TREMONT — While the town continues to look for a full-time code enforcement officer (CEO), it will “lease” Mount Desert’s CEO, Kim Keene, for no more than one day a week over the next two months.
Jesse Dunbar was Tremont’s CEO before being named town manager this spring. And until a new CEO is hired, he will continue doing both jobs, but he needs help.
The select boards of both towns have adopted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that calls for Mount Desert to provide “one leased employee” to provide code enforcement and plumbing inspection services to Tremont.
“Ms. Keene shall dedicate such time as is reasonably necessary to provide (these) services and will be made available to Tremont one full day of each week for the duration of this agreement,” the MOU states.
Mount Desert Town Manager Durlin Lunt said in a memo to that town’s select board, “The intent of the MOU is not to commit Kim to one day each week in Tremont but to have her available during times when back-up assistance is needed.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Tremont will pay Mount Desert an hourly rate of $32.57 for Keene’s services plus $143.79 per day to cover the cost of benefits.
The municipalities in the Acadia-area League of Towns have mutual aid agreements for sharing public safety personnel, but not for administrative positions. Lunt, who is chairman of the League of Towns board, said the idea of having mutual aid agreements for administrative positions would be discussed at the board’s Sept. 28 meeting.
“Code enforcement officers are in very short supply,” he told the Mount Desert Select Board. “There are strict certification requirements to perform these duties.”
He said there currently are 20 unfilled CEO positions in Aroostook County alone.
“Here on MDI, we face not only a lack of trained people but extraordinarily high housing costs,” he said. “This applies not only to the [MDI] communities, but the off-island towns as well.”
Dunbar said the Tremont Select Board approved the CEO-leasing agreement Sept. 7. The Mount Desert Select Board approved it Monday night.