Christopher O’Neil, the longtime lobbyist for the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, has left his post.

O’Neil said in an email Wednesday evening that he lost the consulting contract he’d had with the chamber for the past nine years in a competitive bidding process.

He has been replaced by Chris Quint, former executive director of the University of Southern Maine’s Office of Public Affairs.

In August 2014, Quint was hired to replace longtime USM spokesman Bob Caswell, but he left the University in December 2015 to start his own media relations firm, Quint CO, according to his LinkedIn page.

O’Neil, who was the chamber’s first Portland City Hall liaison, appeared before the City Council, Planning Board and municipal committees to present the viewpoints of local business owners on controversial issues such as the minimum wage, plastic bag fees, the city’s site plan review ordinance, and whether the city should create the position of an elected mayor.

“The chamber works for things and against things, but the common denominator is we work to make Portland the financial and commercial capital of New England,” O’Neil said in a telephone interview Wednesday night.


Chris Hall, the chamber’s chief executive officer, confirmed Wednesday night that Quint has been hired as the chamber’s new lobbyist.

“Chris (O’Neil) did a good job for us and we wish him all the best. It was just time for a new face,” Hall said.

O’Neil owns O’Neil Policy Consulting Inc. in Portland. He said the change will allow him to seek new clients in Augusta and locally.

“I’m surely not going away,” O’Neil said in his email.

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