PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE
Monday, April 11, 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, Charlie Harrington, Roy Holzer, Kenneth Hughes, Steve McNally, Noel Merrihew, Jim Monty, Tom Scozzafava, Matt Stanley, Ike Tyler Joe Pete Wilson, Davina Winemiller, Margaret Wood and Mark Wright.† Robin DeLoria and was excused.
Department Heads present: †Dan Palmer, Judy Garrison, Sue Montgomery-Corey, David Reynolds, Daniel Woods and Max Thwaits.† Heather Sheehan and Kristy Sprague were excused.
Also present:† Miriam Hadden
News Media:† Tim Rowland Ė SUN
McNALLY:† I will call the public safety meeting to order, please rise for the pledge.† Thank you, first up, Veteranís office Ė Noel Merrihew.
MERRIHEW:† No report this morning.
McNALLY: Anybody have anything for Noel?† Thank you.† County Sealer, Dan Woods.
WOODS:† Good morning everyone, if you flip to the second page youíll see my report for March.† I have nothing further to report.† If you have any questions, Iíd be happy to answer.
MONTY:† Dan did you get the email I sent you of those six locations in Lewis?
WOODS:† Did you include the addresses?
WOODS: I will check again. I believe that I got them to Lois and we are getting the letters out if they need to be registered or checked to see if they were.
MONTY:† Okay, because Iíve got a couple more I will be sending you.† The report says I didnít have any in Lewis and I know I do.
McNALLY:† Anybody else?† Alright, thank you. Board of Elections Ė Sue Montgomery-Corey.
MONTGOMERY-COREY:† Good morning.† We do not have a lot to report today.† Last week was petition season so, the filing for petition season so we had 91 petitions filed in Essex County, ten of those were countywide and the other 81 were local so thatís essentially what I have to report today if anybody has any questions Iíd be happy to try and answer.
SCOZZAFAVA:† If the town wanted to put something on the ballot, whatís the absolute deadline?
MONTGOMERY-COREY:† Iíd have to look that up.† Itís a little bit later this year, sooner getting that to us, sooner is better though.
SCOZZAFAVA:† Okay thank you.
McNALLY:† Anybody else?† Alright, thank you Sue.
MONTGOMERY-COREY:† Okay, great.† Thanks so much.
McNALLY:† District Attorney, Kristy Sprague is excused.† Emergency Services, Max Thwaits.
THWAITS:† Good morning. You have my report.† I can answer any questions on that.† Also, Iíd like to bring up that this week is National Public Safety Tele communicators Weeks April 10 Ė 16th and Iíd like to recognize the 13 full time and 3-part time dispatchers that we have.
McNALLY:† Anybody have anything for Max?
HUGHES:† Can I move a resolution on that.
RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THE WEEK OF APRIL 10-16, 2022, AS NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY TELECOMMUNICATORS WEEK.† Hughes, unanimous.
McNALLY:† Emergency medical services?
THWAITS:† Same, you have our report for EMS any questions?
McNALLY:† Anybody have any questions?† If not, thank you.
THWAITS: Thank you.
McNALLY:† Sheriffís office, Dave Reynolds.
REYNOLDS:† I have a few different things.† The first one, you have my board report and if you look at it youíll notice the numbers have decreased quite a bit and part of the reason is the five new deputies you approved probably a year ago finally coming out of school, they graduate Thursday so theyíve been pretty active.† We just had in the last week had a couple DWAI, drugs thatís something that we havenít had much luck with in the past but thereís five new people out there that have been training so our numbers youíll see increasing plus our jail population count and how the average says itís 53 which was what it was for March but weíre already up to 67 right now. Everything seems to be coming back to normal for us a little bit more, thatís a good thing.
The second thing I put on your desks, just a little information about the hospital coverage for our nursing.† ECH has provided nursing coverage for us for as long as I can remember, probably more than ten years, probably closer to twenty and with the staffing issues they decided they could no longer submit a bid so we were due for a new contract.† We usually go every three years so they informed me in March that they were not going to be able to meet the needs of the jail anymore, they just didnít have the staffing so we went out to bid like we normally do and we received six separate bid proposals all from traveling nurse companies and the costs came back anywhere from $200,000 to $368,000, so I tried to come up with every solution and the cheapest one obviously and I think the cheapest solution is for us to hire our own LPNís and itís going to be around $200,000, a little bit more so I guess what Iím doing right now is asking for approval to hire two, LPNís instead of taking the bid proposals that came in and some of the companies are Maryland, Texas, New Jersey and they are traveling nurses so itís kind of complicated to have a traveling nurse come into a correctional facility.† So, if you have any questions I can probably explain.
SCOZZAFAVA:† Iím assuming these are mandated positions, correct?† That weíve got to have the nurses there?
REYNOLDS: We have to provide services so the MAT program, this is separate from Ė these LPNís would assist in the MAT program but we need medication coverage from basically 7 a.m. to about 9 p.m. every day, seven days a week inmates on medication so that would cover all the med passes.† We need RNís because LPNís cannot necessarily take Ė LPN doesnít have the same Ė
SCOZZAFAVA:† So they are mandated, we have to have them.
