April 23, 2024 Commissioners’ Regular Meeting Minutes

The special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Wombacher at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday April 23, 2024. Commissioner Clark, Commissioner Paradis, County Administrator Michael Crooker were also present, as well as several Department Heads. The meeting was held using a hybrid format and Department Heads and members of the public were able to attend in person or via Zoom.

Adjustments to agenda:

MOTION: Move to adopt the agenda as published. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed)

Public Comment:

Ms. Kathleen Billings, town manager for the Town of Stonington, raised concerns about the rising trend in police calls in Stonington. Ms. Billings claimed the crime rate had increased dramatically and based this off of the rise in police calls in the last 5 years. Ms. Billings expressed her support for the hiring of additional deputies within the Sheriff’s Office and for more Sheriff patrol presence in Stonington.

Ms. Raelene Pert, shellfish warden for Deer Isle, Stonington, and Brooklin, spoke in support of additional officers and equipment for the sheriff’s office.

Mr. Steve O’Halloran, member of the Ellsworth City Council, requested the commissioners address, in writing, the Ellsworth City Council, who Mr. O’Halloran believed was under the impression the county would assist in providing funding for the Ellsworth School track. O’Halloran stated he was there representing his own self, not the council.

Meeting Minutes:

MOTION: Move to approve the minutes of the April 9, 2024 Commissioners Regular Meeting as presented. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed)

Maine State Police

Lieutenant Michael Johnston, Maine State Police Northern Field Troop Commander, spoke in regards to the Resource Agreement between Maine State Police and Hancock County. Lt Johston emphasized his commitment to the agreement, but stated there was a limited number of troopers available to service Hancock County. Lt Johnston stated he hoped the Northern Field Troop would have an additional trooper in Hancock County next month.

UT:

MOTION: Move to accept and file the UT Director’s report as presented. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 6.a]

MOTION: Move to approve hiring Atheron Construction to make repairs to the Martin Ridge Road in the estimated amount of $36,600. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 6.b]

MOTION: Move to approve the Memorandum of Agreement between the Town of Cherryfield and Hancock County UT [T10 SD] as presented. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 6.c]

Commissioner Paradis asked Mr. Billings if he was willing to serve, Mr. Billings answered in the affirmative.

MOTION: Move to reappoint Millard Billings to the Hancock County seat on the Maine Land Use Planning Commission. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 6.d]

Information Technology:

EMA Department head Andrew Sankey was called upon, by Commissioner Clark, to clarify whether item 7.a was covered by the Congressional Directed Spending application that was previously submitted. Mr. Sankey confirmed that it would be covered by those CDS funds, but there was no guarantee the grant application would be successful. Mr. Sankey added that if the grant application was successful, the grant funds could still be used for other related purposes.

MOTION: Move to table items a and c to a future meeting (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 7.a, Motorola Solutions Watch Guard] [item 7.c, Cyber Security contract with Tyler Technologies]

Some discussion was had on item 7.a. Commissioner Clark questioned the justification for the number of laptops requested.

MOTION: Move to approve purchasing 41 Getac B360 laptops and 36 DS-GTC 1202-3 docks with Extended Warranty at a purchase price of $223,053.79 from Motorola Solutions to be paid for using ARPA funds. (Paradis, motion failed due to lack of second)

Chairperson Wombacher requested that IT Department Head Chuck Carter bring back a more detailed inventory list.

MOTION: Move to table this item to a future meeting (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 7.b]

MOTION: Move to approve purchasing an update of Hancock County’s firewall protection from Sierra Communications for a total sum of $13,756.98 to be paid for using ARPA funds. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 7.d]

MOTION: Move to approve the additional costs associated with the installation of the Switchvox phone system totaling $6,715.78 to be paid for from ARPA funds. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 7.e]

MOTION: Move to approve integrating the airport into the new phone system for a total of $4,711.28 to be paid for from ARPA funds. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 7.f]

MOTION: Move to approve purchasing an HP ZBook Power G10 laptop for the operation of the drone that was donated to the Sheriff’s Office for a sum totaling $1,728.48 to be paid for from ARPA funds. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 7.g]

Airport:

Airport department head, Leroy Muise, noted that even if the CDS application in item 8.a was successful it would be two or three years before the funds were available.

MOTION: Move to authorize Airport Manager Leroy Muise to submit a 2025 Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) application for funding of a Runway Rotary Broom and authorize the chair to sign the application on behalf of Hancock County. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 8.a]

Emergency Management Agency:

MOTION: Move to approve and sign the Letters of Support for the CDS applications as presented. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 9.a]

After introducing item 9.a, EMA Department head Andrew Sankey gave an update on the FEMA storm damage assistance program and provided further information about the program.

Sheriff:

During the presentation of item 10.a, Finance Director and Treasurer Monica Cease noted that a transfer sheet would need to be completed as a necessary step in the process.

