Lewiston council wary of Androscoggin County charter

LEWISTON — A charter for Androscoggin County might get support from the City Council if it doesn't make things more expensive.

Councilor John Butler said he was wary of plans to increase the number of county commissioners from three to seven.

"What does a commissioner make now, $5,000?" Butler asked. "I don't want us to go from paying $5,000 to three commissioners to $5,000 to seven."

County Commissioner Elaine Makas said she didn't think wages for commissioners would increase under the proposed charter but would go down.

"I think we'd see the money we spend on three commissioners split seven ways," she said. "There should be no great expense to this."

Makas and members of the county's Charter Commission Committee presented their draft plan for a charter to the City Council at a workshop meeting Tuesday before the council's regular meeting. Committee member Chip Morrison said it's one of many meetings the group will be making around the county over the next few months.

"We are going to take it to every town in the county," Morrison said. "We'll go to all the selectmen's meetings in all the little towns and then we'll schedule a final public hearing."

Morrison said the group hopes to put the charter on the November 2012 ballot. It would become the rule in 2013, if voters approve.

The proposed charter would change the form of county government, creating a spot for a professional county administrator. That person would serve as the day-to-day professional head of county government, making purchasing and other operational decisions.

Morrison said it's one of the reasons he expects the wages for county commissioners to decrease.

"The commissioners now, they run the county," Morrison said. "They are the administrators. That would change."

The charter also would let the county Budget Committee — a group appointed by local municipal governments — set the pay rate for the County Commission.

The charter would divide the county into seven districts, giving broader representation to more parts of the county.

Makas said it also would make the County Commission more efficient. Having one commissioner absent for a meeting can make voting difficult when there are only three.

"We had a situation where one commissioner had to recuse himself from awarding a bid," Makas said. "Because of scheduling conflicts, the other two commissioners could not get back together and it took us six weeks to eventually award the bid to finish that process."

staylor@sunjournal.com

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

 's picture

Agree with Dan for once

Just what is the real point of this one more layer of goverment between the city and the state? Add 4 more commissioners, an administrator, who will then need a clerk. the sheer incompatance we have seen in the past at the county level should give use pause.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...