Acadia representative reappointment nixed

BAR HARBOR — John Kelly, who has served for several years as a representative of Acadia National Park on town committees here, was informed last week that his recent applications to serve another term on two committees had been rejected.

The Town Council voted 5-1 on Aug. 15 against appointing Kelly to another term on the Parking Solutions Task Force and the Cruise Ship Committee. Councilors Judie Noonan, Matt Hochman, Paul Paradis, Peter St. Germain and Erin Early Ward voted against the nomination. Councilor Steve Coston was the only vote in support.

The vote leaves a vacant seat for a park representative on both boards.

Kelly is a Bar Harbor resident and works as management assistant at Acadia. Before taking that post, he was the park’s planner for many years. He had been serving as a representative to the park on the town’s Cruise Ship Committee and Parking Solutions Task Force, though the seat on the latter is nonvoting. As a private resident, he serves on the Warrant Committee and on the Parks and Recreation Committee.

No discussion was held before the votes were taken, and Kelly said the reasons for the decision are not clear.

It’s unusual for an applicant for a seat on a board or committee to be rejected, either by the council’s nominating committee declining to nominate or by the council voting against a nomination.

Councilors Hochman, Noonan and Coston form the nominating committee, which interviews applicants.

“Unless we have a major concern, [everyone who applies] gets recommended for nomination,” Hochman told the Islander.

He said no major concerns came up during their interview with Kelly, though they said he had missed some meetings in his previous terms on the cruise committee and parking task force. The committee recommended Kelly’s nomination for both posts.

Residents Carol Chappell and Dennis Bracale attended some of the nominating committee’s meetings this year as observers.

When Kelly asked last year for a park representative seat to be included on the parking task force, councilors expressed concern about his role as park representative on some committees and private citizen on others. They also wondered if Acadia should have an official “seat at the table” on these town committees when there’s no town representative discussing projects and initiatives with the park.

At the time, Kelly said that aside from the Acadia Advisory Commission, there’s no mechanism in the laws governing federal agencies for towns to have official representation within the organizational structure of a national park.


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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