BUCKSPORT — The new town clerk, Jacob Gran of Winterport, who began work March 27, is also pastor of the Frankfort Congregational Church.
Gran replaces longtime clerk Kathy Downes, who has served Bucksport for 26 years.
The front office staff at the Bucksport town office helped Town Manager Susan Lessard with the interview process. Lessard had received 67 applications for the job.
“We had some excellent candidates and this process was made more difficult by the fact that we were looking for someone to follow a very long-term and well-loved employee,” Lessard said.
“He interviewed well — he was engaging and enthusiastic and asked good questions — and he had excellent references also,” the town manager said. “Jacob embodies a very strong customer service ethic, a very calm temperament, excellent technology skills, and experience with our software system as well as experience in the job responsibilities for which he was hired.”
“With no disrespect to any of the other excellent candidates, he just emerged as having the most ‘complete’ package of skills and personality that we were seeking,” Lessard said.
The Winterport native and 2015 Hampden Academy graduate most recently worked as Winterport’s deputy town clerk and registrar of voters.
Gran, 22, said he got an email from the job site indeed.com about the opening.
“I thought it would be a nice opportunity,” Gran said. “I’m familiar with the job.
“I bring a new perspective to office administration,” Gran said. “I like incorporating technology and learning new ways to do things that are more efficient.”
“I thought it would be a good advancement for me and my family,” he said. He and wife, MacKenzie, just bought their first home in Winterport. They have a son.
“I’m greatly looking forward to meeting the people of Bucksport,” Gran said. “I hope people will come in and introduce themselves.”
Gran had been employed part time at the Winterport town office.
“I was close friends with the former town manager there, Phil Betula,” the clerk said. “At the time, there was an opening. The person he’d first given the job to didn’t work out; then he called me. We actually played golf a lot together.”
What about that pastor gig?
“It’s a small church,” said Gran, who added that his duties for the church don’t conflict with the hours he needs to be in Bucksport.
“I do an afternoon service at one of the nursing homes,” he said. “Typically, it’s working on the service for Sunday that I do.”
“I served under the former minister for under four or five years,” he said. “When she retired, the board decided to take me on as their minister.”
That was July 2017.
“When I started there, they had an average attendance of 18 people on Sunday,” Gran said.
Under his leadership, attendance has grown to an average of 30 people a week.
“My grandmother [Charlene Brassbridge] has played the organ for the church for over 60 years,” Gran said. “They raised their children in the church. They had five children. My mom brought me to church and that’s how I got there.”