YARMOUTH, Maine — Town councilors said they were blindsided, but are coping with the resignation of former Chairman Steve Woods.
Woods, who served as chairman for three years, ran unsuccessfully in the June 10 Democratic primary in state Senate District 25. He resigned from the council a day later.
Woods’ resignation left the council with only six members instead of the usual seven. The vacancy will be filled in a November election.
Had he resigned earlier, the seat could have been filled in the June 10 Town Council election.
“It’s unfortunate that Steve waited until after the election to submit his resignation,” Councilor Jim MacLeod, the new chairman, said this week. “It was sudden and unexpected, quite frankly.”
Woods said he decided to resign a few weeks prior to Election Day, and that he knew he would resign regardless of the outcome of the Senate primary.
“After six years of public service in Yarmouth, it seemed to be a good time to have other people become more involved in the community,” he said.
Woods said his decision to resign was not connected to the Democratic primary outcome.
“It had nothing to do with the June 10 election and had everything to do with wanting to focus on my business and on my family,” he said. “There was no, and is no, negative element to my resignation.”
Woods said he would have resigned before the election had he known that was what he wanted before putting his name on the ballot. The paperwork required to be placed on the ballot was due two months before the election, when Woods said he had no intention of resigning.
Councilor David Craig said although he understands Woods’s decision, he is upset by it and the predicament it created for the council.
“With his resignation and Councilor Leslie Hyde’s decision against running for re-election, the council has lost two strong progressive voices,” Craig said. “The current makeup of the council is more center-right than before.”
Craig said the loss of “progressive voices” may affect “Yarmouth’s unique village culture,” as well as the town’s “excellent schools” and the way the council responds to the concerns of citizens.
Woods said he doesn’t believe there are any issues before the council that will be affected by his absence.
“I think the other six people on council are very competent,” he said. “I have 100 percent faith in (Town Manager) Nat Tupper and the Town Council.”
MacLeod said Woods will be replaced in the November election. Until then, he doesn’t believe the council will have any problem working with a vacancy, because its summer agenda is light.
Tupper agreed, saying the council has had only one workshop meeting since Woods’ resignation. He said he’s “sure (the council) will do just fine,” despite the empty seat.
Woods said he enjoyed serving Yarmouth and that it was “an honor and a privilege” to be on the council.
MacLeod said Woods’ hard work and dedication are reasons why his resignation was so surprising.
“He served the town very well,” MacLeod said, “so it caught a lot of us off guard.”