Officials in Somerset County say they aren’t planning to pursue legal action right now against Registrar of Deeds Diane Godin, who failed to show up for work on Thursday, the second day she was scheduled to work since having her responsibilities pared to one day per month.

Godin, who was re-elected to the registrar position in November, is not being paid and is not receiving benefits. She could not be reached for comment Thursday, and county officials say they have had no contact with her.

“At this juncture, we are just continuing on,” County Administrator Dawn DiBlasi said. “It’s business as usual, and everything is running very smoothly.”

Deputy Registrar Laura Price is handling the registrar’s duties, which include maintaining public real estate records and documents.

Godin has been the county’s registrar since being appointed to the position by then-Gov. Angus King in 2001. She was re-elected to a four-year term in November in a race against Price but was placed on leave in December.

In January, Somerset County commissioners voted to reduce Godin’s hours to one day per month and reduced her salary to $5,000 without benefits following complaints that she was rude to the public and hadn’t been showing up to work. Officials then barred her from the county building, and police were called after she disobeyed that order and locked herself in her office.

With her duties reduced to one eight-hour day per month, she did not come to work on the assigned day in February.

Kristen Schulze Muszynski, director of communications for the Maine Department of the Secretary of State, said that while the state’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions oversees the statewide election process, it is not involved in county election matters. The Maine Municipal Association also declined to comment on the situation.

According to state law, an elected official may be recalled if a written petition signed by 10 percent of the number of voters in the last gubernatorial election is turned in. A recall is not something that has been considered, DiBlasi said.

“If she doesn’t come in, she doesn’t get paid,” DiBlasi said. She said the county has not had any contact with Godin despite attempts to reach her.

“The public has not had any complaints and has expressed support for the county’s position,” DiBlasi said.

She said the county isn’t planning to take further legal action against Godin. Should Godin decide to show up for her one-day-per month duties, she could resume being paid, DiBlasi said.

“She always has that day she can come in and do those statutory duties,” she said.

Somerset County Commissioners also said they have not had any communication from Godin and remain unsure why she has not been coming to work. There have been no recent discussions about her position, they said.

“It hasn’t even been brought up,” said Bobby Dunphy, chairman of the county commissioners. “I don’t think anybody has said what we’re going to do. I don’t know.”

“Right now she’s not showing up for work. We don’t know if there’s a problem or why she’s not showing up for work,” Commissioner Phil Roy said. “We haven’t had any communication from her to let us know if there’s an issue.”

If Godin continues to miss work, the commissioners could declare a vacancy in her position, but it is not a discussion that has been had yet, Roy said. The county charter provides that a vacancy occurs through “death, resignation, permanent incapacity or forfeiture of office” and can be filled through an appointment by county officials.

“We told her when to come to work and what her pay is,” Roy said. “There has to be some reasonable amount of time before we declare a vacancy. Maybe there’s an underlying cause that she hasn’t communicated to us. I don’t know. At this point, though, there’s no vacancy and it hasn’t been discussed.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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