Finance Director Sarah Gilbert will temporarily fill in as town manager while Bar Harbor looks for a replacement for Kevin Sutherland.
Bar Harbor Municipal Building is seen on Cottage Street. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The Bar Harbor Town Council appointed a longtime town employee as interim town manager on Tuesday evening.

Sarah Gilbert, the town’s finance director, will temporarily fill in as town manager while Bar Harbor looks for a long-term replacement for Kevin Sutherland, who resigned abruptly last week.

Gilbert has worked for the town since 2005 and has held the position of finance director since early 2021. After meeting in executive session with the council about 9 p.m Tuesday, she was appointed interim town manager by a unanimous vote. Councilor Jeff Dobbs, who suffered a heart attack in November, is still recuperating and was not at the special council meeting.

Appointing Gilbert as interim town manager helps to ensure continuity for town staff in the wake of Sutherland’s departure, Chair Val Peacock said. Gilbert will continue to fill the role of finance director while serving as interim town manager, she said.

“She knows the town and the staff,” Peacock said of Gilbert, adding that having her in the role will be helpful as the council and other town officials prepare the 2023-24 annual budget. “It gives us a lot of assurance we’re going to do things right.”

Gilbert’s appointment is open-ended. Town officials said last week they will work with the Maine Municipal Association to find a new top administrator, a process that could take several months.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....