AUBURN — In a 4-3 vote, three Androscoggin County commissioners voted last week to put themselves on the hiring committee for a new county treasurer.

Commissioner Isaiah Lary of Wales nominated Commissioner Bonney Starbird of Auburn, Chairman Zachary Maher of Poland and himself to serve on the committee to select a replacement for Robert Poulin, who died last month after serving as treasurer for nearly 17 years.

Commissioner Melissa Willette of Lewiston joined the three nominated commissioners in approving the motion.

Matthew Roy and Noel Madore, both of Lewiston, and Sally Christner of Turner voted no.

Madore and Christner had expressed interest in serving on the committee, but Lary’s motion included them only as alternates.

Madore expressed concern at having Lary serve on the committee.

“I feel really uncomfortable with having Commissioner Lary be on there full-time,  given his thoughts about the position and his lack of finance experience,” Madore said, according to a video recording of the meeting. “I thought quite a bit for what you had to say last meeting about your thoughts that verged on conspiracy about the position. I don’t think that represents the county very well. I don’t think it represents us to the potential employee very well.”

At the previous meeting, Lary had sought several changes to the makeup of the committee and the treasurer’s job description. He also opposed adding “finance director” to the job title.

Lary said he had sought advice from someone familiar with the treasurer’s position.

“I’ve done what I could to make sure that this job description is listed in an accurate manner, seeking advice from people that have a long, very skilled experience dealing with that position and then dealing with that person who held that position,” Lary said.

“If you want to call asking somebody that actually was in that office, served in that role and served with that person who had that role a conspiracy, you’re more than welcome to do so,” Lary added.

Roy disputed Lary’s assertion that the job description was old and needed to be updated. Roy said he helped write the current job description three years ago when the new county charter went into effect. Roy said some things Lary wanted changed were already listed in the job description.

In addition to Starbird, Maher and Lary, the hiring committee includes Administrator Larry Post, Chief Deputy William Gagne, Register of Deeds Tina Chouinard, Sandra Berube of human resources and Deborah Sawyer of the treasurer’s office.

Following the nomination of the three commissioners, Christner warned the committee to be careful during the interview process.

“Hiring is just a minefield of Human Rights Commission offenses waiting to happen,” she said. “It is no place for passion, opinion, positions. It needs to be a very vanilla process.”

Post said applications are due March 30. He expects interviews to commence in early April.


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