Jim McKenna is seen Friday in the Hubbard Free Library in Hallowell. McKenna is stepping down as a library trustee after 23 years. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

HALLOWELL — Two elected officials in Hallowell — one city councilor and one longtime library trustee — have resigned. City Councilor Peter Spiegel and Jim McKenna, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hubbard Free Library, will leave their duties after years of service.

“It is with sadness that I submit my resignation as councilor for the great City of Hallowell, Maine. As I navigate personal issues, it has become clear that I must focus on things closer to home and step away from work with the council,” Spiegel wrote in his resignation letter dated Nov. 13.

The resignation was announced by Mayor George Lapointe on the city’s website and social media. “I very much appreciate Pete’s service to Hallowell for the last three years,” Lapointe wrote in a post. “His passion for our city was evident in every action he took and comment he made.”

Spiegel will continue to reside in Hallowell. Lapointe announced he will appoint a replacement to Spiegel’s seat who will serve until the next elections; anyone interested can submit their name (or someone else’s) for consideration.

“I have a dozen names so far,” said Lapointe. “But the interviews won’t start before the next town meeting.”

Spiegel, 48, said he hopes to come back in the future and work for Hallowell.


Peter Spiegel Contributed photo

“The work we do is important, and not a lot of people want to do this kind of work,” he said. “I hope to get back to it someday, even if it’s not on the council.”

Spiegel was elected to the City Council in 2020. He was also on multiple committees, including Claims, Transportation and the Public Lands/Property Committee. He continues to work as a personal trainer and educate adults on fitness.

Councilor Maureen AuCoin said the City Council will decide when the next election should be held.

“The Mayor makes a temporary appointment, and the Council sets the election date. This can be a special election or a regular election,” said AuCoin. “Council members will make this decision on Monday and set the date. Currently, the next scheduled election in Hallowell is to be held on March 5.”

Hannah Barry, who ran for a council seat last month against Council Michael Frett and lost, seems to be a popular choice.

Meanwhile, the mayor will recommend an appointment to the City Council for it to vote on and approve.


Alex AuCoin, president of the Hallowell Pride Alliance, wrote on Lapointe’s Facebook post: “Hannah Barry just ran a strong campaign and earned about 40% of the vote against a long-term incumbent. They are clearly interested and committed and would offer a perspective that is missing on counsel. As a renter living downtown, we need their voice.” Many others agreed.

Barry, who uses they/them pronouns, confirmed they had already submitted their name for consideration.

“I feel honored and supported seeing everyone take my name,” Barry said. “I was fully expecting to wait another year before I could try again.”

Barry ran a campaign focusing on bringing down rent costs and reliance on property taxes. They added that this would also offer an opportunity to alleviate the recent tension between the Pride Alliance and the city arising from allegations of bias and miscommunication.

“I think the situation is misconstrued,” they said. “The people on the council are good. It’s not about morally correct versus morally corrupt. We must all communicate better.”

Jim McKenna, 78, is also leaving his seat on the Hubbard Free Library Board of Trustees after 23 years. Sitting in the library Friday, McKenna looked at the librarian and realized that the year he became a trustee, the librarian would have been 10 years old.


“Twenty-three years is a lot. I am leaving now, but I hope to be involved with the library still,” McKenna said.

He is joining the Friends of Hubbard Free Library, a local organization that assists the library with events.

“I will miss the library that is such an important part of our city. Especially now with the internet, it’s important to walk in and around shelves of books. Maybe you see a book by Dickens, and read: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ And you think maybe I will read this. So yes, it’s very important,” McKenna said.

The board will start looking for new trustees in January to fill McKenna’s seat and other vacancies.

Ken Young, the president of the Board of Trustees, said he is happy for McKenna but sad to see him go.

“He has been a stalwart for the board for many years and has contributed to our success in many ways,” said Young. “He certainly has earned a right to say, ‘Thanks, but I am off on a new adventure.’”

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