BAR HARBOR — After a month on the job, interim town manager Jim Ashe says that the town is well run, that the town’s staff is high quality, and that the finances here are in excellent order. If he has one major job to do, Ashe says, it is to keep things that way.
“My number-one priority is to make sure the town business gets done,” Ashe said in a recent interview. “The people have got to know that you look over the money you’re spending as if it was your own, and that you treat people the way you want to be treated.”
Ashe is working three days a week as interim town manager while a national search for a full-time manager is implemented. He is working for the town as part of the Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, the Bangor firm running the manager search and hiring process. The interim manager cost is $600 per day, plus travel reimbursement from southern Maine.
While not a direct part of the search committee, Ashe said that the knowledge he gains during his tenure will prove helpful to the next manager. He also said that the more trust and visibility he can build into his position in the community, the smoother the transition to a full-time manager will go.
“I’m trying to be a very visible, open manager, so people will share things with me, and I can share them with the next manager,” Ashe said.
Ashe signed on with the town on May 29, just over three weeks after 27-year town manager Dana Reed submitted his resignation citing a destructive political climate in the wake of his firing of former police chief Nate Young.
Town councilors have contracted with EPCG at a rate of $5,000 to find and help hire a new manager. The position already is being advertised, with interviews expected at the end of August and a new manager in place this fall.