Harbormaster position discussed

TREMONT — Changes to the job description for the town’s harbormaster occupied most of the discussion at a selectmen’s meeting Monday.

The issue was on the agenda at the request of Selectman Dean Wass, a lobster fisherman and former member of the town’s harbor committee.

There have been several revisions to the job description. The latest version was drafted by former town manager Carl Young. Young abruptly resigned in June after serving less than one year as town manager, citing a difference in management styles between himself and some members of the board of selectmen.

In the three-page document, a general definition of the harbormaster’s duties states that the job is a supervisory position and involves the “daily supervision of workers and contractors.” Wass said he would like to eliminate any references to supervision. He gave no reason for his preference.

Wass also objected to giving the harbormaster blanket authority to hire outside labor for minor projects involving the harbor.

“The harbormaster should be doing the work rather than hiring out,” Wass said.

Wass asked if the harbormaster got bids for this outside help or whether he generally contacted one person about the work. The consensus of the board was that there are only one or two people on Tremont’s side of Mount Desert Island that do the types of marine-related work that the town needs in the harbor.

That discussion led interim town manager Dana Reed to point out that the town does not have a purchasing policy. Reed said that it is difficult to ascertain when a particular item should be sent out for bid without a specific dollar amount to trigger that action. In some cases, the staff time and advertising expenses could outweigh the expenditure, he said.

Chairman Kathi Thurston said she preferred the job description from 2006, which is more specific and says, “This is the job.”

“The simpler we make it, the better it will be,” Thurston added.

The current job description indicates that the pay scale for the position is between $40,000 and $50,000 annually. Wass and Reed agreed that this was unnecessary. Those salaries could change over time, Reed said.

Reed was directed to take these suggestions and others made Monday and draft a new job description to present to selectmen at a future meeting.

In other business, selectmen appointed Reed to be the town’s public access officer. No employee holds this position, which is required by state law, Reed said.

In a related matter, selectmen voted 4-0 to set fees for time spent and materials used for responding to requests under Maine Freedom of Access Law. Under the fee schedule, the first ten copies are free and each additional copy of a document is 25 cents. The first hour of staff time is free; additional time will be billed at $15 per hour. Copies of video recordings of meeting are $5 each.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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