FARMINGTON — The first order of business for Franklin County commissioners Wednesday was to elect Clyde Barker of Strong as chairman.

Commissioners rotate the chairman position every year.

This is Barker’s first time as chairman since he began his term Jan. 1, 2011.

Commissioners Gary McGrane of Jay and Fred Hardy of New Sharon have served in that capacity many times.

In other business, commissioners voted to use $200 from the new dispatch center’s contingency fund for a Penobscot Nation representative to conduct research where a new stand-alone communications tower will be erected. The purpose is to determine the area’s historical significance in relation to a particular Native American tribe.

The research is one of the federal government’s requirements prior to issuing a grant to help pay for the tower, county Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Hardy said.

In another matter, commissioners voted to allow county Clerk Julie Magoon to advertise for a part-time, on-call person to fill in at the courthouse. Magoon said she would like to have two people as backups in case one cannot make it.

After a brief executive session, commissioners voted unanimously to allow the National Correctional Employees Union to add two additional health plans for corrections officers to choose from. The plans under the Maine Municipal Association will be added at no additional cost to the county.

Commissioners also agreed to hear a third tax abatement appeal request from a New Vineyard resident Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the courthouse. Commissioners will hold two other hearings on tax abatement appeals from New Vineyard on the same day.

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