SKOWHEGAN — Somerset County commissioners on Wednesday named county finance manager Earla Haggerty as interim county administrator.
Haggerty takes over following the unexpected resignation Tuesday of Larry Post. She will hold the position until June 30 or until commissioners find and hire a replacement for Post.
“I’m willing to take on the challenge and help the county commissioners over the next few months, which will be difficult, but we’ll get it done,” Haggerty said after the unanimous vote by the five-member Board of County Commissioners.
Haggerty, of Skowhegan, has been employed by the county as finance manager for the past five years and worked previously in municipal government in Veazie, Levant and Bowdoinham.
She said she will meet privately with commissioners soon to chart a course and set goals for the coming weeks and months. She said she will not apply for the vacant county administrator’s position.
Before the meeting Wednesday afternoon, commissioners said Post’s lack of communication on routine county matters and specific business issues, including dealings with the state Board of Corrections on compensation for boarding out-of-county inmates, were part of his style that conflicted with commissioners’ expectations.
“His management didn’t match what the majority of the commissioners wanted,” Chairman Robert Dunphy, of Embden, said Wednesday.
Post, 59, of St. Albans, left the county courthouse under police escort Tuesday afternoon after a closed executive session with county commissioners. He said then the parting was by mutual agreement because he and county commissioners did not see eye to eye on direction and management of the county.
Commissioner Lynda Quinn, of Skowhegan, said commissioners were “unilaterally” left out of decisions that Post made. She said there was never “anything with any meat to it” on the twice-monthly agendas for commissioners’ meetings.
“I said, ‘We’re not doing any work here,’” Quinn said Wednesday. “I said, ‘Where is the work of the county that we’re supposed to be doing? Why isn’t it on the agenda?’”
She said Post made decisions without consulting with the county commissioners.
Contacted Wednesday, Post said he holds no bad feelings toward county commissioners.
“There is no point in me going back and reliving individual decisions,” he said by phone Wednesday evening. “I’ll just say that I thought I was doing what the commissioners had asked me to do. The determinations that they didn’t believe I was, I can’t respond to that. It’s just one of those things that didn’t work out as any of us hoped, and life goes on.”
Quinn said she voted against hiring Post in July 2011, saying that the $60,000 annual salary was too high for someone with only town manager experience.
Post, a former Hartland town manager, also was town manager in St. Albans for 30 years.
“I did not support him; I didn’t think he was up to the job, but God, I wanted him to succeed,” Quinn said. “I didn’t vote for (President Barack) Obama, but I want him to succeed for the sake of the country. For the sake of the county, I wanted it (Post’s tenure) to work.”
Commissioner Gerald York, of Fairfield, said Post was unable to carry out county business efficiently and smoothly.
“Things would transpire with the (Board of Corrections) and the situation with the jail, and we weren’t kept abreast of exactly what was going on down there,” York said.
York said Post was encouraged to get department heads to work with him and get them to do “the will of the commission.”
“That didn’t happen, and it needs to happen,” he said. “I hate to see him go, but he chose to quit, resign; and if he doesn’t want to work with us, what can we say?”
Doug Harlow — 612-2367