MOUNT DESERT — Kathi Mahar, the town’s treasurer for the past nine years, plans to retire March 31.
“All residents of the town of Mount Desert owe a debt of gratitude for the work that Kathi has accomplished…to restore fiscal integrity to our community,” Town Manager Durlin Lunt said in a letter to the Board of Selectmen.
“Upon her appointment as treasurer, Kathi inherited a staggering sum of 24 material findings [of deficiencies] in our audit. Kathi can take great pride in not only eliminating these findings but in her work to install our MUNIS accounting software, thus providing a means to record, retain and retrieve vital data, enhancing our commitment to maximizing the utilization of funds entrusted to us by the taxpayers.
“We have experienced a series of successful audits and are able to provide information at Town Meetings allowing our citizens the capacity to make sound decisions,” Lunt wrote.
The selectmen, at their meeting on Tuesday, approved Lunt’s proposal to retain the Maine Municipal Association at a cost of $6,400 to help find Mahar’s successor.
Lunt said in his proposal that the position of treasurer “is of critical importance to the town of Mount Desert and warrants the investment for professional search assistance.”
“The cost of not filling the position with the right candidate is significantly higher than the cost of the search. The town has experienced such costs in the not-too-distant past.
“The Maine Municipal Association has experience helping communities fill professional positions, particularly those that are in high demand and low supply,” Lunt continued. “While there are no guarantees, we need to undertake prudent measures to increase the possibility of attracting and hiring a top tier candidate.”
He told the selectmen Tuesday night that failure to find such a candidate could cause “quite a lot of chaos in the whole operation.”