New year, new terms for elected county officers

Commissioner Meserve and Probate Judge Avantaggio take oaths
Wed, 01/06/2021 - 12:00pm

    Last fall, incumbent Lincoln County Commissioners Mary Trescott of Damariscotta and Hamilton Meserve of Southport and Judge of Probate William Avantaggio of Bremen were re-elected for new terms. On Jan. 5, new State Auditor Matt Dunlap officiated the swearing-in ceremony for Meserve and Avantaggio. Trescott is recovering from surgery and will be sworn in later.

    As Secretary of State, Dunlap officiated at previous Lincoln County ceremonies. “Wow, I’m impressed you asked me back now that I’m not Secretary of State, but as a Dedimus Justice I have the authority to officiate at these types of ceremonies,” Dunlap said. A Dedimus Judge is a lifetime appointment made by the governor. Dunlap received the appointment from former Gov. Angus King when he served in the Legislature. 

    Lincoln County still has one elected position to fill. County Treasurer Rick Newell’s resignation took effect Dec. 31, with two years remaining on his term. He endorsed County Finance Director Michelle Richardson to succeed him. It is an elected partisan office so Newell’s replacement must be a county resident and a registered Republican. As required by law, the Lincoln County Republican Committee must suggest a replacement to Gov. Janet Mills. The local GOP committee nominated Richardson. Mills received the Republicans’ nomination a couple weeks ago. County Administrator Carrie Kipfer has not heard about an appointment from the governor’s office. 

    “They have the nomination, and I don’t think it will be much longer before we hear something,” she said.

    The swearing-in ceremony preceded commissioners’ first meeting of the year. 2021 was supposed to be Meserve’s turn as board chairman. Since COVID-19 struck, Meserve has attended commissioner meetings by phone. He will not attend meetings in-person until the pandemic ends so he requested Blodgett take his turn as chairman. 

    “We rotate the chairmanship every year so Bill and I will swap turns, and I will take it in 2022,” Meserve said.

    The commissioners’ next meeting will be delayed a week. Trescott has a conflict Jan. 19 so the next meeting is at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission building in Wiscasset.