Eleven people have filed candidacy papers to run for four available seats in this year’s Bar Harbor Town Council race.
Among the candidates are two incumbent councilors, two former town employees, a former longtime local newspaper editor and a local art gallery owner who last fall spearheaded a successful ballot effort to reduce local cruise ship traffic.
The deadline for filing paperwork to have their names appear on the Tuesday, June 13, ballot was 5 p.m. last Friday.
One race is to fill out the remaining two years of a seat won last summer by longtime councilor Jeff Dobbs, who resigned last month for health reasons. The other three races are for seats with three-year terms ending in June.
Incumbent councilors Erin Cough and Valerie Peacock, the latter of whom is the current council chair, are seeking reelection. Jill Goldthwait, a former state legislator who has served on the council since 2019, has decided not to run.
Running for the two-year seat are Brooke Blomquist, Earl Brechlin, Keith Goodrich and Charles Sidman.
Brechlin served for many years as the editor of local weekly newspapers, first for the now-defunct Bar Harbor Times and then, until 2017, for the Mount Desert Islander. Sidman has more recent experience in civic engagement as the main driver behind a successful ballot effort last fall to limit the number of cruise ship passengers who can visit Bar Harbor to no more than 1,000 a day,
The referendum is the subject of an ongoing federal lawsuit that was filed by a group of local business owners who want a more gradual reduction in cruise ship visits to Bar Harbor.
Seven people are running for the three other available seats. In addition to Cough and Peacock, the candidates for these seats are Maya Caines, Gary Jennings, Cosmo Nims, Kyle Shank and Nathan Young.
Young served as the town’s police chief from 1991 until 2014, when he was fired after an independent investigator concluded he had broken the law by driving drunk and had pressured officers in his department not to pursue the matter. Young denied the allegations but subsequently received treatment for alcoholism.
Maya Caines also is a former town employee who served as Bar Harbor’s communications coordinator from September 2022 until February 2023. She left when her position was eliminated in the wake of the abrupt resignation of former Town Manager Kevin Sutherland, who left after the council offered him a separation agreement and gave him two days to decide whether to accept it.