South Portland city councilor unexpectedly resigns

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A city councilor who has served less than one year of a three-year term resigned Saturday night.

Adrian Dowling, the District 5 councilor who lives in the Brickhill neighborhood, sent City Clerk Emily Scully a handwritten note via email to say he was resigning, effective immediately. Dowling’s term expires in December 2020.

In an email to reporters Sept. 17, Dowling said the culture of the City Council must change.
“Its new mission must be honesty, respect, fairness, communication, openness, competence, and accountability,” he said.
He said one councilor cannot do that alone, and the entire council must be willing, adding he hopes that day will come.
“I am proud of the things I accomplished during my year on the council. I hope the next District Five councilor will be welcomed warmly and that he or she will do great things for South Portland,” Dowling concluded.

The resignation email was sent Sept. 15 at just past midnight, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Dowling previously served on the Planning Board before he was elected to the council. He has disconnected the phone number posted on the city’s website under his contact information, and could not be reached Monday.

A message left for Mayor Linda Cohen about his resignation was not immediately returned.

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.

The council, at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, is expected to vote to accept Dowling’s resignation and tentatively set a Dec. 11 special election to replace him, according to Scully.

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.

Dowling’s resignation followed a tense meeting last week, when discussions over a review of the city’s corporation counsel divided the council. Dowling seconded a motion by Councilor Eben Rose to place the item on the council’s agenda for a future workshop.

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