HALLOWELL — Following his inauguration Monday night as mayor of Hallowell, George Lapointe said the city will continue to be vigilant in its pandemic response and in its effort to utilize the Second Street Fire Station.

Hallowell Mayor George Lapointe Screenshot via Zoom

Along with two city councilors, Lapointe was inaugurated during a meeting held over the Zoom videoconferencing platform.

The inauguration ceremony began as a meeting of the previous City Council. That meeting was then closed and a meeting of the new City Council was called to order.

New councilors took the oath of office before newly inaugurated Lapointe delivered his first mayoral address.

About 35 people “attended” the meeting, which lasted about 35 minutes.

Lapointe succeeded Mark Walker, who served as the city’s mayor for seven years. Just before the old council adjourned, Walker said he would remain available to offer city officials a historical perspective.

“It’s been a tremendous honor, a pleasure, and I have been humbled to serve in this capacity for our fine city,” Walker said.

Lapointe, an environmental consultant and former commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, has served on the City Council since 2013. He was elected mayor by a three-vote margin over City Councilor Maureen AuCoin following a recount, after initially having a two-vote lead after the November election.

Along with the long-discussed future use of the Second Street Fire Station, Lapointe also marked a potential bond to fund a backlog of capital projects as an upcoming project for the city. Further, Lapointe said city employees will continue with their strong response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s no alternative to remaining vigilant and safe,” he said. “We need to all be strong and we’ll get through this together.”

Lapointe announced his economic development committee, which he will chair. It includes members of city groups and the City Council. He made appointments to this committee Monday, but said more appointments could come in the future. That group’s exact role and scope have yet to be determined.

Appointed to that Economic Development Committee Monday were Ward 2 City Councilor Michael Frett, Frank O’Hara, Deb Fahy and Chris Vallee.

Lapointe also mentioned two other committees, an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee and a Communications Committee. The latter’s scope is to give better access to information for all city residents.

“My goal is to make city information readily accessible to all,” Lapointe said.

City Councilor Peter Spiegel Screenshot via Zoom

Also inaugurated Monday: Ward 4 City Councilor Berkeley Almand-Hunter, who ran unopposed to succeed Diano Circo, and Frett, who ran unopposed for another term.

Lapointe also made the first appointment of his term Monday, naming Peter Spiegel to the councilor-at-large seat Lapointe used to occupy. Spiegel’s appointment was unanimously ratified by the City Council.

Spiegel’s last involvement in city politics was a run for a seat on the Regional School Unit 2 board of directors. He was defeated by longtime incumbent Dawn Gallagher.

Also Monday, Aucoin and Frett were nominated to be president of the City Council, with Aucoin winning four of six votes. Frett abstained from the vote and Councilor Diana Scully supported Frett.

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