REYNOLDS:† We have to have them; I donít know that it is mandated by anybody.
PALMER:† You have to have medical coverage.† Iím mean you can either contract out for it or have your own nurse.
SCOZZAFAVA:† What is the MAT program?
REYNOLDS: Medicated Assisted Treatment, suboxone, methadone, vivitrol.
SCOZZAFAVA:† Okay, thank you.
HUGHES:† Thank you sir.† Dave, what were we spending with ECH contract each year?
REYNOLDS:† So I have it broken down because I also have that grant for the registered nurse to cover the MAT program so I subtracted that out with what the contract was bid out as, ECH was paying $115,000, give or take.
REYNOLDS:† One-hundred fifteen thousand, thereís no way we can do it I donít think, for less than about two-hundred for the year.† The bids like I said came in at anywhere from two-hundred to three-hundred.
PALMER:† Three fifty-eight.
REYNOLDS:† Three fifty-eight so ECH has been an amazing partner over the last twenty years and they have saved with the county hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars and itís because they can send a pool of one of twenty people, we werenít absorbing their full time coverage for the fringe and all those other things.
HOLZER:† Quick question, so we already have a hundred in change in your budget, where would the balance of the funds come from for these positions?
PALMER:† Itís going to have to come out of the budget.† We will probably have to make a transfer at some point from unappropriated, unreserved fund balance in order to cover this.
REYNOLDS:† So I donít assume this is going to happen, so ECH has been gracious enough to continue their contract through June, sometime in June it expired in March so if this takes effect in June obviously thatís half a year, so half a year of a $115,000 would be $57,500, where it would cost us a hundred so for this year Iím assuming we would have to come up with about fifty.
PALMER:† Yeah, and weíll play that down a ways itís like all these other positions I want to see where we are because personnel services you may not even fill some of those positions so, but as we play down towards you know, youíll see it probably in September/October where we will start to have to make those transfers but yeah, we would take it out of unreserved funds.
REYNOLDS:† Weíre always short staffed so like he said, often you can absorb that in your personnel budget.
DOTY:† Short staffed is short staffed everywhere.† Will this situation create stealing back and forth of current employees and create unrest on two fronts, not just the jail but Ė
PALMER: Why would it create this?
DOTY:† Well, are we kind of appealing to the same workers?
PALMER:† To some extent but not nearly as much as you might think.
DOTY: Maybe I should ask it in a different way, are pay scales in line so that we donít create problems for two different services?
PALMER: Again, the pay scales are determined by the union contract so the amount paid is already defined but these positions would be LPNís almost everybody else needs RNís.† Public Health needs Public Health RN nurse, you know if we hire nurses somewhere else they are almost always RNís and Dave believes he can get by with LPNís so weíre not competing directing with other departments here but we are competing with the outside market.
REYNOLDS:† So as a county, we donít pay as much as some other places but our benefits are pretty good.
DOTY: Thank you.
PALMER:† So you need a resolution authorizing two LPN positions and a third, per diem LPN position that would be used on a part-time basis.† We are going to have to come up with the funding, I may revise that before it gets to regular as to how much exactly we need.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING TWO, LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE (LPN) POSITIONS AND ONE, PER DIEM LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE (LPN) POSITION IN THE SHERIFFíS DEPARTMENT. †Harrington, Holzer
McNALLY: Questions, concerns?† All in favor, opposed Ė carried.
REYNOLDS:† So to piggyback on that I would like a resolution of appreciation to ECH because again, theyíve been an amazing partner for us.† They have filled in every gap weíve ever needed.† The CNO, Julie Tromblee has bent over backwards for us.† She did not want to send that letter saying she couldnít provide the services and Victoria Savage who has been our liaison for the jail has personal come and worked shifts so that our staff could have time off so if itís possible, a resolution of appreciation.
RESOLUTION OF APPRECIATION TO THE ELIZABETHTOWN COMMUNITY HOSPITAL AND CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, JULIE TROMBLEE FOR YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE AND PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ESSEX COUNTY SHERIFFíS OFFICE.† Harrington, unanimous
REYNOLDS:† And the last thing, May 2, at the full board meeting I would just like everybody to know that the New York State Sheriffís Association is going to be here to present the Sheriffís Office/Correctional Facility our accreditation certificate and plaque.† Essex County has never been and accredited facility, any of the guys that have worked in a correctional facility know how complicated that is.† Thatís a huge feather in our cap so they want to come up from Albany and present us with that award I just want to let you guys know that thatís going to be here and get that on the agenda.
McNALLY: Anybody else?
PALMER:† Is it still true that if you get put in jail and you have private health insurance it doesnít get Ė we still have to pay?
REYNOLDS:† So, itís my understanding private health insurance will still pay for the inmate.† Medicaid, Medicare is only for the first 30 days so once, if youíre on Medicare/Medicaid after the first 30 days we can no longer bill them and it falls back on us and we pay cash.† We pay the Medicare/Medicaid rates.
