Eastport’s history of turnover and discord flared up again Wednesday night when a city councilor resigned and its city manager was fired.
City Manager Kate Devonshire, who was hired in April 2021, was terminated with a 3-1 vote by the council after it met in executive session to discuss her job performance. It’s unclear why she was fired.
Jeanne Peacock was the lone councilor to vote against firing Devonshire. Councilors William Boone, Floyd “Bub” Andrews Jr. and Colleen Dana-Cummings voted in favor of it.
Minutes before the vote, David Oja resigned from the council because he said there was “no peace” on the five-member panel.
Oja joined the council in 2021 and would have had to run for reelection this coming November if he wanted to continue.
“It is constant fighting and fighting and fighting and hateful and yelling,” Oja said Thursday. “There’s only so much you can take.”
Devonshire was the sixth person to serve as Eastport’s city manager since 2010, and replaced. Thomas Hoskins II, who was also fired. Hoskins served as Eastport’s city manager for a year, but was criticized during his tenure over his firing of then-Police Chief Peter Harris in the fall of 2020, among other things.
Eastport is now on its second police chief since Harris’s firing. Police Chief Andrew Little died last summer a month after being diagnosed with cancer. The city’s current police chief, Mark Emery, succeeded Little and is the 11th person to hold that post since 2011, according to The Quoddy Tides.
Devonshire came under fire a year ago when someone sent an anonymous letter to more than 800 Eastport property owners that disclosed details about her personal life prior to her becoming Eastport’s city manager.
An Army veteran, Devonshire defended her record, saying she was court martialed for using synthetic cannabinoids after she had been sexually assaulted, and that she then had to file for personal bankruptcy after being dismissed from the military.
Devonshire could not be reached for comment.
Boone confirmed Thursday that Devonshire had been fired, but declined further comment. Dana-Cummings also declined to comment. Andrews did not respond to a voicemail message left at his home.
Jeanne Peacock did not comment on the reasons for Devonshire’s firing, but said that Devonshire is getting two months severance pay, which is required by her contract.
If Eastport is going to hire a city manager who does not have prior municipal management experience — which neither Devonshire or Hoskins had — the council has to give that person time to adjust to the job, Peacock said.
“I am sorry it happened,” she said. “You have to expect a learning curve.”
Boone said that the council is planning to schedule a meeting sometime next week to discuss the possible appointment of an interim city manager while it conducts a search for a long-term replacement for Devonshire.
As for the vacant council seat, he said the council will appoint someone to fill the vacancy through the end of the year. He said the council will accept suggestions until June 5 and likely will appointment someone on June 7.
Two council seats, one of which was Oja’s, will be up for election in November. Whoever wins will begin serving their three-year terms in January 2024.