ELLSWORTH, Maine — Phil Roy, the Hancock County employee who has faced scrutiny for how he has handled money for nonprofit organizations, has been elected to serve as a commissioner for Somerset County.
Roy, Hancock County’s chief financial officer and a resident of Fairfield, was elected Tuesday to a three-year term on the five-member panel in Somerset County. According to unofficial vote totals compiled by the Bangor Daily News, Roy received 2,436 votes while incumbent Commissioner Gerald York received 2,316 votes — a difference of 120 out of 4,752 cast.
That difference is about 2.5 percent of the unofficial vote total, but York said Thursday that he does not plan to ask for a recount.
Some Hancock County officials have publicly criticized Roy over actions he has taken as the county’s top financial administrator, including transferring funds to and from the county’s airport account. Roy was hired as Hancock County’s CFO in January 2009.
Roy also has come under fire after the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting published a story in May that indicated Roy used $15,000 of funds he managed for the Maine Republican Party and for a federally funded agency in the Waterville area to buy himself a camper.
Roy eventually paid the money back with interest, MCPIR reported, but not without the FBI and state auditor looking into the matter to determine if the transaction was improper.
Officials with the Mount Desert Island League of Towns have publicly criticized Roy’s activities and have said Hancock County should consider revamping how it is organized in order to ensure that the county operates more effectively.
Hancock County commissioners have publicly supported Roy, saying he has done a good job managing the county’s finances and that he did not do anything illegal in handling the nonprofit’s money.
Contacted by phone on Thursday, Roy said he has served a two-year term on the Somerset County commission before, serving as chairman, but has not been on the commission for the past four years.
He said his elected position in Somerset County will not affect his paid position in Hancock County. There won’t be any potential conflicts because the two counties do not conduct business with each other, he said, and the time commitment should not be an issue. The Somerset County Commission meets twice a month, he said, and he does not plan to serve as chairman as long as he is working as the CFO in Hancock County.
“The time restraint is a lot less,” as a regular commissioner on the panel, Roy said.
Roy said that, as a Somerset County commissioner, he would like to see the state help pay off the $30 million debt service for the county jail, which was built in 2008. The state pushed jail consolidation under Gov. John Baldacci, he said, and the Department of Corrections frequently has between 20 to 50 inmates at the jail at any given time.
“They should be picking up a portion of the bond, and they’re not,” Roy said.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.