Camden committee selects new parks and recreation director
CAMDEN — After a lengthy search and multiple candidate interviews, a Camden committee and the town manager are recommending that Landon Fake, of Bethel, be the town’s next parks and recreation director. He has been selected from a pool of approximately 80 candidates, who submitted applications from across the country.
The search was especially sensitive since the person selected would succeed Jeff Kuller, who had been Camden’s parks and recreation director for eight years before he died unexpectedly in a timber harvesting accident last November.
“Landon was the unanimous choice of the search committee,” said Town Manager Patricia Finnigan, Friday, Sept. 6. “He has a depth of experience and the leadership skills that are essential at this important time for the Snow Bowl and the community.”
Finnigan’s recommendation will be considered by the Camden Select Board at its Sept. 17 meeting.
The position is an important one in a town that has multiple recreation and outdoor facilities, including the four-season Ragged Mountain Recreation Area and the municipally-owned Camden Snow Bowl.
“Fake will be a great addition to the management team of Beth Ward and William ‘Fitzy’ Fitzcharles,” said Finnigan.
Beth Ward has been filling in as interim director since Kuller died last fall. She will continue with the department, and Finnigan is recommending that her position be reclassified from administrative assistant to assistant director.
“Beth is very strong in areas that will compliment Fake,” said Finnigan.
Fake’s salary will be $70,060, with benefits, and he will begin Oct. 15. He will be in Camden Sept. 12 and 13, getting acquainted with the town and the department.
Fake is currently executive director of Western Maine’s Mahoosuc Pathways, “where he has been instrumental in working with the Town of Bethel and other stakeholders to develop a new 2,400 acre community forest of land for regional recreational uses including multi-use trails for hiking , biking and skiing,” said Finnigan.
The search for the director was conducted by a committee that included Brian Robinson, representing the Parks and Recreation Committee; Robert Gordon, chairman of the Ragged Mountain Foundation; Carol Sue Greenleaf, town finance director; and Rick Knowlton, of the Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Committee.
“Camden is a great example of a town government working with engaged citizens to create incredible recreation opportunities,” said Landon Fake, in a news release. “I’m really excited to be part of that.”
Fake was a former director of the Outward Bound Atlantic Region Wilderness programs where he managed programming and a $3 million budget. While there, his responsibilities included managing facilities, programs, logistics and supervising major capital construction projects.
“As we embark on the next step in the Ragged Mountain redevelopment, now more than ever we need a director who has a track record of taking major capital projects from ideas to reality, and the financial management expertise that brings projects in on budget,” Finnigan said.
Fake initiated and led Outward Bound’s relocation of its base of operations from Hurricane Island to the mainland, a move that presented a multitude of challenges in order to streamline facilities and operations to ensure financial sustainability, Finnigan said.
“One of Camden’s great attributes is our citizens,” Finnigan said. “The residents are civic-minded and want to be involved in the community. Landon has extensive community outreach skills rooted in community engagement and open and transparent communications.”
Fake is a member of the Bethel Conservation Commission, a member of the Mahoosuc Land Trust board, and advises outdoor organizations in the U.S. and internationally about developing recreational programs. He currently lives in Bethel with his wife Margaret Haberman. They have two daughters Anna, who attends Guilford College in North Carolina, and Cathryn, a ski racer who will be graduating from Gould Academy in June.
Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at email@example.com; 706-6657.