PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE
Monday, March 21, 2022 - 9:30 AM
Steve McNally, Chairperson
Ike Tyler, Vice-Chairperson
Chairman McNally called this Public Safety Meeting to order at 9:30 am with the following Supervisors in attendance: Clayton Barber, Stephanie DeZalia, Derek Doty, Shaun Gillilland, Steve McNally, Noel Merrihew, Jim Monty, Matt Stanley, Ike Tyler Joe Pete Wilson, Margaret Wood and Mark Wright. Robin DeLoria, Charlie Harrington, Roy Holzer, Kenneth Hughes, Tom Scozzafava and Davina Winemiller was excused.
Department Heads present: Dan Palmer, Judy Garrison, Sue Montgomery-Corey, David Reynolds, Daniel Woods and Heather Sheehan. Kristy Sprague was excused.
Also present: Emily Evatt – Deputy Public Defender
News Media: Tim Rowland – SUN
· Clerk’s note – A quorum of the committee was not present. Chairman Shaun Gillilland acted as a voting member of the committee to make up the quorum.
McNALLY: I’ll call the Public Safety meeting to order. Please rise for the pledge. Veteran’s office.
MERRIHEW: No report this morning.
McNALLY: County Sealer, Dan Woods
WOODS: Good morning everyone. If you turn to the second page, you’ll see my report. I’ll give you a minute to look it over. I have nothing further to report from what I have on here. If you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer.
DOTY: Dan on your previous report you talked about the Dollar Store in Lake Placid where you’ve had three or four monthly inspections and it looks like they keep getting worse.
WOODS: Yes sir.
DOTY: Where are we headed with that store?
WOODS: That’s a great question. So, in March I actually went and did another inspection I included you on that, this is for February but I can catch you up in the March realm of where we are today. They did have 46 overcharges out of 100 random items chosen. The store is allowed two out of 100 to that.
DOTY: Certainly my concern is whether you feel the effort on the bad pricing is a result of some kind of corporate direction or it’s purely employee discretion and certainly is it going farther than that with fraudulent behavior?
WOODS: Well, I would have to say that I have no professional of that. I don’t really think I can give my opinion if it’s employee problem or corporate problem. I have talked to corporate. Corporate is aware and I can tell you that corporate is working with the Manager and Assistant Manager and the Manager of that store has been getting moved around a lot to go help other stores and they are now aware there is a major problem. I guess the store did not pass any of the information back to corporate after any of the inspections so this is the first that they were hearing of it after the third failure. We have talked with corporate and they understand the fine that is needed to be paid, they are okay with paying that and they told me that they were having people go to that store to get things under control.
DOTY: Thanks Dan for keeping me in the loop.
WOODS: Yes, sir.
DOTY: Thank you.
McNALLY: Alright, anybody else?
M.WOOD: I’m wondering if that is unique to that store? We have a Dollar Store in Schroon Lake too, so I’m just wondering if it’s unique to Lake Placid?
WOODS: As far as this store it is Family Dollar so if it’s Family Dollar which there’s one in Etown and there’s one in Lake Placid. Dollar General is the other one who is not owned by the same company but corporate has asked me to go to their other store and see if it’s just that store or if it’s an area problem and I’m also reaching out to other Weights and Measure Directors to see if they have had any issue with that certain chain.
M.WOOD: Thank you.
WOODS: Absolutely, thank you.
WRIGHT: Dan, the Ti Tractor Supply audit, is that on your regular schedule or do you do an audit and I assume the IDA accepted it as an acceptable audit?
WOODS: Yes sir. They passed, everything was good in Ticonderoga for Tractor Supply and I spoke to their management and we are all on the same page that it was a routine, there was no complaint of why I was there.
WRIGHT: Thank you.
McNALLY: Anybody else? If not, Board of Elections, Sue Montgomery-Corey.
MONTGOMERY-COREY: Good morning. Not a lot to report but a few things I want to mention. One is at the beginning of March the staff at the Board of Elections attended the State Election Commissioners conference where we have a chance to get training from a variety of sources, including the State Board of Elections which was really good. One of the take a ways for me was that in the last two years there’s been more than 100 changes to election law which we’ve had to implement and so that was – I knew there were a lot I didn’t realize there were quite that many.
