Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 06/22/11

County Council Meeting Minutes

June 7, 2011

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

June 7, 2011


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on June 7,  2011 with the following members present: Present were Jay L. Newcomb, President; William V. Nichols, Vice President; Ricky Travers; Rick Price and Tom Bradshaw. Also present were E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney; Jane Baynard, County Manager and Donna Lane, Executive Administrative Specialist.




The Council adjourned from a Regular Session and convened in a closed Executive Session pursuant to State Government Article pursuant to §10-508(A)(1) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction; pursuant to §10-508(A)(4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; and pursuant to 10-508(A)(7) to  consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter.

Voting in favor of the closed Executive Session were all present Council members.





Councilman Bradshaw led the invocation.  George Ames, Little Miss Victory Candance Robinson and Dykir Lee led the pledge of allegiance.




The Council approved the following additions to the agenda: Beulah Landfill Cell 5 Construction Project Change Order No. 1, FY12 Contract Modification for Emergency Transitional Housing Services, renewal of the School Based Wellness Center Grant Application and a request for a letter regarding a sewer service extension to property on Bucktown Road.   The Council also agreed to defer the lease extension request from the State of Maryland for the Veteran’s Office until its June 21, 2011 meeting. 



The Council approved the minutes of May 24, 2011.


The Council approved vouchers as presented with Councilman Travers abstaining for payments made to Simmons Center Market.



Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $4,049,152.


The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on June 7, 2011 in a closed session at Room 110, County Office Building, 501 Court Lane, Cambridge, Maryland, pursuant to the State Government Article pursuant to §10-508(A)(1) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction; pursuant to §10-508(A)(4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; and pursuant to 10-508(A)(7) to  consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter.


Motion made, seconded and carried to conduct a closed session pursuant to the above.  All members of the Council voted in the affirmative to conduct the closed session for the purposes stated above and to discuss the topics listed above.


Action taken at the closed session: 1) received information on an existing local business –took no action; 2) received information regarding a possible land acquisition-took no action; 3) discussed personnel issues relating to Emergency Medical Services-took no action; 4) discussed a request to advertise a Dog Control Officer position due to the resignation of an employee-agreed to discuss in open session; 5) approved the request of the Warden to fill vacant Correctional Officer positions and allow certain in-house promotions as approved in the FY12 budget by a 4 to 0 vote; 6) discussed the continuation of a grant funded program relating to personnel costs and agreed to modify the Local Management Board Community Partnership Agreement; 7) discussed Emergency Management personnel issue –took no action; 8) discussed a request from an entity for a meeting regarding personnel concerns-agreed Councilman Nichols will represent Council at a future meeting; and 9) discussed with legal counsel an item relating to certain budget appropriations.


The above information is being provided to the public pursuant to and in compliance with Section 10-509(b) and (c) of the State Government Article.





The Council presented a proclamation declaring September 10, 2011 as Annual Veterans Recognition Day.  George Ames accepted the proclamation. 



The Council presented a commendation to Anthony Strawberry congratulating him on his retirement and recognizing his 31 years of dedicated service to Dorchester County.  Mr. Strawberry accepted the commendation.   


COMMENDATION-CHUCK WEBER                                                                                                                          

The Council presented a commendation to Chuck Weber congratulating him on his retirement and recognizing his 23 years of dedicated service to Dorchester County.   Mr. Weber accepted the commendation.


BOARD OF HEALTH                                                                                                                                       


Roger Harrell, Health Officer, provided an update to Council on the Dorchester County Prenatal and Early Childhood Health Consortium.   He explained that the Dorchester County Community Partnership for Children and Families and the Dorchester County Health Department hosted the first meeting of the Consortium on May 9, 2011 to identify solutions to the increasing infant mortality rate in the County.  He noted that Henry Wagner, Superintendent of Schools; William McDonnell, Social Services Director, and a representative from Juvenile Services attended the meeting.   He said in 2009 the infant mortality rate in Dorchester County was triple the State’s rate.     He explained that the infant mortality rate is based on 1,000 births and that the average in Dorchester County is 350.  Mr. Harrell noted that only nine deaths occurred in the County in 2009.  He said as a result of the increased mortality rate in the County additional funding has been received from the State Department of Health.  He stated that one idea that was proposed at the meeting was working with members of local churches and other community organizations to train individuals to assist residents in navigating the County and State health system.   Mr. Harrell said Consortium members will also be conducting focus groups and community forums to gather further input from the community to develop strategies to improve health outcomes for children in the County.  He thanked the Council for supporting him and the Dorchester County Health Department.


