Lewiston Public Works employees load up maintenance equipment at the Lewiston Armory on Thursday. A crew member said that Lewiston Public Works has been busy cleaning sand from streets and keeping playing fields and such in shape for when the shelter at home order is lifted. The Lewiston Armory will be turned into a 60-bed emergency shelter to house some of the city’s homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

In a time when good news seems to be in short supply, here’s a bright spot in all the turmoil. 

Most cities, towns and counties across the region have so far been able to avoid having to layoff or furlough employee as the COVID-19 crisis grinds on.

“At this point, we have not considered furloughing employees,” Lewiston City Manager Ed Barrett said Thursday. 

Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson said there are no plans to institute furloughs and no hours have been cut. 

In Oxford County, Sheriff Christopher Wainwright said the same: all of his employees are essential, he added, so no layoffs or furloughs are foreseen. 

It’s much the same city to city and town to town across the Tri-County area as people adjust to the work-from-home mentality. 

Auburn officials, however, reported they have had to furlough a total of 57 seasonal and temporary workers as a result of the crisis. That includes 15 workers from the Auburn Public Library, which is a separate entity, according to City Manager Peter J. Crichton.

Some town officials say they have avoided furloughs, but with the caveat that the possibility of doing so exists as the crisis continues to evolve.

“Our employees are either continuing to work their normal shifts, working from home, or working rotating schedules to allow for social distancing and to try to balance the state’s Stay Healthy at Home order with meeting the needs of the community,” Jay Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said. “Those who are rotating that cannot work from home are being paid. We are continuing to look at this on a weekly basis.”  

The town of Livermore is not making any changes, according to officials there. Stephen Gould, Livermore Falls town manager, said certain adjustments are being made, such as having Sewer Department employees work opposite shifts to restrict contact. 

The two Town Office employees are working opposing days to restrict contact and the workload has diminished drastically since closing the office to the public. All are being paid at this time and we continue to monitor information from the State as to how to proceed on a daily basis, he said. 

Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said in an email, “The Town of Farmington has no plans to lay off or furlough any regular employees. Essential workers continue to be on the job while following the CDC guidelines for personal protection and social distancing. Some employees are working from home or taking advantage of the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  No benefits of any employees are currently affected.” 

The Farmington Library is a separate entity — Davis said the library is closed and will have to lay off employees.  

The Farmington Parks and Recreation Department, meanwhile, is providing a successful online program that is being used beyond the local community. Davis said he didn’t anticipate any changes for that department and expects that programming format to continue until the crisis is over. 

Julie Magoon, Franklin County clerk, said no, they have not furloughed or laid-off anyone. 

In Weld, Board of Selectpersons Chairman Thomas Skolfield said employees in that town are working — some remotely by telephone, email — and there is a drop box for people to leave materials. He doesn’t anticipate furloughing or laying off anyone. 

It was the same in Paris, where Town Manager Dawn Noyes said there are no plans to furlough any employees. 

“Highway, police and volunteer fire have been working,” Noyes said. “The administration is working remotely and going into the office weekly to check messages, run payroll and pay payable, etc. “ 

In Norway, Town Manager Dennis Lajoie said they have not furloughed any employees and have no plans to do so. 

A few municipalities, New Gloucester among them, did not respond to Sun Journal queries regarding furloughs.


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