AUBURN — Androscoggin County government, which switched from a three-person board to an administrator and seven commissioners last year, will have three new commissioners following elections next week.

The three who served under the old County Charter — Beth Bell of Auburn, Randall Greenwood of Wales and Elaine Makas of Lewiston — are not running for re-election. Their terms expire Dec. 31.

Bell, Greenwood and Makas are at the center of an ongoing salary dispute with the Budget Committee in 2014, which led to litigation between the county municipalities and all seven commissioners. That dispute is entering its 16th month and showing no signs of ending any time soon.

Only one of the three open seats has a contest: District 6, which includes Mechanic Falls, Poland, and part of Auburn, has Republican candidate Zakk Maher of Poland facing Velma McConnell, a Democrat, from Auburn.

In his early 30s, Maher is a loan officer and business adviser for Community Concepts. Active in local government, he has served as vice chairman of the Budget Committee in Poland.

Maher said his fiscal experience will serve him well as a commissioner.

“People don’t need to move away to find prosperity, nor should they be driven away by property tax adjustments,” Maher said in a statement. “Opportunities to improve ourselves and our community are all around us — we just need to be creative.”

McConnell is running a nontraditional campaign. She has spent no money and raised no money.

“I am a viable candidate,” she said. “I don’t see the need to spend other people’s money or go into debt.”

Unemployed, McConnell was formerly an administrator and analyst for SalesForce. Her main reason for running is the lawsuit, which has cost the county thousands of dollars.

“It seems so frivolous. I want to move it forward to a solution fairly soon,” she said.

Noel Madore of Lewiston, a Democrat, is running unopposed for District 1 in Lewiston to replace Makas, who represents part of Lewiston.

Republican Isaiah Lary of Wales is the lone candidate to replace Greenwood in District 4, which includes Lisbon, Sabattus and Wales.

The other four commissioners — Ronald Chicoine of Lewiston, Sally Christner of Turner, Alfreda Fournier of Auburn and Matthew Roy of Lewiston — have served since January 2015.

Chicoine represents District 2, which covers part of Lewiston. Christner represents District 7, which covers Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls, Minot and Turner.

Fournier represents District 5, which covers part of Auburn, and Roy represents District 3, which covers Greene, Durham and part of Lewiston.

County Administrator Larry Post has been on the job a little more than a year.


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