Portland mayor to host inaugural reception at Ocean Gateway

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PORTLAND — Mayor-elect Michael Brennan will break with tradition for his inauguration.

Brennan, the city’s first popularly elected mayor since 1923, will still be sworn in at noon on Dec. 5 along with City Councilors Cheryl Leeman and John Coyne, as required by the City Charter.

But Brennan, who will serve a four-year term and earn a $66,000 salary, said he will not deliver his inaugural address immediately after the ceremony. Instead, his speech will be delivered at a public reception scheduled for 6-9 p.m. at the Ocean Gateway Terminal. 

Brennan said the new time and location were selected to allow people to attend who would otherwise have to work. Ocean Gateway can accommodate up to 500 people, he said.

“Typically, it’s pretty crowded,” he said of the reception usually held in City Hall’s State of Maine Room.

Brennan said music will be provided by local author and musician Philip Hoose, who won the 2009 National Book Award and plays in the band Chipped Enamel.

The reception will also include School Board members, who will be sworn in Monday at 4 p.m. in City Hall. In the past, councilors and School Board members held separate receptions.

Brennan said it is important to combine the two events.

“We thought it would be nice to hold something jointly with the school committee to represent a new era of working together,” he said.

City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said the city has budgeted $5,000 for the inauguration and reception, the same as previous years.

Food, which in the past has included shrimp cocktail, orange chicken, spanakopita, fruit, stuffed cherry tomatoes, and a chocolate fountain, will be provided by the city-owned Barron Center.

Brennan said the event may include several special guests, but confirmations had not been received by Tuesday morning.

Brennan also said he has had the opportunity to meet with all but one sitting city councilor, whom he declined to identify.

He said he will not make committee appointments until later this month or early January, which will allow him to meet with the full council about whether to change or consolidate the existing committee structure.

“I’m anxious to get started,” he said. “I’m also hopeful about focusing attention and resources on issues I talked about and other candidates talked about during the campaign.”

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @randybillings

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