Commissioners table decision on DA’s request

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 8:30am

    Lincoln County commissioners want a legal opinion before deciding on a request made by the local district attorney. On June 1, Prosecutorial District VI District Attorney Natasha Irving asked commissioners to reverse a legal secretary’s job description that changed this spring. She told commissioners the description is potentially “problematic and created ethical concerns” within the law office. Irving discovered the change in preparing an advertisement for a new legal secretary.

    In preparing the posting, Irving discovered the job description listed the district attorney office manager who reported to the county administrator as the legal secretary’s supervisor. Irving said similar job descriptions around the state had the district attorney and other senior office lawyers listed as legal secretaries’ supervisors who ultimately reported to the district attorney. The county administrator is listed as last stop under the current policy. Irving told commissioners she wanted to return to the previous description which had the district attorney as the final stop.

    On June 15, Irving renewed her request, but commissioners weren’t ready to decide. “We understand your position, and why it may be in conflict, but we want to review a report prepared by our legal counsel. So we expect to make a decision at our next meeting on July 6,” Commissioner Hamilton Meserve said. 

    In other action, the communications center’s staffing problem is growing worse. Director Tara Doe reported dispatcher Richard Elder submitted his resignation. Another dispatcher is moving from full-time to part-time. Doe announced Jennifer Gosselin requested fewer hours. One county department did find success in hiring a new employee. Commissioners approved hiring Casey Hayden as the new probate court clerk. Hayden previously worked at the Orange County Library Service in Orlando, Florida. “She processed passports there which is a big part of the clerk’s job,” County Administrator Carrie Kipfer said. Hayden’s first day is Tuesday, July 6. 

    County Planner Emily Rabbe sought commissioners’ approval for a new Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission contract with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. She reported the contract would continue providing technical assistance for inland and coastal communities, and assistance with workshops and meetings. Recent projects tied to the DACF contract for Fiscal Year 21 included helping Alna review shoreline zoning and working with Southport to provide more drinking water options. Rabbe also reported the commission would host three American Rescue Plan workshops. Under the federal stimulus program, Lincoln County is receiving $6.7 million. The first workshop is at 8:30 a.m. June 22 in the LCRPC office in Wiscasset. The second is by Zoom conference at 4 p.m. July 20. The third is at 6:30 p.m. July 20 in Waldoboro.

    Chief Deputy Rand Maker filled in for Sheriff Todd Brackett. Maker reported the department sold three vehicles on, a vehicle auction, for $13,750. Commissioners approved the department placing a vehicle damaged in a recent car-deer accident for sale. “We took the $1,000 check, and decided to sell it as-is,” Maker said. Commissioners also approved the department to receive a Bureau of Justice grant. The department qualified for $10,623 in the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant. “This was unsolicited, and I’m asking for permission to accept it,” Maker said. “We must use it for a non-budgeted item. In the past we’ve used it for laptops and evidence collection equipment.”

    Kipfer reported Maine Department of Transportation sent a notice of taking for a right of way on the Atlantic Laboratories property in Waldoboro. She explained the right of way is on a bridge or overpass.

    On July 6, commissioners’ meetings will return to the county courthouse. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.