Dorothy Meriwether was elected Tuesday, Jan. 11 as chair of the Knox County Commissioners.

Meriwether is serving her fourth and final year on the three-member Commission. Her term expires Dec. 21, 2022, and she previously announced she would not seek re-election.

A former South Thomaston Selectboard member, the Democrat was elected unopposed to the County Commisioners in 2018 for the district that represents Rockland, Thomaston, South Thomaston, and Owls Head. The redistricting approved by the Maine Legislature following the release of the 2020 U.S. Census will have the district changed to encompass Rockland, St. George, South Thomaston and Thomaston.

Also, in the Jan. 11 meeting, commissioners discussed providing county-paid health insurance coverage for themselves.

Commissioner Sharyn Pohlman of Rockport said adding that benefit attracts more people to seek the office. Pohlman said she pays about $1,049 per month for her private health insurance.

Knox Commissioners received health insurance benefits until about 2005 when a county charter was approved, and the position of county administrator was created. Pohlman said seven of Maine’s 16 counties provide health insurance coverage for their commissioners. The annual stipends for commissioners in Maine range from $3,700 to $16,000, she said. Knox County Commissioners are paid $8,500 annually.

Commissioner Richard Parent Jr. of Warren said he could support the proposal but only if the county paid a partial amount, since the commissioners’ jobs are part-time.

County Administrator Andrew Hart said he would not support adding it to the already approved 2022 budget since that could lead to other departments asking to re-open budget deliberations. He suggested if it is to be considered the addition should be done through the budget committee, which meets in the fall with commissioners to approve a 2023 budget.

Commissioners agreed that would be satisfactory, but asked Hart provide them the estimated cost of providing the benefit.