First Selectman Jim Marpe’s 2nd term ends in November. Three months earlier, he’s losing a key aide.
Town operations director Sara Harris has accepted a consulting opportunity in the private sector. Her resignation is effective August 27.
Harris joined Town Hall in July 2017. She coordinated projects and issues involving interdepartmental coordination, like digitization of the land use permitting process to Accela software.
She established and created annual management reports for the town’s budget book, and oversaw performance metrics for all town departments.
During COVID, Harris served as public information officer, and was a liaison with utilities, the state, town staff and others. She also acted as Westport’s economic development director, implementing the town’s rebranding and website launch in 2018, and the new Choosewestport.com public/private partnership.
Harris also helped the town receive $2.8 million in federal funds to dredge the Saugatuck River.
Marpe says, “We will miss Sara’s dedication, work ethic and demeanor. I am pleased that she worked to implement the projects and tasks we asked her to complete. Sara did this without partisanship and remained grounded in her professional values for efficient and transparent operations in government.
“I am confident that the improvements we put in place will benefit the town and Town Hall operations for years to come. Her role in helping me effectively communicate with our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and Storm Isaias cannot be overstated. I am grateful that Westport benefitted from her dedication, analytical skills, and work ethic. I wish her much success in her new opportunity.”
Harris adds, “It is with very mixed emotions that I announce my resignation. First Selectman Marpe and his administration have been an inspiration to me, and I will carry that guidance throughout my career. I will also miss the staff and friendships that have developed over the last 4 1/2 years, including some of the kindest, intelligent, and generous residents and volunteers I have ever met. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the town of Westport.”
Lynn Scully, Westport’s audit manager/senior accountant, will serve as interim operations director. Harris will transition some of her tasks to Scully and other staff members, though some projects will remain on hold until a replacement can be found. Westport’s next first selectman will choose the next operations director.