ELLSWORTH, Maine — The city has hired a new finance director it hopes will bring stability to the office after years of turnover in the post.
The City Council on Monday voted 7-0 to hire Anne Laine, who was office supervisor for the town of Gouldsboro from August 2021 until early November. Laine has prior experience in corporate finance, supply chain logistics, private equity, and business operations.
Ellsworth has had three finance directors in the past five years, with City Clerk Toni Dyer most recently filling the position on an interim basis since Josh McIntyre left in July, after one year in the job.
Prior to McIntyre, Jenn Merchant, who now works for Machias Savings Bank, served in the position since the 2018 departure of Tammy Mote, who now works for Rudman Winchell in Bangor. Mote was elected last month as an Ellsworth city councilor.
Glenn Moshier, Ellsworth’s city manager, said that Laine has lengthy, diverse experience in the field of finance and has shown a keen interest in learning more about how municipalities manage public money.
“She’s a self-professed workaholic, which is exactly what we need in that position,” Moshier said.
Councilor Steve O’Halloran told Laine the city’s finances are being audited and the early indications are that its accounting books have not been kept in the best shape.
“I want to make sure you know what you’re getting into,” O’Halloran said. “There’s a lot of things that need to be tweaked. You’re inheriting some challenges.”
Many accounts remain unreconciled and that the city is upgrading its accounting system to help improve its record keeping, said Dale Hamilton, the council chairman.
“A lot of that was due to the fact that we as a city have had some change in personnel, and when that happens it becomes problematic,” Hamilton said.
But Laine was undeterred.
“I feel good about it,” Laine assured the council. “I know you have some challenges and a lot of turnover.”
Laine moved to Milbridge from Knoxville, Tennessee, during the pandemic, not long before taking the Gouldsboro job.
“I was trying to retire, but I’m not ready,” Laine said. “I hiked everything I could.”
The council also on Monday approved promoting Matthew Williams to be the new city planner. Williams was hired earlier this year as assistant city planner under Elena Piekut, who quit as city planner in early November.