PORTLAND — Three veteran public officials, Jill Duson, Justin Costa and Marnie Morrione, will be replaced next week by newcomers to municipal and school leadership.

Mark Dion, April Fournier and Andrew Zarro will be inaugurated at noon Monday, Dec. 7, replacing City Councilors Duson, Costa and Kimberly Cook, respectively.

The city council will say goodbye next week to Councilors Kimberly Cook, Justin Costa and Jill Duson. Photos courtesy of City of Portland

Later that afternoon, at 4 p.m., new Portland Board of Education members Jeffrey Irish, Aura Russell-Bedder and Yusuf Yusuf will be sworn in to replace Morrione, Timothy Atkinson and Mark Balfantz, who decided not to seek another term in order to spend more time with family.

Councilor Nick Mav0dones, who has served with Duson during all her 19 years on the city council, said Duson has been a model city councilor.

“If I were going to build the profile of an elected official, I would look at you,” Mavodones, councilor since 1997, told Duson at the Nov. 17 council meeting. “You’ve been a trailblazer. It’s been a great pleasure to serve all these years with you.”

“I am not sure how I can survive on this council without you,” Mavodones said.

Councilor Tae Chong said it was Duson, who he called his “mentor and North Star,” who first encouraged Chong to seek public office by running for a seat on the school board.

Chong, who was elected to the council in 2019, said Duson’s impact on the city “will be long lasting.”

“Everyone on this panel has been influenced by you,” Chong said.

Duson said stepping down from the council is bittersweet.

“I am ready for a change, but it does mean stepping down from something I really love,” she said.

Costa won his first election at age 25 when in 2008 he started the first of his two terms on the school board. In 2014, he was elected to the District 4 seat on the City Council. This fall, newly married and looking to buy a house somewhere in the city, Costa ran for Duson’s at-large seat, but finished second to Fournier in a four-way race.

Costa, Mavodones said, “brought great insight into all the issues we dealt with.”

Councilor Spencer Thibodeau saw Costa as the person he sought advice from when he was unsure how to weigh in on a City Council topic.

“Your ability to see every angle to an issue is, I think, going to be greatly missed,” Thibodeau said.

Costa said his time on the school board and council has been a “tremendously rewarding experience.”

The school board last month paid tribute to outgoing members, Timothy Atkinson, Mark Balfantz and Marnie Morrione Photos courtesy of Portland Public Schools

Morrione, the second-longest tenured school board member, chose not to seek re-election after 12 years.

Board Chairperson Roberto Rodriguez said Morrione, who won the District 5 seat as a write-in candidate in 2008, will be difficult to replace.

“Another name will take your seat, but no one will ever take over what Marnie Morrione brought to the board,” he told her Nov. 18.

Sarah Thompson, a school board member since 2006, said Morrione provided valuable “guidance, leadership and critical insight in so many topics that have come before us.”

Morrine, board member Anna Trevorrow said, had the ability to “ask the right question to get the pertinent information needed to make a decision.”

Superintendent Xavier Botana, who has hired when Morrione was the school board chairperson, said he hopes she can look back on her school board career with pride.

“You gave a tremendous portion of your life to this service and the entire community is better for that,” he said.

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