2016-11-25 / Front Page

Councils choose new leaders

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer


– The South Portland City Council and the Cape Elizabeth Town Council have each settled on leadership for the coming year, choosing Patti Smith as mayor and Jamie Garvin as council chairman, respectively. South

Portland councilors made their unanimously selection at a Nov. 14 workshop session. No formal vote was

taken, but in working out logistics for the Dec. 5 inauguration, Councilor Linda Cohen announced she would nominate Smith at that ceremony, while no other councilor volunteered a competing nomination. Instead, in was agreed Smith’s nomination would be followed by a motion to cease nominations.

Although not yet sworn in, incoming Councilor Sue Henderson replaced outgoing Councilor Tom Blake for the consensus decision. She won election Nov. 8 while he is being forced out after three consecutive elections – totaling nine years of service on the council – by term limits.

Smith, who next year will be subject to the same three-and-out rule, was first elected to the council in 2008. She previously served as mayor in 2012.

South Portland has a history of rotating its mayoral post, which is largely ceremonial, although the mayor does serve as chairman of all council meetings and has some power to set the agenda for meetings. Currently, a majority of councilors have held the gavel, including Smith, Cohen, Claude Morgan, and Maxine Beecher. Apart from Henderson, only Brad Fox and Eben Rose, both in their first council terms, have never sat in the big chair.

Smith is a co-founder, past president and current board member of South Portland’s Community Garden Collective. In her day job, she works at Coffee by Design in Portland, with the formal title of strategic ambassador and cultural steward. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a degree in sport’s management, Smith earned an MBA from Drexel University in 2003. She was head coach of the University of Michigan field hockey program from 1989 to 1995 and director of strategic initiatives at Planet Dog in Westbrook from 2004 to 2012.

In Cape Elizabeth, the chairman nod went to Garvin in a Nov. 14 caucus vote. The only male on the council, Garvin has just completed his first year on the council, having won election in November 2015.

Garvin works as a senior director at Harte Hanks, a global marketing services company, having previously held marketing positions with TD Bank and IDEXX. A graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism, Garvin also is a former board member of the Cape Cottage Beach Association, and has also given time to Little League and the schools. Prior to his election, he served as chairman of the town’s recycling committee and was on the Solid Waste and Recycling Long Range Planning Committee. In addition to his new council role, he also is chairman of the Spurwink School Committee, which is working to decide on a new use for the 1849 building that, for many decades, sat as the cornerstone of Cape Elizabeth’s public library.

Also at the Nov. 14 caucus, the council chose Jessica Sullivan, a former chairman now in her third term on the council, to head its finance subcommittee. Sara Lennon, also a former chairman, will head the appointments subcommittee, while Patty Grennon, was elected to chair the ordinance subcommittee.

All of the new positions will be formally voted upon as the first order of business at the Dec. 12 council meeting, which also will be the first meeting for newly elected councilor Penny Jordan.

South Portland’s inauguration will take place at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, in council chambers at city hall. As usual, it will be a joint session with the board of education, featuring swearing-in ceremonies for new councilors and school board members, as well as formal addresses by both Smith and school board chairman Richard Matthews.

Selected at a Nov. 14 caucus and due to formally nominated and elected at the Dec. 5 session, Matthews will serve a third consecutive term as chairman, marking a record for the board in recent years.

Swearing in ceremonies

South Portland’s annual mayoral inauguration will take place at 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, in council chambers at city hall. Meanwhile, the first order of business at the Dec. 12 town council meeting in Cape Elizabeth will include a formal vote to induct its new chairman for 2017, Jamie Garvin. That meet-

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