AUGUSTA — In his five terms on the Augusta City Council and six on the Board of Education, totaling some 24 years, Mark O’Brien won the respect of his peers.
He did so not with a loud voice or by courting controversy, but by being a good listener whose civil and thoughtful approach made his fellow councilors and board members realize that to ignore him would be at their own peril.
O’Brien, who also previously served as chairperson of the charter commission and as interim mayor, recently had his last meeting, at least for now, as a city councilor. He wasn’t reelected in November and a new slate of councilors will take office with the start of the new year.
His fellow councilors said O’Brien is a model of civility and public service.
“You’ve always been a class act and someone who is truly a model for public service,” At-Large Councilor Darek Grant said at O’Brien’s last meeting Dec. 19. “When I first started, 10 years ago, and over those nine years on the council, I’ve always looked to you for guidance and … you were the right colleague to try to follow … and learn from.
“Your questions were always thoughtful; when you spoke, I listened,” he added. “And I never wanted to be on the opposite side of you and felt, if I was, I must be doing something wrong.”
City officials thought so highly of O’Brien that he’s the first-ever recipient of the key to the city, an award Mayor David Rollins said was created to recognize…