SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The Somerset County commissioners have drawn from a local community to fill the county’s top administrative position.
Larry Post, who has been Hartland’s town manager since early 2009, accepted the position last week, according to Earla Haggerty, the county’s finance manager and acting administrator.
Post, who is on vacation from his Hartland job and could not be reached for comment, announced during a selectmen’s meeting last week that he would resign effective July 16. Judith Alton, chairwoman of the Hartland Board of Selectmen, said Post, who accepted the Hartland job when the town was amid severe financial dis-tress, will be missed. He assumed the position at a time when Hartland owed the local school system and county government hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As of May 2009, according to Bangor Daily News archives, the town was some $864,000 in debt. Since then, Post has led the town through the process of borrowing money to cover the debt.
“He did a great job for us,” said Alton. “He got us out of an awfully big debt and moving in the right direction again.”
Alton said the town will be able to “take its time” hiring a replacement for Post because of the knowledge and experience of town secretary Susan Frost. Frost will handle the town’s administrative duties until Post’s replacement is hired.
Post, who begins his job at the county on July 19, will earn a $60,000 salary with five weeks of vacation and a family medical insurance plan, according to Haggerty.
County commissioners approved his hiring in a 2-1 vote during a June 16 meeting, with Commissioner Lynda Quinn of Skowhegan in opposition. Quinn said Tuesday that she believed there were at least two other candidates, both from outside Maine, who would have brought more experience to the position.
“I believe he’s a fine person, but he has no experience with a large budget,” said Quinn, who added that she felt the county needed someone from the outside to bring a fresh perspective, as opposed to Post, who has been a member of the county’s budget committee.
“We had two very capable applicants who didn’t know the politics of Somerset County,” said Quinn. “They would have come in with fresh eyes.”
Quinn said the previous county administrator, Robin Weeks, would have been earning $55,000 or less, without health insurance benefits, had she chosen to renew her contract.
Haggerty said Post’s appointment will require that he resign from the budget committee, which will leave two vacancies there, possibly making it difficult for the committee to reach a two-thirds consensus on the county budget, which remains in flux. Budget committee members are appointed by elected officials in their munici-palities.