Oxford County charter forum planned

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PARIS — The Oxford County treasurer will host a public forum on Thursday to discuss the possibility of creating a county charter.

The forum will take place at 7 p.m. at the Oxford County courthouse. Malory Shaughnessy, a Cumberland County commissioner, will be a guest speaker. Cumberland County is forming a charter following the creation of a charter commission in 2008.

Of Maine’s 16 counties, only Aroostook and Knox counties have charters in place to outline the organization of the governments. These include specifications for elections, the responsibilities of commissioners, financial protocol and other matters. Counties that do not have charters operate based on state law.

“A charter commission creates the opportunity to inspect and propose changes to the current structure,” said Treasurer Roy Gedat.

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At a meeting of the county’s Budget Committee last week, Russell Newcomb of Norway said he supports the creation of a charter commission to see where changes in county government might occur. The commissioners have proposed changing the treasurer’s position from an elected to an appointed position based on a state statute.

In February of 2008, the commissioners voted to establish a charter commission. Chairman Steve Merrill said last week that the creation of a charter is a two to three year process, and the county’s efforts fell through due to the continuing need to address issues related to the Oxford County Jail’s change in status to a 72-hour holding facility.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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