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Gorham councilor won’t resign after OUI plea

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:25 am | Updated: 12:10 pm, Thu Sep 27, 2012.

GORHAM – A Gorham town councilor who pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge last week plans to continue serving on the town board.

“I have no plans to resign at this time,” Gorham Councilor Suzanne Phillips said Tuesday.

Phillips, 36, was elected in 2011 to a three-year term on the Gorham council.

She was accused by Gorham police of operating under the influence and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident on School Street in an incident at 12:39 a.m. on May 4. A state crash report said Phillips swerved into two legally parked vehicles, breaking mirrors on both.

Assistant Cumberland County District Attorney William Barry said Monday that Phillips pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court to the operating under the influence charge, but that the leaving the scene charge was dismissed. Barry said Phillips was fined $600 and received a 90-day license suspension.

“Given some factual disputes that existed, it was the fairest outcome,” Phillips’ attorney, Amanda Doherty, said in a statement this week.

Phillips said Tuesday she would issue a statement at the Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St.

Phillips’ legal case had stirred dissention on the town council.

Efforts by Gorham Town Councilor Matthew Robinson to initiate action to discuss details of the Phillips’ case at previous council meetings have been foiled. Robinson said Tuesday he was surprised at the number of other councilors who have defended Phillips.

“When you hang out together, campaign and vote together, you stick up for each other,” said Robinson, who did not mention names of any other councilors.

“I find drinking and driving despicable,” Robinson said.

Doherty said Phillips’ plea does not affect her Town Council position, “as only convictions for crimes of moral turpitude cause an issue under Gorham Town Council rules.

“Any further attempts by the council as a whole or individual councilors on the issue would be inappropriate under their bylaws, as it is not relevant to town business,” Doherty said.

Phillips serves on the council’s Finance Committee and the Appointments/Personnel Committee. A native of Gorham, Phillips has been praised by other councilors for her work as an organizer of the town’s annual founders festival.

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  • Theodore Nugent posted at 10:56 pm on Fri, Sep 28, 2012.

    Theodore Nugent Posts: 30

    I agree with PGGMLG and second the motion.

  • PGGMLG posted at 4:10 pm on Fri, Sep 28, 2012.

    PGGMLG Posts: 20

    She made a mistake, fortunetely no one was injured. Surely she has learned a valuable leson. Give her a break, what has it got to do with her job. If she wasn't a public figure it would have gone un noticed.