Rairdon, Turcotte new leaders of City Council

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WESTBROOK — City councilors selected Gary Rairdon as council president and Anna Turcotte as vice president Monday night following a swearing-in ceremony for new members.

For more than a dozen years, the council presidency was held by Brendan Rielly. Rielly, a councilor since 2002, decided not to run for re-election in November 2019 and to give up the presidency post for the upcoming year.

Rairdon, a councilor since 2013, was chosen unanimously among his fellow councilors to follow in Rielly’s footsteps. Rielly and Councilor Ann Peoples were absent.

Turcotte, who is heading into her second term on the council, was chosen as vice president, replacing John O’Hara, a longtime councilor who chose not to run for another term.

City Clerk Angela Holmes administered the oath of office to Rairdon and Turcotte, who were both re-elected last month, and newly elected Councilor Mike Foley.

“This is quite an evening for all of us. We all try to work hard for the citizens of Westbrook and it is great to see a lot of familiar faces here and have the room nice and full,” Rairdon told the standing-room only crowd Dec. 3.

In one of his first duties as council president, Rairdon tweaked the makeup of the Finance Committee by tapping Foley to be chairman, with Councilor Victor Chau continuing as vice chairman. Turcotte was chairman for the past two years. Foley led the committee for three years during a previous tenure on council.

Councilor Ann Peoples will continue to lead the Facilities and Streets Committee, with Turcotte taking over the vice chairman’s role from O’Hara. Counclor Lynda Adams will continue to lead the Public Safety Committee, but Rielly will replace  Rairdon as vice chairman.

The Committee of the Whole will see the biggest change in leadership with Adams replacing Rairdon as chairman and Rielly replacing O’Hara as vice chairman.

The Economic and Community Development Committee, which Rairdon said didn’t meet at all in 2018, is being eliminated. He said the topics that the committee had looked into in the past are now being handled by Economic Development Director Daniel Stevenson before coming to the council for action.

Also on Dec. 3, the city clerk also swore in newly elected School Committee members Steve Berry, Elizabeth Schultz and Sue Salisbury. Veronica Bates, who won re-election, was unable to attend the ceremony and will be sworn in at a later date.

The School Committee is expected to elect its leaders Dec. 12.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com or on Twitter @mkelleynews.

Gary Rairdon congratulates Anna Turcotte Monday after they were chosen by the City Council to fill the council presidency and vice presidency roles for 2019.

City Clerk Angela Holmes administers the oath of office Monday to newly elected City Councilors Gary Rairdon, Anna Turcotte and Mike Foley, who were accompanied by family members.

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