AUGUSTA — At-Large City Councilor Jeffrey Bilodeau has resigned to pursue a fellowship out of state, leaving his seat about 10 months before his term was scheduled to end.

Bilodeau said he has been accepted into a fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which begins in July, and he is also selling his family’s home in Augusta with plans to move to a home they purchased in West Gardiner.

“It’s a pretty big decision to resign from the city council,” Bilodeau said. “It’s not because I haven’t enjoyed my time here. I really have. I enjoyed it. It has been a great growth experience for me.”

Bilodeau’s term on the council was set to conclude at the end of the year. His family’s Augusta home is for sale, and with his fellowship at MIT coming up and uncertainty about when the house in Augusta might sell, he decided to resign now rather than serve out the remainder of his term. That means his seat can be filled in the next election, potentially in an anticipated election in June.

The city charter states when council positions become vacant for longer than six months, councilors should schedule an election to fill the spot as soon as practical.

Mayor David Rollins said it is expected there will be an election in June for residents to vote on the school budget referendum so someone could be elected then to fill the remainder of Bilodeau’s term on the council as well as a vacant Augusta Board of Education seat.

Rollins said the city will miss Bilodeau, whom he called a “great spirit and a passionate leader for the city of Augusta.”

Other councilors said while they didn’t always agree with Bilodeau, they always found him to be respectful and well-intentioned when it came to city business.

“Yes, we’ve had some disagreements at times, but they were always respectful,” said Ward 2 Councilor Darek Grant. “One thing about you, we always knew where you stood. You represented the people of Augusta very well, and you worked hard on their behalf. You’ll be greatly missed.”

Bilodeau, a lieutenant colonel with the Maine Army National Guard, said his fellowship is related to his work, but declined to discuss details.

The longtime military member said his time on the city council, from 2012 to now, helped fulfill a goal of his to learn more about how local, civilian government works and the challenges it involves.

He praised his fellow members of the council, as well as city staff, and said former councilors Cecil Munson and Pat Paradis were great mentors to him. He said he doesn’t envy city officials for having to come up with a budget to fund city services in times of shrinking resources.

Bilodeau submitted his resignation effective at the Feb. 16 council meeting.

“Thank you for your city council service. It is a commitment, both by you individually and for your family as well,” At-Large Councilor Mark O’Brien said to Bilodeau. “And I want to thank you for your service to our country, as well. You were always very principled and never spoke or voted out of self-interest. It was always what was best for the citizens of Augusta, and that’s the way to be.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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