PORTLAND — The first three members of the Charter Review Commission have been selected, but it is still unknown when voters will go to the polls to choose the remaining nine members.

The City Council Monday appointed Peter Elington, Michael Kebede and Dory Waxman to the group, which will be review the city charter, a document that lays out, among other things, the composition of the City Council and Board of Education, how public meetings and elections are run, the timeline to develop a school budget, the citizen referendum process and the powers and responsibilities of the mayor and the city manager.

Elington, Kebede and Waxman were chosen from a field of 39 applicants, 20 of whom were interviewed.

Voters last month overwhelmingly approved the creation of a charter commission. The question was put on the ballot because Fair Elections Portland is trying to create a locally funded clean elections program, which would require a revision to the city charter. Advocates also want to see charter changes to give the mayor more power and to address institutional racism.

Elington is the deputy director of Efficiency Maine. He was Portland Schools chief operations officer from 2012 to 2014 and was a member of the Portland Board of Education from 2007 to 2010.

Kebede is the policy counsel for the ACLU of Maine and has been a vocal participant in debates about school resource officers in Portland schools, the prohibition of facial recognition technology in the city and other civil rights topics.


Waxman, the founder and owner of Old Port Wool and Textile Company and founder of Common Threads, was an at-large city councilor from 2008 to 2011. She is a member of the city’s Parks Commission and served on the Board of Education in the 1990s.

Voters will elect the remaining nine members of the committee, one from each of the city’s five voting districts and four at-large members. Electing those members in November is not possible because nomination papers for the positions would have to have been made available already. Members may be elected during the school validation election in June or at a special election.

Mayor Kate Snyder has asked City Clerk Kathy Jones to prepare information about how the election could work.

“We need to understand everything we can about establishment of an election date, the clerk’s work to verify signatures and prepare ballots, how ranked choice voting could impact the election and the cost associated with a special election,” Snyder said.

Jones has said a special election could cost the city $61,400 to hold.

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