KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Kennebunkport Town Manager Larry Mead will be filling the leadership position in Old Orchard Beach.
The Old Orchard Beach town council announced Tuesday night that it intends to hire Mead as the new town manager, the first hire for the council since six of the seven town councilors were replaced following the firing of previous town manager Mark Pearson. Mead will begin the position on Sept. 16.
Mead, who has been Kennebunkport’s town manager since 2006 and came to Kennebunkport from Portland, said he is pleased at the new and exciting opportunity.
“I’ve had the good fortune of working in what I consider to be Maine’s signature communities, Portland and Kennebunkport, and that’s fun to be a part of that,” Mead said. “I put Old Orchard Beach in that same classification. It’s a unique, signature community in the state and for that reason, it’s attractive to me and it offers different challenges because of that.”
Old Orchard Beach is a “diverse and dynamic” community, Mead said, and he hopes to bring a set of skills and experience that are well suited for the area.
While he is entering the town government during a time of change, Mead said he is impressed with the new town council and feels they are moving Old Orchard Beach in a positive direction.
“I’ve had a chance to observe them since they started, and I was impressed by how they accomplished their task. They’ve done it really well,” he said. “I feel good about what their purpose is and how they are going about it. I wouldn’t have made the change if I didn’t think the community and the council was headed in the right direction. I think I can play a role in bringing stability to the town government, which it certainly needs, and I think people are looking for that.”
Looking back on his time in Kennebunkport, Mead said he is proud and feels he has helped to improve the community.
“I think I’m leaving the community in better shape than when I arrived here, and you always want to do that,” Mead said.
In his nearly seven years with the town, Mead helped to facilitate a revaluation, worked towards improving pedestrian connections and access throughout the busy tourist community, and lead the town through the Goose Rocks Beach litigation. Mead said he is proud of being a part of creating a Goose Rocks Beach ordinance, beach use agreement and Beach Advisory Committee, which he said set the path for allowing Goose Rocks Beach to continue to be a “tremendous resource” and asset for the town.
“One of the things that we did during that, is we gave the seasonal residents out at Goose Rocks Beach more direct representation by creating a Beach Advisory Committee. It gave them a voice and opened up communication in a way that hadn’t happened before,” Mead said.
The Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen will hold a meeting Thursday night, after which the board will enter into executive session to discuss moving forward. Mead said he anticipates the board will hire an interim town manager and proceed with the hiring process.
“This has been a phenomenal place to work. It’s a wonderful community, a wonderful area. I’ve always felt so welcomed and at home here and I am going to miss that. I’m going to miss my staff,” Mead said. “I’ll miss all of that.”