PARIS — The Oxford County Commission delayed action Tuesday on an updated nepotism policy until commissioners can compare and contrast four proposals at an upcoming workshop.

The four proposals include the existing policy, one from another county, one from another town and a fourth that commissioners drafted earlier this year.

“This is a very sensitive issue,” Commissioner David Duguay of Byron said. “We need to make sure we get this right.”

Commissioners did adopt changes to the employee dress code. The guidelines were changed to make it more current while stressing safety.

A new section was added that says “employees will be required to wear safety gear, clothing and equipment as requested by a supervisor or required by the Department of Labor, including safety glasses.”

Skorts are now acceptable work clothing. Leggings “worn with a tunic top or longer” was also added to the office dress guidelines.

The county heard a report from its accountant, Marc Roy, on the recently completed audit by RHR Smith and Company of Standish. The county is in good shape financially, Roy said.

According to the audit, Oxford County’s net position for 2019 increased by $904,355 from the previous year. The county received $2.2 million in direct program revenues to offset expenses. The Oxford Casino contributed $946,512 to the county. That money will be used to reduce the tax levy and cut the interest amount paid by allowing internal borrowing.

The audit also showed that the jail fund ended the year with a surplus of $254,322.

Commissioners also voted to allow Sheriff Christopher Wainwright to post the opening for the department’s clerk position. The position will start as part time, but could grow to full time.

Wainwright also discussed the potential need to hire patrol and corrections officers due to expected military leaves of absence in the fall. With his hiring pool exhausted, Wainwright received permission to start accepting applications.

Wainwright added that call volume has increased by 25% since the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of that increase is due to providing more agency assist calls and other agencies closed.

The sheriff suggested a target date of July 2021 to turn the Oxford County Jail back to a full-time facility. Commissioners supported that timeline.

County Administrator Tom Winsor said construction is continuing at the county building on Western Avenue to update existing features and to make the building more safe and secure. Department heads praised the changes they see.

Richard Beauchesne, the assistant district attorney, said he did not expect jury trials to begin until September at the earliest. He saw a potential issue with jury pools with the state mandate of no more than 50 people gathered together. Beauchesne thought pools would have to be conducted in smaller groups coming at different times.

Commissioners also approved a liquor license renewal for Black Brook Cove Campground in Lincoln Plantation.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.