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County hires finance director – Mount Desert Islander

ELLSWORTH — Hancock County recently hired Monica Cease of Ellsworth, who just finished a 20-year tenure as the town of Swan’s Island’s treasurer in July, as its new finance director. Cease also leaves a job doing accounts payable for the Ellsworth School Department. 

“So I’m moving from one full-time job and a part-time job to just this full-time position,” the Waterville native said. “I look forward to going to work with Scott [Adkins, county administrator] and Rebekah [Knowlton, deputy county administrator].”  

Cease has a degree in microbiology but started working as a bookkeeper after college.  

“I tried to find work in research and development, but I ended up working at Bar Harbor Bank for a few years until we moved to Swan’s Island,” she said. “That’s really what got me going in finance and bookkeeping. When it comes to municipal bookkeeping, I’m pretty comfortable.”  

“It always comes naturally to me,” Cease said of numbers.  

“We ran a fish hatchery during the aquaculture days on Swan’s Island,” the finance director said. “I used my microbiology just a little bit.” 

Cease has been commuting to the island to do the books every Saturday since 2007, when she and her husband decided to leave the island for their son, who wanted to attend Ellsworth High School. 

Cease’s husband grew up on Swan’s Island and her father-in-law, Sonny Sprague, is one of the island’s long-time Select Board members. “Sonny convinced us to move to the island. That’s where we raised our son.” 

Cease said in 2018, when the county was electing a new treasurer, she was interested in pursuing the position because of her background, but it didn’t work out at that juncture. 

“I couldn’t make it work with my work schedule to pursue running for treasurer in 2018,” she said. “I was reading some of the issues they were having trying to get the finances in order. I’ve been interested.” 

Then, recently, the Hancock County Commissioners agreed with County Administrator Scott Adkins that a finance director was needed since Hancock County’s elected treasurer, Michael Boucher, is not managing the books. He is signing the checks for the county, according to officials.  

Cease saw the job posting on the county website and reached out to Adkins to remind him she’d been interested in the treasurer position. 

“I met with him and one of the commissioners and Rebekah [Knowlton, deputy county administrator], a few times. It seemed like there was something there that would work well for me.”  

Cease said she isn’t sure whether she would seek election as county treasurer. 

“Who knows what the future will bring,” she said. “I would keep it as a possibility for the future. I think it could be a nice combination of treasurer and finance director in that office.”  

“I’m there as support to Scott Adkins to help him with some of the budgeting duties and support for the office in HR, payroll, accounts payable and doing some bookkeeping and spread sheeting duties to help Scott,” she said. “I’m getting to know the budget. I want to improve my knowledge of the Trio software. We used Trio a little bit on Swan’s Island for tax collecting and liens.” 

Julie MacDonald is the new treasurer for Swan’s.  

“I’m excited to be going to work for Hancock County,” said Cease. “It’s a short distance across the road and up the hill.”  

Hancock County will pay Cease an annual salary of $55,000, according to minutes from a recent commissioners’ meeting. 

Jennifer Osborn

News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

Jennifer Osborn