Piscataquis County sheriff’s part-time budget undergoing crunch

Posted April 19, 2011, at 4:13 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A position left vacant and other cuts in the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department budget have forced the department to deplete its funds for part-time help.

Sheriff John Goggin was notified recently by County Treasurer Gail Lynch that 47 percent of his part-time budget of $15,000 had been spent as of March 31 with still several months to go.

Goggin told Piscataquis County commissioners Tuesday that he has relied on that account to pay part-timers to fill in schedules that were previously covered by Investigator David Wilson. Wilson resigned to take a position with the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department, but his investigator’s position was left unfilled by the commissioners.

“I’m just trying to juggle those monies back and forth,” Goggin said of his department’s accounts, in an attempt to avoid depleting any one account. He said he has been using part-time help to fill the slots rather than pay full-time employees time and a half.

Commissioner Tom Lizotte said the memo from Lynch was merely a reminder of the account status.

Only one bid was submitted for a new heating system for the jail and sheriff’s department. A contract was awarded to A. E. Robinson Oil Co.  The combined bid of $47,017 will include a new boiler, pumps, electronic programmable thermostats, variable frequency drives, a kitchen hood electronic time clock and other associated work.

Lizotte was pleased with the bid since the commissioners had initially estimated the work to cost about $100,000.

In a related matter, the commissioners authorized an engineering study to be done regarding the flat section of the jail roof, which leaks. Once a study has been completed, bids will be solicited for the work.

The county plans to cease its contract with Glacial Energy, an energy supplier, since the $3,000 savings pitched to the commissioners a year ago did not occur.

In fact, finance administrator Phyllis Lyford reported Tuesday that the county actually spent $3,000 more than it would have if the county had remained with Central Maine Power Co. If there are no adverse consequences for the county to withdraw from the contact with Glacial Energy, that move will be made.

The commissioners also approved the hiring of two new employees. Joel Cyr of Dover-Foxcroft was hired as the clerk specialist in the district attorney’s office. Cyr worked in law enforcement for many years, including in the towns of Calais, Brownville and Dover-Foxcroft, and is a law school graduate. In 2005, he went to Iraq to help train Iraqi police.

Dan Lemik, a Piscataquis County Jail corrections officer who also served in law enforcement, was hired for a telecommunication position being vacated by longtime employee Doug Roberts.

A search will be getting under way for a new corrections officer.

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