FARMINGTON —   Franklin County commissioners voted Thursday to spend $135,260 from the county’s undesignated fund for new server system that maintains evidence videos, 12 dashboard cameras and 14 body cameras for the Sheriff’s Office.

The system and cameras will be purchased from Motorola Solutions. The whole system has a one-year warranty with an option for a multiyear extended warranty, which commissioners are expected to consider later, sheriff’s Lt. David Rackliffe said.

Dashboard cameras in cruisers capture the larger scene while a body camera captures where a deputy is standing, the scene and interactions between officers and members of the public for evidence purposes.

The videos from both are automatically uploaded to the server system when deputies go back to the Sheriff’s Office.

The current server is outdated and needs to be replaced, Jim Desjardins, county IT systems manager, said.

Department heads will look at setting up reserve accounts for future equipment and other needs.


Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said in a litigious society the cameras have saved the county more than once.

Rackliffe has asked a Motorola representative to see if there are any grants to assist with the purchase.

Commissioners also approved using $14,500 from its insurance company for a cruiser totaled in a crash and money in its Operation Stonegarden capital account to buy a new cruiser. They approved Chief Deputy Steven Lowell’s request to solicit bids for it.

Commissioners voted to sell a year-old body armor vest and carrier to the Wilton Police Department. It had been worn by Detective Steven Charles who resigned from the Sheriff’s Office to work for the Wilton department. The total cost is $1,325 and the county is asking for 80% of it.

In other business, Bernard told commissioners the county was audited by the Maine Public Employees Retirement System and it was determined the county had not offered the program to some elected officials. Retirement program representatives are doing a study because not all elected officials were allowed the option to enter the program, she said.

It prompted a written request from Register of Probate Heidi Jordan to be reimbursed for her contribution from January 2021 to May 5, 2022, for $5,242.68.


Judge of Probate Margot Joly requested in writing that she receive flex dollars as described in the Employee Personnel Policy Handbook.

Joly wrote that the handbook states in part: “Part-time department heads and the Judge of Probate shall receive a monthly credit in flexible benefit dollars equal to 70% of the total benefit package provided to full-time employees.”

Since she was sworn in Jan. 1, 2019, no official in the commissioners’ office has ever provided her with a copy of the personnel handbook, she wrote.

She requested that she immediately receive a monthly credit in flexible dollars equal to 70% of the total benefit packaged provided to full-time employees. She further requested she receive the retroactive benefit package that she should have received beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

Amanda Simoneau, deputy director of the Emergency Management Agency, also requested in writing that she receive $1,500 owed to her for vacation time. For the past two years she requested payout of one week vacation that she was unable to use but was only paid half of the salary.

Commission Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton said he and previous commissioners negotiated the salaries with Joly and Jordan. One of them came back three times to negotiate, he said. He sees salaries and benefits together, he said.


Bernard said they are separate.

“I am not changing anything,” Brann said.

Bernard said her concern is that the the Maine Public Employees Retirement System says the county violated its rules and all elected officials need to be offered to be part of the retirement system.

When the negotiations were ongoing no one told commissioners about the retirement system rules, Brann said.

Carlton, who was appointed commissioner in June by the governor, said it was there but it was overlooked.

Commissioners voted 2-1 to pay the back benefits. Carlton and Commissioner Lance Harvell of Farmington wer in favor; Brann opposed.

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