Southwest Harbor harbormaster steps down



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — You’ll probably still see Jesse Gilley on the water in Southwest Harbor after this week, but it won’t be in his capacity as the harbormaster.  

“A job came up that worked a little better for my family and I couldn’t refuse it,” he said.  

Gilley, who was brought on by the town earlier this year, has taken a job as a boat captain with John W. Goodwin Jr. Construction, where he’ll run a transport barge to the islands off Mount Desert Island.  

“I really enjoyed this job,” Gilley said of his five months in Southwest Harbor. He was sad to leave much earlier than he ever planned, but the new gig was too good to pass up.   

“It was a hard decision,” said Gilley, 30, “but ultimately it was a better fit for my family.” 

Before coming to Southwest Harbor, Gilley worked on a scallop fishing boat out of New Bedford, Mass. He also worked as a foreman for three years at Charles Bradley Construction, where he helped to rebuild part of Tremont’s town wharf.  

Gilley’s last day is Friday, although he said he will stay on in an interim capacity, possibly filling in on the weekends, as long as it didn’t interfere with the new job.  

“I don’t want to leave the town hanging,” he said. “Anything I can do to help.”  

Gilley said he was treated well by the town and enjoyed working with the Harbor Committee, and even brought up possibly joining the committee’s ranks one day.  

Gilley’s exit comes at a time when town officials are looking to fill several other high-profile positions, including town manager and police chief.  

Interim Town Manager Dana Reed said the town is accepting applications for the harbormaster job, as well as a part-time harbormaster to work on weekends. The latter has been advertised since December.  

The job is a difficult one to fill, though some people have already expressed interest, the town manager said. 

“It’s most important to get the right person for the job,” Reed said.  

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Ethan is the maritime reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He also covers Bar Harbor. When he's not reporting, you'll likely find him wandering trails while listening to audiobooks. Send tips, story ideas and favorite swimming holes in Hancock County to [email protected]