ELLSWORTH — After several months of searching and a few twists and turns, the city of Ellsworth has hired a planner to start Sept. 3.
J.E. “Jef” Fitzgerald resigned his post as town assessor in Bucksport this week to take the job in Ellsworth. He worked in Bucksport for roughly eight years, according to The Bucksport Enterprise.
Fitzgerald has worked in the planning department in Ellsworth before. He served as deputy planner from 2006 to 2012 before leaving to take the job in Bucksport. He will be paid a salary of $64,000 in his new role in Ellsworth.
“He’s bringing a lot of talent to the table,” said City Manager David Cole.
“We’re very fortunate to have this person with the skill set that he has.”
The city has been looking for a planner since Michele Gagnon left in January to take a job as town planner in Bar Harbor. Code Enforcement Officer Dwight Tilton stepped up in the interim to work with Assistant Planner Steve Fuller.
In June, after struggling to find someone to fill the position, officials announced that the city would consolidate two departments, planning and economic development, and bring Fuller on as staff planner, with Economic Development Director Janna Richards overseeing the department.
But Fuller recently announced that he is leaving his position to take a job as assistant planner in Bar Harbor, where he is slated to begin work on Aug. 19, focusing on the contentious issue of vacation rentals on the island.
Another city employee, Kerri Taylor, will fill the position of assistant planner, Cole said. Taylor works as utilities coordinator in the Water Department.
The two departments — planning and economic development — will still be consolidated, Cole said. The new single department will continue under the direction of Richards, who has a background in planning.
Fitzgerald will appear before the City Council on Aug. 19 for an appointment hearing.