Last week we had a site visit by the State Board of Elections and it was great to be there, I was glad that I came up for that and we had no findings on behalf of our staff or the IT folks that work with us on our proprietary system that was really good especially when you consider the fact that we have a really small Board of Elections we are one of the smaller ones in the State so to have that kind of positive finding was great for the staff and great for me as a Commissioner. We also have been working to implement our cyber security grant with the help of the IT department and M.A. Polce folks who are our consultant. We’ve had three conference calls and they are working now they’ve gotten information from IT that they needed to move forward. There are three components to the project and they are working on all of them so that’s kind of the news from the Board of Elections. If there are any questions, I’d be happy to try and answer.
McNALLY: Anything for Sue? I guess not, we’re all set.
MONTGOMERY-COREY: Great, thanks.
McNALLY: Thank you. District Attorney, Kristy Sprague has been excused. Emergency Services, Max Thwaits.
THWAITS: Good morning. You have my report. I’m requesting one resolution this morning. A resolution to request to increase revenue and appropriations in the amount of $46,292.00. This is a joint Hazmat and Sheriff’s Department grant.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIING A BUDGET AMENDMENT IN THE EMERGENCY SERVICES DEPARTMENT, INCREASING REVENUES AND APPROPRIATIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $46,292.00, FFY202 SHSP GRANT. Tyler, Wright
McNALLY: Questions, concerns? All in favor, opposed – carried. I’d like to read this resolution, Essex County Board of Supervisors, this is certified that Max Thwaits hereby awarded this certificate of appreciation for 15 years of outstanding service and contribution to the Essex county Government. 3/26/07 to 3/26/22 on this 26th day of March, 2022. Thank you very much.
THWAITS: Thank you.
TYLER: Max, one question. Do you have any more testing kits and mask?
THWAITS: We have a lot of test kits.
TYLER: Can I get some in Westport please?
TYLER: If you want me to pick them up I will or let me know.
PALMER: I’ve got some right in the hallway.
THWAITS: Yes, we have hundreds.
TYLER: In the hallway?
PALMER: I have some in the hallway, yeah you can take some of those.
TYLER: Perfect, thank you. Masks too?
PALMER: I don’t have masks.
THWAITS: We don’t have any masks. We might have some cloth masks.
TYLER: Thank you.
McNALLY: Thank you very much. Congratulations. Emergency Medical Services. Do you have anything?
THWAITS: Not unless there is any questions.
McNALLY: Shaun, would you like to elaborate what we heard at NYSAC on the big plan?
GILLILLAND: There were three fire districts, one the Adirondack, the county, town and villages one which allows us to form districts and the regulation I guess of there is new legislature, I don’t know if it’s going to make it or not to make Emergency Medical Services a require service like fire departments you know the towns and villages are required to have fire coverage so this would also be the emergency medical service so those are the three efforts a foot right now.
McNALLY: They had a couple people from the State there during this forum and what their plan is or what they are thinking is possibly more oversight and more standards, we need more standards to make sure we’re doing the – a couple more boards, a couple more groups to set the standards for professional care. So, you’re not going to regulate yourself out of this. We know what the issue is. We’ve made great strides in a lot of our issues are being resolved by one factor, one we’re working as a unit well, a couple factors one, we’re working as a unit and two, we have the money to work, to put people on the ground and we’re getting good performance for the money that we’re spending but we’re not going to regulate, or new standards are going to do that for us it’s going to be getting the people on the ground and that is going to cost money so, that’s what I took out of it but typical Government, they are going to make more committees to do standards.
GILLILLAND: What I took out of it was the State is so out of touch, the Department of Health is so out of touch what is happening on the ground throughout the State because every county there had a plan. The money we got, a lot of counties were like, how the hell did you get that? They wouldn’t let us do it so we’re lucky we got that but every county in the State is basically bootstrapping themselves to fix the problem and the State is completely out of touch. They are talking about standards of EMT care you know, we actually brought up REMSCO/SEMSCO scale issue and how basically that system no longer works and it’s a system that’s ripe with conflict of interest and of course, they are going to take it back but it was unimpressive I guess, event. We are way ahead of the State.
McNALLY: We are way in front of most rural counties in the State in talking to different people we have places in the State that aren’t even getting people out on calls for an hour at a time so this board is doing a great job, people working on it are doing a great job in trying to provide EMS service to our people but I don’t believe the State is going to be the answer to our problems.
MONTY: Question pertaining primarily to our program, do we know why we’re having such a turnover in the people that we’re hiring as paramedics and EMT’s? It does seem to be that we’re going through quite a few of them that don’t stay with us now are they using us to be trained and then leaving for better money? Is that something we should be looking at?
PALMER: I don’t know? Max come back up
MONTY: There does seem to be a pretty high turnover in those positions.
