Bangor City Council again votes Rick Fournier chair after voting “irregularity”

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 9:28 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - For the second time in 12 hours, Rick Fournier was voted in for another term as Bangor City Council Chair Monday night.

It wasn’t without opposition either time.

Fournier had been chosen as Chair by a 4-3 vote which included himself Monday morning.

One councilmember was unable to attend, and another abstained.

At the council’s meeting that night, the City Solicitor said abstaining from the vote - if present - is not allowed under the city ordinance.

Calling it an “irregularity,” he recommended a second vote with all nine members.

Fournier was voted in by a 5-4 vote, which included himself.

Some councilors expressed issues with the process - which usually results in a new chairperson elected each year.

“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.” councilor Clare Davitt said. “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 he’s the right person to be leading us at this time.””

“I personally believe Councilor Fournier serving as Chair will be the more bipartisan approach to solving Bangor’s issues,” Councilor Joseph Leonard said.

“If we did this much communication behind the scenes to organize votes for who would be chair, as we did for tackling the houselessness crisis, we’d be halfway to solving this problem.”

Two active councilors and one former councilor who spoke in public comment suggested that the position of Chair should instead be decided by a public vote, citing transparency concerns.

Any such action would require a change to the city charter.

Our original story from Monday’s first vote, including more information about the process, can be found here.