Bar Harbor picks 2 finalists for manager job

Posted Aug. 19, 2014, at 12:06 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — The two finalists for the vacant town manager position are expected to be in Bar Harbor next week to visit with town staff and local residents.

Both candidates have town manager experience in Maine and have been identified from a field of more than 50 applicants, Bar Harbor town officials indicated Tuesday in a prepared statement.

The finalists are Cornell F. Knight of Winthrop, Maine, and David L. Bolling of Kingston, Tennessee. Knight is a former town manager in Topsham, Winthrop and Hallowell, all in Maine. Bolling is currently the town manager of the Tennessee town where he lives and is a former town manager of Newcastle, Maine, and of Oliver Springs, Tennessee.

Knight, who won a manager of the year award in 2012 from an organization that represents Maine municipal administrators, resigned from the Topsham job in March 2013. At the time, he said he was headed to Washington, D.C., to be closer to his wife, Kay Rand, who is chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Angus King.

One of the two candidates is expected to take the position, which has been available since May, when former Town Manager Dana Reed reached a separation agreement with the town after serving as Bar Harbor’s town manager since November 1986. The agreement was reached after Reed had begun negotiating a new contract with the town, which was not expected to go into effect until next summer.

Some residents vocally objected to renewing Reed’s contract after Reed fired former Police Chief Nathan Young in January. Other residents said Young’s firing was just one example of incidents, including a citizens’ 2010 lawsuit against the town over its land use ordinances and the town’s 2001 purchase of the local water company, that justified not renewing Reed’s contract.

Since he left Bar Harbor, Reed has taken a job as interim town manager of the Mount Desert Island town of Tremont. Young is pursuing a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against Bar Harbor in federal court.

For much of the past year, the Bar Harbor Police Department has been overseen by Mount Desert Police Chief James Willis after the two neighboring towns struck a temporary, ongoing agreement. Bar Harbor has been getting part-time, interim town manager services — and assistance with its town manager search — through Eaton Peabody Consulting Group.

Bar Harbor officials indicated Tuesday that Knight and Bolling are expected to make separate visits to Bar Harbor early next week to visit Bar Harbor’s municipal facilities, to meet with town staff and to attend informal gatherings that are open to the public. Each candidate also will have a second interview for the position with the seven-member elected town council while they are in town.

The public is invited to meet informally with Bolling and local officials in the council chambers at the municipal building on Cottage Street from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25. Knight will attend a similar gathering the following day, Tuesday, Aug. 26, at the same time and location.

The council expects to make a decision and to have a new town manager in place in the second week of September.

 

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