Mount Desert manager may ask for public review

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 15, 2009, at 10:02 p.m.

MOUNT DESERT, Maine — The town manager may get an answer today to the question of whether his contract with the town will be renewed.

Michael MacDonald said Friday afternoon he was still waiting to receive a copy of his performance evaluation. Depending on what is in the evaluation, MacDonald said, he might request that the issue of his contract renewal be discussed publicly at this week’s selectmen’s meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to be held this evening at Mount Desert Elementary School immediately after a special town meeting, which is expected to get under way shortly before 6 p.m. An executive session to discuss MacDonald’s annual performance review is the last item listed on the selectmen’s agenda.

Under Maine law, personnel performance issues normally are discussed by elected officials in executive session and are not considered public. Public discussion of an employee’s job performance is allowed only at the request of the employee in question.

But MacDonald has not yet made any such request. Because he has not, his job performance still is considered confidential, and members of Mount Desert’s Board of Selectmen have not publicly disclosed what issues with MacDonald’s job performance they may have.

MacDonald was hired by Mount Desert in 2001 to be its town manager. The next year he received a three-year contract and has had that contract extended by one year every year since up until 2008.

MacDonald said that by mutual agreement with the Board of Selectmen, he decided last year not to ask for a contract extension. This year, he wants one. If he does not get an extension, his contract is set to expire in August 2010, he said.

Local voters also are expected to decide today whether to accept proposed changes to the town’s land use ordinance. One change would establish development and operating standards for wireless communications facilities, namely cell phone towers. A moratorium on cell phone tower development, which was enacted last winter so the town could establish such standards, is set to expire in February 2010, MacDonald said.

Other proposals on the special town meeting warrant would make the town’s land use ordinance and map compliant with state shoreland zoning regulations.

Voters also will be asked to decide if the town should forfeit its right of first refusal to a parcel of land on the west side of Lower Hadlock Pond, according to MacDonald. The 35-acre plot is owned by the local water district. Local regulations require that it first be offered for sale to the town before being offered to other parties.

If voters decide to pass on the parcel, it would be sold to Maine Coast Heritage Trust for $3 million, MacDonald said. The trust then would hang on to the property until it can be purchased by Acadia National Park, which abuts the land.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/11/15/news/mount-desert-manager-may-ask-for-public-review/ printed on September 21, 2014