Stonington seeks replacement for retiring harbormaster

STONINGTON — Wanted: one bonded Quickbooks accounting software expert who can drive a boat.

Stonington’s harbormaster, Steve Johnson, is retiring in the spring. On Monday, the Stonington Board of Selectmen spent an hour with a few Harbor Committee members discussing possibilities for his replacement.

One thing is clear: it may take more than one person to do everything Johnson does.

Johnson has several responsibilities under the title harbormaster, including management of the fish pier, which entails handling $1 million a year in fuel sales. Johnson also uses his personal truck to haul the fish pier trash.

Harbor Committee member Justin Boyce suggested breaking Johnson’s job into two positions: hiring a part-time harbormaster for summer as well as a full-time year-round fish pier manager.

“It makes sense to separate those out,” Boyce said. “Most communities throughout the state have a seasonal harbormaster.”

Harbor Committee Chairman Hilton Turner said it could take a long time for one person to handle everything that Johnson does.

When he started, “things were a little different,” Turner said. “There weren’t 200 boats in the harbor.”

Essential is that whoever is managing the fish pier be bonded, the selectmen said.

“It’s too much money being handled without being bonded,” said Selectman Richard Larrabee Sr.

Selectman Evelyn Duncan told the Harbor Committee that the town’s auditor “is going to come down hard on the selectmen for having someone down there doing books who isn’t bonded.”

“With this much money, it’s big business,” Duncan said. “We need to prove to the accountants we’re doing right.”

The group discussed what hours a part-time harbormaster might work.

“Ours is more of a working harbor, but we’re certainly not Portland either,” said Stonington Town Manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris.

Johnson said he’s always gotten calls from the U.S. Coast Guard in the middle of the night.

“It’s the nature of the beast,” he said.

For more maritime news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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