GORHAM – The vice chairman of the Gorham Town Council has unexpectedly quit.

Philip T. Gagnon Jr. announced his resignation, effective in November, last week in a surprising move that comes amid apparent council infighting.

Gagnon had previously criticized the town’s handling of a matter involving another councilor.

Gagnon did not respond Tuesday by the American Journal deadline to a telephone message seeking comment. His resignation letter, received at Town Hall June 28, cited personal reasons.

“After thoughtful consideration and consultation with my wife, Tatia, it is with the deepest regret that I will tender my resignation from my three-year term on the Gorham Town Council, effective. Nov. 6, 2012,” Gagnon wrote in a letter to Brenda Caldwell, chairwoman of the Gorham Town Council, and to Gorham Town Manager David Cole.

The resignation of Gagnon, 35, who was elected in 2010, leaves one year remaining on his three-year term expiring in 2013. Gagnon said in his election campaign information that he is a risk officer for a bank.

The resignation announcement comes during some rocky times on the Town Council. Last month, in a telephone interview, Gagnon spoke out after Town Councilor Matthew Robinson unsuccessfully attempted in a special council meeting to publicly discuss the case of Town Councilor Suzanne Phillips.

Phillips faces a court arraignment next week to answer charges of operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident in May.

Gagnon, in the interview on June 20, labeled an open council discussion of the Phillips’ matter as an effort to “politically posture.”

Efforts this week to reach Robinson for comment were unsuccessful.

“Phil caught us all by surprise,” Town Councilor Michael Phinney said Monday, adding that Gagnon had called him within a few days prior to submitting his letter.

Gagnon is chairman of the council’s Finance Committee and serves on the Economic Development/Capital Improvements Committee.

Gagnon is also Gorham’s representative to Jetport Noise Abatement Committee.

In his letter of resignation, Gagon cited his wife’s pregnancy with their second child and both his and his wife’s career obligations as issues that “conflict with the time needed to adequately represent the people of Gorham.”

“I can say with pride that I worked tirelessly for the citizens of Gorham during my tenure on the town council. I was fortunate enough to be the co-chair of Gorham’s 275th anniversary celebration, founding an event, the Gorham Founders Festival, that I hope brought happiness to our local families,” Gagnon wrote in his resignation message.

“I participated in the authoring and editing of the book ‘25 Years of Gorham’ that was recently accepted into the Library of Congress. I sought out the preservation of historical artifacts in town and the Gorham trail system while trying to improve Gorham’s business climate through the Economic Development Corporation.

“I met many extraordinary people along the way and witnessed true democracy, working with citizens who contacted me with both their frustrations and desires to improve the town.”

“I feel fortunate to live in a caring community such as Gorham, and will continue from a private standpoint to strive to make Gorham a better place to live.”

The published agenda for the Tuesday, July 3, Town Council meeting, which was held after the American Journal’s deadline, did not include an item to accept Gagnon’s resignation, but the council does at times approve adding an item.

Philip Gagnon Jr. has resigned from the Gorham Town Council. (File photo)

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: