTION: Approval to hire Juliette Wilbur of Ellsworth as full time Legal Secretary I in the District Attorney’s Office, at step 8-C with the rate consistent with the current wage scale, effective January 26, 2019 (Clark/Blasi 3-0)

DA Foster requested the hiring of Juliette Wilbur, from the Probate Office, under the current employee pay Step of 8E.  CC Clark referenced the Personnel Policy under the upward transfer, formerly promotion, and the 5% minimum clause.  Clark made the recommendation for Step 8C as it provided the 5% clause and was above the beginning hire of Steps 8A & B. 


MOTION: Approve request to advertise for a clerical position in the Probate Office (Clark/Blasi 3-0)

Registrar Gale Coughlin requested permission to advertise in-house and with the Ellsworth American for a clerical position in Probate.  (see DA hire above).

After the DA & Probate discussions, the Commissioners went back to the CB Scoring Sheet item.


MOTION:  Use suggested benefit scoring sheet developed by Scott Adkins (Clark/Wombacher 3-0)

The Commissioners discussed the scoring approach to the Community Benefit Grant currently under review.  CA Adkins had sent one spreadsheet version for scoring via email to the Commissioners and was adopted after some minor edits.  The Commissioners felt even though the current scoring process was adequate and better than prior it still may need some tweaking for the next round.  All agreed that this would be done before the application was released.

After the discussion above regarding the scoring criteria and spreadsheet, the CC’s went back up to the DA & Probate presentations. 

CB Scoring – cont’d

There was some discussion led by CC Clark as to how the Commissioners may have scored the sheets and would it be consistent.  The Commissioners then talked about how much of the $100k was to be doled out and under what system.  Would it be categories per the application process or simply take a look at all of the scores and award collectively.

The Commissioners moved further down the agenda to allow CA Adkins time to either input the scores into the spreadsheet or this would be done at the end depending on time.

Health Insurance Conversion Update –

After a brief introduction to the topic, Chair Blasi indicated that he still had intentions to deliver a 60 day notice of cancellation to Meritain.  CC Clark and CA Adkins indicated that this was not a responsible action.  There were several Department Heads, Registrar Curtis & Sheriff Kane particularly, in the meeting room and a few of them expressed concern that the Chair would consider cancelling the Meritain Health Insurance without having a replacement plan in place. 

After much discussion, it was agreed upon that the 120 day timeline, recommended by Scott McKee, would be used as guidance.  The timeline would begin once the Commissioners have met with representation of the replacement vendor. 

In further discussion, CA Adkins reminded the Commission that a change in health insurance would have to be negotiated with the Union for all three contracts before implementation.  As of right now, this does not appear to be an issue, but employees would become concerned should there be continued discussion about implementing the health cancellation process prematurely. 

CC Blasi acknowledged the concern of all, but wanted to reiterate his concern for continuing costs of staying with Meritain and delaying the transition.

CC Clark also wished to express that there is a lot of work to be completed regarding any change in health coverage and would like for the Commission to send a message that it would perform this task in a highly responsible fashion.  CC Clark explained to the Chair and CC Wombacher that there are many complexities to this decision and appropriate time needs to be taken.  Please stop the rhetoric of sending the 60 cancellation notice and concentrate on the options.

CA Adkins informed the Commission that Scott McKee, Acadia Benefits, is performing a comparative analysis of the plans.  There are many questions including the retiree coverage and the complications around those policies.  In addition, how does this policy play out in union negotiations.  Scott McKee should be able to guide us appropriately.  CA Adkins was instructed to coordinate meetings with Joe Piccone, Union / Allegiant Care and Scott McKee.

Union Negotiations –

Nothing to report.  We have been waiting for the health insurance information as that will be a major concern of the union. 

Sheriff Kane reported that there was some language regarding “investigation” that he would like to see revised.  JA Richardson is aware of this item as well.

Chair Blasi asked if negotiations could be scheduled when the health care presentations were held.  It was pointed out that to do this on a Commissioner meeting day did not allow enough time.  Consideration of having this done on a day by itself where negotiations take place after the health insurance presentation.

Advertising Policy Update –

CA Adkins had nothing to report.  Will try and complete this for next meeting.  The goal is to revise the current policy which states that newspaper advertising must be done.  The new language would allow for some flexibility based upon need.  However, in opposition to newspaper advertising, specialty websites may be used.

Internal Controls Update –

CA Adkins reports that he has spoken with Treasurer Boucher who is willing to begin this task.  This project will be done in stages with CA Adkins review and presentation to the Commission. The item will be moved to the Treasurer spot on the agenda in the future.

CB Scoring – cont’d

After reviewing the overall tallies for the various entities that applied, there was some concern over CC Blasi’s scores of zero (0) for several applicants and how it affected the final scores.  As a result of this, CC Clark & CC Wombacher felt it would be prudent to review their own scores collectively (without CC Blasi’s).  Upon review, this method showed a more fair distribution amongst the applicants and became accepted for further consideration.  The Commissioners would now take this information and decide the monetary amounts to award and forward their choices individually to CA Adkins.  Once all of the information was received, CA Adkins would compile the spreadsheet and send back to the CC’s in advance of the next meeting to expedite the final decisions.

MOTION: to adjourn:  11:55 a.m. (Blasi/Clark 3-0)

Respectfully submitted,

 Patrice Crossman


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