Cape Elizabeth taps Raftice to run Fort Williams Park, Community Services

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Kathleen Raftice has been named director of Community Services and Fort Williams Park, effective immediately.

Town Manager Matt Sturgis announced the appointent Jan. 16.

Raftice, the former adult program coordinator and interim director of community services, grew up in Cape Elizabeth and now lives in South Portland.

She began working at Community Services in July 2011, following a 25-year career in the insurance industry. Previously she was a substitute teacher in town and coached the middle school track team.

She was appointed acting director of Community Services last July after former Director Russell Packett became ill in June.

“I’m excited for the position,” Raftice, 56, said Jan. 17. “I’m confident that I can lead the group … and have experience with transitional management.”

Sturgis decided to combine the two positions, feeling consolidation would make sense both pragmatically and financially; he posted the job internally on Dec. 21, after Packett died last month.

On Jan. 11, he interviewed four applicants.

“We had great candidates, but when it was all said and done, Kathy had that great background … (from) growing up in town, being an employee at Community Services for the past seven years, and seeing firsthand what the operations are,” Sturgis said. “She has the knowledge, energy and experience to get the department to the next level.”

A formal job description for the consolidated position is still in the works, but Raftice said she sees herself being most present at the park during its busy season from April to October.

Sturgis added that he’d also like to see someone hired under Raftice to have “boots on the ground” in the park at all times, but said details have not been worked out.

Duties drafted by Sturgis state that Raftice will be responsible for “managing, supervising, developing, implementing and coordinating the activities and operations of the department, including all Community Services facilities and Fort Williams Park.”

“I see my position as a contact person and a central point for all by having face-to-face contact with people in the community at the park,” Raftice said.

As part of her new role, Raftice will likely have more frequent contact with various town department heads, such as Public Works Director Bob Malley, Facilities Director Perry Schwarz and Portland Headlight Museum Director Jeanne Gross.

“I have a working relationship with (various department heads) now and look forward to continuing that,” Raftice said. “I always seek input from a lot of people … for the most success, we all have to work together.”

Although she’s not sure how her day-to-day routine will change during the park’s busiest months, Raftice said she’s prepared for an increased workload.

“Recreation and Fort Williams Park go hand in hand,” she said. “It’s a seven-day-a-week responsibility, but we’ll work to stagger hours and accommodate people where needed.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

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