Three residents of Ward 5 have expressed interest in filling the vacancy on the Saco City Council created at the resignation of Alan Minthorn in February. The City Council will review letters of interest at their April 5 meeting. By Charter, the council appoints a candidate to fill the vacancy. Tammy Wells Photo

SACO — Three candidates have expressed their interest in filling the remainder of the Ward 5 City Council term that became vacant upon the resignation of Alan Minthorn in February.

Submitting letters of interest in the seat are Philip Hatch III, who operates a commercial credit training service and once served on the Saco Planning Board; William Gayle, a grant and policy administrator for the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority; and Jennifer L. Day, a realtor who served on the Augusta City Council and on the School Board in Maine’s capital city.

The term expires in December 2022, and will be filled by appointment of the City Council, which is scheduled to review the letters of interest at their meeting on April 5.

“My interest in serving on the Saco City Council has been fueled by my recent involvement in controversies surrounding what I and many other citizens felt were grossly insensitive and misguided land use efforts pursued by a large scale, out-of-state based real estate developer,” said Hatch, a 38-year Saco resident who studied accounting and business administration at the University of Southern Maine and worked for a number of financial institutions before opening his own business. “That experience exposed me to what I feel are several weaknesses in our local governance process. As a concerned citizen, I feel it is time for me to step up and help provide constructive solutions to correct these perceived weaknesses before they worsen and potentially cause greater damage to the city. I would like to help Saco by deploying my professional critical-thinking talents and leadership skills, along with my lifelong commitment to a high degree of personal honesty and integrity. If appointed as Ward 5 Councilor, I feel I can offer our local governing body a voice of respectful reason, while proposing fair and well thought out solutions to the many challenges facing the city.”

Gayle, who holds a degree in public policy from Rutgers University, said he and his wife and son are relatively new residents to Ward 5, and appreciate Saco’s economically diverse community with residents who have been neighbors for decades, walkable downtown, trails, beaches and more.

“I have a strong commitment to public service, both professionally and personally, and have been privileged to work on issues ranging from public safety to education to transportation, on a state and local level,” he wrote in his letter of interest. “My career in public policy has allowed me the opportunities to work hand-in-hand with local governments to help obtain important resources. If appointed, my first priority would be to solicit as much feedback from the residents of Ward 5 as possible to better represent their views. To start, I envision communicating with each Ward 5 resident so that they know and, know how to contact, their city councilor; hosting regular office hours, virtually and in-person, to get a sense directly from residents about their needs and perspectives; and participating safely in beloved Saco community events to introduce myself to the community at large. I am a strong believer that a leader listens and should be available to hear from residents and be engaged in the community.”

Day moved to Saco in 2019. She has had several years’ experience in public service, including seven years as president of the board of directors for the Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation; was appointed by then-Governor John Baldacci to the Governor’s Child Care Advisory Council; was Ward 1 Representative on the Augusta School Board and served as an Augusta At-Large City Councilor.

While a member of the School Board she said she cosponsored the addition of licensed social workers into Augusta schools, among other endeavors. She served on a number of council and School Board committees.

She was a Democratic candidate for Maine House District 86 in 2018.

“I am a skilled communicator with a strong history of effective and sincere engagement with diverse people across multiple platforms,” Day said in her letter of interest. “I consider myself an inviting listener who will work to increase participation in the processes that shape the community’s future. … I feel I would bring a fresh perspective, positive attitude and enthusiastic energy for Saco’s future.”

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