AUGUSTA — A former secretary of the Maine State Senate, who is also the mother of the current Senate secretary, will swear Augusta Board of Education and City Council members into office Thursday.

Including her own son-in-law.

May M. Ross Coffin, who had a 32-year State House career before retiring as secretary of the Senate in 1996, will administer the oaths of office to councilors and school board members elected in November, according to Mayor David Rollins.

The 80-year-old was the first woman to be elected as Senate secretary in Maine in 1976.

“We’re very honored to have May Ross Coffin. She’s held in such high esteem for her body of work in the Legislature,” Rollins said. “She’s very engaged in the city and what’s best for it, so it’s an honor to have her be able to come out of retirement and swear in councilors.”

Coffin, who is a dedimus justice in Maine, is the mother of Julie O’Brien, a former state representative and wife of Mark O’Brien, who will take the oath of office for city council Thursday, and she is the wife of Edward Coffin, a former city councilor.


Another of Coffin’s daughters, Heather Priest, took the secretary’s job in the Senate in 2014, a job she still holds. The secretary of the Senate numbers bills and resolves, transmits messages to the House and governor, reads legislation, forwards Senate or joint orders to affected agencies, records decisions on questions of order and appoints staff.

O’Brien, who has previously served on both the council and school board, will take the oath of office along with fellow newly elected councilors Corey Wilson and Harold Elliott Jr.

Elected to the school board and also scheduled to take their oaths of office Thursday are Ed Hastings, Staci Fortunato and Kati McCormick.

The council and school board inauguration is set for 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

It will be the first meeting of the council without veteran Councilors Patrick Paradis and Cecil Munson, who were both forced off the council by term limits. Paradis and Munson are both on Thursday’s council agenda, as they are both new appointees to the Greater Augusta Utility District board of trustees and are up for approval by councilors.

Rollins said the departure of longtime councilors with new councilors taking their place often requires a period of adjustment on the council. He said he’s spoken with all the new councilors and their interest and knowledge of the city are impressive.


“I think we’re going to have a good dynamic (on the council), and 2017 is going to be even better than 2016,” Rollins said.

City Manager William Bridgeo said Elliott, Wilson and O’Brien all participated in orientation sessions with him last month that are meant to help incoming councilors learn about council procedures.

Councilors, following the inaugural ceremonies, are also scheduled to hold a business meeting with mostly “housekeeping” items on the agenda, Rollins said.

Among them is a proposal to discontinue St. Andrews Street as a city road at the request of leaders of Kennebec Community Church, which is on the end of that street and the only property accessed by it.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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