Neva Gross joins the Biddeford City Council representing Ward 5. Contributed / Danica Lamontagne

The Biddeford City Council officially appointed Neva Gross as the next Ward 5 Councilor on Thursday, May 9, after former City Councilor Julian Schlaver’s resignation was approved by the council earlier that week.

Schlaver is the second Biddeford councilor to resign since April. Last month, former Councilor Bobby Mills, who represented Ward 4, resigned after being arrested and charged for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

On April 13, Schlaver was issued a summons for assault, according to police dispatch records. In a phone interview last month, Schlaver said the alleged assault detailed in the summons is a misdemeanor, and stems from an incident where he inadvertently touched a woman inappropriately while intoxicated.

“Unfortunately, this weekend, I had too much to drink, and what was meant to be a friendly gesture at the end of the night did not come across that way,” Schlaver said via telephone on April 18. He added that he was sorry for the incident and because of it he felt it was necessary for him to resign from City Council.

Elected officials are held to a higher standard, City Council President Liam LaFountain told The Courier, and resignations like Schlaver’s are serious.

“This resignation is a reminder of the responsibility that comes with public service and the necessity of accountability at every level with local government,” LaFountain said. “Upholding ethical conduct is crucial to maintaining the trust of Biddeford residents as we address their needs and build a more inclusive and prosperous city.”


After an extensive search that yielded a large pool of candidates, LaFountain and Biddeford Mayor Martin Grohman ultimately found Neva Gross to be the best candidate for the position.

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Gross served eight years in the U.S. Army as a medic and operating room technician. She moved to Maine in 2015 to pursue her Doctorate of Pharmacy at the University of New England.

“It was wonderful and rewarding to speak with so many people who wanted to step up and serve the city of Biddeford,” Grohman said May 9. “It was clear through the process that Neva’s talents would really be a great benefit to the city.”

Gross is a supervisor at a 15-bed medical respite program for Preble Street in Portland, and previously served as a manager at Batson River, a restaurant in downtown Biddeford.

“I am excited to have been selected as the next city councilor for Ward 5,” Gross said. “I look forward to the opportunity to serve the residents and businesses of Ward 5 and all of Biddeford.”

Gross will fill the Ward 5 Council seat for the remainder of the current term, which expires in December 2025.

Dylan D. Doughty is the only person who is registered to run as Mills’ replacement at the June 11 election.

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