Planning director explains Bar Harbor departure

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

Anne Krieg, the Town of Bridgton’s new director of planning, economic and community development, said she left her last job at the Town of Bar Harbor in July, 2011 because that coastal community had chosen to no longer offer planning services — only code enforcement.

Krieg acknowledged, in a telephone interview with The Bridgton News this week, that she was let go from her job as Planning Director for the Town of Bar Harbor in July of last year for that reason.

The Town of Bar Harbor had agreed to an $85,496.93 settlement with Krieg, who was at the end of the first year in her three-year contract with the town. There is a non-disclosure clause in the separation agreement, which is the reason Krieg declined to discuss it in any detail.

“It was not my choice,” Krieg said Mar. 5 as to how she lost her job. “There was a large amount of work and a lot of committees coming out of the (Bar Harbor) Planning Department,” she said. “The town (of Bar Harbor) doesn’t provide planning services any longer, but the committees are standing (still operating). Again, the town (of Bar Harbor) isn’t going to be offering planning services. I can’t comment on the town’s motivation.”

Asked if her dismissal from Bar Harbor had anything to do with her job performance in the nine years she worked there, Krieg forthrightly answered, “No.”

Bridgton looked ‘beyond the resume’

Bridgton Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said Monday that members of the hiring committee here in Bridgton, who recommended he hire Krieg, also  were well aware of news articles that stated the reason Krieg left her job in Bar Harbor.

“It was not a material issue in our decision making,” Berkowitz said Mar. 5 of news reports as to why Krieg exited the job in Bar Harbor. “We also checked beyond the resume and reported back to the full board (of selectmen). I have the selectmen’s complete support.”

The Town of Bridgton’s hiring committee consisted of Board of Selectmen Chairman Arthur Triglione Sr., and one member each from the town’s planning board, the Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Community Development Committee and the Bridgton Economic Development Corporation, as well as Town Manager Berkowitz and Neal Allen, who is executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG).

Krieg helped create the 2007 Comprehensive Plan that won Plan of the Year from the Maine Association of Planners. She also served as Bar Harbor’s Public Information Officer from 2005 through July, 2011. Krieg previously served as Town Planner in Reading, Mass., for three and one-half years, and prior to that was Principal Planner in Danvers, Mass., for five and one-half years.

She also was not the only person in the planning department employed by the Town of Bar Harbor to leave last year. Just prior to Krieg’s departure, Brian Madigan, who served as staff planner and Krieg’s assistant, left the town’s employ in June, 2011 to return home to his native California. Bar Harbor’s Code Enforcement Officer, Angela Chamberlain, replaced Krieg and was named Interim Planning Director, and she is supported by an administrative assistant, not a staff planner like Madigan.

“I’m really looking forward to coming to Bridgton and meeting people, and learning more about the business environment and how we can sustain that,” Krieg said. “I look forward to providing a high level of service and earning people’s respect and trust.

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