WESTBROOK  — For the last few months following her election as state representative for House District 35, Ann Peoples has been trying to juggle her roles as a legislator and a sitting city councilor.

Over the last few months, while active in debates in Augusta, Peoples has been absent from City Council meetings, last attending Jan. 7 and missing 15 of 16 sessions of the council and council committees.

Now, with the city budget presented and up for review, Peoples says she will give more of her attention to the council.

“It’s very important for a governing body – that being the City Council – to have as much presence as possible,” said Council Chairman Gary Rairdon.

“The hard thing for Ann when she was elected to Augusta was trying to balance the needs, her health and travel,” he added.

Peoples said although she has not been attending City Council meetings, she has kept up with its work.

“I have been watching (meetings) on streaming. It is not like I am unaware of what is going on and have been communicating with the people I have to,” she said.

Peoples said there has been nothing on the agendas over the last few months that she objected to.

“I have been doing the best I can. I have yet to not respond to a councilor concern,” she said.

City Administrator Jerre Bryant said he has heard some questions about Peoples’ attendance, but there is nothing in the charter or council rules, he added, in terms of mandating attendance or that an individual cannot hold both state and local offices.

“In Ann’s case, it has manifested some challenges in terms of time management and being in multiple places at the same time,” Bryant said.

People’s participated in a March 30 review of several department budgets and said she intends to participate in all budget meetings between now and the middle of May, when the council will approve the city spending plan and set the bottom line figure for the school budget.

While Peoples has had a long history of service in both state and local government, having served on the Planning Board (1996 to 2003,) City Council (1994 to 1996, 2003 to 2005, 2016-)  and Legislature (2006-2014), until now she hasn’t had to do both at once.

She said she offered to step down from the City Council after being elected to the Legislature, but was convinced not to.

Peoples said the time commitment required of her as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing keeps her in Augusta during the week. The committee, which she was asked to join, meets for full sessions twice a week and is evaluating 200 bills dealing with labor and housing issues.

“It is engaging and it is interesting and I am learning a lot, but it is a big time commitment,” she said.

During her time in Augusta, Peoples has served as the lead sponsor on LD 467: An Act To Amend the Eligibility Criteria for Creditable Service in the Armed Forces of the United States under the State Retirement System and has co-sponsored more than 20 other proposed bills.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or [email protected] or on Twitter @mkelleynews

At-large Councilor Ann Peoples rejoined the City Council last week after being largely absent since starting work in the Legislature. Throughout the budget review, she intends to balance her roles as city councilor and state legislator.

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