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Portland eliminates 'Assistant to the Mayor' position

Assistant to the Mayor Jason Shedlock sat and listened to the public and city council discuss the fate of his job Monday night. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) – A position is pulled in Portland, as councilors voted to remove the mayor's right-hand man.

Assistant to the Mayor Jason Shedlock sat and listened to the public and city council discuss the fate of his job Monday night. He participated in public comment himself, saying it was like watching his own funeral.

The removal of the assistant to the mayor position was presented as an amendment to City Manager Jon Jenning's proposed municipal budget.

One councilor said Monday night this is one of the most controversial topics they've dealt with.

Many people spoke during public comment.

Some say it's a petty political issue, that the assistant to the mayor has been very helpful.

Others say they think it's just a way for the mayor’s office to become more powerful and money would be of better use elsewhere.

Mayor Ethan Strimling went to bat for the position he created a year ago, but his use of words like “me” and “I” set off Councilor Spencer Thibodeau.

"Every day I hear from people, that they want me to succeed, and I wish you could be in this job for one week and you would understand what I'm saying to you when I say it cannot be done alone," Strimling said.

Councilors say the position will come to an end on June 30. The council did approve the $240 million budget 8 to 1 with Mayor Strimling voting against it.

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