Sheriff Patrick Polky will be the point person,’for a week or two’

Knox County Commissioners begin search for interim leader following administrator’s resignation

Tue, 01/30/2024 - 6:15pm

    ROCKLAND — The official word came late morning, Jan. 30, as Knox County Commissioners convened at a special meeting: County Administrator Andrew Hart delivered a resignation letter to the three Commissioners, effective Feb. 1. It was no surprise however; talks began more than a week ago, said Commissioner Ed Glaser, as the county and Hart mutually agreed it was time to part ways.

    “I liken it to Bob Kraft and Belichick,” said Glaser, referencing the recent departure of New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick after 24 seasons. “It was at a point where we needed to change coaches. We mutually decided it was time for Andy to move on and us to try and find someone else.”

    Hart said Tuesday evening: “I have enjoyed working for Knox County for over 15 years and I am looking forward to new experiences.”

    Now, the County Commissioners must find interim help and initiate the search for a new county administrator. To begin, however, Knox County Sheriff Patrick Polky will be the point person, “for a week or two,” said Glaser.

    The Commissioners, county finance director, sheriff and administrative assistant will likely move forward with searching for an interim administrator, said Glaser. 

    “We don’t know what the format will be,” said Glaser.

    Hart’s settlement value, signed Jan. 30, totals approximately $120,000 to be paid in a lump sum, said Glaser.

    Hart’s contract was effective for another 2.5 years, “and we decided we’d make it nine months,” said Glaser.

    He offered praise for Hart’s work over the past 15 years, “and we are thankful for his leadership.”

    In a joint statement issued earlier in the day, the county and Hart said: “The Commissioners and Andy have had discussions over the past week and have come to the mutual decision that it is in the best interests of each to move in separate directions. Andy has offered his resignation, and the Commission will accept it momentarily.”
    In that statement, the county thanked Hart, and Hart thanked the county.
    Sheriff Polky emailed county staff Tuesday afternoon, announcing Hart’s resignation, writing: “The Commissioners are working diligently and deliberately to find the appropriate replacement for an interim role as well as find someone that is the right fit for the regular full-time role. Until either of these can be found, the Commissioners have asked me to help manage the day-to-day items of the position by working with all of the Elected Officials and Department Heads of the county.
    “This afternoon, Chair Glaser met with many of the county leaders and discussed the need for us all to come together and share in the load of the administrative work that there is to do. He also encouraged us to provide feedback and suggestions on any administrative functions that the county can be improved upon.
    “Any issues within a Department/Office that can not be resolved internally can be brought to my attention and I will work collaboratively with the appropriate county team member(s) to come to an appropriate resolution.
    “Many of you are also curious about HR. At this time, we are utilizing a consultant and that is primarily for technical assistance. We are still working on a solution for the other HR matters but until then, I recommend you attempt to use your supervisory/leadership chain. If you feel you are unable to use that route, I am available to listen but please understand that I might have to refer you back to your supervisory/leadership chain.”
    With the county leadership in flux, Commissioner Glaser said next steps will involve conversations with people who may be willing to fill an interim role.

    Names have been suggested to the commissioners, he said.

    “If that doesn’t work out, then we go to consultants,” Glaser said.

    For the future, he wants a cohesive county government that is in tune with the member municipalities. (Knox County comprises 18 municipalities, and that includes the islands of Isle au Haut, Matinicus, North Haven and Vinalhaven.)

    “I am hoping to see that as we move ahead things run smoothly across all of the departments,” said Glaser. “The county fills in the gaps between the state and the town. I don’t know if we have been as responsive to the towns as we wanted to be.”

    He said the county would spend more, “of our time helping with what the towns want to do.”

    Municipalities have been vocally critical of county government after the Knox County Regional Communications Center — the county’s emergency dispatch service — came to near collapse last August.

    The regional 911 call center reported a personnel exodus, leaving the emergency dispatch with a staff of four instead of the budgeted complement of 12. The center falls under the purview of county administration, and is funded by all property taxpayers in Knox County. At the same time, the Sheriff’s Department also reported a deficit of correctional and patrol employees.

    Several factors cited were cited and the result was Knox Country contracting with Waldo County Regional Communications Center to handle its 911 calls, which remains the case today.

    As of Jan. 30, Glaser said the ranks at Knox County Regional Communications Center had climbed back to nine to 10 full-time employees and several per diem employees. The county was ready to begin conversations with the state about reclaiming its 911 call center status.
    At the same time, Knox County also plans to meet with Waldo County Feb. 15 to discuss extending the current contract, “so we are sure we have 911,” he said.
    The current contract ends at the beginning of March, said Glaser.
    It states that Knox County agrees to reimburse Waldo for the actual cost of the additional full time employees. Also, Waldo may negotiate with its employees (and any applicable collective bargaining agent for those employees) a stipend for the WRCC employees, when assigned to handle 911 emergency calls.
    Knox agrees to reimburse Waldo for this stipend in an amount not to exceed the equivalent of $5 per hour for such employees.
    And, both counties agreed on a non-interference, meaning “neither shall attempt to recruit, encourage, coerce, or otherwise entice employees of the other to leave employment with one party and enter employment of the other, or to otherwise interfere with existing employment relationships.”

    Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at; 207-706-6657