— Five-term City Councilor Nick Mavodones was nominated this week to serve as the city’s mayor for 2010.

Mavodones was re-elected to the council Nov. 3 as an at-large representative, a post he has held for 12 years.

Portland’s mayor is appointed by the council, and there are no rules governing who can serve or when. In the past, the tradition had been to choose the most senior councilor interested who has not served as mayor.

In recent years, however, the council has bucked that trend. In 2008 and again this year, two Green Independent Party members were the councilors who have been on the council longest without having held the mayoral post.

Councilor David Marshall, one of those two councilors, said Tuesday that the theory that the council uses “turn-taking” for the position is fallacy. Marshall said he was interested in serving as mayor for 2010.

“It’s obvious the mayor is chosen by whoever can get the most votes,” Marshall, who was recently elected to a second term, said Tuesday. “This year it went along partisan lines.”

The City Council, while officially bi-partisan, has a Democratic majority. Mavodones, along with current Mayor Jill Duson and Councilors Dory Waxman, John Coyne and Dan Skolnik are registered Democrats. Councilor Cheryl Leeman is a Republican. Marshall and Councilors Kevin Donoghue and John Anton are Greens.

Last year, the council selected Duson for mayor. She also held the position in 2005.

Mavodones, 49, was previously mayor in 2000 and 2007.

He said Tuesday that several of his colleagues asked him to consider serving as mayor again. He said he is willing to lead the council through serious budget and financial challenges the city will face in the coming year.

Mavodones was chairman of the city Finance Committee this year.

“Given the economy, a lot of things next year are going to be focused on money,” said Mavodones, operations manager for Casco Bay Lines, who is also serving as interim general manager of the ferry service.

Marshall said he was ready to put the lost mayoral bid behind him and work positively with his fellow councilors. He said he was contacted Saturday night by Mavodones, who told him he had secured a majority of councilors’ votes. 

“I realized at that point that I needed to support him for mayor, and encouraged other councilors to,” Marshall said. The council voted unanimously for Mavodones at a caucus Monday evening.

The mayor’s position in Portland is largely ceremonial. The mayor serves as chairman of the council, runs meetings and also attends events as the city’s representative. 

However, that may change. The city created a Charter Commission this year that is reviewing whether the city should change to an elected mayor, and what kind of power that mayor should have.

The issue could go to voters as soon as November 2010.

The swearing in of Portland’s newly elected City Council and School Committee members is scheduled for Dec. 7 at noon at City Hall.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or [email protected]
filed under: