Jeff Dobbs, a longtime Bar Harbor town councilor who last November had a heart attack, has resigned from his council seat
Dobbs attended the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, his first since he collapsed at his home last fall. At the end of the meeting, he submitted his resignation. He said it would go into effect at noon on Wednesday.
“I hate to leave during such stressful times, but I must consider my family and my health first,” Dobbs said, noting that he is 73-years-old. “If I was a younger man, I’d be sticking it out.”
Dobbs’ resignation comes at a time when the town does not have a permanent town manager, is being sued in federal court over cruise ship limits and is facing an urgent multimillion school reconstruction project.
In January, during Dobbs’ absence, the council offered former Town Manager Kevin Sutherland a severance package and gave him 48 hours to accept it, which Sutherland did. Sarah Gilbert, the town’s finance director, has been serving as interim city manager since then, at the same time that the town is being sued in federal court over a vote last fall that sharply limits how many cruise ship passengers can visit Bar Harbor each day.
Dobbs, who appeared to have some difficulty reading his resignation letter, said he also was suffering from kidney failure. He is facing a prolonged recovery and “doesn’t have much choice,” he added.
Dobbs, who was re-elected last June to a 3-year council term, said he would continue to serve on the town’s recreation committee and on the boards of the Bar Harbor Historical Society and the town’s Village Improvement Association.
First elected in 1990, Dobbs has served for many years on the council, though not continuously. His most recent run on the council began in 2019.
With Dobbs’ resignation, the town is expected to hold elections for four council seats — more than half of the seven seats on the council — at its annual municipal elections on June 13. However, Dobbs’ seat will be temporarily filled before then. The town charter specifies that when the election date is more than 60 days away from a resignation, the council shall, by majority vote, appoint someone to fill the seat on an interim basis until the election is held.
An election will be held in June to fill the remaining two years of Dobbs’ unfinished term, while three more seats will be up for re-election for three-year terms, according to Gilbert.
Councilors whose terms are scheduled to end this June are Val Peacock, Erin Cough and Jill Goldthwait. It was unclear Wednesday morning whether any of them will seek re-election.