BAR HARBOR — The Town Council announced Kevin Sutherland, the former city administrator of Saco, as its finalist for the Bar Harbor town manager post Wednesday.
The council started looking for a replacement for Cornell Knight in August after he announced his plans to step down in January after 40 years in municipal management.
With the help of Don Gerrish, a consultant with Eaton Peabody, the council received 16 applications for the top post and interviewed five of them last week in executive session.
After another executive session on Tuesday, the council picked Sutherland and will interview him again next month.
Sutherland has a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in arts from the State University of New York Oswego.
According to a 2019 Journal Tribune story, Sutherland decided not to renew his contract in Saco and wanted to take a break from the public sector to pursue development.
He will visit with town hall staff next month and have an informal meet-and-greet with the community. The public is invited to meet Sutherland on Nov. 8 from 6-7 p.m.
Knight was the council’s unanimous pick for the post back in 2014. Before Bar Harbor, he served as the manager of Topsham and Winthrop. In his letter of resignation, Knight said that his tenure in Bar Harbor was a “most interesting and challenging” job.
Sutherland will certainly face some large issues. Staff and the public earlier this month said that some of the biggest issues facing the town are aging infrastructure, rising housing costs and employee shortages, confidence in local government, the school and several big-ticket capital projects.
Other issues included the political climate in town, civility of the public, social media and personal attacks.
On a similar note, staff and the public said they wanted a thick-skinned, even-keeled manager who was calm under pressure and who had worked in a “challenging community” before. Experience in municipal finance and the ability to see the bigger picture were other qualities that were sought, as well as a “duplicate Cornell.”
The upper end of the salary range for the position was listed at $130,000.