The Waterville City Council has elected Councilor Rebecca Green as chairwoman. Green, a Democrat who represents Ward 4, is shown Wednesday on the front steps to City Hall. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The City Council voted 5-2 this week to appoint Councilor Rebecca Green as chairwoman, a move that apparently made her the first woman to lead the council.

Green, D-Ward 4, has been a councilor for a year, and during that time became chair of the Waterville Housing Committee, a group seeking ways to improve housing options in the city.

Green is also a member of the American Recovery Plan Act Committee, which explores options for spending federal COVID-19 relief funding.

She has also served on the city manager evaluation committee.

“I’m honored to be elected, especially after just one year,” Green, 61, said Wednesday. “I’m really looking forward to being more involved. One of the things I want to make sure we do is be deliberative about how we’re bringing things up and discussing them and making sure we have all the information we need to make good choices. I feel like I will bring a different perspective to City Hall, being fairly new and being a woman.”

City Clerk Patti Dubois checked City Hall records Wednesday and said she did not find evidence the city had ever had a woman as council chair, so it appears Green is the first.

“We went back to 1968, and there are no female chairs,” Dubois said. “It would be surprising if there would be in the ’50s and ’60s.”

Green, who holds a doctorate in musicology from the University of Toronto, succeeds former council Chairman Erik Thomas, D-Ward 7, who was defeated in November by Thomas A. McCormick Sr., who ran as an unenrolled candidate.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilor Claude Francke, D-Ward 6, nominated Green to be chair, and Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, seconded the motion. McCormick nominated Councilor Rick Foss, R-Ward 5, and Foss seconded his motion, but he was not elected.

Green got the votes of not only Francke, Klepach and herself, but also of Councilors Mike Morris, D-Ward 1, and Flavia DeBrito, D-Ward 2.

In November 2020, Green defeated incumbent Councilor Sydney Mayhew 692-669. Prior to the election, Green said she was running for the seat because the next three years would be critical for Waterville, with major changes in city government, exciting momentum to develop downtown and a COVID-19 pandemic with consequences for people’s health and the economy.

“I want to help move Waterville forward in a positive direction in the next three years, support those who are most vulnerable and protect our assets, including education, medical and cultural institutions, so everyone thrives,” she said at the time.

Green said Wednesday that when she ran for office last year, one of her goals was to “contribute to a productive council, where there’s a civil exchange of ideas and a fair and transparent process for doing things in the city.”

“I think we’ve had a good year, and it’s going to be different this year,” she said. “We have new membership on the council. I always appreciate hearing what fellow councilors have to say, even if I don’t agree with it.”

Green also said she wants to make sure people watching council meetings from home or in person understand what is happening.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people that sometimes the discussion is confusing,” she said. “It’s important for us to be clear about it.”

Green works as a grant writer for the Knox County Homeless Coalition in Rockland and the Tree Street Youth in Lewiston. She also is an associate member of Bull Moose Group, a development consultant group for which she assists with clients.

She is a former teacher, freelance writer and editor, who also worked in arts administration and was head of school at the Kennebec Montessori School in Fairfield from 2006 to 2018.

She also serves on the development committee for Educare.


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