MOTION: Move to approve hiring Alan Medina as Patrol Deputy at Step12c, using $14,250 from 3010-10 SO Officer buyout funds, $10,000 from 70-275 Officer Buy Out 2024, and $13,369 from reserve 3014-01 Radios for the necessary $37,619 buyout. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 10.a]

Significant discussion was had on item 10.b. Commissioner Clark, Commissioner Paradis, County Administrator Crooker, Sheriff Kane, Lt. Dupuis, Ms. Billings of Stonington and Ms. Pert of Stonington all spoke. Commissioner Clark reminded the other commissioners of the potential increase in State Trooper presence, he also cited concerns over staffing stability. Commissioner Paradis noted that it was unclear how the County would pay for an additional officer but that a plan should be made with the County Administrator. Commissioner Paradis also noted that communities were calling for more patrol presence. Chairperson Wombacher expressed he would like to know how additional staffing would be paid for and indicated he would prefer it be addressed later in the year. Sheriff Kane emphasized the importance of providing a work-life balance for the deputies. Referencing discussion on item 5.a, Sheriff Kane stated that he owed it to the constituents of Hancock County to ensure that deputies patrolled all slots. No action was taken on this item.

Significant discussion was had on item 10.c. Commissioner Clark expressed that purchase patrol vehicles ought to be bought at a lower price and that passenger car vehicles be purchased instead of PPV vehicles. Commissioner Paradis noted that regardless, the outfitting would add additional expenses.

MOTION: That we inform the Sheriff that we are no longer going to pay for certified police vehicles for the Sheriff, Chief Deputy, Lieutenants, and Detectives and furthermore that we expect that he’ll put between 100, 110 thousand miles on his vehicles before taking them off primary use. (Clark, motion fails due to lack of second)

Commissioner Paradis expressed support for four PPV vehicles, but stated that the purchase needed to be done through the purchasing policy.

MOTION: The purchase of four new Chevy Tahoe PPV cruisers for 2024 be accomplished using the County’s purchasing policy. (Paradis, motion fails due to lack of second)

Chairperson Wombacher expressed that more miles needed to be put on the cruisers before they were rotated out. Lt. Brian Archer and Lt. Dupuis warned that there would be some difficulty transferring equipment from older models to the newer models.

MOTION: Move to purchase 2 new Chevy Tahoe PPV cruisers for 2024 be accomplished using the County’s purchasing policy. (Paradis/Wombacher 2-1 motion passed, Clark opposed)

Significant discussion was had on item 10.d. Commissioner Clark, Commissioner Paradis, Chairperson Wombacher, Sheriff Kane, Lt. Dupuis, and Ms. Billings of Stonington each held the floor. Corporal Barry of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office was invited to speak on his experience with Axon and the Taser 7.

MOTION: Move to table this item to a future meeting (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 10.d]

Corporal Barry spoke upon his experience with using ‘less lethal’ shotguns for law enforcement purposes. Commissioner Paradis questioned why this item was a sole source request, and requested that this purchase be subject to the purchasing policy.

MOTION: Move to table this item to a future meeting (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 10.e]

Maintenance:

MOTION: Move to approve changing the current propane Contract with Dead River Oil Company to an automatic renewal. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 11.a]

District Attorney:

MOTION: Move to approve hiring Rachel Hicks as a full time Legal Secretary III at pay rate 6A effective April 27, 2024 as requested. (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed) [item 12.a]

County Administrator:

County Administrator Crooker spoke on the Bid Procedures and Requirements Policy and brought specific attention to the pre-requisites needed for sole-source purchasing. Commissioner Paradis requested that the County Administrator’s office update and refine the County’s purchasing policy, as well as ensure that it is consistent with applicable state law.

Commissioners:

Lieutenants Dupuis and Archer proposed a change from the current Lt schedule to a ‘four days on, three days off, three days on, four days off’ rotation with 12-hour shifts. Chairperson Wombacher questioned the effects of a 12-hour shift on productivity. Commissioner Clark raised concerns over lack of night coverage and what impact that would have on the operation of Sheriff’s office. Sheriff Kane spoke in support of the lieutenant’s proposed schedule.

MOTION: Move to approve the Teamsters Memorandum of Agreement as presented. (Paradis/Wombacher 2-1 motion passed, Clark opposed) [item 14.a]

County Administrator’s Office Comments

County Administrator Crooker noted that agenda item 3.a was not addressed.

MOTION: That we do not make letters or correspondence, to the Commissioners, public record or part of the meeting record unless the author is present. (Clark motion failed due to lack of second)

The Commissioners discussed the possibility of amending the Rules of Order in regards to public comment. Commissioner Clark requested that County Administrator Crooker come back with amendment suggestions.

County Administrator Crooker then addressed a request from Amy Quinlan, State Court Administrator, to meet with the commissioners. Commissioner Clark brought up the need for the DA to have a space within the proposed State Courthouse. Commissioner Paradis restated the need to remain impartial on the location of the courthouse.

Commissioner Comments and Suggestions for Future Agendas

None.

Adjournment

MOTION: Move to adjourn (Paradis/Clark 3-0 motion passed)

Meeting was adjourned at 12:52

Respectfully submitted,

Brittany Fronczak
Administrative Assistant

Recent Posts

Outdoor Recreation Fair – City of Ellsworth

Outdoor Recreation Fair - City of Ellsworth Sat., June 8: 10 am-3 pm Explore the Outdoor Recreation Fair at the Union River Center for Innovation! Discover exciting opportunities for adventure seekers: Kayaking demos by Pinniped Kayak Pop-up gear repair Community...

May 21st, 2024 Commissioners’ Special Meeting Minutes

COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING The special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Wombacher at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday May 21, 2024. Commissioner Clark, Commissioner Paradis, County Administrator Michael Crooker were also present,...

Memorial Day

We would like to take this opportunity to remember and honor the brave men and women of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In observance of Memorial Day, our office will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024. We will re-open on Tuesday,...