The Council thanked Mr. Harrell for his update on the Dorchester County Prenatal and Early Childhood Health Consortium.




Holly Ireland, Executive Director for Mid Shore Mental Health Systems, introduced herself and provide a quick overview of joint efforts of Mid Shore Mental Health Services staff to serve constituents/consumers.  She said due to the closure of the State psychiatric facility mental health services provided by Mid Shore Mental Health Systems have been expanded on the Eastern Shore. 


At Ms. Ireland’s request, the Council agreed to execute the FY 2012 Letter of Agreement to designate Mid Shore Mental Health Systems, Inc. to act as the agent in oversight, planning and development of the Public Mental Health System in Dorchester County. 



Wayne Robinson, Emergency Management Director, noted that the Council awarded the bid for the County’s All Hazard Mitigation Plan update to S & S Planning and Design.  He said a draft plan has been completed and that Virginia Smith, President and Michelle King, Planner, from S & S were in attendance to present to the Council the 2011 All Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Mr. Robinson noted that the Council is required by law to update the plan every five years.    Ms. Smith said the plan was originally adopted in 2004.   She explained that Emergency Management Grant funding covered 100% of the cost to update the plan and that in the beginning of the draft plan there is an overview of each chapter including a summary of the changes made from the 2004 version of the plan.  Ms. Smith stressed the importance of keeping the County’s All Hazard Plan updated because it will allow the Council the opportunity to receive funding for infrastructure, recovery and mitigation, in the event of a declaration of emergency for a disaster in the County.    She said representatives in each municipality in the County participated in the preparation of the plan and will have the opportunity to adopt the County’s plan by resolution.


She explained that a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee, comprised of community members, was formed and that the members participated in three core meetings.  She expressed her appreciation for those who participated in the planning process.   Ms. Smith explained that the plan contains information regarding the committee planning process, a public/critical facilities list, a ranking of the top potential hazards in the County and a list of ten recommended projects, including the designation of repairs to six roads as top priorities because they are continuously flooded and impassable during high tide events.  She said the top ten priority list is contingent upon funding and that a list of available grant funding is attached to that list.


Ms. Smith noted that the proposed plan has been reviewed by Maryland Emergency Management Agency staff and that the document is at the Federal Emergency Management Agency office for review and approval.    She said she was verbally advised that FEMA staff has approved the plan pending adoption by the Council.  She said the last phase of the planning process is for the Council and the public to be given the opportunity to review the plan followed by the adoption of the plan by the Council and submission to FEMA for final approval.


In response to a question from Councilman Price, Ms. Smith noted that all sections of the plan were updated and each update is referenced in the Chapter Review section. 


The Council thanked Ms. Smith for her presentation of the updated County’s 2011 All Hazard Mitigation Plan.  The Council acknowledged that once the public has had the opportunity to review the plan Emergency Management staff will provide it to Council for adoption.


RESIDENT CONCERNS-CLOSURE OF ETHICS HEARING- CHARLOTTE HUGHES                                                                  

Charlotte Hughes, a Dorchester County resident, expressed her concerns regarding business being conducted between the County and Simmons Center Market, a local business, of which Councilman Travers is a part owner.   She explained that pursuant to a public information request she submitted she received information regarding several purchases made at that business by County staff.    She said she also requested and received information from the Board of Education staff regarding purchases they made at that business.    Ms. Hughes said it is her understanding that no more than $5,000 can be spent per business without a contract.  She noted that Mr. Spears explained to her that the Council approves payment authorizations for products and services and questioned why these expenses are not contracted out; particularly since it is her understanding over $5,000 was paid to Simmons Center Market.    She also expressed her opinion that hiring of County employees should be conducted fairly and without favoritism and nepotism.  Ms. Hughes said it is her understanding that an individual was hired even though that he or she did not have the appropriate driver’s license pursuant to the job description of the position they were hired to fill.   


