Cumberland County: Voters asked to revise government
PORTLAND — When voters go to the polls Nov. 2 to elect local and state representatives, residents of Cumberland County will also vote on whether to approve the county's first charter.
For the past 250 years, the county has operated without a charter, instead following rules that were set by the state Legislature.
Two years ago, voters elected a committee whose mission was to create a Cumberland County Charter. The nine-member commission completed its work this summer and is sending to voters a charter that proposes revising several aspects of county government.
If approved, it will eliminate the elected positions of treasurer and register of deeds. The treasurer's duties – which basically consist of signing checks – will be absorbed by the county-hired finance director.
The register of deeds position would become an appointed job.
The positions of sheriff, judge of probate, register of probate and district attorney would remain elected.
The Charter Commission is also recommending increasing the number of commissioners from three to five. Currently, commissioners each represent about 90,000 people each. Increasing the commission to five members would give each commissioner about 50,000 constituents.
Cumberland County has more than 250,000 residents and 28 municipalities, including Portland, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Chebeague Island, Long Island, Yarmouth, North Yarmouth, Freeport, Brunswick and Harpswell.
To read the proposed charter, go to cumberlandcountychartercommission.org.
Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org