With the resignation last month of its elected treasurer, Hancock County is anticipating Gov. Janet Mills appointing someone to fill the position on an interim basis.
Michael Boucher was elected treasurer in 2018 as a write-in candidate after no one filed with the state to get their name on that year’s general election ballot. His term was due to expire at the end of the year.
County commissioners are expected to suggest potential replacements to Mills, according to Scott Adkins, the county’s administrator. That will likely happen in the next few weeks.
Whoever is appointed by Mills will fill out the remainder of Boucher’s unfinished term, which ends on Dec. 31. In November, voters will choose their next elected treasurer who will take over the position on Jan. 1, 2023.
Boucher’s resignation brings to a close a turbulent time in Hancock County’s financial leadership.
Adkins said Friday that prior to Boucher’s resignation, it had been “well over a year” since any other county officials had contact with Boucher. In Boucher’s absence, county commissioners had directed Monica Cease, the county’s finance director, to receive and account for revenue, to pay and account for bills, and to assure there is an external audit of the county’s finances each year — responsibilities that normally fall to an elected treasurer.
Boucher, a Republican, resigned abruptly on March 27, because of “reasons of personal health,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
A law enforcement official by trade, Boucher said in November 2020 that he “suffered a serious back injury that resulted in the temporary paralysis of my left leg which persisted for several weeks.” He did not specify in his resignation letter if this injury was the health concern that led to his decision to resign.
Boucher did not respond Friday to requests for comment.
Cease, who commissioners hired last fall to oversee daily operations in the county’s finance office, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary in the county treasurer race. Adkins said he will recommend to commissioners that they forward Cease’s name to Mills to be interim treasurer, though the commissioners might offer more than one possibility to the governor.
“Monica Cease is the best option,” Adkins said. “Monica has excelled in a few short months to the point where she has taken several financial projects off my desk.”
Cease had prior finance management experience before she was hired by the county. She served as treasurer for the town of Swan’s Island for 20 years and worked on financial matters for the Ellsworth School Department, Adkins has said.
Whether or not Mills names Cease as interim treasurer, Cease could face an opponent in the November race. A Republican could win as a write-in candidate in the GOP primary in June, and thereby get his or her name on the November ballot. A candidate unaffiliated with a party who may want to run in November has until June 1 to file paperwork with the state.
Boucher has a history of not staying with jobs for long and for not completing terms in office after being elected.
A decade ago, Boucher served two years as an Ellsworth city councilor but resigned with one year left in his term. Since 2010, he has worked for 10 different law enforcement agencies, according to a record of his work history on file with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
Most recently, Boucher has worked since 2020 as part-time police officer for the Dexter Police Department, and as a seasonal, part-time officer in Northport since 2018. As of Thursday, April 7, Boucher still was employed by both departments, according to academy records.