The recently re-elected Somerset County registrar of deeds will remain on leave until Jan. 21 because of a personnel issue, according to the county administrator.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss it. Nobody can discuss it,” County Administrator Dawn DiBlasi said. Diane Godin, who was re-elected to her position as the registrar of deeds in November, will be out of the office at least until she meets with the county commissioners on Jan. 21, DiBlasi said. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Laura Price, who is the deputy registrar of deeds and ran against Godin in the November election, and other employees in the registry will assume Godin’s duties in the meantime, DiBlasi said.

“It’s a very sensitive situation, so we really can’t discuss it,” DiBlasi said. She refused to say how long Godin has been on leave, although some of the county commissioners said it has been several weeks.

The registrar of deeds is in charge of maintaining public records including tax and real estate records. The registrars of deeds throughout the state are elected in county elections for four-year terms. Vacancies are filled by the governor.

The county administrator placed Godin on leave in November, shortly after she was re-elected. Although DiBlasi discussed the decision with commissioners, no formal vote was taken, said Bobby Dunphy, chairman of the commissioners. Dunphy said Goodin still is being paid. Godin was first employed at the registry as a clerk in 1997 and was named deputy registrar in 2000. She first took over as registrar of deeds following an appointment by Gov. Angus King in 2001.

“We’re determining her status,” Commissioner Robin Frost said. “Right now there’s a misunderstanding. I can put it that way, but I can’t say who is misunderstanding or refusing to understand.”

According to state law, a registrar of deeds may be removed by the Superior Court if found guilty of misconduct or found to be incapable of discharging the duties of the office, following a legal case brought by either a grand jury or the state attorney general.

Somerset County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said she was aware of Godin’s situation but would not talk about specifics. The investigation is being handled by the county, and Maloney said she is not conducting an investigation. No formal complaint against Godin has been filed by the county, she said.

“Whether or not there is misconduct there is under investigation. It’s not something I’ve been a part of, although I have talked with the attorney general and county commissioners about how to interpret the state statute,” Maloney said.

Frost said the personnel issue is related to Godin not coming to work.

“Showing up for work. That’s part of it. She hasn’t been coming at all for normal business hours,” he said.

Godin didn’t attend commissioners’ meetings at which her leave was on the agenda for discussion, Dunphy said.

When asked whether the public has a right to know why an elected official is not in the office, Commissioner Phil Roy said the reason will be known later.

“It’s a personnel issue,” he said. “I think it will come out in due time. The public will be made aware of any decision the commissioners make.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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