Thursday, June 20, 2013
WESTBROOK — As Westbrook's police chief, William Baker got a group of city officials to raft over Saccarappa Falls as a fundraiser for the local teen center.
In his new job, Baker will try to turn the falls into the main attraction of a downtown waterfront park.
City Administrator Jerre Bryant announced Wednesday that Baker has been hired as the city's director of business and community relations and assistant city administrator.
Although the title is slightly different, Baker essentially replaces Keith Luke, who resigned in January as the city's director of economic and community development.
Baker was police chief from 2007 to 2011, when he left to take a job with a firm that works with the FBI as a contractor.
He'll start his new job on Aug. 13 and earn a salary of $97,600. He is not collecting a pension.
Baker holds a law degree, served as a commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and was an administrator in the U.S. Department of Justice. He also wrote grants, part of his new duties, in several previous positions.
As a selectman in Massachusetts and as a lawyer, he said, he worked with businesses and municipalities on economic development, planning and zoning issues.
Baker said he had planned to remain at the private firm, where he was an instructor for a program aimed at reducing the number of law enforcement officers who are killed and assaulted, but the FBI has decided to eliminate his and other positions in the program.
Bryant said Baker "emerged as the clear choice for the position" among the 24 applicants who responded to the job posting, which was tweaked after an initial posting yielded 40 applications and no suitable candidates.
He said the leadership, management and interpersonal skills Baker proved he had in his last position with the city are transferable to the new role.
"He's going to be a star at this, just like he was a star at being police chief," Bryant said.
Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at