Westbrook City Clerk Angela Holmes administers the oath of office Monday to the city’s interim mayor David Morse, who is also City Council president. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Westbrook residents will choose a new mayor in November, when a big voter turnout is expected for the presidential election.

The City Council voted 6-1, with Councilor Gary Rairdon opposed, for a Nov. 5 election to fill the remaining year of Mayor Michael Foley’s three-year term. Council President David Morse was sworn in Monday as acting mayor until the November vote.

“It’s been an honor to serve with you,” Morse told Foley, who resigned late last month to accept a job as town manager in Gray.

Rairdon favored a June election to bolster the turnout for the school budget validation referendum that generally draws a sparse turnout of the city’s 13,000 registered voters.

Councilor Jennifer Munro said a November election, with presidential candidates on the ballot, will draw a greater number of voters. It would also give candidates time to prepare and campaign door-to-door, said Councilor Victor Chau.

Foley and City Clerk Angela Holmes said a November vote is cost-efficient.


The city would need to plan for additional costs if the mayoral election was scheduled for June. It would have to hire a ranked choice consultant twice this year for a cost of a between $20,000 and $30,000 each time, Foley said.

“The ranked choice voting was implemented by the voters, not by the council,” Morse pointed out.

The council voted last week to increase the elected part-time mayor’s salary to $48,718, up from $6,500 set in 1987.

In other action, the City Council unanimously approved buying a 2.3-acre parcel on Pride Street from Central Maine Power for $250,000. The city plans to build a new fire station there, replacing the existing fire barn on Bridgton Road (Route 302) that serves the northern area of the city.

The city has outgrown the existing building where there have been “structural, mechanical and environmental health issues” that make it a difficult and expensive station to maintain, the City Counsel packet of information said.

The land buy is near the power lines, a sub station and abuts the Prides Corner Congregation Church property. Funding to buy the site will come from the 2024 capital improvement program.

The council Monday also confirmed Foley’s appointment of City Councilor Michael Shaughnessy, a University Of Southern Maine faculty member, as his replacement on the Greater Portland Metro board of directors.

“I appreciate you appointing me to this,” said Shaughnessy, who rides Metro’s Husky to USM. “It’s exciting and I look forward to doing it.”

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