Franklin County Commissioner Terry Brann of Wilton, left, was elected to serve as chairman of commissioners on Tuesday for the second consecutive year. Casting votes in his favor were Commissioner Charles Webster of Farmington, center, and Commissioner Clyde Barker of Strong. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — Terry Brann of Wilton was re-elected chairman of the Franklin County Commission on Tuesday after Clyde Barker of Strong declined the position because of his health.

By tradition, it was Barker’s turn to lead the panel for the coming year, but he recommended Brann instead.

“Given my health,” Barker said he would rather not be chairman. “You never know what will happen.”

Charles Webster of Farmington and Barker re-elected Brann, who abstained from voting.

In another matter, commissioners agreed with a recommendation from a committee that reviews applications for tax-increment financing grants and scholarship funds. It requires a person seeking an employment skills training scholarship to live in the unorganized territory for 12 months.

The Kibby Wind Power TIF fund is for economic development in the unorganized territory. Previously a scholarship recipient had lived in the unorganized territory for about four months, county Clerk Julie Magoon said.

Commissioners have capped the annual scholarship for a college student at $25,000.

Magoon said she will reach out to TIF committee members to see if they want to cap the overall amount for a scholarship per student and to discuss a family or student percentage contribution.

In another matter, commissioners heard concerns from Bert Poisson, a co-owner of Western Maine Behavioral Health in Wilton. The agency was one of two that submitted a $36,012 proposal to provide mental health and substance abuse services to inmates for six months at the Franklin County Detention Center.

Poisson said that Clearwater Counseling and Consulting of Farmington did not meet the criteria in the county’s request for proposals.

Dalene Sinskie, owner of Clearwater Counseling and Consulting, said the proposal met the requirements.

In December, commissioners accepted the recommendation of the jail administrator, Maj. Douglas Blauvelt, to award the contract to Clearwater for $30,000 from Jan. 1 through June 30.

Blauvelt and Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. reviewed the proposals before a recommendation was made to commissioners.

Neither Blauvelt nor Nichols were at the commissioners meeting Tuesday.

“I looked at both proposals and felt Clearwater Counseling and Consultants bid was the one to go with for the six-month period of the contract,” Nichols said in an email Tuesday. “When the contract expires in June we will look at new bids.”

Nichols and Blauvelt will be asked to attend the next commissioners meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the county courthouse to discuss the matter.

Commissioners voted in September to terminate a contract with Evergreen Behavioral Services. The agency had a change in staffing that would not have given the jail access to the licensed and certified personnel necessary to comply with the Maine Department of Corrections standards, Nichols previously said, and noted that it was not punitive.

The county used Sinskie Therapy Services in the interim.


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