AUBURN — For a few hours Wednesday, Androscoggin County had two sheriffs.
Outgoing Sheriff Guy Desjardins spent the last day of his eight years in office saying goodbyes as staff members and friends dropped by his barren, freshly painted office.
Meanwhile, incoming Sheriff Eric Samson quietly raised his hand and swore his oath in a ceremony with little fanfare.
At about 10 a.m, county Clerk Patricia Fournier read the words:
“Do you swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States and of this state so long as you shall continue a citizen thereof, and do you swear you will faithfully discharge to the best of your abilities the duties incumbent on you as a sheriff for the county of Androscoggin according to the Constitution and laws of the state, so help you God?”
“I do,” Samson replied.
The swearing in served as a kind of technical necessity, meant to ensure that the county had a sheriff in place when Desjardin’s term expired at midnight. Samson’s chosen chief deputy, William Gagne, also was sworn in.
A grander, ceremonial swearing in is planned for Jan. 8, immediately before the County Commission’s 5 p.m. meeting. Samson and Gagne will again take the oath, along with newly re-elected Commissioner Elaine Makas, new District Attorney Andrew Robinson, new Register of Deeds Brian Bolduc and four new commissioners: Ronald Chicoine, Matthew Roy, Sally Christner and Alfreda Fournier.
For Wednesday’s event, Samson and Gagne wore street clothes rather than uniforms and did not permit photos.
“I’ll consider myself the sheriff at midnight,” Samson said.
He plans to drop in at the Sheriff’s Department on Thursday to talk with some of the workers and begin full work days on Friday.
He already has made a few departmental decisions. One of them will be to change the color scheme for new cruisers. They’ll be black instead of white with “Sheriff” written across four sides with the department logo.
Mostly, Samson planned to wait on making any decisions until he moves into his office on Friday, he said.