WESTBROOK — The City Council condemned one of its members “in the strongest possible terms” Monday for suggesting last week it was unfortunate that Gov. Paul LePage couldn’t be assassinated.

Calling the comments “careless and inflammatory,” the council voted 6-1 on a resolution to condemn Paul Emery’s actions and suggest he consider resigning from office, which he refuses to do. Emery cast the dissenting vote.

Emery, who represents Ward 3, sat silently as Councilor Michael Foley read a brief resolution, excoriating Emery for his statements and his conduct.

“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 resolution read. “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 interest.”

Resolutions do not have the power of city ordinances and are largely symbolic. However, Council President Brendan Rielly stripped Emery of his chairmanship of the council’s Committee of the Whole, seemingly the only direct action anyone has the power to take in response to Emery’s comments.

“When we say its important for everyone to work in a civil and constructive manner, we mean it,” Rielly said. “I’ve known Paul a long time, but we have to take a firm line.”

During a public comment period, Ward 3 resident Tony Bessey said he doesn’t think Emery represents his views and he is ashamed to have to admit to others that Emery is his city councilor.

“I am embarrassed to live in a community that keeps electing you,” Bessey said. “I’m embarrassed that you are stubborn in your willingness to stay as a representative of Ward 3 on the City Council.”

There is no mechanism in Westbrook for recalling a councilor.

Emery got in hot water for comments he made at a public forum held by Democratic leaders last Tuesday in Scarborough to discuss their tax plan, saying he would not be bothered if LePage “goes to see his maker.” He went on to lament that political assassination is not a viable strategy in Maine, as in other places.

When a Portland Press Herald reporter who had recorded the comments asked Emery about what he said, Emery got angry and grabbed the phone containing the recording from the reporter, before apologizing and returning it.

Although Emery apologized for his comments the next day in interviews with multiple news outlets and made attempts to apologize to LePage personally, his council colleagues quickly condemned his statements, as did the state’s Democratic and Republican leaders.

In his public apology, Emery said his comments were tasteless and were intended as a joke, but one that evidently fell flat.

After Monday’s brief City Council meeting, Emery declined to comment further.

He said Monday that he has no plans to resign, standing by his earlier plan to allow voters in Ward 3 to decide this November, when he is up for re-election, whether he should continue to serve.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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