PALMER:† But we still have to pay it.† Jails have become medical and mental health facilities and itís the reality of what we have to deal with. Honestly, we are going to have mental health in here probably next week, looking for more therapists because they are receiving six or seven mental health referrals a day right now.† The only saving grace about the mental health facility is that we get the bill for that service even if we have to hire somebody we at least can put in billable hours for that time but with the jail there just no billable hours really to get at so we are left holding the bag for some of these costs you wouldnít normally have to do.
McNALLY: This is just for Essex County?
REYNOLDS: Just for the local inmates so if youíre a Federal inmate or housing for somebody else they pay the bills no matter what it is.
SCOZZAFAVA:† Dan, I was reading over the weekend so the aide that goes back to the counties, the counties are no longer going to have to pay that?
PALMER:† Yeah, the AIM payments but weíre still going to have to pay the hospital fund.
GILLILLAND:† No that was cut.
PALMER:† Did they cut that because that was in right up until Ė
GILLILLAND:† Yes, I looked on the Empire Report and that was cut so we donít have to pay that.
SCOZZAFAVA:† So the AIM payment that was significant.
PALMER: Yeah, that was like $368,000.
SCOZZAFAVA:† So, could that money that we budgeted for be used for some of these positions?
PALMER: Well, certainly itís all within the context of the overall budget whatever our, if we get more sales tax then we would have more sales tax to apply towards these kinds of things.
SCOZZAFAVA: Thank you.
McNALLY: Anything else?
TYLER:† Iíd like to move a resolution of congratulations for the Essex County Sheriff and the Department getting accredited.† Itís a heck of an achievement thatís for sure.
RESOLUTION OF CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ESSEX COUNTY SHERIFFíS OFFICE AND STAFF ON THEIR ACCREDITATION FROM THE NEW YORK STATE SHERIFFíS ASSOCIATION.† Tyler, unanimous
REYNOLDS:† So I plan at full board, there was a group of four people who did all the work, the entire jail does an amazing job.
PALMER:† You didnít do anything?† (laughter)
REYNOLDS:† Everybody that works in the jail make sure we are accredited but there was a group of about four people who have to document everything and thatís the hardest part is documentation.† So weíve been really good about being a really good correctional facility. We do everything weíre supposed to do; we do it the right way. The hardest part is documenting it and showing, proving to the assessors that if thereís a policy about medication, that youíre following those policies and they came for a two-day period, seven of them and we did a good job.
MONTY:† It is quite a process, a huge process.
McNALLY:† Okay, thank you very much.
REYNOLDS: Thank you.
McNALLY:† Public Defender is not here.† Conflict Defender, Miriam Hadden.
HADDEN:† Good morning.† I do not have a report today but I am here if anyone has any questions.
McNALLY:† Does anyone have anything for Miriam?† If not, thank you.† Anything else in front of the public safety committee?
MONTY:† Iím just, Iím wondering, I was reading a report that came out from the Auditors office, it seems like we, our District Attorney we donít prosecute many it seems like a lot of those are being farmed out to others bringing a lot of people, when we do go to trial it seems like thereís a lot more that weíre paying out to people to come in and prosecute those and I noticed also I canít think of what his position is Justin Meyer?
PALMER:† Yeah, the Assigned Counsel Coordinator.
MONTY:† What exactly has he been doing?
PALMER:† Well, supposedly he is going to be reviewing applications and determining eligibility but itís clearly not working real well right now those applications are for whatever reason are not getting to him. Typically what happens there is so much pressure on a Judge when, you canít hold an arraignment without an attorney so if an attorney is in the room that Judge is going to assign that to them and then the application is supposed to go in after because youíre supposed to make that determination, after youíve provided the individual with an attorney at the arraignment that individual then is supposed to fill out an application and get approved for any further court appearances that may occur and Iím† not sure thatís getting done.† I think whatís happening is theyíre getting an assigned Judge for the arraignment and it kind of just continues so you know, again Iím not sure but I think, I know they started that discussion with Justin so hopefully they will get this process down better.
GILLILLAND:† The Assigned Counsel Administrator that position is being paid for through the State right?
PALMER:† Yeah, it is paid through the grant.
GILLILLAND:† And that is a requirement from the State to have Assigned Counsel so itís another one of those top down from the State saying youíve got to have one for a system that they havenít figured out whether it works or not.
MONTY:† My concern is that weíre paying him to do the job, he should be the one doing the job and not others.† Still if somebody else is paying him, heís got to work for somebody.
GILLILLAND: I understand.† I think we went out to bid for that?† Dan did we go out to bid for that?
PALMER:† We did.
GILLILLAND:† He was the only one if I remember correctly.
PALMER:† Yeah, it is and I think hopefully itís more of a communication thing than it is just not doing it but I think we need to kind of get that message out to courts that they need to get those applications up to him.
McNALLY:† Alright, Board of Elections Ė Sue, did you have something to add?
MONTGOMERY-COREY:† I did.† I was able to look at the State Board of Elections political calendar for the year and the deadline for the petitions is August 8, three months before the General election.
McNALLY:† Thank you Sue.† Anybody else? †If not, we are adjourned.
††††††††††† As there was no further discussion to come before this Public Safety committee it was adjourned at 9:50 a.m.
Judith Garrison, Clerk
Board of Supervisors