Westbrook City Council discusses email controversy | News

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Westbrook City Council discusses email controversy

WESTBROOK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A number of people from Westbrook spoke up at a city council meeting Wednesday night, calling for Assistant City Administrator Bill Baker to resign.

Baker sent a profanity-laced email to Mayor Colleen Hilton in February. It was made public last week. Baker has since apologized, and now city officials are trying to figure out the best way forward.

Council President Brendan Rielly called the special meeting. The council met privately with the City Solicitor to discuss its legal rights. There was time for public comment beforehand, and many people took that opportunity.

"Our reputation is harmed," Deb Shangraw, one of the people mentioned in Baker's email, said. "I don't know how we move forward."

"I am so deeply embarrassed right now for my city, and we don't deserve this," another resident, Mary Brooking, said. "We deserve better."

Still a couple of people came to Baker's defense, saying he simply made a mistake and that he's helped grow the city's economy.

"I don't know how you as a council or you as a city could function without him," Chris LaRoche said.

Council President Brendan Rielly said the council doesn't have any authority over personnel decisions, but it needs to do what it can to respond to the controversy.

"We have an obligation, and I want to make sure we fulfill that obligation to the citizens of this city that we respond to their concerns, and that we show them that we have a government that is worthy of them," Rielly said.

Baker was not at the meeting. He did tell NEWS CENTER in an email that he has heard from an overwhelming number of residents and businesses asking for him to carry on, and that he'll continue to serve the city.

Mayor Colleen Hilton declined an on-camera interview, saying she will release a statement soon.


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