Portland mayor threatens to veto budget after city council cuts his assistant

Portland mayor threatens to veto budget

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling is threatening to veto the city's proposed budget.

That's because the proposal cuts a position important to him - his assistant.

Now, he's accusing the city council of playing political games.

This would be the first time an elected mayor in Portland has ever vetoed a budget – since the position was created with that power in 2010.

Mayor Strimling says he hasn't made up his mind yet.

A 6-3 vote on Monday night passed an amendment to the budget - to eliminate the position of the Portland Mayor's assistant.

The was followed by an 8-1 vote to pass the proposed budget.

The only ‘no’ vote - Mayor Ethan Strimling.

“The issue is my being able to have the resources I need to do the job,” he said.

Cutting the mayor's assistant job would save $70,000 of an over $340 million budget.

Mayor Strimling says it's a political game. “I don't think personal - but it certainly feels political,” he said.

He says he can't successfully complete his job without the help of his current assistant Jason Shedlock, who has worked the job since it was created a year and a half ago.

But some city councilors say the assistant isn't a necessary position. “The question is - is it helpful? The mayor thinks it is,” said Councilor Spencer Thibodeau. “I think it has helped alienate the mayor from the council.”

Councilor Thibodeau made a strong statement to the mayor at Monday's meeting. “Come back to this council,” he said. “Come back to work with your colleagues. Come back to collaborate.”

Several people spoke at the meeting in support of keeping this position - including Jason Shedlock himself.

He declined an interview request.

Mayor Strimling is now threatening to veto the proposed budget.

Councilor Thibodeau says Mayor Strimling is the one playing games. “Threatening to veto a budget is a political game, right?” said Thibodeau.

There is one thing both sides agree on - that this is taking the focus off of issues that matter most.

Mayor Strimling has until the end of Monday May 22 to decide whether or not to veto the budget.

Even if he does veto - the city council could override it.

 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
TRENDING VIDEOS