Two incumbents and a newcomer were sworn in as Portland city councilors during a noontime ceremony Monday at City Hall.

The ceremony included a moment of silence for Linda Abromson, a former mayor and longtime force in city affairs who died last Thursday at the age of 78.

City Clerk Katherine Jones administered the oath of office to incumbents Jill Duson, Justin Costa and newcomer Kim Cook. Cook replaces David Brenerman, who did not seek re-election after one term on the council.

Brenerman previously served one term on the council from 1982 to 1985, including one year as a ceremonial mayor, and three terms as a state representative before being elected again in 2014. City Manager Jon Jennings described him has “one of the great, great public servants the city has seen in its long history.”

“From the very beginning of our relationship, I’ve found him to be the most honorable, most decent, most straightforward, honest and wonderful person,” Jennings said.

Cook is a 45-year-old attorney and government relations consultant who lobbies on behalf of nonprofits in Augusta. She has lived in the District 5 for about 15 years and previously served on Portland’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Land Bank Commission, among other groups. She is married and has two three school-age children.

Mayor Ethan Strimling welcomed the new and returning councilors. He praised Cook as a “strong voice” for supporting the school bond and for helping to craft zone changes adopted in September by the council and intended to encourage more affordable housing development.

“We welcome having your passion and intellect on this side of the dais,” Strimling said.

Later Monday, Jones also administered the oath of office to newly elected members of the Board of Education, Timothy Atkinson and Mark Balfantz, and to returning incumbent Marnie Morrione. All three ran unopposed in the November election.

The council races and school board races were mostly overshadowed on the city’s ballot by three referendum questions. Voters passed a $64 million bond to renovate four elementary schools but turned down proposals to adopt a form of rent control and change the city’s rezoning process to require the support of abutters.

The November election in Portland also produced a national moment of levity, after a set of dentures was discovered in a voting booth. The discovery made national news. The false teeth remain unclaimed in the city clerk’s office.

In the council races, Cook cruised to an easy win in District 5 representing North Deering, Deering Center and Riverton. Cook earned 63 percent of the vote in a three-way race against two progressive candidates, Marpheen Chann and Craig Dorais, who earned 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Duson was elected to her sixth term after winning 44 percent of the vote in an expensive and spirited three-way race for an at-large seat against two community activists, Joey Brunelle and Bree LaCasse, who earned 30 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Duson, 43, is divorced with two grown children and two grandchildren.

Costa, meanwhile, garnered 68 percent of the vote in District 4, which includes East Deering, Back Cove and parts of Deering Center and North Deering, against Kim Rich. Costa, 34, is single and has no children.

Portland has a nine-member council, including a full-time popularly elected mayor who serves a four-year term and earns more than $73,281 a year, plus benefits. City councilors serve three-year terms and currently earn $6,513 a year. They can also participate in health, dental and life insurance programs and one of two retirement plans, according to Gina Tapp, the city’s human resources director.

Tapp said councilors and the mayor all received 2 percent cost-of-living raises in July.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

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