FARMINGTON — Clyde Barker of Strong was elected chairman of the Franklin County Commission on Monday.

Traditionally, the three commissioners take turns being chairman for a year.

Barker said that when commissioners are going over the warrants and there are any questions on purchases, the department heads will be called in to explain what they are.

At December meetings, a mini-refrigerator for the Emergency Management Agency and Christmas cards for the sheriff came under review. Commissioners voted 2-1 on Dec. 21, 2015, to have Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. repay $89.97 for Christmas cards he ordered. Nichols reimbursed the county within hours of the commissioners’ decision.

Barker and Charles Webster of Farmington voted in favor or the reimbursement; Gary McGrane of Jay voted against. 

Nichols wasn’t at the meeting and said afterward that he purposely bought enough cards for two years. The cards had a picture of Nichols and the jail on them.

It turned out that the mini-refrigerator was paid for by the Local Emergency Planning Committee, was not stainless steel and was chosen because it was the only one without a freezer.

“This will never happen again,” Barker said.

Barker told Nichols at Monday’s meeting that he knows how Nichols felt about the jail.

The jail was returned to full operations by the state in April 2015 after being a 72-hour holding facility for nearly six years. Nichols, Franklin County residents and others fought to have the jail returned to full service.

Barker said he worked with the late Commissioner Fred Hardy of New Sharon on the jail’s status at times other than commission meetings.

Nichols thanked Barker for his decision to have department heads called in if there are questions about a purchase listed on the warrant.

In other business Monday, commissioners voted to transfer ownership of K-9 Diesel to his handler Cpl. Nate Bean. Diesel is 11 years old and at the end of his patrol years, Nichols said.

Bean will take over full responsibility of Diesel for the rest of his life, he said.

Commissioners voted to buy a new Dutch Shepherd named Bain in April 2015 to train with Bean and Diesel, knowing that Diesel would be retiring.
It is anticipated that Bain will be certified in March.

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