The Westbrook City Council will vote on a resolve Monday to urge City Councilor Paul Emery to resign, following his comments last week at a Democratic town meeting in Scarborough.

Emery, while discussing Gov. Paul LePage’s tax reform plan, said his feelings wouldn’t be hurt if LePage “goes to see his maker.” He then said, “In some countries assassination is a political strategy, but unfortunately not in ours.”

On Wednesday, Emery publicly apologized to LePage and the public for the comments. He admitted he made “tasteless” comments about the governor.

Emery said Sunday that he will make a decision about stepping down on Monday, but said it is unlikely he would leave his seat.

“I will recognize that the council has a right, and the mayor is trying to do the right thing she feels is for Westbrook, but I will probably remain on the council,” Emery said.

The council’s resolve calls Emery’s statements “careless and inflammatory,” and also sites his “highly inappropriate behavior toward a member of the local news media.”

“Councilor Emery’s words and actions do not represent the City of Westbrook or its elected officials and are not acceptable conduct by a leader of the Westbrook community,” the resolve states.

It goes on to say that, “The Council strongly urges Councilor Emery to examine, in light of these recent events, whether his continued service on the City Council is in the community’s best interests.”

Mayor Colleen Hilton said Sunday that council leadership wanted to make it clear to the public that the council “condemns and does not condone” Emery’s statements or behavior.

“This is very painful because I have known Paul a long time, but I think it is in the best interest of the community that he resign,” said Council President Brendan Rielly Sunday.

Hilton said the council will vote on whether to support the resolve. However, Westbrook does not have an ordinance for recalling elected officials, meaning the resolve vote is symbolic.

Ray Richardson, a Westbrook resident and local radio talk show host, introduced a recall provision to the council earlier this year, but no movement on establishing such an ordinance was made.

“We are aware we don’t have a recall provision or any authority to remove Paul, but we would strongly encourage him to examine whether he feels he can continue to serve and not be a distraction,” Hilton said.

Emery’s seat as the Ward 3 councilor is up in November. He was elected in 2009 after serving on the Westbrook Planning Board, and was re-elected in 2012. He said he’s been approached by constituents who have said he should not give up his seat, but he has also received some emails urging a resignation.

Hilton said she has received a number of emails and has spoken to numerous residents about the remarks, in and outside Westbrook, with a large majority believing Emery should resign. She said she received one email in support of Emery.

Residents responded to the initial American Journal article last week with a number of comments on Facebook, with nearly all comments stating Emery should resign.

Rielly indicated Friday that Councilor Gary Rairdon would be replacing Emery as chairman of the council’s Committee of the Whole, where the council discusses potential ordinance amendments.

Hilton said Sunday that Reilly will replace Emery as the city’s representative on the Maine Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy Committee. She said the city was approached by the Maine Municipal Association to remove him.

Monday’s City Council meeting is at 7 p.m. in Room 114 of Westbrook High School.


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.