AUGUSTA — In less than a month, three councilors resigned their positions, leaving the City Council shorthanded until the start of the new year.

Ward 3 Councilor Harold Elliott was the first, announcing his intention June 28 to be effective that day, telling officials he was retiring, selling his Augusta home and moving out of the city. At-Large Councilor Corey Wilson followed on July 17, to be effective Wednesday, moving to be closer to family in Readfield. At-Large Councilor Jennifer Day made her intentions known July 23, to be effective Aug. 23, also planning to move out of the city and headed south to shorten her husband’s commute to work.

Once Day leaves her post, the council will be down to five members and Mayor David Rollins.

City Manager William Bridgeo said he doesn’t recall a time since he’s been with the city when so many council spots were left vacant.

“In my memory, in the last 20 years there has rarely been more than one or two open spots, on the council or school board,” Bridgeo said Monday. “This is just sort of a very unusual confluence of circumstances. If you just look at it superficially you may think ‘Wow, three city councilors resigning in less than a couple of months.’ But when you delve into each individual circumstance, they’re all very understandable personal circumstances.

“We’re losing three great council members, all three have been strong contributors to the city,” he added. “Sometimes life interferes with our political goals or aspirations.”

The terms of Elliott and Wilson were set to expire at the end of the year, and will be filled in the regular Nov. 5. election as they would have had the resignations not taken place. The candidates who are elected to those seats wouldn’t take office until they are sworn in, in January 2020, so the council will be short by two people until then.

Day’s term wasn’t set to expire until December 2020. Her seat will also be filled during the November election, but will be a special election to fill the remainder of the unexpired term. The winner of that seat will be sworn in to fill the vacancy in November.

There is no provision in the city charter to appoint interim city councilors when a vacancy occurs. The charter states when there is a vacancy on the council an election should be called for by councilors “as soon as practical if the vacancy would exceed six months.”

Further complicating matters, At-Large Councilor Mark O’Brien’s seat is up for election this year, meaning there will be two full-term at-large positions — his and Wilson’s — as well as Day’s post. If there are more than two at-large candidates for those seats, the top two vote-getters would win election.

Rollins said people interested in taking out nomination papers for Day’s position need to be specific and note they’re running for the remainder of the term of that seat — not for either of the at-large spots currently held by Wilson and O’Brien.

“We’ve got a little bit of a situation here, where there’s going to be three at-large seats on the ballot,” said Rollins. “Councilor O’Brien will be up for re-election, Councilor Day will be gone and Councilor Wilson will be gone.”

Nomination papers for the two at-large spots now held by O’Brien and Wilson are available at Augusta City Center now, and must be returned to the city by the end of the day Sept. 5.

Bridgeo said an order is expected to go before councilors for consideration Thursday in which they would authorize a special election to fill the remainder of Day’s term.

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