2015-12-18 / Community

News Briefs

Lennon leaving Resort Collection

Debbie Lennon, who helped found the Kennebunkport Resort Collection in 2010, has announced she will sell off her interest in the company to launch a new phase of her career as a sales and marketing independent consultant. KRC, which she has managed alongside Tim Harrington, will be among her first clients, the firm announced in a press release Monday.

Speaking though KRC spokesman Marc Robinson, Lennon declined to say what percentage of KRC she owned, or how much she expects to get for it.

Lennon’s departure from KRC will not affect her role in Vinegar Hill LLC, a partnership she entered into with Harrington to buy the Arundel Barn Playhouse and convert it into a concert venue.

Vinegar Hill is a separate venture from KRC, Robinson said, adding that the playhouse sale remains on track to close in late December.

KRC owns a diverse portfolio of luxury and upscale hotel and restaurant properties, including the Hidden Pond resort, The Tides Beach Club, the Kennebunkport Inn, The Cape Arundel Inn & Resort, the Grand Hotel and The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel, among others.

“I have enjoyed being part of this terrific organization over these last five years and the success has been gratifying,” Lennon said. “I plan to form a new company focused on what I enjoy best, marketing and branding. This area of Maine is so vibrant, a great place for entrepreneurs, and I’m looking forward to facing new challenges.”

Bill Bamford of Scarborough, who joined KRC in 2013 as chief financial officer, will assume Lennon’s duties in addition to his current role with the company.

“He will be a terrific leader for the team and brings strong relationships and three years of KRC experience that will help make the transition change smooth and seamless,” Harrington said.

Town announces new hires

There are two new faces in Kennebunk Town Hall, while some folks will start seeing a lot more of a third.

At the Dec. 8 selectmen’s meeting, Chairman Kevin Donovan announced the hiring of Mary Mancini as deputy town clerk and Joseph Crocker as a program director in the recreation department.

Mancini most recently worked as administrative assistant to the CEO of a Biddeford based nonprofit. She began work Nov. 30, although some residents may recognize her from selectmen’s meetings, where she has sat since October as the board’s recording secretary.

Crocker, who began work Dec. 7, worked most recently as a program leader in the Auburn Recreation Department. Before that he was employed by the Saco Parks and Recreation Department as a recreation program aide and by Old Orchard Beach as a lifeguard.

According to Kennebunk Finance Director Joel Downs, Mancini will be paid $16.50 per hour. Her immediate predecessor made $15.75. Crocker is to get $19.50 per hour, down slightly from his predecessor, who made $21.

Meanwhile, selectmen on Monday approved the hiring of Jonathan Reed as an alternate building and plumbing inspector. Reed has served in that role since February as an interim until the town could hire a new assistant code enforcement officer. In his new capacity, Reed will work exclusively on the $42.8 million Kennebunk High School renovation project, logging two days per week for the town.

Reed, who retired two years ago from the Scarborough code enforcement office, has more than 30 years of experience in the industry.

“He’s well versed in not only code enforcement but fire safety. He’ll be a nice asset to have,” Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said.

Tibbetts said Reed will be paid out of a fund already set aside for commercial inspections. RSU 21 is expected to pay as much as $170,000 in inspection fees to the town as part of the KHS project. However, Tibbetts said the town is in talks with school officials to waive all or part of those fees in exchange for right-of-way on school property for drainage pipes when Woodhaven Drive is rebuilt next year. If that deal can be made, it will save the town about $60,000 in construction costs, Tibbetts said.

Selectmen field public works complaint

While labor contract negotiations generally take place behind closed doors, a group of highway employees took current talks public Dec. 8, putting in an appearance at the selectmen’s meeting. Speaking on behalf of the road crew, shop steward Kevin Renk complained that while publicly they have been told to expect no more than 1.5 percent as an annual raise, others in town hall routinely get more.

Renk circulated to selectmen a summary he prepared of pay raises granted to town employees in recent years, and referenced an email he sent to selectmen on that topic. Town Manager Barry Tibbetts did not respond to a request from The Post to review those documents.

Renk agreed that some non-union employees have gone without raises in some budget cycles, but claimed they then made up for it in subsequent raises. Tibbetts, he said, recently got a $7,000 boost in a single season, amounting to a 7 percent pay raise. The union has asked for 3 percent pay hikes, Renk said, but they’d settle for the deal Tibbetts reportedly got.

“We’ll take 7 percent now and then zero for the next three years. That’s fine,” he said.

But board Chairman Kevin Donovan refused to negotiate in public, laying out instead the course the public works employees could follow to get equal treatment to non-union employees.

“Of course, as you know, their rate increases are based on merit, not on a straight-across percentage,” he said. “If you’re suggesting that you receive the same increases as non-union employees, you can decertify and go that route.”

For his part, Renk seemed to suggest contract talks could spiral into legal action, if not an actual strike.

“As a taxpayer, I’d rather try to get it settled rather than go to the next step, which is going to cost taxpayers a lot more money,” he said.

Still, Donovan would have none of it.

“You’re represented by a union and we’re not here to negotiate. So you can make all the statements you want, but we’re not going to change anything this evening,” he said.

Following their regular meeting, selectmen entered a previously scheduled executive session to discuss the public works contract, as well as a new contract with the police officers union.

No action was taken when they returned to open session.

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