AUBURN — Weeks before Eric Samson is sworn in as the Androscoggin County sheriff, he and his appointee for chief deputy, William Gagne, will have office space, new training on management computers and the keys to the courthouse.

“They’re going to have access to everything,” said Sheriff Guy Desjardins, whose term expires on Dec. 31. “I want to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

It’s been a lot worse.

In 2006, when Desjardins won the seat, the transfer was bitter.

Desjardins defeated his longtime boss, Sheriff Ronald Gagnon, for the job. A week after the election, Gagnon and other county leaders proposed cuts to the sheriff’s budget that would have forced layoffs and would have reduced the job of chief deputy — formerly held by Desjardins — to a part-time position.

“I don’t want anyone to experience that,” Desjardins said.


Samson was elected Tuesday with 44 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

On Thursday, Desjardins met with the sheriff-elect and offered him almost complete access to the department, except personnel files.

Samson said he was grateful.

“I saw how things transpired the last time,” he said. “I was affected by it. I think almost everybody was.”

Samson plans to attend the county’s next Budget Committee meeting, a public hearing scheduled for Nov. 19. He also plans to attend training on a new computer system for recording purchase orders. And he has asked to be notified as issues come up in the weeks leading to his swearing-in on Jan. 1.

Of course, both Samson and Gagne already know the department well. Samson retired from there one week ago. Gagne, a longtime detective, retired at the start of the year.


“I think we’re both familiar with the operation,” Samson joked Thursday. “We both spent 23 years there.”

Adjustments will follow. Samson said some of his first changes likely will be aimed at personnel.

“We hope to enable people to do their jobs easier and empower them to get their jobs done,” he said.

But the role of the department will continue.

“The job is always going to get done” Samson said. “If you dial 911, someone is always going to answer. And if the Lewiston PD arrests someone, they’re coming to the jail.”

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