UPDATE: Scarborough council chairwoman skips meeting after arrest on drunken driving charge

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SCARBOROUGH — Chairwoman Judith Roy failed to attend Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, four days after she was arrested and charged with drunken driving.

The arrest, and her silence in the aftermath, leave unanswered questions about Roy’s future on the council.

Roy, 68, of Second Avenue, was stopped Saturday at 9:51 p.m. on Black Point Road by Officer Robert Moore after police received a complaint about her driving.

Roy was taken into custody, arrested on a charge of operating under the influence and released with a summons to appear in court, according to Police Chief Robert Moulton.

“(Roy) has been fully cooperative,” Moulton said in an email Tuesday.

The department has not released the results of Roy’s blood-alcohol test, but a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent is required to be charged with OUI in Maine.

The conduct of town councilors is ruled by the Town Charter and an ordinance that sets the rules, policies and procedures of the council.

While no rule specifically addresses criminal charges – except in the case of a conviction leading to more than six months in prison, which requires immediate removal from the council – Town Council policies include a provision requiring councilors to “maintain a standard of conduct that will inspire public confidence in the integrity of the Town’s government.”

Kerry Corthell, a Planning Board member and candidate for Town Council in the upcoming November election, sat on a committee that revisited the rules for town councilors last year. She said committee members couldn’t come to an agreement on a standard.

“It was felt by most of the committee that if someone did something wrong, something bad enough that the community would think they should resign, that they would,” Corthell said.

While recognizing that Roy has not been convicted of a crime, Corthell, who ran unsuccessfully against Roy last year, said she thinks Roy would resign if the chairwoman was intoxicated while driving.

“It’s not like she’s young and doesn’t know better,” Corthell said. “If she is guilty of it, I would think Judy would find it appropriate to resign. … I think society has gotten to the point where we should have very little tolerance for drunk driving.”

Roy’s absence from Wednesday’s Town Council meeting left Councilor Michael Wood to fill the chairman’s seat for the night. 

During the meeting, no one mentioned Roy’s arrest or her absence. Before the meeting, Wood said he was confident that Roy would handle the charge while staying “up-front and responsible.”

“It’s certainly troubling, and disappointing,” Wood said. “My thoughts are with Judy. But I’ve seen her handle a lot of challenges over the years.”

Councilor Karen D’Andrea said she had no ill will against Roy, and that when she heard the news, she was just glad no one was hurt.

“People make mistakes,” D’Andrea said. “I don’t feel angry with her. She’s hurting right now, and my heart goes out to her.”

D’Andrea also said that if Roy is ultimately found guilty of OUI, it shouldn’t necessarily require her to relinquish her council seat.

“If she’s found guilty, she’ll face the consequences,” D’Andrea said. “I’m not sure she’d need to be punished further.” 

According to Maine’s Bureau of Highway Safety, a first conviction for operating under the influence carries a minimum $400 fine and a mandatory 90-day license suspension.

Roy has served on the Town Council for 13 years. She was elected with 5,220 votes last year in a three-way race.

She has not responded to requests for comment about her arrest.

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or mmoretto@theforecaster.net. Follow Mario on Twitter: @riocarmine.

Sidebar Elements

Scarborough Town Council Chairwoman Judith Roy’s chair sits empty Wednesday at Town Hall. Roy was absent from the council meeting after her arrest Saturday, Sept. 17, on charges of OUI. 

A 2007 photo of Scarborough Town Council Chairwoman Judith Roy.