AUBURN — A day after being sworn in as the newest Androscoggin County commissioner, Ray Lafrance did not feel overwhelmed when his first meeting covered next year’s county budget.
The former captain for more than 30 years of the Public Safety Division for the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, Lafrance prepared that department’s budget during his tenure.
“It’s not really new to me at all,” Lafrance said. “I’m familiar with the process.”
Lafrance was selected by the Libertarian Party to fill the vacancy created when commission Chairman Zakk Maher resigned last month to accept the town manager position in Mechanic Falls.
Since Maher is a Libertarian, that party had the power to select his replacement.
“Ray Lafrance has firsthand experience that can help him contribute to the ongoing conversation regarding the County jail funding shortfall,” Maher said.
“After 40 years actively working to better the community through various roles throughout the county, I believe he will bring valuable insight to the table.”
Starting as a patrolman in 1977, Lafrance worked for the sheriff’s department for 40 years, serving as captain for 31 years.
Lafrance also served as a selectman in Poland from 1996 to 2001.
A resident of Poland, Lafrance has attended numerous commission meetings over the years and seen many changes.
“It’s a new commission now,” Lafrance said. “We used to have just three commissioners. In the past two to three years, I’ve seen a big change for the better with a county administrator and seven commissioners.”
Due to the county charter and state law, Lafrance will only hold the seat until the end of the year — year two of Maher’s four-year term.
An election will be held in November to fill the seat for the final two years of the term. Lafrance is among the candidates whose names will appear on the ballot.