Portland officials are recommending Dawn Stiles, the former president of Spurwink Services in Portland, to serve as director of the city’s Health and Human Services Department.

Stiles worked for 13 years – including six years as president – of Spurwink Services, a nonprofit that is one of Maine’s largest providers of mental heath care and special-education services. At the time, Spurwink had a budget of $55 million and more than 1,000 employees, according to information supplied by the city. Since the spring of 2013, Stiles has worked as executive director of the Anna Maria Island Community Center in Florida, near where her family owns a home.

If approved by the City Council this month, Stiles would assume leadership of the largest municipal health and human services program in the state with a budget of $38.3 million and roughly 400 employees. She would earn a salary of $105,047, according to a copy of the recommended appointment submitted to the City Council.

Stiles, a licensed clinical social worker, would also arrive back in Portland at a time when the city’s HHS department is facing significant economic and political challenges.

Portland is locked in a legal battle with the LePage administration over the city’s refusal to stop providing General Assistance to undocumented immigrants.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is no longer reimbursing communities for General Assistance that flows to undocumented immigrants, a group that in Portland includes large numbers of asylum seekers waiting for the federal government to process their applications.

Gov. Paul LePage also has threatened to withhold all General Assistance reimbursements to municipalities that do not comply with the DHHS directive, a move that would cost Portland an estimated $8.7 million this fiscal year. Portland is also grappling with high demand for its limited number of homeless shelter beds.

Stiles would succeed Doug Gardner, who stepped down in June to become vice president of operations for North Country Associates, a Lewiston-based company that operates nursing and assisted-living homes in Maine and Massachusetts.

Julie Sullivan, director of the public health division within the city department, has been serving as acting HHS director since Gardner’s departure.

The City Council is expected to consider Stiles’ appointment on Monday and then take a final vote during its Nov. 17 meeting.