Just moments after the Bangor City Council made local history on Wednesday morning by becoming a majority-female body for the first time and also swearing in its first member of color, the nine-person group chose another woman to lead the group over the coming year.
Angela Okafor, Susan Hawes, Rick Fournier and incumbent Councilor Dan Tremble were all sworn onto the council during a short ceremony in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall following their election victories last week.
Then, after the new members took their seats, the council unanimously chose Clare Davitt to replace Sarah Nichols as its next chairperson, a position ceremonially referred to as “mayor.”
Davitt, 39, works as a reference librarian at the Bangor Public Library and moved back to the Queen City in 2014 after spending much of her childhood in Bangor. Before returning to this area, she lived around the country, attended graduate school and spent time helping to build libraries in Nicaragua. She is finishing her first term after first being elected to the council in 2017.
Before an audience of about 50 people that included municipal employees and friends and family of the new councilors, Davitt gave a short speech identifying several priorities for the council in the coming year.
They included making changes that have been recommended in a recent study of the Community Connector public transit system, improving the quality and affordability of the city’s housing stock, and rolling out a new automated trash collection system next year.
In Bangor, the council chairperson’s main role is to moderate meetings and guide the panel’s discussions.
“I won’t let the momentum stagnate,” Davitt said of changes that the city has already been working to implement.