In tight vote, Rick Fournier chosen as Bangor City Council chair

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 11:18 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2022 at 5:23 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Rick Fournier will serve another term as chair of the Bangor City Council.

However, the outcome of Monday morning’s nomination was no sure thing. Some members making it clear they are dissatisfied with the status quo.

Dan Tremble, Cara Pelletier, and Fournier were sworn in Monday during a routine Bangor City Council organizational meeting. But that’s where the routine ended.

After serving as chair last year, Fournier was nominated again by a fellow council member. Four councilors, including Fournier, voted yes.

One abstained, citing transparency concerns. Three others voted no. A ninth councilor was absent from the meeting, resulting in a 4-3 vote in favor of Fournier.

“Women are often told to smile, put on a good front, family’s fine, put on a good face. As a mother of two young women, I’m going to vote my truth and say that the family is not fine. And so I’m voting no,” said councilor Gretchen Schaefer.

“Having served as a former chair, I understand the desire to continue forward in that seat, I really do. However, that’s not how Bangor is structured,” said councilor Clare Davitt. “It’s a frustrating situation. I will obviously work with councilor Fournier. I think he is a good man and will be a good leader again. However I do not think it’s the right person to be leading us at this time.”

“I hate seeing split decisions,” Fournier said. “I certainly understand. It’s not the first time a council chair has been back to back.”

After the vote, Fournier said there’s a lot of work ahead of them, including what he calls critical decisions about Bangor’s future. He mentioned broadband, transportation, and homelessness as key areas the council will be focused on in his second term as chair.

“We do need to work together as a team. Thank you for the honor,” Fournier said.