Bar Harbor’s Town Council on Tuesday appointed a former member of the board to temporarily fill a seat vacated earlier this month when longtime councilor Jeff Dobbs resigned.

J. Clark Stivers, who previously served on the board from 2014 until 2017, was unanimously appointed by the six other councilors. He will hold the seat until a new councilor is elected on June 13 to serve the remaining two years of Dobbs’ term.

Dobbs, a longtime member of the board who won an election last summer, suffered a serious heart attack last fall and missed several meetings while he was recuperating. He attended his first council meeting since then earlier this month, but tendered his resignation because of his health.

Val Peacock, the council chair, said Tuesday that the town charter requires the council to appoint someone to temporarily fill a vacancy when it happens more than 60 days before the next election.

She said councilors wanted someone with experience serving on a council because they have their hands full with the ongoing search for a new town manager. The town also faces lawsuits over weekly vacation rental regulations and cruise ship limits.

Bar Harbor’s previous town manager, Kevin Sutherland, abruptly left the job in January after holding the position for a year. Sutherland accepted a severance package offered by the town after being told the offer would be valid for only two days.

Sarah Gilbert, the town’s finance director, is serving as interim town manager while the town searches for a replacement for Sutherland.

Councilor Gary Friedman, who was on the council during Stivers’ previous stint, said that the narrow window before the next election doesn’t really give councilors time to help get an inexperienced councilor up to speed. The council will meet twice in April and twice in May before the next election.

“It’s basically four council meetings, plus any extras for [discussing] lawsuits and the town manager search,” Friedman said.

Councilor Matt Hochman, who also was on the board when Stivers served previously, said Stivers has an “even keel” and will remain objective about the challenges the town faces.

Stivers, who Peacock said has a cold, was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hochman said. “He’s been here before so I thought he was a very obvious choice to fill in for just a couple of months.”

Hochman added that he does not think Stivers will be interested in running in the June election.

Multiple people have taken out papers to run for council, when four of the seven seats will be up for grabs. Candidates have until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 14, to qualify for the ballot, according to Deputy Town Clerk Lynn Higgins.

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....