PARIS – The Oxford County Commission did not need the full six months to assess the performance of Acting County Administrator Donald Durrah.
Commissioners on Tuesday removed the provisional tag on Durrah’s title, naming him a director.
The former head of the Oxford County Regional Communication Center in Paris has demonstrated during his five months as interim county leader his ability to build relationships, set priorities, foster a work approach teamwork and problem-solving. During his tenure, he helped relieve the county of pandemic restrictions and led efforts to disorganize Magalloway into unorganized territory.
He thanked the department heads and staff for their help over the past few months and praised them for their teamwork in finding solutions to the problems.
Durrah joined the county in 2019 to oversee its communications center. He previously worked as a 911 supervisor for Cumberland County for almost 20 years. He succeeds Norwegian Tom Winsor, who resigned last year.
Durrah, who retained his role as leader for the Oxford County Regional Communications Center during his six-month trial, will step down. Deputy Director Geff Inman will assume the role of Acting Director for the foreseeable future.
Earlier in the meeting, Durrah told the commissioners about a potential plan to partner with Community Concepts to facilitate the spending of US bailout funds. The county is expected to receive $ 11.2 million from the federal government.
Commissioners agreed with Durrah that the money should be used for projects that span the county. Among the ideas he came up with were broadband upgrades and upgrading the radio system to eliminate dead zones.
In other cases, commissioners have agreed to spend more than $ 1 million to replace the Meadowbrook Bridge in Mason Township. The two-lane structure would replace the one-lane bridge. County road officer Todd Sawyer estimated the bridge could be in place by March 2022, with paving being completed by next summer.
The council also agreed to appoint a sexton in each of the four cemeteries in the unorganized territories. The sexton could oversee the upkeep of the cemeteries and the placement of plots, but would not be allowed to spend the money.
John Kimball serves as sexton at Hunts Corner Cemetery in Albany Township, but the other three cemeteries – York, also in Albany Township, Magalloway and Mason – do not have sextons.
“I think it’s in our best interests to have sextons out there,” Durrah said. “That way they would all be configured the same. He added that cemeteries are “a touching subject for many communities”.
Durrah said he believed Kimball would agree to serve as sextons at Mason and York cemeteries. He added that he had a lead on someone to act as a sexton for Magalloway.
The commissioners approved spending of up to $ 8,000 of the Byrne-Jag grant for safety equipment for employees and cruisers of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.
Michael Fitzmorris and Joshua Aylward were promoted from assistant to corporal in the sheriff’s office and Matthew McDonnell was promoted from assistant to sergeant. Nickolas Von Husem has been hired as the new deputy of the department.
In corrections, Daniel Landry was promoted from corporal to night sergeant, while Austin Talgo voluntarily agreed to move from corporal to correctional officer to return to the day shift.
Sheriff Christopher Wainwright noted that calls for service are up 10% from record levels last year. Deeds and homologation are experiencing a sharp increase in the filing of documents.
“It’s crazy. We’re so busy,” said Jennifer Dilworth Estate Register.
She noted that passport processing, which took four to six weeks to process before the pandemic, now takes the federal government 18 weeks.