AUBURN — The Androscoggin County Commission voted 4-3 Wednesday night to raise the salary for an IT director to just under $44,000.

Commissioners rebuked county Administrator Larry Post, who had asked the commissioners to approve a higher starting salary for a new information technology director, instead of following the county pay scale.

The 4½-hour meeting, also included a nearly 90-minute executive session dealing with a personnel issue.

Following the executive session, Post wanted the IT director’s starting salary changed from $39,000 to $52,000 in order to hire the candidate the hiring team felt was clearly “head and shoulders” above other candidates.

Post stressed several candidates declined to apply or removed themselves from consideration when they learned of the $39,000 salary. 

“We can’t hire someone at that pay,” Post said.

Many of the candidates were already making more than $70,000, Post said. 

The county has worked without an IT director for a couple of months.

Some of the commissioners were unmoved by that plea, believing they needed to follow the process of using the current salary scale and steps already in place, even though most of the commissioners agreed that the pay scale needs to be updated.

“I do not support an arbitrary number depending on what the candidate says,” Commissioner Randall Greenwood said.

Commissioner Beth Bell and Greenwood said the county should stress the benefit package that comes with the job, including being part of the Maine State Retirement System.

The majority of the commissioners were unhappy that they were not consulted before Post offered a salary above the pay scale. 

After considerable discussion, commissioners decided to follow the scale and raised the pay grade of the IT director to just under $44,000. If the candidate does not accept that, the county will repost the position for seven days and accept new applications.

Voting for the motion was Greenwood, Bell, Elaine Makas and Matthew Roy. Opposing was Chairman Ronald Chicoine, Sally Christner and Alfreda Fournier.

In other business, commissioners moved to ratify the election by the municipalities of the new Budget Committee. There were no problems with Districts 1 through 6. With only one name on the ballot in District 7, two of the five towns in the district wrote in last year’s Budget Committee Chairman Emily Darby as their second candidate. However, the County Charter does not say if write-ins are allowed, only saying that the Budget Committee will fill any vacancies on its panel.

While Christner did not want to do anything that would override the decision by the municipalities, the majority of the commissioners decided to approve the candidates on the ballot voted on by the municipalities, but not the write-in. Instead, commissioners will let the Budget Committee decide if Darby should serve on the panel.

The vote was 4-3.

The Budget Committee members voted on by the municipalities are:

District 1: Michael Lachance and Tina Hutchinson;

District 2; Shane Bouchard and Joseph Grube;

District 3: Wade Caplinger and Anthony Reny;

District 4: Guy Desjardins and Allen Ward;

Dustrict 5: Andrew Titus;

District 6; Steve Bolduc and Norman Beauparlant;

District 7: Kevin Nichols.

The meeting began with presentations by Jeffrey Sneddon, executive director of the Central/Western Maine Workforce Development Board, and Trish Carr and Jocelyn Lahey of the Soil & Water Conservation and the Time and Tide Resource Conservation and Development.

A representative of Dirigo Wireless gave an informative presentation on the county’s needs to upgrade its dispatch services.

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