ELLSWORTH, Maine — Former City Manager Stephen J. Gunty is leaving another municipal job in Maine with the blessing of local officials, this time in Old Orchard Beach.
Gunty was Ellsworth’s city manager from April 2004 to June 2007, when he reached a separation agreement with the local City Council. Earlier this month, in a mutual agreement with the Old Orchard Beach Town Council, he resigned after serving as town manager for about 16 months, according to Old Orchard Beach Assistant Town Manager Louise Reid. His last day on the job was Friday, Aug. 14, Reid said Monday.
Before working in Maine, Gunty held municipal jobs in Illinois and Wisconsin.
In each case with his jobs in Maine, Gunty has received six months’ extra pay as part of his agreement to leave. In Old Orchard Beach, Gunty will receive an additional $43,750, while in Ellsworth he was paid more than $50,000 in exchange for leaving. His salary in Ellsworth was about $80,000 a year.
In his resignation letter, a copy of which Reid provided to the Bangor Daily News, Gunty indicated that his wife wanted to resume her physical therapy practice in Indiana and that they wanted to be closer to their family. Reid indicated in a prepared statement that she and Gunty worked well together but directed questions about Gunty’s resignation to Gunty or the Town Council.
Robin M. Dayton, the council’s vice chairman, said Monday that Gunty’s resignation is rooted in personal issues unrelated to his job performance. She declined to say what those personal issues were. His annual salary as Old Orchard Beach town manager, she said, was about $87,000.
“There isn’t really a smoking gun,” Dayton said of Gunty’s resignation. “Some of the things he wanted we couldn’t accommodate. Some of the things we wanted he couldn’t accommodate.”
Separate attempts on Monday afternoon to contact Gunty and Sharri MacDonald, chairman of the Old Orchard Beach Town Council, were unsuccessful.
Gunty left his Ellsworth job two years ago after the City Council urged him to take a more active role in Ellsworth’s increasing infrastructure development issues and a more hands-on approach to his job in general.
In 2004, Gunty was hired to replace former Ellsworth City Manager Tim King, whose contract was not renewed after working for the city for 13 years. Three years later, Gunty was replaced by current City Manager Michelle Beal, who served as Ellsworth’s finance director and as interim city manager before being offered the city’s top administrative post.
Before coming to Maine, Gunty worked for the city of Waukesha, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee. He was hired in July 2001 as the city’s human resources director and then became Waukesha’s administrative services director in May 2002. During that time, his salary increased from $65,940 to $71,600, according to the Milwau-kee Journal Sentinel newspaper.
Gunty generated controversy during his two-year tenure in Waukesha when he sought to be reimbursed for $22,000 in moving expenses from Sparta, Wis., where he had worked for eight years as that city’s top administrator, the Journal Sentinel has reported. Sparta is about a three-hour drive from Waukesha.
Elected members of the Waukesha Common Council balked at giving Gunty the full amount he requested, but after the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development got involved in the dispute, the city ended up reimbursing Gunty for $16,716 of his moving costs.
Gunty’s employment with Waukesha ended in December 2003, when his job as administrative services director was eliminated.
Before working for Sparta, Gunty worked for nine years as economic development director for Calumet City, Ill.