McNALLY: I know that Johnsburg who we affiliated with, they are losing paramedics but they are not losing paramedics to other organizations they are losing them to outside jobs, UPS drivers things like this because of the money.
MONTY: That’s why I’m saying, specifically to our program.
THWAITS: I would have to look at each individual case. I know we lost a couple for job opportunities, one left to become a career fire fighter in Glens Falls so I’d have to look at each individual one but there are certain reasons for each one. I know one left because I didn’t promote him.
McNALLY: Are we doing exit interviews?
THWAITS: We have not.
McNALLY: That might be a good start, people out the door are sometimes more blunt and maybe we are overlooking a problem we could turn around.
MONTY: That’s my point. We’re trying to recruit these people, it would be nice to recruit them and keep them and not recruit them and have them leave. You know, obviously somebody has an opportunity to better themselves, more money, obviously education they are going to do it and I applaud that but is there something internally going on that we might need to look at?
PALMER: We’ll look at them.
McNALLY: Alright, thank you. Anything else for Max?
TYLER: One of those things that were passed, is it easier for ambulance squads and fire districts to charge?
GILLILLAND: There is a bill that went through the Senate and they are waiting for the Assembly I think, Stec carried this time and it was carried by Betty Little it would allow fire districts to bill.
TYLER: Because that’s one of the issues now with the Westport Fire District because they don’t want to do something different than what they are doing, if they can charge and keep doing what they are doing then maybe they would.
GILLILLAND: I understand. There is a tremendous lobby against that bill for years. Betty carried that bill for a decade and there’s tremendous lobby against from professional ambulance squads that contract out to the bigger counties downstate.
McNALLY: Anything else for Max?
THWAITS: It is my understand there’s three different bills right now and it depends on which one goes through.
McNALLY: Alright, thank you. Sheriff’s office – Dave Reynolds.
REYNOLDS: So you have my report, if you have any questions on that I can answer it. If not, I have two resolutions. The first one is authorizing a creation of a full time RN position to administer the Essex County Correction Facility MAT program. If you want, I can explain a little bit about it. The MAT program is mandated by law by New York State, it is one of the new laws that was passed. We’ve been doing it with the existing staff we have but I was able to secure some money from OASIS, $65,000 and then I can reduce, my plan was to reduce the PCH nursing contract by 1440 hours for LPN which would of saved us like, $36,000, so it will pretty much be a wash but we will be getting a fulltime nurse RN as opposed to an LPN for 1440 hours.
TYLER: Is this just a one-time shot, that grant?
REYNOLDS: It comes every year, it comes through OASIS it just depends on how the Community Services Board – it’s $101,000, I think they get and it depends on how they want to disperse it so they are giving us the $65,000. In the law, it’s one of the few laws that New York State passed that says it would be funded, there’s no funding stream with it yet but it does say within the law that there will be funding for it. I don’t know what that means, it could be $10 or $10 million who knows.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING TO CREATE A FULL TIME RN POSITION IN THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT, TO ADMINISTER THE ESSEX COUNTY CORECTIONAL FACILITY MAT PROGRAM. Tyler, Wright
DOTY: So the funding for that full time RN position is uncertain to be consistent year to year?
PALMER: Let me just say this, that money comes through our Mental Health Department through OASIS, we’ve been traditionally funded on a yearly basis. It’s not something that we can say to you right now, yes, we absolutely will get it funded but it’s traditionally been funded every year for these. Terri moved some money around and what happens is the money comes from the State to our Mental Health Department and then she moves it to contract agencies and/or the Sheriff’s Department and at this point we’re anticipating that it will still be there on a yearly basis.
DOTY: Safe to call it a paper chase then.
REYNOLDS: So they get a lot of money the $101,000 is geared just towards our program. The sixty-five is getting put towards a nurse, some more money towards counselors and other things so she decides how to disperse that money.
DOTY: Sounds logic. Thank you.
McNALLY: All in favor, opposed –carried.
REYNOLDS: The second resolution, authorizing a budget amendment increasing revenues and appropriations in the amount of $50,000 for a DASNY grant. This is something Dan Stec put in a while ago and it just came through and it’s for the purchase of a patrol vehicle.
PALMER: As soon as we can find one, we’ll buy it.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A BUDGET AMENDMENT IN THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT INCREASING REVENUES AND APPROPRIATIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $50,000.00, DASNY GRANT. Tyler, Doty
McNALLY: All in favor, opposed –carried.
REYNOLDS: Any other questions?
MERRIHEW: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to send a shout out from the Town of Elizabethtown to the Sheriff and his staff, we had some small vandalism about a week ago and it was attended to in a very positive way. Thank you.
