SCARBOROUGH- The sudden resignation of a Scarborough town councilor this week means it is likely that three seats on the board will be filled in the November election.

Karen D’Andrea resigned her position “effective immediately” via email Monday, citing “additional career responsibilities” that, she said, “leave me unable to maintain the high standards I set for myself as a public servant.”

The 2 p.m. message to her fellow councilors and to Town Manager Tom Hall was followed 30 minutes later by a notice to the local press.

“As many of my friends and supporters already know, I am passionate about the work I do for nonprofit organizations and can now fully dedicate my time to helping them forward their important work,” D’Andrea wrote of her resignation.

Hall said Monday he would “push” to add a last-minute agenda item to Wednesdays’ Town Council meeting, in hopes councilors would accept the resignation and schedule a Nov. 6 special election to fill the final two years of D’Andrea’s term, her second on the council.

“The motivation is two-fold,” he said. “The cost of holding a separate election in, say, December, would cost maybe a couple thousand dollars, but, more importantly, we expect a very high, maybe even record turnout in November, because of the presidential race and several important ballot issues.”

The town charter is silent on the need of the council to accept a resignation or to call a special election, said Hall. However, it and state law allow for a shortened nomination period, which would be the case if the council hopes to fill D’Andrea’s seat at the general election.

Nomination papers have been available since Aug. 1 for the other two council seats up for grabs. Those forms are due to the town clerk by the 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 5. If the council follows Hall’s lead, nomination forms for D’Andrea’s seat could be available Thursday, but would still be due Sept. 5.

“The bar is only 25 signatures [from registered Scarborough voters],” said Hall. “So, even with a shortened timeframe, it’s still not a terribly high threshold to get your name on the ballot.”

Although the race to fill D’Andrea’s seat will be technically termed a special election, the candidates will be listed on the same general election ballot as other local races, said Hall, assuming Nov. 6 is the date selected.

According to Assistant Town Clerk Carrie Noyes, three people have so far taken out papers for the two open, full-term seats. They include return appearances of candidates from last year’s race – Kerry Corthell and Paul Andriulli – as well as newcomer Christopher Coon.

Last year, when the resignation of Councilor Michael Wood presented a similar ballot set up, Corthell took out papers for both the full- and unexpired-term races, ultimately submitting for the two-year term. She lost that race to Ron Ahlquist, 3,534-2,850, while Andriulli was the only candidate not to claim a regular seat, finishing fourth for three slots with 3,695 votes to D’Andrea (4,757), Richard Sullivan (4,472) and James Benedict (3,774).

As of Tuesday, incumbent Jessica Holbrook had yet to take out nomination papers, said Noyes. Carol Rancourt has reached the limit of three consecutive terms and is ineligible to run again.

The loss of Rancourt and D’Andrea arguably robs the Scarborough Town Council of its two most liberal voices. Both women recently stumped for increased school spending despite a touch economy and fought hard to defend a policy that compels the town to use organic pesticides on town-owned property.

In her resignation letter, D’Andrea listed the latter battle among her proudest accomplishments as a town councilor, along with supporting the passage of tobacco-free beaches and small wind allowances for homeowners.

D’Andrea, 53, is executive director for two area nonprofits – Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence and Physicians for Social Responsibility – and plans to add “one and maybe two more nonprofit clients” to her workload.

“I’m just solidifying the contract with one this week after negotiations last week,” she said Monday evening, explaining the decision to resign her post.

Since her successful re-election bid in November, D’Andrea has missed almost one-third of regular council meetings, including three of five held since May 2, shortly after she took on more hours at work.

A former radio show host on WMPG, D’Andrea moved to Scarborough a decade ago and recently became a homeowner. She won her first term on the Town Council in 2008.

“I will continue to be an active member of the community of Scarborough as I have through my tenure as a town councilor,” said D’Andrea. “And, as a new homeowner in Scarborough, you can rest assured I will continue to be vigilant about the welfare of our citizens and neighbors and continue to support the quality of life we have come to expect of this great community.”

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