Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo, left, swears in interim Mayor Kristen Cloutier in the City Council Chamber on Tuesday night. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

LEWISTON — One week after a woman unexpectedly used a City Council public comment session to make a series of allegations against Mayor Shane Bouchard, a new mayor was sworn in.

Council President Kristen Cloutier will serve as interim mayor until the November election.

During a special meeting Tuesday that took roughly five minutes, the City Council voted unanimously to accept Bouchard’s resignation, and City Clerk Kathy Montejo made it official by swearing in Cloutier.

Bouchard resigned Friday barely three days after Heather Everly Berube announced during a City Council meeting that she had given Bouchard internal emails from opponent Ben Chin during the 2017 mayoral campaign, in a covert effort to boost Bouchard’s chances of winning.

Berube, who had previously worked on Chin’s campaign, also alleged an affair with Bouchard. Late Wednesday last week, Berube released more than 150 texts between her and Bouchard, including one in which he told a racist joke and one in which he seemed to compare a meeting with his fellow Republicans to a Ku Klux Klan gathering.

Bouchard announced his resignation during a news conference at City Hall on Friday, saying he intended to fight, but, “I cannot do that effectively from the mayor’s seat.”


Members of Cloutier’s family watched Tuesday as she was sworn in, which was followed by loud applause.

Cloutier did not offer any remarks, but earlier in the day she told The Associated Press, “When things like this happen, it sets you back,” referring to Bouchard’s use of a racist joke. “It’s painful for me because it’s painful for my community.”

Before the vote, Montejo read the council resolve in full, which recapped Friday’s events in an effort to make clear that Bouchard had resigned from the position.

Included in the language was, “Whereas, at the (news) conference, Shane Bouchard publicly stated, ‘Please consider this formal notice that I am resigning from the position of Mayor.'”

It continues, “Shane Bouchard recognized at the press conference that City Council President Cloutier filled the vacancy of Mayor when he gave formal notice of his resignation and promised to work with ‘incoming Mayor Kristen Cloutier’ and she accepted the responsibility of mayor at the press conference.”

According to the city’s code of ordinances, the mayor’s position receives an annual salary of $4,500.


Bouchard did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Berube attended the meeting, but no public comment was taken prior to the council’s vote. The council moved quickly through the process, and immediately entered into an executive session to consult with the city attorney prior to a previously scheduled workshop.

According to the city charter, Cloutier’s Ward 5 council seat would not be replaced with a full member, but Cloutier said during the Friday news conference that an alternate would be appointed in the event Cloutier cannot attend a meeting.

In his resignation address, Bouchard criticized the media, though after his texts with Berube were made public, he did not deny they were his, telling the Sun Journal, “I say stupid things and stupid jokes occasionally.”

On Saturday, Maine Community Integration hosted a community dialogue on racism and sexism at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center. During the event, those in attendance urged each other to find and support political candidates who would represent and fight for “the interests of all their constituents.”

Members of Lewiston’s immigrant community continued the conversation early this week.


Fatuma Hussein of the Immigration Resource Center in Lewiston said there was nothing funny about making jokes about a vulnerable population, especially by someone in a position of power.

“There’s nothing laughable about that,” said Fatuma, who was born in Somalia. “We have to stop this.”

Muhidin Libah, director of the Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine, said of Bouchard’s text, “It’s not helping the Lewiston community.”


David Sharp of The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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