SOUTH PORTLAND — A councilor who resigned after serving less than one year of a three-year term says the City Council needs to change, be accountable and practice honesty, fairness and openness.
The District 5 councilor from the Brickhill neighborhood sent City Clerk Emily Scully an email just past midnight on Sept. 15, to say he was resigning, effective immediately, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Dowling, whose term expires in December 2020, served about 10 months in office. The council accepted his decision at Tuesday night’s meeting and also voted unanimously to tentatively set Dec. 11 aside for a special election to replace him.
During the public comment period, several residents said Dowling was a strong and considerate voice on the panel.
John Murphy said Dowling was the future of the city, a man of integrity who listened to the public. Murphy said he was angry the council, in his view, segregated and berated certain councilors, namely Rose and Dowling.
Resident Ken Thomas said he hopes Dowling would be willing to return to the post if he was elected as a write-in candidate.
Councilor Claude Morgan said although he regrettably accepted Dowling’s resignation, the city must go on and finish its work.
Councilor Kate Lewis added that Dowling was an important component of discussion on the council.
“I thank him for his service. He’s a gentle soul and a brought a lot to the council,” Mayor Linda Cohen said of Dowling.
The City Charter provides the council with two options: either fill the vacancy or not. A special election must be held within 60 days of the vote to fill the office. Nomination papers would be available Oct. 17 if the council formally votes Oct. 16 to hold the special election, according to an email from Scully.