In nominating Cara Pelletier as chair, Gretchen Schaefer called her a “critical thinker, clear communicator and congenial collaborator.”
Cara Pelletier was selected as the next chair of the Bangor City Council. Credit: Courtesy of Cara Pelletier

Bangor city councilors unanimously selected Cara Pelletier to serve as the group’s chair while the city’s School Committee unanimously reelected Marwa Hassanien as its chair for another year. 

Both groups appointed their leaders on Monday after swearing in their reelected members and newcomers following last week’s election. Bangor voters elected newcomers Susan Deane and Carolyn Fish and reelected Councilor Joseph Leonard. Newcomers Katie Brydon and Shelly Okere also claimed two School Committee seats while Tim Surrette was reelected to his position for a third term. 

Councilor Gretchen Schaefer nominated Pelletier for the City Council chair, stating that she has demonstrated she’s a “critical thinker, clear communicator and congenial collaborator,” in her first year on council. There were no other nominations for the position. 

“As I reflect on our work together in the last year, I’m confident that history will remember 2023 as a pivotal moment in our community’s journey,” Pelletier said upon accepting the nomination. “While we face significant challenges together, we’ve also made remarkable strides on some of the most pressing issues confronting Bangor.” 

Pelletier pointed to the council’s recent distribution of the city’s more than $20 million pandemic recovery funding to support various initiatives, like affordable housing and substance use recovery options.

While councilors may have differences in opinions and experience, Pelletier said she believes those diverse perspectives will help them make strong decisions on behalf of the city. 

“Undoubtedly challenges lie ahead of us,” Pelletier said. “However, I believe in seeing these challenges as an opportunity for growth and positive change.”

Bangor City Council candidates are sworn in on Monday. The council selected Cara Pelletier as its new chair.
Bangor City Clerk Lisa Goodwin swears in (from left to right) councilors Carolyn Fish, Joseph Leonard and Susan Deane to the City Council on Monday. Credit: Kathleen O'Brien / BDN

School Committee member Imke Jandreau nominated Hassanien to lead the body. There were no other nominations for the position.

Hassanien said she was initially hesitant about keeping her leadership position on the committee, but thanked the members for their continued trust and support. 

“Working together as a committee in the best interest of the schools, students, faculty, staff and families in the community is a huge responsibility I take very seriously,” Hassanien said upon accepting her nomination.

While the chairs of both bodies don’t have more voting power than their members, the leaders help direct public meetings and are responsible for communicating with city leaders and school administrators. 

Both chairs will serve in their positions for one year.

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...