“I would appreciate it if these personal attacks on me would STOP,” shouted city manager Jon Jennings at Mayor Ethan Strimling toward the end of a discussion at city hall this evening. The Mayor ignored the bait and continued discussing a Disparity Study and his memorandum on the subject. Jennings’ shoutout followed a remark by the Mayor. He understood that Mr. Jennings opposed his proposal – because of the expense involved – although the Mayor discovered that the Muskie School of Public Policy at USM would perform the study for a reasonable fee.
It’s no secret that the two city officials have long had a contentious relationship. It appeared to have gone underground, but apparently not very deeply underground. The thin skinned Jennings once considered resigning his post because of the Mayor, but didn’t. Maybe he’ll reconsider that threat and act on it since he can’t control the Mayor or his agenda.
It is rumored and unconfirmed that Michael Sauschuck, the assistant to the city manager Jennings, would like to be Portland’s next city manager following Jennings departure whenever that comes. Sauschuck is the former police chief who once served as the interim city manager before Jennings took over. He liked it apparently!
Conservative Justin (a fog) Costa, with no re-election upcoming, was incredibly aggressive and transparent in his amateurish attempt to end the discussion then and there. Costa occasionally received a nod of approval from city manager Jon Jennings who encouraged him in his effort to end the discussion for good. Costa kept repeating: “I’m confused. I’m lost.” How did Costa ever got through law school, pass the State Bar and practice law – in such a fog? “I’m confused. I’m lost.”
Less confrontational but trying to pounce on anything negative he could find out about the consideration for a study about the “prevailing wage,” was conservative Nick Mavadones. Perhaps he is aware that he is being challenged by the popular Joey Brunelle, of Munjoy Hill in the November election. Previously Brunelle ran for Duson’s seat and finished a close second in a three-way race,
Attorney Bill Stockmeyer, of DrummondWoodsum, gave a presentation that he’d previously given to the Portland Public Schools on another occasion. Unlike the city;s attorney Michael Goldman, he concluded that it “is legal to do this here in Portland.” Goldman works for Jennings.
Jason J. Shedlock, Executive Director of the Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council, who attended the workshop although he could not speak, said to this blogger: “The City has an opportunity to lead by example and to do its part in making sure that the people who work in Portland are able to actually live in Portland.” Shedlock was formerly an assistant to Mayor Ethan Strlmling, but his position was cut from the city’s budget by Jennings.
It is expected there will be a public hearing on October 10 at 5:30 pm. Jennings said he planned on giving a presentation at that time as to how this study would affect the city budget.
Jennings mouthed an obscenity at this blogger twice for my surprise at his outburst to the Mayor. The above was the second occasion this evening when sparks between the two city officials were ignited.