First-term commissioner William Shorey has been named chairman of the Waldo County Commission, replacing Donald Berry, who was voted out of office in the last election.

Shorey, who was elected in 2008 over then-chairman John Hyk, serves on the three-member county government body with Amy Fowler, elected in 2004 and Betty Johnson, elected in 2010.

According to county officials, the chairman position does not come with additional pay or authority. Instead, the chairman typically acts as a liaison between the commissioners’ office staff and the other two commissioners. Past chairmen, like Berry, have also taken the lead on union negotiations.

The equity among members of the commission is fine with Shorey, who said the authority of the commission lies with all three members.

“You should be very careful if you’re chairman not to try to change that authority,” he said. “Anything that needs to come before the other two commissioners should. One person shouldn’t be making up their minds [for them].”

Since he was elected in 2008, Shorey has spearheaded several large county projects. The freshman commissioner’s observations of the poor condition of Waldo County Sheriff’s Office prompted the county to set aside money to build a new one.

Plans for the new building, which will be located behind the former jail and include offices for the county’s emergency management agency, should be finalized in the next few weeks, Shorey said, with the project going out to bid in late-March to early-April.

Last summer, Shorey started a community garden in Swanville as a program for residents of the county’s re-entry center. The one-acre of cultivated land produced fresh vegetables that were donated to local food pantries.

Looking ahead, Shorey said he hopes to expand the program in the coming year to raise more vegetables and distribute them to more people.

Among the issues he foresees coming before the commission is a discussion with the state about inefficiencies in the court system, which Shorey called a “2012, 2013 agenda item.”

A request from a private company, MacImage of Maine, for the electronic contents of Waldo County’s registry of deeds has dropped off the radar temporarily as MacImage has dropped the county from its lawsuit, but Shorey said he can imagine the issue resurfacing in the future.

Shorey has been on the commission during two years of nearly level budgets, but he said it will be increasingly difficult to hold the line in coming years.

“It’s getting harder to do that. Every year you do that it becomes more difficult for you,” he said. “So, somewhere down the road that will have to change, and that will be coming up in a little bit, because you can only do that so long, without having increases, but taxpayers have certainly got a good break.”