Hancock County has hired a new CFO to help take over some of the county’s bookkeeping.
Monica Cease of Ellsworth will take over the post, taking on duties that had been given to County Administrator Scott Adkins in the election of County Treasurer Michael Boucher, who failed to take them over when he was elected in 2018.
Until this summer, Cease served as treasurer for the town of Swan’s Island for 20 years, according to Adkins. She has also worked on financial matters for the Ellsworth School Department and has considerable experience using financial management software, he said.
Cease’s first day on the job was September 2, Adkins said. She will receive an annual salary of $ 55,000.
County commissioners approved the creation of the new position earlier this year in an effort to help ease the burden of the day-to-day county accounting on Adkins, who worked as Penobscot County’s chief financial officer before taking the county post. from Hancock in 2016. Adkins’ other responsibilities in running the county’s operations have grown over the years and the county’s finances have become more complex, requiring more help with the accounting, said Adkins.
The county administrator had attempted to train Boucher in some of the county’s accounting practices, but Boucher refused. Boucher has worked as a police officer for several Maine agencies over the past few years and had no experience in financial management until he was elected as a written candidate 3 years ago. In this election, Boucher received 478 votes, while Pamela Linscott, who held the position of county finance coordinator, received 404. Boucher’s term ends in 2022.
Unlike county sheriff or district attorney positions, being elected county treasurer does not require prior experience or professional certifications. Candidates for the position of county treasurer need only be a resident of the county in which they are running.
As CFO, Cease should have oversight over the other finance clerks in the office, but not Boucher.
Relations between Boucher, Adkins and the three elected county commissioners deteriorated last spring when commission chairman Bill Clark said Boucher’s bookkeeping skills were “woefully inadequate” and the county should hire someone to manage part of the elected treasurer. work that is not specifically spelled out in state law.
Boucher said he had completed the training county commissioners requested of him and accused other county officials of undermining his authority as an elected official and creating a hostile work environment.
County officials said Boucher would retain his statutory obligations as set out in Maine law – which are to receive and record income, pay and record bills, and ensure there is a external audit of county finances annually – but that the director of finance will oversee the day-to-day accounting of the county.
The creation of the post is the county’s latest effort to ensure that the county’s finances are managed by someone with professional experience. In 2005, the county held a referendum vote to determine whether the position of elected treasurer should become an appointed one, but voters rejected the idea by a 2-1 ratio.
Since 2008, when then-treasurer Sally Crowley died while in that post, the elected post has only been funded part-time, although the commissioners do not have the power. to tell whoever is in the job how many hours they can spend on the job. Boucher currently receives a stipend of $ 200 per week and is covered by the county health insurance plan.
From 2009 to 2015, the day-to-day accounting was handled by Philip Roy, who during this time served as the county’s full-time financial director, but was also widely criticized and at times in conflict with other county officials, including the former treasurer Janice. Eldridge. The CFO position was eliminated when Roy left in 2015.