Tony Smith retiring as public works director 

Tony Smith speaks to residents at a town meeting in 2017.

MOUNT DESERT — After 21 years as the town’s director of public works, Tony Smith will retire Oct. 31. 

He oversees a department that includes streets and highways, sewage treatment, solid waste management and buildings and grounds. This year’s public works budget of just over $4 million is nearly one-third of the total municipal budget, excluding Mount Desert Elementary School. 

I love my job 99 percent of the time, and I am not leaving because I am disgruntled,” Smith said. “It was a very tough decision to make, but I don’t want to be 76 looking back and wishing I had retired at 66.  

One reason I am leaving is because I have many home projects that I have put off too many times that I would like to do. Another reason is there is a great national park here called Acadia with miles of hiking trails that I want to spend much more time on.” 

Town Manager Durlin Lunt said Smith has built a “great legacy.” 

“He has overseen the rebuilding of the infrastructure of this town over the past 21 years, our roads, our sidewalks, our buildings. Our road maintenance in the winter is second to none. I don’t know of any community in the state that has better maintained roads when it gets snowy and icy.” 

Smith said he is pleased to be leaving the town’s infrastructure in better shape than he found it. 

Wastewater treatment plant and pump station upgrades will help us do our part in keeping water bodies crystal clear,” he said. “I have been told we have the best roads on the island.”  

Smith credited the entire staff of the Public Works Department with its success. 

“They are second to none. I will miss them all.” 

Also, he said, “The improvements could not have been accomplished without the support of town staff, town managers, select boards and warrant committees I have worked with over the years. Very important was the trust of the residents of the town who, in addition to their support, financed all the work. 

“The town staff I have been privileged to work with…I would put them up against any others in their respective disciplines.” 

Lunt described Smith as an “excellent supervisor” and someone who is “very meticulous and thorough.” 

“One of the things I’ve always admired most about Tony is when other departments have had needs that required somebody with an engineering background, Tony has been right there to help them. I think his willingness to do that rather than contracting some of that work out has probably saved the community a good deal of money.” 

Select Board member Martha Dudman said, “Tony’s put his heart and soul into this town. He’s built a great team while taking full responsibility for all aspects of our public works.   

“It will be strange not to see him drive by in that white SUV and wave out the window. We’ll miss him.” 

Lunt will now begin the search for Smith’s successor as director of public works. 

“That’s something we’re going to have to start on very rapidly,” he said. “Two months [until Smith’s retirement] sounds like a lot of time, but it really isn’t.” 

Smith said he is willing to stay on as chairman of the Acadia Disposal District, as a member of the Municipal Review Committee board of directors and as one of Mount Desert’s three elected members of the Mount Desert Island High School Board of Trustees. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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