Southwest Harbor town manager appointed

Sarah Hinckley

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SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Justin VanDongen is set to begin work as town manager here at the end of June. Selectmen approved his appointment Tuesday.

VanDongen, 39, has served as assessor for the town of Bar Harbor for the last five years. He has three daughters enrolled at Connors Emerson. He will begin in Southwest Harbor on June 25 and work with outgoing Town Manager Don Lagrange for his first week.

VanDongen previously worked in Boothbay Harbor as its town assessor and in Pittston as administrator and assessor.

“I’ve been involved in almost every aspect of municipal government at this point,” said VanDongen, who was one of 23 applicants for the position.

Southwest Harbor began advertising for a replacement in March and received applications from as far away as North Carolina. VanDongen stood out from the candidates because of his past experience, his computer skills and evident thoughtfulness in deliberating over issues, said Dan Norwood, who chairs the Board of Selectmen.

Lagrange, who will remain on as code enforcement officer for the town, also currently fills the roles of town manager, tax collector, treasurer, road commissioner and licensed plumbing inspector. While VanDongen will not be expected to fill all of those roles, he said he is looking forward to providing consistency, support for town employees and efficiency in town operations.

“I look forward to having a change of pace and being involved with different projects,” said VanDongen.

One major upcoming project on the books for Southwest Harbor includes an infrastructure project totaling $2.3 million that will begin in the fall.

After selectmen voted to approve his appointment, VanDongen thanked the board and told them and members of the public that he is looking forward to his new position.

“I look forward to you taking my place,” Lagrange told VanDongen.



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