Freeport councilor will resign to lead regional planning agency

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FREEPORT — Town Councilor Kristina Egan is resigning to become executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments.

Egan, who is serving her second term, will leave the council June 8. She will start in her position with GPCOG on July 18.

“The good thing is that I’ll be able to continue serving Freeport as well as other towns,” she said.

The Greater Portland Council of Governments is a regional, nonprofit planning agency representing 26 cities and towns, and Cumberland County.

Egan said she is resigning as the District 3 town councilor because she believes it would be a conflict of interest to hold both roles, since Freeport is one of the towns served by GPCOG.

Town Manager Peter Joseph said the Town Council will most likely schedule a November election for someone to complete the remaining year of Egan’s three-year term.

Egan is currently the director of Transportation for Massachusetts, a coalition based in Boston. At GPCOG, she will replace Neal Allen, who is retiring after 18 years with the organization. 

Allen, on the GPCOG website, said Egan will make a great executive director.

“Her impressive background and experience complement and will take to the next level our efforts in economic and environmental sustainability,” he said. “She is a great fit for GPCOG and the region.”

Matt Sturgis, president of the GPCOG board, said the organization is “overjoyed” with the decision to hire Egan.

“Her experience, energy, and broad-based skill set matches exceptionally well with the mission of GPCOG,” Sturgis said.

Aside from a much shorter commute, Egan said she’s most looking forward to helping towns and cities in Maine.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity in the region to have GPCOG play a leadership role with municipalities,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to strengthening regional efforts to build prosperity.” 

Egan said being a town councilor has given her the experience she thinks will be helpful in her new role.

“I had never had municipal government experience before being on the council,” she said. “I feel like I really understand the challenges in our fiscal environment, and understand the local political dynamics between residents.”

Egan said she plans to take the time to learn more about each municipality served by GPCOG so she can fully understand their needs.

“I have a lot to learn about the region,” she said. “One of the first things I’m excited to do is spend a half day in each town and get to know its challenges, its opportunities, and its people.

“That will help me understand how GPCOG can provide excellent value to our members.”

One thing Egan said she wants to do as executive director is find ways for municipalities to work together.

“When municipalities collaborate, there’s a lot of opportunity to save money,” she said.

But Egan also said she will miss the hands-on work of being a councilor.

“I’ll miss seeing the tangible improvements that I’ve had a hand in,” she said. “There are things I can look at around town and know I played a part in making a positive impact.”

Egan said she is proud of Freeport’s active living plan, of keeping Regional School Unit 5 intact, and of the town’s ability to keep tax increases in check.

“We did not raise municipal tax rates more than than the rate of inflation on the years I’ve served,” she said. “I’m proud of that, and I hope it was instrumental in keeping long-term residents in Freeport.”

She said she learned personal lessons while on the council, too.

“It’s important to stand up for what you believe in, even if there’s significant disagreement around an issue,” she said. “I’ve been lucky to work with colleagues on the council who respect different points of view.”

Egan said she will continue to live in Freeport.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Freeport Town Councilor Kristina Egan will be resigning in June after accepting the position of executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.