New town manager says his door is always open



Cornell Knight is the new town manager in Bar Harbor. ISLANDER PHOTO BY ROBERT LEVIN

Cornell Knight is the new town manager in Bar Harbor.
ISLANDER PHOTO BY ROBERT LEVIN

BAR HARBOR — New Town Manager Cornell Knight said that Bar Harbor is a beautiful area and that he feels fortunate to be living here and becoming part of the community. Knight applied for the job here after he and his wife decided to return to Maine from a short stint in Washington, D.C., and said that he is very happy about the decision to do so.

“I just thought it would be a great move if I could do it, and I was fortunate to be successful,” Knight said during an interview at his office this week. “And in the month that we’ve been here, we think we’ve made a great decision.”

The town is buoyed by a great capital improvement budget, excellent staff and smooth-running departments, Knight said. Taking over from long-term manager Dana Reed, Knight found well-organized, well-functioning municipal operations.

The greatest challenges to the town, he said, are similar to those faced elsewhere. The constant need for infrastructure improvements and keeping tax increases low are the biggest general challenges, while more specifically, the town has to look forward to the Route 3 redevelopment project and think about making improvements to the “antiquated” solid waste transfer station, he said.

Knight said that he wants residents here to feel that they can come to him with issues and concerns at any time. To this end, he keeps his door to the municipal building lobby open throughout most of the workday, he said.

“I think it’s important that if somebody has an issue that is on their mind, they feel comfortable bringing it up to me to get it addressed,” Knight said. “I have every department head’s phone number here, and we’ll see what we can do.”

Knight was previously town manger in Topsham. He left his job there at the end of his contract last spring, intending to join his wife, Kay Rand, in Washington, D.C. Rand was working at the time as Maine Senator Angus King’s chief of staff. However, Rand became ill, and the couple decided against making D.C. their full-time home and to return to Maine to be closer to family and friends. The couple has two grown daughters and three grandchildren.

The pair is now getting used to the seasonal rhythms of Bar Harbor, which Knight said are different from other places that they have lived.

“It’s certainly very busy compared to other places in the summer, and probably more quiet in the winter,” he said. “It’s interesting to see places closing up, and every day now, it gets a little more quiet.”

Knight is an avid downhill skier and dedicated amateur baseball player. He is a pitcher on the Washington All Stars, and every year travels to Florida in the fall to play in the Roy Hobbs World Series. He said that playing on the team is “great fun.”

Knight said that he is here in Bar Harbor at the pleasure of the town council and the citizens, and that his number one job is maintaining a balanced, fair budget while making sure residents are getting what they need.

“We are trying to provide good quality services to the residents at as minimal a cost as possible, and if they have a complaint or an issue, they should give me a call or stop in,” he said.

Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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