Councilman Nichols questioned whether any of the individual transactions between the County and Simmons Center Market were over $5,000.  Ms. Hughes referenced a purchase of $4,045.05.  Councilmen Newcomb and Nichols explained that pursuant to the County’s Purchasing Policies and Procedures Department Heads can make “purchases” under $5,000 without bidding out those services.  Mr. Spears advised that the policy is on the County’s website.  Councilman Nichols noted that Department Heads provide the Council with three recommendations for each County position from which the Council selects the best candidate, by a majority vote, to fill the job vacancy.  He further noted that the Council cannot discuss personnel issues in open session.    He explained that during the FY 2012 budget work sessions he suggested that certain services and products utilized by the County staff be advertised for bid and that staff is taking steps to prepare such a bid advertisement.     





The Council approved the written request of Robert L. Tatman, Program Manager, Forest Pest Management, to participate in the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Forest Pest Management Program for management of gypsy moth for Dorchester County and its citizens.  The Council acknowledged that, based on information relating to gypsy moth populations and trends in the County, up to 75 surveys will be conducted at an estimated cost of $1,125.  Additionally the Council acknowledged that the amount represents a 50% cost share on local costs to perform these surveys on non-State land and that these figures do not include additional funds that may be needed for aerial spraying.   The Council recognized that the program will be funded through the FY12 Other General Government Account under Contractual Services instead of Contingency funding as approved in the past due to the fact that no contingency funds have been allocated for FY 2012.




The Council approved the request from Roy Mills, Highway Division Manager, to declare a list of scrap metal and equipment surplus including the following:  1968 American Mobile Crane, Unit No. 529; 1968 Track Gradall, Unit No. 543; 1977 GMC 6 Wheel Dump Truck, Unit 272; 1988 International 10 Wheel Dump Truck, Unit No. 295; 4,000 gallon old metal fuel tank; sheep foot compaction roller; and numerous other pieces of scrap metal at the Highway Division and Hot Mix Plant to equal 2,000 pounds.   The Council agreed to include this material and equipment in the County’s annual surplus sale with all items being sold by sealed bid.  The Council acknowledged that Finance staff will contact Department Heads and collect all requests for items to be declared surplus to be placed on a future agenda. 




The Council approved the renewal of Memorandum of Understandings with the Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company, the Madison Fire Company and the Eldorado-Brookview Fire Company for the housing of the County’s Advanced Life Support units assigned to those locations for one year at the monthly rent of $600 under the previous terms and conditions.




The Council deferred the written request of Kimberly Rennie, Lease Management, Maryland Department of General Services, to amend the January 5, 2009 lease between the County Council and the State of Maryland for the use by the Veterans Office of Room #101 of the County Office Building for an additional two year term until its June 21, 2011 meeting.




The Council adopted the first and second quarter of FY 11-12 meeting schedule with meetings to be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month. 




The Council approved the proposed FY11/12 Holiday Schedule which includes the identification of five service reduction days.  The Council acknowledged that the service reduction days include July 1st, November 28th, December 23rd, December 30th, 2011 and Friday, May 25, 2012.




The Council approved the execution of a Special Events Agreement between the Columbia Triathlon Association, Inc., the County Council of Dorchester County and the Sheriff of Dorchester County for the Eagleman Triathlon which will be held on Sunday, June 12, 2011 starting at 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. for law enforcement and EMS services.  The Council acknowledged that the association will pay $10,500 for all public safety services provided.  The Council also recognized that a Certificate of Insurance naming Dorchester County as the Certificate Holder has been provided.




The Council, based on a request from Michael Spears, Finance Director, agreed to sole source and renew the County’s auditing services contract with TGM Group LLC, for a one year period with the understanding that these services will be formally bid out for the FY12 auditing period to be included in the FY13 budget.  The Council acknowledged that the cost for FY11 auditing services will not exceed $65,500.




The Council approved the request of Sheriff James Phillips to advertise a Dog Control Officer position due to the resignation of an employee.




