County finance director warns against meddling

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — If Hancock County ever switches to a county manager form of government, the finance director should continue to report directly to the county commissioners, finance director Phil Roy suggested last week.

“I’ve seen it time and time again where the finance department answers to an administrator, and I’ve seen where embezzlement has happened,” he told the Acadia-area League of Towns board at its meeting at park headquarters.

Members of the league board said last spring that county government appeared to be “inefficient” and “dysfunctional” after treasurer Janice Eldridge, Sheriff Bill Clark and Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport Manager Allison Rogers complained about Mr. Roy’s handling of the county’s finances. Sheriff Clark endorsed the idea of having a full-time, professional manager to oversee all of the county’s administrative functions.

The League’s board voted unanimously to ask their elected municipal officials if they wanted to petition the county commissioners to study the structure of county government and consider hiring a county manager. The boards of selectmen in Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor endorsed that idea. However, no such study has yet been undertaken.

As for the complaints voiced last spring by other county officials about the way he was doing his job, Mr. Roy indicated that they were the result of his having instituting a time-records management system to keep better track of how money is being spent.

“It showed problems with contracts; it showed problems with employees; it showed problems with the administration,” he said.

“Change is hard. People don’t like to be accountable. The system we put in was very difficult for the county to adopt. But it is stronger and better for it.”

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Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]