Hancock County in the News
- 30 January 2015
ELLSWORTH — Three new senior county officials took office last week. They’re all familiar faces, but their titles are new.
County Clerk Cynthia DePrenger swore in Sheriff Scott Kane and District Attorney Matt Foster on New Year’s Day before a packed Hancock County Superior Court room. On Friday, she swore in new Probate Judge William Blaisdell IV.
All the new officials had family and friends in attendance.
On Thursday, deputies, wives, Corrections Lt. Frank Shepard, Ellsworth Police Chief Chris Coleman, Bucksport Police Chief Sean Geagan and Maine State Police Troop J Lt. Rod Charette witnessed the ceremony. Several Ellsworth police officers, including Bart Tokas and his wife, Bonnie, and Officer Gil Jameson also were present.
After being sworn in, Foster himself swore in a new prosecutor for his Washington County office, attorney Norman “Toff ” Toffolon. Toffolon, who has had a practice in Machias, will serve as deputy district attorney.
Foster succeeds Carletta Bassano who served one four-year term and chose not to run again.
Sheriff Kane, who was sworn in with his wife, Rose, by his side, swore in his brother, Pat Kane, who will serve as chief deputy.
Former Chief Deputy Richard Bishop will serve as director of standards and safety.
In Kane’s new position of sheriff , he will be paid $63,697 annually. Kane succeeds Bill Clark, who had served as sheriff for 34 years.
Blaisdell succeeds Judge James Patterson, who announced a year ago that he would not seek re-election to the post.
Patterson held the job for 36 years, which he said last year made him the second-longest serving judge of probate in the county’s history (a 19th-century judge held the post for 40 years).
“I’m very happy to fill his shoes,” said Blaisdell of Patterson, “and I look forward to the job.”
Blaisdell said one of his priorities as judge of probate is to “see the adoptions move along at a faster pace, if possible — making sure these kids have permanent homes.”
“I want to make sure those adoptions and guardianship cases are heard in a timely manner,” he said.
Adoptions are among the cases handled by the probate court, as well as name changes and settling estates.
Probate court is typically in session on Tuesdays, Blaisdell said, while Register of Probate Bonnie Cousins and Deputy Register Velma Jordan handle business matters and paperwork in the office during the rest of the week.
Such a schedule allows Blaisdell, like others before him, including Patterson, to maintain his own law practice concurrently with his service as probate judge. Blaisdell said it will “take a little bit of juggling” to manage both roles, but said he is confident he can do it.
Blaisdell said Patterson has spoken with him on several occasions since his election and has offered to help Blaisdell, too. Blaisdell said he is grateful for that and said he is “hoping it will be a smooth transition.”
Blaisdell’s salary as judge of probate, according to DePrenger, is $25,000 a year.
County Treasurer Janice Eldridge and County Commissioner Joe Brown also were sworn in New Year’s Day.