AUGUSTA — Warned by Mayor David Rollins they have a lot of important work ahead of them, city and school leaders taking their oaths of office Thursday said they recognize, and look forward, to taking it on.

“There are lots of challenges ahead of us,” Rollins told city councilors and school board members elected in November. “I congratulate all the newly elected officials. I’d like to encourage you all to take this job very seriously. It really does have an effect on the quality of life for our community. I encourage you to treat everyone who comes before you with respect and dignity. I look forward to working with you, and that begins right now.”

Councilors taking their oaths of office Thursday were Eric Lind, from Ward 4; and Jennifer Day, at large. Ward 1 Councilor Linda Conti was re-elected in November but was absent from Thursday’s ceremony because of family obligations, Rollins said. Conti and Day are incumbents, while Lind is new to the council.

Lind said he grew up in Ward 4 and is proud to represent his ward.

Day, who ran for the same Ward 4 council seat twice in 2017 — first in June, to serve the remaining months of an unexpired council term; then in November, for the same seat for a full term — joked that her daughter, when asked if she was coming to the swearing-in ceremony, said, “Mom, we just did that.”

School board members elected in November also participated in the ceremony, even though they already had been sworn in.

The school board members came into Augusta City Center to take their oaths of office last week, according to City Clerk Roberta Fogg, because the board met Wednesday night, before Thursday’s rescheduled inauguration. Board members elected in November — Chairman Edward Hastings, Ward 2 representative Chris Clarke, and at-large representative Jason Bersani — thus wouldn’t have been sworn in before the board’s first meeting if they had waited for the Thursday ceremony.

Hastings said Thursday he looks forward to the next three years of getting things done.

Bersani said he looks forward to asking questions that need to be asked and answered.

Clarke, who had faced a contested race in Ward 2 against challenger Sara Squires, said, “I’m looking forward to making the schools better than they already are.”

The inauguration ceremony had been rescheduled for Thursday after a blizzard forced a Jan. 4 swearing-in to be postponed.

Councilors, in a business meeting after the inauguration, voted unanimously to:

• Approve a new two-year contract with general government workers, represented by Teamsters Local 40, which would provide workers with 2 percent pay increases each of the two years, plus other incentives and changes to health insurance plans; and

• Authorize the sale of an apartment building at 12 Cumberland St., seized by the city after the former owner failed to keep up on property taxes, for $22,000 to Boulerice Management Incorporated LLC. City Manager William Bridgeo said the property was combined with another tax-acquired property the city owned, a small vacant lot at 59 Washington St., into a single lot.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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