Camden Snow Bowl Manager resigns; Camden commences new town manager search
CAMDEN — The Camden Snow Bowl’s general manager, Landon Fake, submitted his resignation to the town late in the afternoon, Jan. 26. Fake confirmed his resignation Jan. 27.
“I’m sorry to see him go,” said Camden Select Board Chairman John French, on Jan. 27.
The acting Snow Bowl manager is now Beth Ward, who is also acting parks and recreation director, for the town. She has been assistant manager at the Snow Bowl and the parks and recreation department since Fake was hired in 2013.
Fake’s resignation follows the resignation of Camden Town Manager Patricia Finnigan, Jan.18, and the hiring for an independent financial audit of the municipally-owned Snow Bowl finances since 2012, as they relate to the $8.5 million redevelopment of Ragged Mountain. Overcosts of the project, plus scarce snowpack and mechanical issues, helped to drive the Snow Bowl into a $300,000 deficit, which accrued over several years.
The town is contracting with R.H. Smith and Co., of Buxton, to perform the audit, and the Select Board agreed to spend up to $12,000 from its own contingency on the job.
That work is anticipated to end by Feb. 15, according to Acting Town Manager Roberta Smith.
Finnigan hired Fake in Sept. 2013. He had 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 in November 2012.
“Landon was the unanimous choice of the search committee,” said Finnigan, in 2013. “He has a depth of experience and the leadership skills that are essential at this important time for the Snow Bowl and the community.”
Town Manager search
On Jan. 26, the Select Board members met behind closed doors to discuss a personnel issue, and while there, they also spoke with Maine Municipal Association representative David Barrett, about conducting a manager search.
When the board exited its executive session, Chairman John French said the closed door meeting did pertain to a personnel issue, and that the board did take the opportunity to talk about the pending manager search.
Barrett is director of personnel services and labor relations at the nonprofit MMA, which offers professional services to municipalities and other local governmental entities in Maine.
He said the Camden Select Board and he talked about “issues facing Camden and priorities” in the meeting, and will embark on a search that begins with advertisements circulated.
The Select Board voted Jan. 26 to contract with MMA for $4,900, plus expenses, to help find a new town manager.
The board is to reconvene to discuss the search as resumes get submitted, which are expected by Feb. 21. The board will start scheduling interviews in early March, with an anticipated offer made to a candidate in April.
French said the board has discussed forming a committee to help review candidates.
“If anybody has any particular qualities they would like to see in a town manger, get in touch with board members,” said board member Leonard Lookner. “We would appreciate that, certainly. We are hiring for the community.”
• Camden Snow Bowl project up to $8.4 million, fundraising resumes (Feb. 3, 2015)
• Camden Snow Bowl to start making snow Jan. 5 (Jan. 2)
• Homage to Camden’s Big T (March 15, 2014)
• By wide margin, Camden voters approve Snow Bowl improvement bond (Nov. 5, 2013)
• Camden committee selects new parks and recreation director (Sept. 6, 2013)
• Camden considers $2 million Snow Bowl bond, ordinance amendments Nov. 5 (Sept. 4, 2014)
• Camden ready to put $2 million bond before voters (Aug. 21, 2013)
• Camden pursues federal money to help with Snow Bowl upgrade (July 10, 2013)
• Camden learns about refurbished chairlifts, woven grips and haul ropes (April 10, 2013)
• Last run for Jeff (Jan. 21, 2013)
• Stellar start to season at Camden Snow Bowl (Jan. 9, 2013)
• Camden’s Ragged Mountain loses a good friend (Nov. 7, 2012)
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