BAR HARBOR, Maine — An interim town manager has been appointed to oversee municipal operations while the Town Council searches for a long-term replacement for Dana Reed.
Reed, who had served as Bar Harbor’s town manager since 1986, resigned abruptly earlier this month after running into opposition from local residents about having his employment contract renewed.
Last week, the council agreed to appoint James Ashe of Cumberland as interim town manager. Ashe was recommended for the temporary post by Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, which the council hired to help oversee the transition to finding a new manager. According to the consulting firm, Ashe has served as Brunswick’s school superintendent and as Topsham’s town manager. In 2011, Ashe served as interim town manager in Kittery.
On Tuesday, the seven members of Bar Harbor’s elected council and five candidates who are running in council elections next month met with Don Gerrish of Eaton Peabody to discuss the search process for a long-term manager.
Gerrish, himself a former town manager of Brunswick and Gorham, said he expects that between 35 and 50 people will apply for Bar Harbor’s town manager position. He said he intends to shepherd the town through the search process and to solicit comment from the public, town staff and council members about what kind of skills and experience a new town manager should have.
Gerrish said the names of the finalists, which he expects will consist of two of three people, will be made public prior to the council making a decision on whom to hire.
The council and Gerrish discussed Tuesday night a rough outline of when meetings and interviews will be held as part of the town manager search, which he said should result in someone being hired by mid-September. A public meeting will be held on June 19 to give local residents the chance to say what sort of qualities they want in a new town manager.
One municipal position that will not have to be filled as soon as expected is that of town clerk. Patricia Gray, Bar Harbor’s town clerk since 1999, had indicated prior to Reed’s sudden resignation that she planned to retire this summer. On Tuesday she said that, with Reed’s departure, she has decided to stay on indefinitely in order to help provide some continuity at the town office.