LEWISTON — School Committee at-large member Cynthia Mendros has been removed because of poor attendance, Chairman Jim Handy said Tuesday.

When the City Council meets Tuesday night, Mayor Robert Macdonald plans to nominate ZamZam Mohamud for the position until the election Nov. 3.

Handy said the City Charter states a committee member is to be removed when he or she misses three consecutive, unexcused absences.

The last regularly scheduled meeting Mendros attended was March 23, Superintendent Bill Webster said. Mendros hit three, unexcused absences in May, he said.

She missed meetings before that, but did notify Handy or Webster’s office that she wouldn’t be attending, Handy said. After March, she did not inform authorities she’d be absent.

“She had some personal issues for which she was excused in March,” Handy said. “If you contact me or the superintendent’s administration, that’s all that (is) needed to be excused.” It’s not necessary to explain why, he said.


The City Charter requires the committee chairman to notify the mayor when there are three unexcused absences, Handy said.

“People are elected to represent their constituents,” he said. “If they don’t show up, that leaves their ward without a vote. We need all hands on deck to help us work through issues and find solutions to problem as they arise.”

In August, Handy sent a letter to the mayor and Mendros advising them she was being removed from the committee. Handy said he had not heard from Mendros.

Efforts to reach her Tuesday morning were unsuccessful. The Sun Journal did reach her husband, Stavros Mendros, who said he was on vacation in Las Vegas. Mendros said his wife was not intending to run for re-election.

Handy said the mayor let him know he was nominating Mohamud, who was appointed to the School Committee after the death of Robert Connors in 2013, making her the first Somali to serve on the committee. Mohamud ran for election that November and was defeated by Mendros.

Handy said he’s pleased with the mayor’s nomination.


“ZamZam will bring a lot of experience,” he said. The two are friends, Handy said, adding that Mohamud is not interested in running for office again but is willing to fill in.

During the 2013 election, Mendros said she was running because she believes in teachers and they need more autonomy.

Mohamud said in 2013 that she was running to give back to the community after her two children had success in Lewiston schools, and she saw how a constantly changing budget affects schools. She cited a lack of parental participation as a problem.

John Butler, a former School Committee member and city councilor, and Megan Parks have announced they will run for the at-large seat in November.

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