Durlin Lunt Jr. describes Mount Desert as “a very special place.” It’s his hometown, and he’s been the town manager since 2010.
A Northeast Harbor native, Lunt graduated from Mount Desert High School, “a great high school, the only one of its size in the state that had full accreditation” while housing grades 7-12. Thinking “I wanted to be a teacher,” he studied history at the University of Maine,” but after one year teaching, “I realized it wasn’t for me.”
All the while commuting from Mount Desert, Lunt worked at various jobs off-island over the years. A Mount Desert selectman from 1975 to 1992 and the select board’s chair for eight years, he graduated from UM in 1997 with a master’s degree in public administration.
After working with veterans through the Training Resource Center, Lunt retired in 2009. A year later “I was asked if I could come in as interim town manager” for Mount Desert, he said. Selectmen named him the full-time town manager that August.
Mount Desert sees its population swell each summer from around 2,100 year-round residents to about 7,500 people. “A lot of them are staying at the cottages,” which offer “a lot of employment” to local residents, Lunt said.
Arguably the prettiest Mount Desert Island harbor, Northeast Harbor attracts myriad visitors in summer and fall. “We don’t have accurate numbers on visitors, but the streets are full,” Lunt said.
He and his wife, Jean, have a son, Jeremy, who lives in West Hollywood, California. The Lunts enjoy hiking in Acadia National Park and “like to be a part of the community,” Durlin said.
“It’s been a great experience for me, the chance to become the manager of your hometown,” he said.