Greenwood waiting for AG’s opinion on serving both the state and the county

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AUBURN — Though Randall Greenwood took the oath of office on Wednesday — along with the rest of the Maine Senate — the Wales Republican is doing something no one else in the State Legislature is doing.

He’s serving as a county commissioner, too.

The chairman of the Androscoggin County Commission is waiting for the Maine Attorney General’s Office to issue an opinion on whether he can legally serve in both government offices, which that has been forbidden in the past.

The opinion will go first to Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.

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“We’re still waiting for word from the Attorney General’s Office, but they’re busy right now,” Dunlap said.

On Friday, AG spokesman Timothy Feeley issued a terse, one-line statement, saying, “This office is still considering the question.”

Since taking office in the Senate, Greenwood has not returned calls from the Sun Journal. He did not attend Wednesday’s commission meeting.

Commissioner Elaine Makas said Friday that she and Greenwood were eagerly awaiting direction on how to proceed.

“The commission has a lot of work that needs to get done,” she said.

When Greenwood was elected commissioner in 2007, Maine law forced him to resign from his post as a Wales selectman. Before running for the Legislature, he called the Secretary of State’s office to make sure there would be no conflict.

A worker told him there was none, Greenwood said in an earlier interview.

However, in the weeks leading up to the November election, Dunlap’s office told him there might be a problem, he said. The Attorney General’s Office sent Dunlap its most recent finding on the issue, a 1985 opinion signed by former Attorney General James Tierney.

Much has changed in county government since then, Greenwood said. In 2001, laws changed that ended the need for each county’s budget to be approved by the Legislature.

Greenwood represents the towns of Durham, Greene, Leeds, Lisbon, Livermore, Livermore Falls, Sabattus, Turner and Wales on the commission. Under the newly expanded commission that takes office on Jan. 1, Greenwood would represent Lisbon, Sabattus and Wales.

If he resigns, a Republican caucus will be held with representatives from those three towns to choose a new commissioner, said Richard Gross, chairman of the Androscoggin County Charter Commission.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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