AUGUSTA — City councilors named Mark O’Brien interim mayor Thursday evening, giving one of their own a capstone in his 12th year on the body.

O’Brien, who was a councilor representing Augusta’s eastern Ward 4, will serve just three months as mayor until the November election, replacing William Stokes, who resigned the office last month.

“I’m very honored to have been selected as mayor,” O’Brien told councilors. “I’m thankful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve.”

In November, Augusta voters will choose another mayor. That person will serve 14 months to finish Stokes’ term. Only Councilor David Rollins has announced a mayoral run in November, though nomination papers for that office weren’t available until Friday.

Councilors also decided on Thursday to ask voters in that election to repeal a city charter requirement that Augusta’s school superintendent live in the city.

O’Brien, a lawyer for the U.S. Small Business Administration who lives on Myrtle Street, got the support of every councilor but Michael Byron, who nominated and voted for himself.

Both are term-limited on the council, with each winding down a third three-year term in office. O’Brien also served on the council from 2001 to 2003 and as school board chairman from 1993 to 2000.

“I think this is a wonderful way for us to recognize the service he has given to the city of Augusta,” said Councilor Patrick Paradis, who nominated O’Brien. “I know that he’s more than qualified for the position.”

Stokes, a former state prosecutor, was confirmed as a Superior Court justice last week, resigning as mayor because judicial rules bar judges from political office. He is the second straight Augusta mayor to be replaced in mid-term.

In 2010, Roger Katz was elected to the Maine Senate. In early 2011, councilors selected two of their own, Rollins and Patrick Paradis, to split the six months in office ahead of the June election, in which Stokes, then a councilor, beat O’Brien.

The council moved toward a solution to a longstanding school issue also on Thursday, voting 6-1 to put the superintendent residency requirement up for a citywide vote. James Anastasio, a Gardiner resident, has been working as the superintendent at city schools under an interim label since 2013.

That year, a bid to repeal such requirements statewide failed after a veto from Gov. Paul LePage. Augusta then was one of only six cities in Maine whose charter had such a requirement along with Biddeford, Waterville, Lewiston, Brewer and Presque Isle. Officials in some of those cities have cited the requirements as barriers to recruitment.

“I don’t think we’ll get the best applicants if we have this kind of requirement,” Councilor Dale McCormick said.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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