LEWISTON — The City Council voted down an effort to remove Scott Harriman as council president, but also voted to limit the mayor’s ability to consult with the city attorney, as officials continue to face a lack of public trust and political fallout early in the term.

Scott Harriman Submitted photo

Councilor Tim Gallant said his proposal to remove Harriman as president stemmed from instances of “circumventing” the wishes of the council, or coordinating with only certain members of the council or Mayor Carl Sheline.

However, a 5-2 majority said Harriman’s mistakes as president have not risen to the level of necessitating removal. Others saw Gallant’s proposal as an attempt to push back against Sheline, and urged the council to focus on city issues.

Former Councilor Luke Jensen said Gallant needs to make “a better case” for removing Harriman, pointing out that most of the council’s deliberations relating to Gallant’s proposal have taken place during executive sessions, out of the public eye.

“We need more info, or else it just looks like more games,” Jensen said, referring to when the previous council removed its council president in the fall.

Councilor Josh Nagine said the entire council “can improve on things,” but the council is “building more trust among ourselves.”


“If this is a case of rebuking the mayor by removing the council president, I’m not comfortable with that,” he said. “That doesn’t sit well with me.”

Several comments from the public Tuesday, and during previous council meetings, have centered on a public perception that Harriman and Sheline are coordinating on issues.

Jensen said he wouldn’t agree with the public perception that Harriman is “aligned with the mayor.”

Lewiston resident Ronnie Paradis argued that while Harriman has “been influenced” in the past by Sheline, “he’s changed.” She also said she didn’t support removing Harriman because the council needs to avoid the mistakes of the previous council.

“We need to work,” she said. “And get this city together.”

The debate Tuesday came just days after the resignation of former City Administrator Heather Hunter and appointment of Brian O’Malley as acting administrator. The proposal from Gallant was added to the agenda prior to Hunter’s resignation.


Gallant had also previously issued a Freedom of Access Act request for emails among Harriman, Sheline and Councilor Susan Longchamps.

Harriman said Tuesday that he’s done his best over the past three months, but admitted there have been mistakes. However, he called on the entire council to do a better job communicating. He said he didn’t hear Gallant’s concerns until Tuesday’s meeting, and he attempted to reach out prior to the meeting, but did not receive a response.

“If you see an issue, if I’m not performing up to standards, then let me know then,” he said. “I want to be able to correct it.”

Prior to the vote, former Councilor Jim Lysen said Harriman “has earned” the president’s position, and that it’s a difficult job, “especially in the period of time we’re talking about,” when “some difficult decisions” have been made.

Former Councilor Lee Clement said the public has been “misled by your very own leadership,” which he said has blamed city administration, and “good people and reputations have been sullied to no end.”

Earlier in the meeting, the council voted unanimously to amend the current year’s council rules to limit the ability of the mayor to consult with the city attorney.

Current rules require any councilor who is not the president to either have the president’s permission or have the support of four other councilors in order to speak with the attorney. At the start of the current term, the rule was amended to remove the mayor from that requirement.

Councilor Nagine said he requested the council rule be reverted back because “it’s important to have a transparent process in the ways information is communicated to the council through counsel.”

Sheline defended his recent consultation with the attorney, stating that the times he did contact the attorney, “the council knew I was going to or they knew shortly after, either through me or the attorney.”

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