Avoiding a conflict of interest, Kristina Egan has resigned her position on the Freeport Town Council in order to become executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments.
Egan, who is in the middle of her second three-year term on the Town Council, will step down on June 8, and begin her job with the Greater Portland Council of Governments on July 18. She made her resignation known to Town Manager Peter Joseph on Wednesday, May 11, and followed that up with a letter to Town Clerk Christine Wolfe on Thursday.
The Freeport Town Council will decide soon whether to hold a special election to replace Egan or wait until the November elections.
“It’s up to them,” said Town Manager Peter Joseph. “In a special election, the council would start the process. If not, candidates would take out nomination papers in August or September.”
Joseph said he is happy for Egan.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for her,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that she has to step down from the council because of that.”
“Greater Portland Council of Governments is composed of 26 member communities, including Freeport, and disburses funds to those members,” Egan wrote. “Because the agency plays this role, there is a conflict of interest that prevents me from continuing to serve the people of Freeport as a town councilor. While I am disappointed to be leaving the Town Council, I anticipate continuing to serve the town’s residents in my new role, which is focused on building regional prosperity and preserving the places that make this area of Maine so special.”
The organization, based in Portland, provides member municipalities with a variety of services, including transportation planning, economic and community development, revolving loan fund programs and mapping.
Egan said that it had been an honor to serve residents of District 3.
“My conversations with residents have defined my goals for serving on the council,” she continued. “These have included holding property taxes stable, especially for longtime and older residents, making our roads safer for people who walk, run, and bike, and strengthening our schools.”
Sarah Tracy has served on the Town Council with Egan for several years, and praised her as someone who thought things out.
“She was good at looking at data, and she was good at judgment,” Tracy said Monday. “I trusted her and I still trust her. She didn’t make knee-jerk reactions.”
Tracy said that Egan “was one of our strongest councilors.” She had the ability to identify the big issues, Tracy aid.
“She’s definitely someone who pulled the oar hard,” Tracy said. “She could articulate the most important factors of an issue, and she did it in a way that was nuanced.”
Egan, 44, will leave her position as director of the organization Transportation for Massachusetts, a coalition of 48 business, environmental, planning and transit organizations in that state. She had been traveling twice weekly to the job in Boston, and working the rest of the week from her home.
“I’m really excited about being with GPCOG,” she told the Tri-Town Weekly. “It’s going to be really great to have my life consolidated into one state. I live in Maine and I live in Massachusetts, and I would love to serve Maine.”
Egan and her husband, Alan Caron, moved to Freeport in 2010. Their 10-year-old son, Dax, attends Mast Landing School. She and her family plan to continue living in Freeport.
“It’s an incredibly welcoming community,” she said.
She succeeds Neal Allen, who is retiring after 18 years as executive director of GPCOG.
“Greater Portland Council of Governments is overjoyed with the selection of Kristina Egan as our new executive director,” said Matt Sturgis, president of the GPCOG board, in a press release. “Her experience, energy, and broad-based skillset matches exceptionally well with the mission.”
Allen said that Egan was a wise choice.
“The GPCOG board has chosen very wisely in selecting Kristina to serve as the next executive director,” he said. “Her impressive background and experience complement and will take to the next level our efforts in economic and environmental sustainability. She is a great fit for GPCOG and the region.”
Egan previoulsy has served as drector of the South Coast Rail project for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation; director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, which successfully secured $30 million to clean up contaminated properties for redevelopment; and director of a statewide transportation group in California, which worked with transit agencies to encourage more people to use public transportation.
Kristina Egan will resign her position on the Freeport Town Council effective June 8, in order to become executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments.