AUGUSTA — City councilors and school board members took their oaths of office Thursday, pledging to do the best they can for the city.

The newly elected officials and Mayor David Rollins, who was also elected in November, noted they’ll need to come together quickly, because other than two incumbents, all of them are in new roles.

Rollins congratulated the officials elected with him in November and warned, “It’s time to go to work.”

Councilors then did just that, wrapping up the inauguration to go into a council meeting at which they discussed, but didn’t vote on several issues, including when to set a special election to fill vacant positions on the council and school board, whether to regulate clear-cutting of wood with a local ordinance, adding a sidewalk to Civic Center Drive between Community and Darin drives, and expanding the Kennebec River Rail Trail a short distance to bring it into the city’s waterfront park on the west side of the Kennebec River.

Elected in November and sworn in Thursday were councilors Jeffrey Bilodeau, an incumbent at large councilor; Linda Conti, Ward 1; Anna Blodgett, Ward 4; and school board members Kimberly Martin, chairwoman; Jennifer Neumeyer, at-large; and Deborah Towle, incumbent in Ward 2.

State Attorney General Janet Mills administered the oaths of office to councilors and school board members. Mills took her own oath of office earlier Thursday, as she was sworn into office in a private ceremony by Gov. Paul LePage in the afternoon. Mills, a Democrat, was reelected to her third term as attorney general by the state Legislature.

Newly elected Ward 1 Councilor Linda Conti is an attorney with the state attorney general’s office.

“I know serving in local government is one of the toughest jobs and receives very little thanks from people,” Mills said. “People know where you live and where to find you when they have a problem with a pothole or the sewer or taxes or whatever. You have my kudos and respect.”

Martin, who became chairwoman on the school board after four years as a member, said great things are happening in the local schools and she’s excited to be part of it.

Blodgett, a former state legislator and city employee, said she looked forward to again serving the citizens of Augusta.

And Conti, echoing comments from other officials taking the oath, said, “It means a lot to me you think I can do this job. I’ll do my best.”

Mayor David Rollins was also elected in November, but because he was elected to fill the remaining year left on William Stokes’ term, he was sworn into office sooner, in November. Stokes resigned July 31 when he was appointed superior court justice.

Rollins’ and Martin’s new roles created one vacancy each on the council and school board. Rollins was an at-large councilor, and Martin, until she was sworn in as chairwoman Thursday, was an at-large school board member.

Councilors Thursday sought to set a date for an election to fill the vacant council and board positions, though they appeared split on the issue.

At-Large Councilor Cecil Munson said he favored a June vote to give people time to learn who is running and candidates time to campaign.

Bilodeau and Ward 3 Councilor Patrick Paradis agreed a June vote is preferable.

At-Large Councilor Dale McCormick said June is too long to wait to hold the election.

Blodgett agreed with her that June is too long to wait.

Councilors had previously discussed, but not agreed upon, when to hold a special election to fill the two vacancies. Some councilors wanted to wait until June, when a referendum vote on the school budget is planned. Others, however, said the city charter calls for such elections to be held “as soon as practical” and thus the city should not wait until June to hold an election to fill the spots.

City Manager William Bridgeo said a typical citywide special election costs between $7,000 and $10,000.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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