Two city councilors and a school board member Thursday endorsed incumbent Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, saying he can be trusted to do what’s right for the city.

“He doesn’t govern by putting his finger in the wind to see which way the wind is blowing,” City Councilor David Brenerman said at a news conference in Monument Square. “I believe he’s a leader we can trust.”

Brennan is locked in a tough re-election campaign against longtime political adversary Ethan Strimling, a former state senator and nonprofit director who placed second during the 2011 campaign. Strimling has racked up a wide range of endorsements, including from four city councilors and seven of the nine school board members.

Portland Green Party Chairman Tom MacMillan is also running for mayor.

City Councilor Justin Costa and school board member Laurie Davis pushed back Thursday against Strimling’s accusation that Brennan and the council took money from the schools to provide emergency assistance to asylum seekers. The city used unanticipated state education funding, received after the education budget was finalized, to help pay for the aid.

Costa and Davis said the school’s operating budget was not reduced and that board members never discussed asking the council to allocate the $1.7 million in additional state education money to much-needed facility upgrades.

Brenerman also said it was “ludicrous” to blame Brennan for the turnover at City Hall, because some people retired, while others found better jobs. Also, the city manager, not the mayor, handles day-to-day operations.

While conceding the full-time mayor’s role is still a work in progress, the elected officials said the city charter calls for a mayor who can build coalitions, focus on policy and take clear positions on controversial issues, which is what Brennan has done.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

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