AUBURN — The Androscoggin County Commission voted after an executive session Wednesday to hire a public relations firm to speak on behalf of the county in the future.

Commissioners have not yet selected a particular PR firm. It was also unclear where the funding for such a contract would come from.

If the county goes through with this, the PR firm will assist county officials with comments to the public on questions from the media.

Commission Chairman Sally Christner defended the decision when reached Thursday for comment.

“We have no one in that capacity right now,” Christner said. “It has been advised by more than one person outside of county government over the past year. In the past we have used the assistance of an attorney. But that is a little more pricey. We simply need someone to assist us in this area.

“I have been contacted several times by the press, but I work a very demanding fulltime job and cannot stop to do an interview,” she added. “There have been professionals who have stepped up and felt like the county is not getting their side of issues across in a meaningful way. We are simply going to accept some short-term help in this area and see if we can better articulate our message and intentions.”


Lauren Haven, the administrator for the Maine County Commissioners Association, is on vacation this week and was unavailable to comment.

In other business, the board approved American Rescue Plan Act funds on 17 county projects and equipment that were moved from the 2023 county budget. Expenditures included computer hardware and software, furniture and office equipment for several departments, firearms for the Sheriff’s Department and a truck for the building and facilities department. The cost of the 17 projects totals $77, 500, with the jail computers the most expensive purchase at $22,000.

Interim County Administrator Clarice Proctor told commissioners that the mill rate for the county for 2023 dropped to 1.24 from last year’s rate of 1.33.

A petition brought to the board by several Livermore residents to get the county to grant relief to continue winter maintenance on Wyman Road was postponed to allow the county to get more information.

The board voted to hire a general contractor for the HVAC upgrade.

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