2013-11-29 / In the News

New look for Scarborough Town Council

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Scarborough Town Clerk Tody Justice swears in Jean-Marie Caterina and William Donovan as new Town Council members Wednesday, Nov. 20. Caterina and Donovan replace Ron Ahlquist and Judy Roy, who both had served on the council for more than a decade. (Michael Kelley photo) Scarborough Town Clerk Tody Justice swears in Jean-Marie Caterina and William Donovan as new Town Council members Wednesday, Nov. 20. Caterina and Donovan replace Ron Ahlquist and Judy Roy, who both had served on the council for more than a decade. (Michael Kelley photo) The Scarborough Town Council is now under new leadership. Last week, councilors named Richard Sullivan Jr. council chairman and Jessica Holbrook vice chairman.

The two replace Ron Ahlquist, the former council chairman who chose not to run for re-election this fall and Judy Roy, the former vice chairman who was not reelected to the council.

Both Ahlquist and Roy were familiar faces on the council. Roy, who served as chairman of the council’s finance committee, had served on the council for 15 years, including from 1990 to 1997 and then again from 2007 until earlier this month. Ahlquist had served on and off for more than a decade.


Richard Sullivan Jr. was elected Scarborough Town Council’s new chairman last week. Sullivan said his first goal is to clear up the unleashed dogs issue that has divided the community. Voters will head to the polls Tuesday for a special election on the topic. (Michael Kelley photo) Richard Sullivan Jr. was elected Scarborough Town Council’s new chairman last week. Sullivan said his first goal is to clear up the unleashed dogs issue that has divided the community. Voters will head to the polls Tuesday for a special election on the topic. (Michael Kelley photo) On Nov. 6, the last council meeting for Ahlquist and Roy, both were presented with plaques thanking them for their service to the community.

The Nov. 20 meeting was the first official one for Jean-Marie Caterina and William Donovan, who were sworn in early in the meeting by Town Clerk Tody Justice. Caterina and Donovan were the top votegetters in the Nov. 5 election, besting Roy and Carol Rancourt, a longtime public servant who spent nine years on the Board of Education and most recently nine years on the Town Council.

While Caterina and Donovan bring new energy to the council, they will have a lot of learning to do to bring them up to speed on town issues. “We lost a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge,” Donovan said.

Both Roy and Ahlquist, however, have expressed interest in continuing to serve the town. Roy intends to stay on the town’s long range planning and energy committees.

“I thank Judy Roy, Ron Ahlquist and Carol Rancourt for their years of service,” Caterina said. “I am very happy to hear they do intend to stay involved with the town.”

Roy’s and Ahlquist’s experience on the council, Sullivan said, will be missed.

“(They) have given lots and lots of service to the town, other than just their time on the council,” he said. “They will be missed.”

Nevertheless, the council will move on under the leadership of Sullivan and Holbrook, now the two most senior council members.

“I look forward to working with both of you,” Town Manager Tom Hall said. “I have a list of what I think are priorities and I hope you are receptive to sitting down and listening to them.”

One of Sullivan’s priorities is to address whether dogs should be leashed in town.

To that end, Sullivan has scheduled a council workshop at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4 to discuss the outcome of the special election Dec. 3 that could overturn amendments the council made to the animal control ordinance. As a result of that amendment change, dogs are required to be on leash at all times on any town-owned property, including trails and beaches. Dogs could remain unleashed if used for hunting or in a designated dog park.

“Whether it prevails or fails, we need to take action,” Sullivan said.

The topic is one that Sullivan gets passionate about. That could be seen Nov. 20 during the councilor comment period of the meeting, in which Sullivan tried to clear up some misconceptions about the election that have been seen on campaign signs around Scarborough.

“Misleading signs are not fair for the town of Scarborough. The people should know what they are voting on. To see signs like that is pretty disgusting,” Sullivan said.

The council is not allocating taxpayer money to create dog parks. In fact, he said, there are properties that are already set up that could be used for dog parks.

Many in town, including Dog Owners of Greater Scarborough — the group of concerned citizens who pushed for the special election — felt the council decision was hastily made, lacked feedback from the public, and was overly restrictive.

“The amendment the council came up with is fair and balanced,” he said. “It takes into consideration all the residents of Scarborough.”

Sullivan said the council would respect the outcome of the election, whatever it might be.

“When you have a topic that is this heated in town, it’s best for it to go to the voters. Everyone will have an opportunity to say yay or nay. That’s democracy,” he said.

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