AUGUSTA — The city without a mayor will choose a temporary one on Thursday, with two city councilors vying for their colleagues’ votes to gain the three-month spot.

Councilors Mark O’Brien and Michael Byron said they want to fill the position until the November election, when voters will decide who will serve another 14 months in the office, finishing ex-Mayor William Stokes’ term.

The council will decide on the replacement and whether to ask voters to repeal a requirement that their school superintendent live in Augusta at a meeting Thursday evening at City Center.

O’Brien, an Augusta-based lawyer for the U.S. Small Business Administration representing Ward 4 in much of the city’s east side, is likely to get the nod.

Byron, a former Litchfield town manager from the western Ward 1, said his opponent has enough support on the council to win the seat and he doesn’t. But O’Brien said he isn’t taking that for granted.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I think I’d be good at it,” he said of being mayor.

The wrangling over the mayor’s office was set off by the resignation of Stokes, who was confirmed as a Superior Court justice last week. Maine’s judicial conduct code bars judges from political office.

Stokes is the second consecutive mayor to be replaced. In 2010, Roger Katz was elected to the Maine Senate. In early 2011, councilors selected two of their own, Patrick Paradis and David Rollins, to split the six months in office ahead of the June election, where Stokes beat O’Brien.

Now, Rollins is the only person to announce a run for mayor in November, though nomination papers won’t be available from the city until Friday.

Others have lined up to run for Byron and O’Brien’s seats, as they are term-limited, winding down their third three-year terms in office. Both said they’re not interested in the permanent office, which was why Paradis and Rollins were appointed in 2011 — to give neither Stokes nor O’Brien an advantage before the election.

To be considered by the council, O’Brien and Byron will need to be nominated and seconded by two of their colleagues, Rollins said. Then, one will likely win on a council vote.

Byron said while he probably won’t win, it would be “a capstone” of his service to the city.

“After nine years, it’d be an honor to serve as interim mayor for the last three months of the year,” he said.

On Thursday, the council is also set to decide whether to ask voters in November to repeal Augusta’s superintendent residency requirement. James Anastasio, a Gardiner resident, has been working under an interim label since 2013. That year, a bid to repeal such requirements statewide failed after a governor’s veto.

Currently, the city charter requires the superintendent to live in the city, but school board members have said the restriction reduces the number of qualified applicants for the position.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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