Hancock County in the News
- 03 May 2013
ELLSWORTH— The word on the street is, if you need something done, talk to Hancock County Sheriff Bill Clark. Clark is credited with a number of good works. They include expansion of the Open Door Recovery Center‘s facility. He has helped revitalize both the Woodbine Cemetery and the Ellsworth Snowmobile Club’s trail system.
The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce has named Clark its Citizen of the Year for 2013. Clark will be honored at the chamber’s annual dinner meeting to be held tonight, Thursday, May 2, at Ellsworth High School.
“He’s involved in a lot of different activities and functions and certainly brings a lot to the community,” said Tony Cameron, the chamber’s executive director. “I think people recognize that and want to honor him.”
Clark said he gets embarrassed whenever someone congratulates him.“I think it’s a hell of an honor.”
Barbara Royal, executive director for Open Door, said Clark has been “a great support” for the treatment center.
“He was the one who spearheaded the addition being put onto our building,”Royal said.
Clark organized inmates and volunteers and contractors to get the job done.
“There were times he’d be down here in the dark working with a backhoe by himself,” Royal said. “He’s been a big supporter of treatment in general.”
Open Door provides a complete substance abuse treatment program in the Hancock County Jail.
“To do that, you need to have the entire jail staff cooperating, that wouldn’t happen without the sheriff supporting,”Royal said.
Clark said when he began working with Open Door, he realized “locking them up isn’t the answer. Treatment is the answer. If we could get more people into treatment, we could reduce recidivism. That’s why drug court works.
”Clark served on the board of Open Door during the building expansion but then resigned.
The sheriff explained that most of the boards he serves on need significant monetary donations, which can be difficult for him to solicit as a law enforcement official.
Selling tickets for a raffle to benefit the snowmobile club is one thing; soliciting donations for a building expansion is another.
“I have to be real careful how I do that,” Clark said. “That’s always presented a problem for me. I can’t have someone saying, ‘now you owe me.”
Clark serves as president of the board of directors and sextant for Woodbine Cemetery.
The cemetery was spending $40,000 annually to have the property mowed. After the stock market crash in 2008, investment earnings were down and the cemetery was quickly running through its endowment.
Clark brings inmates to the cemetery to take care of the lower lawn and Bill Clark tends to spring cleanup at Woodbine Cemetery do other landscaping and maintenance, saving about $24,000 a year.
The sheriff also has spent time reviving the Ellsworth Snowmobile Club, of which he is now president, and getting a local trail system going for snowmobiles.
Jake Taylor of Ellsworth met Clark while working on the snowmobile project about eight years ago.
“He’s probably one of the most ethical, trustworthy people I’ve ever met in my life and he’s a hard worker to boot,” Taylor said.
“He’s a great sounding board just for information in our area,” said Taylor. “He has so much experience in different pieces of life. There isn’t anything the guy hasn’t done or knows somebody who did it.
”Clark also is a volunteer with the Sheriff ’s Cup Basketball Tournament, which a group of his employees started 13 years ago as a way to give back to the community. Each year, the money raised from this event has gone to local charities in Hancock County such as the American Cancer Society and Christmas is for Kids.
Clark has been a law enforcement officer for 40 years, 33 of those as sheriff.
Clark always had an interest in law enforcement.
Maine State Police Trooper Ron Libby was a big influence on Clark when he was growing up in Franklin.
When he got out of school, Clark was working part time at a convenience store where all the cops hung out. They convinced him to join the force.
Clark is halfway through what he says is his last term as sheriff.
“I said this before, but I’m quite sure,”Clark said. “It’s time.”
He and his wife, Christy, will spend time on their boat.
“I love to snowmobile,” he said. “I have a winter hobby and a summer hobby.”