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Governor pledges solution in jail funding crisis

6:43 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Governor Paul LePage held a summit Tuesday with county sheriffs in Maine to pledge to find a solution to the jail funding crisis.

All 16 Sheriffs met with the Governor for about an hour and 15 minutes.

When they emerged, Kennebec County Sheriff Randy Liberty, who is also the President of the Maine Sheriff's Association, spoke for the group. Sheriff Liberty says they were encouraged by the meeting. Liberty says Governor LePage is aware of the fiscal challenges and is "very willing to work with" the sheriff departments.

But Sheriffs will also need the support of lawmakers. Senator Stan Gerzofsky, who chairs the criminal justice committee, says the legislature ultimately holds the purse strings.

Gerzofsky says he was surprised that sheriffs went directly to the governor, when just last month his committee proposed a stopgap plan to help jails.

Sheriff Liberty says the governor is pulling together an ad hoc committee including representatives from all parties to find a quick solution and quick money.

Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins says he will have to close his jail on May 17th unless the state provides $184,000.

NEWS CENTER

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