John Menario did indeed deserve an article in your paper, his death reported on the very day of the funeral of Ralph Lancaster, another great Portland citizen.

City Manager Menario hired me when I first got out of law school to be assistant corporation counsel for the city of Portland. I realized very early that this man would be a role model for honesty, integrity and a committed dedication to public service. He was a master negotiator, working at every level for compromise to achieve a result that would be beneficial to the city of Portland.

A couple years ago, I went to lunch with him and his former assistant city manager, Neal Allen. John gave us each a gift: a packet containing a dozen or so pages of projects and undertakings that were completed during his tenure.

He was not taking credit for these. On the contrary, he humbly pointed out that these successful projects – some controversial, as noted by your paper – were the result of cooperation among the City Council, the boards and commissions, the devoted employees of the city of Portland and, lastly and most importantly, the citizens of this great city. He was most proud of being a hub of that wheel, a connector. To me and others, he was like Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.

He was proud of that plaza on Middle Street named for him, now a center point for a city that has been named the best restaurant city in America. As for his run for governor, in my humble opinion he would have been one of the best in history, serving with style, grace and dedication to the state of Maine – as he did for our city of Portland.

Ellsworth Rundlett

former assistant corporation counsel


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