City Clerk Kathy Jones, top left, swears in Charter Commission members June 28. Zoom screenshot

The Portland Charter Commission elected officers Monday at its first meeting and set its schedule for July.

The group chose Michael Kebede, a policy advisor for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, as chairperson and Shay Stewart Bouley, a writer and executive director of the Community Change Inc., the country’s oldest anti-racism organization, as vice chairperson.

Peter Eglinton, deputy director of Efficiency Maine Trust and a former school board member and chief operations officer for Portland Public Schools, was nominated by Dory Waxman for both the chairperson and vice chairperson position, but ultimately was chosen as secretary over Pat Washburn, who nominated herself for the position.

The 12-member Charter Commission has a long way to go between now and next June when it is scheduled to present to the City Council its recommended changes to the city charter to improve how city government is organized and run.

The group meets next at 6 p.m. July 15, when it will discuss rules and procedures and the hiring of staff to help facilitate work. At the 6 p.m. public hearing July 28, the public will have an opportunity to weigh in on items they would like to see the commission address. Comments can also be sent via email at [email protected]

The commission is required to have a preliminary report of proposals by March 8, 2022, and present a final report to the City Council by June 8, 2022. Any changes will ultimately be up to Portland voters, likely at the November 2022 general election.

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