The Council approved the submission of a Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Application by the Sheriff’s Office for funding for a technology upgrade project in the amount of $62,750 with no cash match to purchase equipment to provide an updated computer network and portable radios to assist the Sheriff’s Office in its security enhancement, investigative abilities and communication abilities.  The Council acknowledged that the following equipment would be purchased with these funds: Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance 5510, Cisco license for appliance, Barracuda Email Archive Appliance and Web Filter Appliance, Dell Backup Storage unit, APC batteries, Server units and ten replacement Motorola radios.   The Council further acknowledged that Don Keyes, Information Technology Director, worked collectively with Sheriff Phillips on the preparation of this grant application request.




The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to execute a letter in support for the application by Sultana Projects, Inc. and the Chesapeake Conservancy to the National Park Service and U.S. Department of Interior regarding the inclusion of the Choptank River as an official Connecting Trail to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. 




The Council members agreed that staff should schedule a work session to discuss Human Resource and fiscal policies that were previously provided to them in their information pack prior to review and consideration of these policies.




Ms. Baynard presented the Council with recommendations from the Traffic Safety Committee members based on items discussed at a May 26, 2011 meeting. 


Based on the Committee’s recommendation and traffic study results, the Council agreed to not pursue the installation of signage and/or speed bumps as requested by Town of Galestown Mayor Ron James.  The Council acknowledged that the traffic study that was conducted at two locations, along Galestown Reliance Road and on Galestown Newhart Mill Road, did not warrant any changes. 


The Council concurred with the Committee’s recommendation to not reduce the speed limit on Warwick Road as requested by Kristen Nossick, a Dorchester County resident, based on the results of a traffic study conducted along the road in two locations.  The Council also concurred with the Committee’s recommendation to place a 30 mph speed limit sign on the first entrance to Warwick Road and move an existing 30 mph sign to the second entrance.


The Council approved the Committee’s recommendation to place two “Children at Play” signs on Bucktown Road, as requested by Amy Weber, a resident, provided she pays half the cost.    


Ms. Baynard noted that at its April 12, 2011 meeting, the Council was advised that Donald Gray, a Dorchester County resident, requested that a handicap pedestrian sign be installed on Sandy Hill Road in Cambridge.  She said the Council was further advised that the Committee would contact the property owner, Crossroads Community, and Delmarva Community Services (DCS) to determine the need for the signage and whether they may be willing to share in the cost of the sign.    The Council acknowledged that both Crossroads Community and DCS representatives have indicated their belief that the signage will assist the handicapped residents in the area.  Council agreed to the placement of a handicapped pedestrian sign provided that either requestor, Crossroads Community or DCS pay 50% of the cost.  The Council agreed that future requests for the placement of handicapped pedestrian signs will be contingent upon the requestor paying half the cost of the signage.  




The Council approved the request of Bob Tenanty, Airport Manager, and Perry Hall, Landfill Foreman, and agreed to execute Change Order No. 1 for the Beulah Landfill Cell 5 Construction Project to adjust the contract quantities to reflect the measured final quantities and to increase the contract completion period 72 calendar days as a result of extreme rain events and increased earth quantities.  The Council acknowledged that the increase in the contract cost is $41,878.72 which is covered in the Capital Budget for the Landfill Enterprise Fund.




The Council, pursuant to written correspondence from Carolyn Edmonds, Director of the Maryland Department of Human Resources, that fiscal year 2012 funding through the Emergency Transitional Housing and Services Program has been reduced from $39,339 to $30,810, agreed to execute a Contract Modification Agreement for FY 2012.  The Council acknowledged that a revised FY 2012 budget for the Emergency Transitional Housing and Services Program has been provided by the Dorchester County Department of Social Services staff.




The Council approved a request from Nancy Shockley, Local Management Board Director, to submit a School Based Wellness Center grant renewal application for funds for FY12 in the amount of $410,823.  The Council acknowledged that the application reflects a decrease in funding of $50,000 for the Dorchester County’s school based wellness program as compared to FY2011.  Additionally, the Council acknowledged that there has been a reduction in reimbursement in mental health services to Dorchester County which could result in as much as two-thirds less in collections for mental health services. 




The Council agreed to send a letter to the City of Cambridge Council and the Sanitary Commission asking them to work together to identify possible alternative funding solutions to extend sewer services to the properties along Bucktown Road between Bucktown Road and Route 16 Church Creek bypass which are still on independent septic systems.  The Council acknowledged that due to poor soil conditions in this area there have been multiple septic system failures.  The Council further acknowledged that there may be an opportunity to use funds remaining from the United States Department of Agriculture grant for the Madison Woolford sewer extension project for this sewer extension but that these funds may only be available for those properties located within the County. 




