SCARBOROUGH — With the former Town Council chairman and chairwoman no longer in office, councilors on Wednesday turned to their longest tenured colleagues for leadership in the upcoming year.
Councilor Richard Sullivan Jr. was elected chairman and Councilor Jessica Holbrook was elected vice chairwoman, after new Councilors Bill Donovan and Jean-Marie Caterina were sworn into office for three-year terms.
Sullivan presided over a light agenda in his first meeting, as councilors approved a zoning change for Pine Point Road properties and the appointments of two alternate members to town committees.
Emily Ward was approved as first alternate on the Personnel Appeals Board and Michael Williams was named first alternate on the Energy Committee.
Holbrook was first elected councilor in 2009 in an election Sullivan lost. He returned to the council in 2011.
“I’m going on my seventh year, I ought to be able to step up to the plate,” he said after the meeting.
Sullivan replaces former Councilor Ron Ahlquist, who served two consecutive terms as chairman during a 13-year tenure and then withdrew from this year’s council election in September.
“He will be a tough act to follow,” Sullivan said of Ahlquist.
Sullivan said his first objective is “to fix this dog thing.”
With a referendum vote on the repeal of the town leash law coming Dec. 3, Sullivan told the council he wants to have a 6 p.m. workshop Dec. 4, regardless of the referendum result.
If the law is repealed, Sullivan said he intends to discuss a potential $12,000 fine from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for town culpability in the July 15 death of a piping plover at Pine Point Beach.
If the repeal effort fails, Sullivan said he wants to discuss what areas can be designated to allow dogs to run leash-free.
Holbrook replaces former Councilor Judy Roy, who served 15 years total, but finished behind Donovan and Caterina in the November election.
Like Roy, Holbrook has served on the council Finance Committee. She added she would like to collaborate with Sullivan in the manner Ahlquist and Roy had over the last two years.
“I hope Richard and I have a good partnership,” she said. “I don’t see any reason why that tradition can’t keep going.”