ROCKLAND — Rockland City Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf was elected mayor Monday night by the Rockland City Council.

This will be the second time she has been elected mayor. She was elected on a 4-1 vote at the Nov. 21 meeting, receiving support from Councilors Nicole Kalloch, Adam Lachman and Penelope York. Councilor Sarah Austin voted for herself for the position.

MacLellan-Ruf is entering the third year of her second non-consecutive term on the City Council. She was elected in 2013 and again in 2020. MacLellan-Ruf served one year as mayor, being elected in November 2015.

The mayor moderates the Council meetings, presides at official city functions and nominates members to city boards and commissions.

The new mayor said she wants to bring process back to Council meetings. She also said she wants to return accountability.

She listed the issues that are important to other councilors including housing, youth engagement, and prohibiting the sale of Juuls to children.

The mayor also listed one of her goals — to secure the Boardwalk for public access in perpetuity.

MacLellan-Ruf said Council seats are non-partisan.

“We don’t bring our politics into it,” she said. “We bring only our heart and soul, and what it means to be a Councilor for Rockland. Not the state, not national, but what we are going to do to keep Rockland moving forward.”

During her first term as mayor, MacLellan-Ruf issued an apology after she was found to have contacted a city resident, Mike Grondin, and asked him to come to a City Council meeting and publicly raise concerns about the hiring of energy consultants by Councilor Larry Pritchett. The mayor also asked Grondin to provide any information he got to two critics of the council.

According to Grondin, MacLellan-Ruf told him that this would be one way to get Pritchett off the Council.

Grondin then went public about the matter, saying he felt bad about doing her work.

MacLellan-Ruf later apologized, saying she never imagined a friend, Grondin, would record conversations she had with him.

Also during her first term as mayor, the city administration was in turmoil. The Council eliminated the full-time city attorney’s position which was held by longtime attorney Kevin Beal at that time. The position was eliminated after then Manager James Chaousis recommended Beal be fired. Chaousis then resigned in June 2016.

At the Council’s Sept. 12, 2022 meeting, Councilor MacLellan-Ruf sharply criticized Mayor Glaser for proposing a ban on new non-owner occupied short term rentals. She also criticized Councilors Nate Davis and Austin who were aware this proposal was being put forward before it was formally placed on the agenda. She said this showed a complete lack of process with no community discussion or vetting by the full council.

MacLellan-Ruf said she was embarrassed by the actions of the council. She said this was an overreach.

“I hope we are able to have a council in November that truly understands process and not their own agenda, not their own social issues,” MacLellan said.

Councilor Austin pointed out at the Sept. 12 meeting that the proper process was followed, which is for an item to be placed on the agenda, an initial vote held and then a workshop can be held or the matter can be referred to a particular committee such as the comprehensive planning commission. After an initial vote, a formal public hearing is also held and additional workshops if needed before a final vote is held.

This ordinance proposal was first submitted for the agenda Sept. 1 and was publicized that day online on VillageSoup. The Council held an agenda setting meeting Sept. 7 and the first reading of the ordinance was Sept. 12. If approved, further meetings would have been held. The ordinance proposal was ultimately indefinitely postponed at that meeting.

In addition, Councilors Adam Lachman and Penelope York were sworn into office. Both were elected Nov. 8 to three-year terms.

Councilor Penelope York is sworn into office by City Clerk Stuart Sylvester. Photo by Stephen Betts

Councilor Adam Lachman is sworn into office by City Clerk Stuart Sylvester.