WATERVILLE — Councilor Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, is the new City Council chairman after being elected 5-0 Wednesday night by a predominantly Democratic council.

Mayhew has been a councilor since 2014 when he unseated incumbent Erik Thomas, a Democrat, in the race for the Ward 4 seat, in a 588-504 vote.

Thomas, who was elected in November 2018 to the Ward 7 council seat and was considered to be a possible candidate for council chairman, voted for Mayhew Wednesday night.

Jay Coelho, a new councilor representing Ward 5, nominated Mayhew for the chairmanship and Mike Morris, also a new councilor and Democrat representing Ward 1, seconded his motion.

Mayhew, Thomas, Coelho, Morris and new councilor, Meg Smith, D-Ward 3, voted for Mayhew. Councilor Winifred Tate, D-Ward 6, was absent from Wednesday’s meeting. The Ward 2 council seat remains vacant until the council chooses someone for the position, recently vacated by Democrat Nathaniel White, who has moved to Fairfield.

The council is scheduled to interview candidates Jan. 15 for the Ward 2 position.

Mayhew, considered an even-tempered and deliberate councilor, generally shares political views with Mayor Nick Isgro, also a Republican. Mayhew thanked the council for the nod of approval Wednesday.

Mayhew, 52, serves on the city’s Marijuana Study Committee, Tax Increment Financing Committee and RiverWalk Advisory Committee, among other activities. When he was elected to the council in November, 2014, Mayhew said he was thrilled for the opportunity and was humbled by the fact that he won.

He has long fought for lowering the tax rate, saying some of his constituents are older people who can not afford to pay higher taxes. He also has said he knows residents who vow to move out of the city if their taxes increase.

Mayhew is general manager for McDonald’s Romad & Co., on Bangor Street in Augusta. He graduated from Waterville Senior High School in 1984 and received a diploma in hotel restaurant management from the International Correspondence School. He attended McDonald’s Hamburger University in Oak Brook, Ill., where he took business classes and received a certificate, in 1993.

About 50 people turned out Wednesday for the meeting, held in the Chace Community Forum at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons downtown.

Mayhew replaces Council Chairman Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, who chose not to seek re-election in November.

The City Charter says councilors, at the first meeting of the council each January, shall choose a chairman who serves at the pleasure of the council:

“Selection of the Chair is not subject to Mayoral veto,” the charter says. “The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the City Council in the absence of the Mayor. In the absence of the Mayor and the Chair, the City Council shall choose a Chair, pro tempore, who shall exercise the powers of a permanent Chair.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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