Mayor Ethan Strimling speaks before city councilors and the public while giving his State of the City address in Portland in January 2017.

PORTLAND, Maine — City Hall is set to start the new year just as it spent much of the last — with a stark divide between the eight city councilors and Mayor Ethan Strimling.

In the latest manifestation of the distrust and frustration that strained relations between Strimling and his colleagues, the City Council this week rejected the mayor’s slate of appointments to the three-person committees that develop city policies and guide the full council’s decisions.

Cast soon after midnight on Tuesday, the 8-1 vote rebuffed Strimling’s move to place himself at the head of the committee that oversees the more than $345 million annual city budget. And now the mayor and councilors are jockeying over where fault lies for the fact that the city will enter 2018 without the bodies that do much of the heavy lifting in local governance.

On Tuesday, Strimling likened the council’s rejection of his appointments to the shutdown of state government this summer and said he will not present a plan for committee appointments beyond the two that were included in the agenda for this week’s meeting.

“The council is abusing their power,” Strimling said. “They’ve chosen to shut down our government’s operations over this. This is not worthy of that. This is petty.”

Under the city charter, the mayor is charged with making committee appointments and the council has the power to approve or reject them. Several councilors said Tuesday that given the “no” vote on of his proposed appointments, it is now up to the mayor to present another option.

“If he doesn’t present a slate [of appointments] at the next meeting then I think it’s a dereliction of his duty under the charter,” said Councilor Spencer Thibodeau.

And noting that the snow will still be plowed and the garbage collected, councilors rejected the mayor’s talk of a government shutdown. “I think that’s nonsensical,” said Councilor Nicholas Mavodones. “The government is not shutting down.”

The council will next meet on Jan. 3, but without appointments it is unclear how the city will proceed with a number of items that were working through committees, including a policy for mandatory paid sick time and planning for a new homeless shelter.

The squabble over committee appointments is, in part, fallout from the last City Hall fight.

After months of simmering tension, the dispute between Strimling and City Manager Jon Jennings burst into full view at an August meeting. At that time, the two men hadn’t met one-on-one for months, but following the public airing of grievances the city leaders have begun to repair their strained relationship.

Several councilors said they felt that heading the finance committee would concentrate too much power in Strimling’s hands, since he can already veto the budget. And some worried that it would lead to new fights with the city manager, who drafts the initial budget.

“I will not create an environment that will create more of the friction that we’ve been through over the last year,” said Councilor Pious Ali.

Strimling, however, argued that he needs robust involvement on the committees to realize his position as the city’s policy leader and that in rejecting his appointments the council was refusing to realize the new form of government Portland adopted when it revised the city charter in 2010.

The mayor said he’d be content with heading the finance committee or with a second, “compromise” slate of committee appointments that he floated this week.

The second batch of appointments would have the mayor sitting on four committees and heading the one focused on health and human services instead of its past chairwoman, Councilor Belinda Ray.

Thibodeau said this second slate didn’t represent a “serious” proposal, while other councilors noted that it hadn’t been formally presented for their consideration. But Strimling was adamant that he will not offer a third option and that he’s “operating under the pretense that we will not have committees.”

“This is about getting the people’s business done and it’s time to stop being childish,” the mayor said.

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