McNALLY: Okay, great thank you. Probation – Heather Sheehan.
SHEEHAN: Good morning everyone. You have my report and I do have one resolution and that is authorization to hire a probation officer trainee. This position would be to accommodate us in the expansion of the Essex County Mental Health court that is developing also known as Essex County Court Part 4, with that court that’s being implemented we’re also going to have to expand our community service program as they will be using community service hours as a sanction so that specialized case load is going to require an additional person in our department to absorb those additional duties.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE HIRING OF A PROBATION OFFICER TRAINEE IN THE ESSEX COUNTY PROBATION DEPARTMENT. Tyler, Wright
McNALLY: Questions, concerns? All in favor, opposed –carried. Anything else?
SHEEHAN: I have nothing further.
MONTY: I just wondered, was this a budgetary item?
PALMER: No, it was not because at the time we were doing the budget we didn’t know for certain whether they were actually going to start the Mental Health court so I told Heather we would wait and hold off and see because it looks like in April or in May he is starting?
SHEEHAN: Mid-April to beginning of May he is starting.
PALMER: And again, what I’ve said to Heather is that we’ll go ahead and just fund this out of our current budget, this is going to be similar to the one I talked about with Mental Health if we get down in November and we’re running short I will have to come back to you but at this point I’m going to try and take it out of existing funds.
MONTY: So, for next year’s budget?
PALMER: For next year’s budget it will be a new position. Yes, absolutely.
MONTY: Thank you.
GILLILLAND: Dan I hate to put you on the spot, I will also take the heat. How many courts does our one Judge have?
PALMER: A lot. Family Court, County Court, Surrogate Court, he covers Supreme Court, he’s got Veteran’s Court, he’s got Domestic Court and now he’s got Mental Health Court.
GILLILLAND: And I would just also say that we are just getting added on this because it comes down to our staff who deal with these individuals under these courts they’ve got to add more staff so it is going to get worse.
PALMER: Yeah and this is and honestly this, Probation takes the brunt of some of these new programs when they come out because the easy answer is to say, put it over to Probation and have Probation oversee these individuals and that occurs not only in this new court but in pretty much every court that goes on so, you know Heather has done a good job holding off on these additional positions. When we hit the raise the age thing we were looking at a potential increase position of that time but we held off but again, we’re at the point where we know once he starts that Mental Health Court we’re going to be absorbing the brunt of the oversight.
SHEEHAN: Yeah we absorbed through Bail Reform and Raise the Age without any additional personnel so at this point, we’re out of options.
GILLILLAND: It would seem to me that maybe more suited for our county courts to spend time trying to get another Judge instead of another court. We are in I think our third or fourth legislative session that we’re trying to get this and not getting enough support from OCA or the judicial system or not much support from the legislators. It’s frustrating.
McNALLY: Alright, thank you very much.
SHEEHAN: Thank you very much.
McNALLY: Public Defender – not here.
PALMER: Public Defender is actually here. Emily, come on up.
EVATT: I don’t have anything actually to report.
PALMER: That’s alright, come on up and we’ll talk to you.
McNALLY: Tell a story or sing or something.
EVATT: Emily Evatt, Deputy Public Defender. Brandon is out on Navy leave and he’ll be back tomorrow. Does anyone have any questions for me?
McNALLY: If not, thank you.
McNALLY: Conflict Defender – Miriam Hadden.
PALMER: I don’t think she’s here. You need that resolution?
McNALLY: I would like to move a resolution honoring Trooper Lawrence Gleason with a memorial sign at the Charley Hill Road Bridge that crosses I-87 Town of Schroon.
RESOLUTION HONORING TROOPER LAWRENCE GLEASON WITH A MEMORIAL SIGN AT THE CHARLEY HILL ROAD BRIDGE THAT CROSSES I-87 TOWN OF SCHROON. McNally, Tyler
McNALLY: All in favor, opposed –carried. Alright, anything else in front of the Public Safety committee?
PALMER: I just want to mention one thing for the new supervisors if you actually look today we only had four members which is not a quorum but what the rules state is that if a committee lacks a quorum the Chairman of the Board can act as that fifth person when you have a lack of quorum. The only thing you have to remember that anything that passed has to require five votes regardless of how many members are here.
McNALLY: Thank you Dan. Okay anything else? If not, we are adjourned.
As there was no further discussion to come before this Public Safety Committee it was adjourned at 9:55 a.m.
Judith Garrison, Clerk
Board of Supervisors