Bruce Colson, a resident, reminded the Council of his previous invitation to Council to attend the Dorchester County Shoreline Erosion Group’s June 18, 2011 meeting at 10 a.m. at the Taylors Island Fire House at which representatives from the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant will be presenting information regarding the plant.


In response to a question from Wendell Foxwell, a Dorchester County resident, Councilman Newcomb advised that the two Circuit Court positions that were recently advertised are State and not County positions.


Rosie Travers, a resident and wife of Councilman Travers, expressed her concern about comments made by Ms. Hughes regarding her husband and Simmons Center Market.  She clarified that Councilman Travers is only one of the owners of that business.  She explained that when his grandfather retired, Councilman Travers become one of the owners and that prior to that event County staff have been doing business with Simmons Center Market.    


Donald Gray, a Dorchester County resident, asked Council to provide assistance in facilitating mosquito spraying in the Sandy Hill Road area.   The Council asked Ms. Baynard to contact Mosquito Control representatives and advise them that several residents have expressed concern about the abundance of mosquitoes in that area.


Mr. Foxwell commended Logan Anderson, Banner Editor, for highlighting graduating seniors from both Cambridge South Dorchester High School and North Dorchester High School in the local news publication.



Councilman Bradshaw noted that on June 5, 2011 he presented a commendation on behalf of the Council to Jeff Ruark for his 19 years to service high school students as a lacrosse coach.  He reiterated the comment he made at the Council’s May 24, 2011 meeting that negative comments regarding Dorchester County may have an adverse impact on the local economy and encouraged residents to support local businesses.


Councilman Price noted that the Council met with Rachel McCullough, Eastern Shore Coordinator, on June 6, 2011 to discuss new initiatives of Governor Martin O’Malley including regulations to the seafood industry and the Blue Ribbon Commission on transportation funding.  He explained that Council conveyed to Ms. McCullough the challenges in providing services to County residents in light of reductions in State aid, including over $3 million in loss of highway user revenues and the challenges current employers are facing in maintaining and/or expanding their businesses due to the fiscal climate.   He said Council also expressed concern about the possible passage of legislation during the September 2011 Maryland General Assembly Special Legislative Session that may financially affect local jurisdictions.


Councilman Price commended the North Dorchester High School seniors for participating in the student initiative entitled “Students Will All Graduate” (SWAG) to ensure 100% graduation of the senior class.  


At the request of Councilman Travers, the Council agreed to invite Cambridge Main Street members to its June 21, 2011 meeting to provide a commendation to the members for participating in the “Fresh Coat” event on Saturday, June 4, 2011 during which volunteers painted, cleaned and made repairs to several downtown businesses. 


Councilman Travers expressed concern about previous comments made by Ms. Hughes regarding favoritism and nepotism.  He explained that the Council members, by majority vote, make the decision on who to hire, based on recommendations from Department Heads.   He noted that Simmons Center Market has been in existence since 1937 and that since the early 1950s has conducted business with the County.  He explained that pursuant to the County’s purchasing policy, transactions over $5,000 are to be advertised for bids.  He advised that each year he notes on Ethics Disclosure Forms that he is a partner of Simmons Center Market, which conducts business with the County.   He stressed that he is only one partner in the business.


Councilman Nichols congratulated the seniors who recently graduated from the County’s local high schools.   He explained that he attended the graduation ceremony at both Cambridge South Dorchester and North Dorchester.  He expressed his support for continuing the SWAG program at North Dorchester and conducting the same program at Cambridge South Dorchester.  He noted that students tutored each other in order to ensure that all seniors graduated. 


Councilman Newcomb asked Ms. Baynard to gather information on fire training to be held at the Dorchester Career and Technology Center based on resident concerns that there may not be enough students to participate in the training.  


With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.



ATTEST:                                                                               DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:


______________________________          ____________________________________

Jane Baynard, County Manager                      Jay L. Newcomb, President



                                                                                                William V. Nichols, Vice President



                                                                                                Ricky Travers