SACO — Ward 4 City Councilor Lynn Copeland, elected to the Maine Legislature on Nov. 3, said she has informed Mayor William Doyle that she will resign from the council on Dec. 7.

House District 14 Representative-elect Lynn Copeland said she will resign her Saco City Council seat on Dec. 7. The city council will appoint a new councilor for the remainder of the Ward 4 term. Courtesy photo/Eduard Chenette

Now, the City Council will appoint an individual to complete the two years of the unexpired term, through December 2022, according to the City Charter, and is looking for letters of interest from people who live in the ward.

Democrat Copeland won election to Maine House District 14, besting Republican Theodore Sirois 3,855 to 2,233 for the open seat, currently held by Donna Bailey, who won the Senate District 31 seat on Election Day.

Copeland’s departure from the council, which she said she intends to formalize with a letter, means candidates seeking the appointment must submit a letter of interest to City Clerk Michele Hughes at [email protected] or to the City Clerk’s Office at Saco City Hall, by 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The submissions from interested candidates will be reviewed and discussed publicly during the City Council meeting on Dec. 7. At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor William Doyle said the decision about who will replace Copeland could take place on the seventh, although the council has 30 days from her resignation date to do so.

Ward 4 encompasses streets along Ferry Road (Route 9), from Glenwood Avenue to the ocean, taking in Camp Ellis and Seaside Avenue to the Old Orchard Beach town line.

Copeland said she was honored to serve the citizens of Ward 4, and would miss her fellow councilors, city staff and those on commissions, boards, and committees to which she served as the council liaison.

“My hope is the Teen Center, park improvements, trail mapping and app projects, with the ultimate vision of creating a natural greenbelt in Saco, will attract new business owners to Saco and serve our community well for years to come,” she said.

Looking ahead to her work in the Maine Legislature, Copeland said because of the work she did as a councilor, she is well informed on issues facing the community and will seek collaboration at the state level to move the Army Corps of Engineers Camp Ellis erosion mitigation project forward, among other endeavors.

“I will work to get Saco Bay water clean so clamming and aquaculture can flourish, which will be part of the initiative to diversify our tax base, lower residential taxes, and improve the lives of the people of Saco,” she said.

An initial reading by the council of an opinion by city solicitor Tim Murphy appeared to indicate that an individual from Ward 4 would be appointed to the City Council until the next election, Nov. 2, 2021, with a special election at that time to fill the remaining year of the term. After seeking clarification however, the council learned that the appointment is through the remainder of the unexpired term, to December 2022, according to the charter.

Portions of the charter were amended in 2019, including the staggering of City Council terms — but section 2.06 that  outlines what happens in the event of a council vacancy, was not.

Director of  Communications Emily Roy said an overview of city councilor responsibilities, along with a ward map, can be found at: https://www.sacomaine.org/citycouncil.

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