Augusta city councilors are expected to consider a proposal Thursday to hire Jared Mills as city manager, following City Manager Susan Robertson’s decision to retire at the end of March. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — City Manager Susan Robertson, who had planned to retire when her contract runs out in October, has informed Augusta city officials she will instead retire at the end of March.

Jared Mills, 49, current assistant city manager and human resources director, and the city’s former longtime police chief, is expected to step into the manager’s job. City councilors are expected to consider a proposal Thursday to hire him as Augusta’s next city manager, on a three-year contract.

Mayor Mark O’Brien said Wednesday that city officials had previously discussed Mills transitioning into the city manager’s job once Robertson retired.

“I think we’re well-positioned with Jared being ready to step in, I don’t think we’ll miss a beat,” O’Brien said. “The council is very comfortable with Jared and his performance as assistant manager. He’s been preparing for this role, and we’re comfortable enough with him (that) we’re going to forgo undergoing a search. We think we have a quality successor in-house and we’re not going to do a search and risk losing him. We know he’s dedicated, and he wants to be here. We’re confident he’s up to the task.”

If approved by city councilors, this would be the first town or city manager’s job for Mills, who was first hired as a police patrolman in Augusta in 1998 and was promoted to police chief in 2018. Mills added assistant city manager to his police chief’s duties in 2022. He retired as police chief in November and became the city’s assistant city manager and human resources director in December.

Mills said both Robertson and William Bridgeo, former city manager, served as valuable mentors to him. He said he had a conversation with Bridgeo several years ago, when Bridgeo encouraged him to seek the city manager’s job in Augusta. At that time, he said, he thought Augusta seemed too big a city for his first job as a municipal manager.


“He said, ‘Why not, why not look at the place you know?’ His advice, and I’ve seen this time and again, (is) if you surround yourself with the best and brightest, in your position as manager you’ll succeed because the organization succeeds. And Augusta really does have the best and brightest, from department heads on down,” Mills said. “So I know what I’m getting into, and that is part of what attracted me to the job as well. I know this isn’t going to be easy, it will very challenging. But I’m up to the task, knowing who is here and who we have moving forward.”

If councilors vote to make him Augusta’s new manager as of April 1, Mills would be paid $159,099, the same salary Robertson is making this year.

Susan Robertson Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

In her letter to city officials, Robertson said it has been an honor to serve as city manager, but she’s decided to begin the transition to retirement and will resign as city manager, effective March 31.

“I am both humbled and proud to have played a leadership role in helping to contribute to the positive advancement of the City of Augusta,” she said in her letter. “It has been one of the most rewarding positions I have held in over 39 years of local government service.”

Robertson did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.

O’Brien said the city was fortunate when Robertson agreed to step up from her role as assistant city manager in 2021 to become city manager , after Bridgeo retired. A search drew only a modest pool of applicants, and officials convinced Robertson to take on the role of manager, even though she had not applied for the job and warned them she had plans to retire in a few years.


“I think she has done a very good job,” O’Brien said. “Naturally she’s thinking about the next phase of her career and life and we are indebted to her. That said, Jared has kind of been waiting in the wings, at her side. I think we have been, and will be, served well by each of them.”

Mills, who was born in Portland and grew up in Winslow, moved to Augusta in 2016. He and his wife, Vivian, have two daughters, Jasmyne, who is studying at Stonehill College, and Jieselle, a sophomore at  Cony High School.

Mills holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from St. Anselm College and a master’s in public policy from the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine. He teaches courses on government at the University of Maine at Augusta.

On Thursday, city councilors are also expected to consider a proposal to authorize an agreement with Robertson in which she would become interim assistant city manager, to help in the transition of Mills into manager.

O’Brien anticipates the city will need to recruit a new, long-term assistant city manager, and said that in the upcoming budget process for next year, city officials will likely consider whether to add a human resources director position, a position the city had previously until it was filled by Robertson and then Mills when they were assistant managers.

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