The Maine House Democrats on Thursday selected the legislators who will lead the caucus in the upcoming session of the State Legislature, selecting for the top spot a former City of Portland employee who was investigated for misconduct and resigned amid controversy.
Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) will serve as Speaker of the House, Rep. Maureen Terry (D-Gorham) will serve as Majority Leader, and Rep. Kristen Cloutier (D-Lewiston) will serve as Ass. Majority Leader.
Ross previously served as the Director of Equal Opportunity and Multicultural Affairs for the city of Portland until city officials were made aware of an Aug. 26, 2015 incident involving a parking attendant.
The city paid an outside law firm $6,098 to investigate the incident after receiving a complaint regarding Ross’s conduct. That probe uncovered video of Ross interacting with an employee of Unified Parking Partners, one of the companies that manages private lots in Portland, and a city employee
After seeing the video, Portland officials placed Ross on paid administrative leave. Portland officials refused to release the video of the altercation, but Ross resigned shortly after the incident.
According to newspaper reports at the time, the parking lot employees in the video were identified as Andy Martin and Shannon Farrell. Farrell worked for the city, but Martin was a Unified Parking employee.
Everyone involved in the imbroglio declined to comment at the time.
City officials declined to release video of the incident in 2015, citing personnel issues. In cases where disciplinary action is taken, such records can be released pursuant to Freedom of Access Act requests. However, because Ross resigned rather than face discipline, the records remain undisclosed to the public or press.
Terry, the new Majority Leader, is a chef and small business owner who was first elected to the legislature in 2016.
Cloutier, the new Ass. Majority Leader, is the former Mayor of Lewiston.