LEWISTON — Two city councilors are sparring over a fledgling group that is critical of current council decisions.
Ward 1 Councilor Tom Peters, the council president, said he is taking part in the group's organizational meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ramada Inn.
"It's been organized by people that are not happy with the politics in Lewiston at this particular moment," Peters said. "Some people are a little concerned about decisions that have been made and future directions. They wanted to talk about it."
Councilor Robert Reed questioned Peters' motives.
"It's interesting that a sitting council president is organizing a group that has issues with the council he's currently sitting on," Reed said. "It doesn't feel right. It just feels dirty to me."
The two are on opposite sides of a decision earlier in July to fire City Administrator Jim Bennett. Reed sided with the majority councilors, agreeing to buy out Bennett's $110,000 contract. Peters and his brother, Ward 2 Councilor Nelson Peters, voted to retain Bennett.
Reed is currently collecting signatures to gain a spot on the November ballot seeking re-election to his Ward 7 City Council seat.
Peters has said he will not seek another term as Ward 1 councilor. He and Ward 6 Councilor Betty Dube are the only sitting councilors who have not taken out papers seeking re-election.
"That doesn't mean I can't continue to be interested in local politics," Peters said. "What I know is that a number of people are disgruntled about that decision, specifically, and they wanted to talk about it."
Peters said he expects the group will identify and help promote alternative City Council candidates. It is a public meeting, he said. He is one of the organizers, but much of the work is being handled by others, he said. He wouldn't say who else was involved in planning the meeting.
Reed said he would not be in attendance Wednesday night.
"It feels to me like it's a lynch mob aimed at the current council," Reed said. "It just feels slimy to me; I don't know how else to describe it. It feels like a violation of the respect councilors should show for one another. I think it's sad — slimy and sad."