LEWISTON — Following a lengthy debate, the City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday to appoint Caleb Roebuck to fill the vacant Ward 2 seat.

Caleb Roebuck

Roebuck, who is running against Robert McCarthy in November for a full two-year term on the council, was one of three to apply for the seat.

Councilor Zack Pettengill resigned Aug. 13, leaving the council to make an appointment to serve the remaining four months of his term.

Several councilors opposed the appointment, arguing it could give Roebuck an unfair advantage in the contested November race. According to the City Clerk’s office, however, neither of the remaining candidates were eligible.

City staff said Tuesday that applicant Darcy Fisher was not registered to vote in Lewiston, and applicant Ben Hundley was registered in Ward 3.

Councilor Lee Clement, who voted against the appointment of Roebuck, made an earlier motion to table, arguing that Fisher found out Tuesday afternoon that she was not registered to vote in the city after believing she was.

However, several on the council were wary of tabling the appointment.

According to the City Charter, the council must make an appointment within 30 days of a resignation, or the power falls to the mayor. If the vote was tabled Tuesday, the council risked losing its power to fill the seat.

Ultimately, the council voted 4-3 to appoint Roebuck, with Councilors Clement and Stephanie Gelinas and Mayor Mark Cayer opposed.

Clement, who called the process “a farce,” defended Fisher and argued the council should not be giving an announced candidate an appointed seat so close to an election.

Councilor Jensen argued that the appointment process has been open and fair, and that there were two applicants who were ineligible.

Jensen said Fisher “didn’t do the research,” and had several elections to realize she wasn’t registered to vote in Lewiston.

Fisher is a former member of the Planning Board.

“I get there’s some consternation with giving someone who is a candidate an appointment,” Jensen said, but he said he believes Roebuck will be under more scrutiny leading up to the election.

“It might make it harder, if anything,” he said.

Gelinas disagreed. She said that while the process was an “unfortunate series of events,” she believes “a declared candidate running in a contested race will have a leg up.”

Roebuck’s term will expire Jan. 4, 2022.


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