Friends, colleagues gather to mark Mary Ellen Barnes’ retirement as LCRPC director

Sun, 12/17/2023 - 8:45am

    “This is the best place to work in the state of Maine. It’s a rare thing to have such great communities to work with. My ride’s been sweeter than Tom Brady’s in the NFL!” That’s how Mary Ellen Barnes summed up her years of service first as Lincoln County’s planner, and later as executive director of Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission. Friends and colleagues gathered in LCRPC’s Bath Road office to honor Barnes on Thursday evening, Dec. 14 at a surprise retirement party.

    “She’s a wonderful person that I and so many others have been privileged to work with,” said Ed Kavanagh, a longtime Wiscasset resident who now calls Damariscotta home. “For most of my early involvement in the Lincoln County Historical Society, Mary Ellen served as the organization’s vice president,” continued Kavanagh. “Later, she and I were involved in Wiscasset’s ‘Museum in the Streets’ project. She’s really had quite an amazing career here having done so many things in so many communities.”

    Evan Goodkowsky described Barnes as being fantastic to work with in the ongoing effort to bring broadband internet service to the Midcoast. “We worked together the past two years and plan to continue working together. Mary has, or finds a resource at the ready for, almost every issue,” said Goodkowsky, who resides in Wiscasset and serves as an infrastructure consultant for the Coastal Maine Regional Broadband Committee.  

    Wiscasset Town Manager Dennis Simmons told Wiscasset Newspaper he will greatly miss working with Barnes. “One of the first people I met coming in as Wiscasset town manager was Mary Ellen,” he said. “To say that I was impressed with her knowledge of the county and Wiscasset in particular would be an understatement. In my time as town manager Mary Ellen has been an asset to me. She has assisted me in ways too numerous to count and her counsel has been much appreciated. I wish her well in her retirement,” added Simmons.

    Patricia Cloutier, executive manager of Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce, enjoyed working with Barnes over the years and became a close friend. The two shared the Route 1 building where LCRPC’s and WACC’s offices are. “Mary Ellen Barnes has been not only a wonderful friend but a huge proponent of the Wiscasset Area Chamber. She was instrumental in making a home for the chamber in the LCRPC office,” she said. “She has always been supportive in our many community efforts, involving the chamber in projects that she thought significant, and being a willing participant in our events. She will truly be missed as I so enjoyed our many conversations,” commented Cloutier.

    After thanking everyone for attending, Barnes said she wished she was 10 years younger so she could continue working. In appreciation of her years of service, Barnes received a special gift from every town in Lincoln County. The catered event was well attended, with every Lincoln County town sending a representative.