January 3, 2013

New officials sworn in for Somerset


SKOWHEGAN -- Somerset County Commissioner Lynda Quinn, of Skowhegan, was appointed board chairwoman Wednesday night during the first commissioners' meeting of 2013. Quinn takes over the top seat on the five-member panel from Commissioner Robert Dunphy, of Embden.

Commissioner Lloyd Trafton, of The Forks, was appointed the new vice chairman.

Wednesday's meeting also marked the return of Commissioner Phil Roy, of Fairfield, who was elected in November. Roy previously served on the board as its chairman. He was unseated in 2008 by Gerald York, also of Fairfield, whom Roy defeated in a rematch in November.

County commissioners Wednesday night also welcomed Maeghan Maloney as the new district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties. She also was elected in November.

All new county officials, including Victoria Hatch, the registrar of probate, were sworn in before Wednesday's meeting.

Commissioners also agreed to change the time of work sessions and regular meetings in the coming year to accommodate board members' schedules. Work sessions will be held at 3:30 p.m. every first and third Wednesday of the month, with the regular commissioners' meeting to follow at 4:30 p.m.

Trafton and Commissioner Robin Frost, of Palmyra, said they would like to see commissioners to meet more often in the coming year, possibly three times each month.

"We have a lot of work to do," Frost said.

Other changes include adding a time for public comment to the meeting agenda early in each meeting as a means to get county residents more involved in county government.

In their first action of the new year, commissioners agreed to disregard recent bids for a project manager on the expansion of the Emergency Operations Center in Skowhegan in favor of a design/build plan.

Commissioner Roy called the preferred process a "one-stop shop" that would streamline planning and construction.

"We don't need a manager for a half-million dollar project," he said. "This will speed this up by two months, at least."

Bids on the design/build process will be opened by 4 p.m. Jan. 28 at the county courthouse. Work is expected to be done by early September.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367


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