After serving on the Bath city council for nearly 14 year, Esoco will step down in November.  Alex Lear / The Forecaster

BATH – Mari Eosco, Bath City Council chairwoman, on Wednesday announced her resignation, effective Nov. 4.

She said she decided to resign two years before her term was set to expire to focus on taking care of her ailing mother.

“I’m her primary caregiver, and it has taken more of a priority than I ever thought it could,” said Eosco. “She has been a rock for me my whole life. … I need to take the time to give her the support she needs. It’s the hardest job I will ever have.”

First elected in 2007, Eosco has served on the city council for nearly 14 years. In 2013, she became Bath’s first woman to chair the council, which she called “one of the biggest honors and best learning experiences of my life.”

“I’m honored to be the first woman to chair the city council,” she said. “I’ve felt welcomed and encouraged and supported by other councilors, staff and the community. It has changed me in a lot of ways.”

Peter Owen, Bath’s city manager, said he is continuously impressed by her “unique style of leadership” and the way she cares for Bath and its residents.

“She was never controversial, she led with a steady hand, and she was always pleasant to work with,” he said. “I’ve felt fortunate to work with her.”

Owen said her role as the first woman to chair Bath’s city council has set an example for other women.

“She represents that change in culture where women can work, have children, have a place in government and be in a leadership role,” he said.

Eosco said her family has always been interwoven with her duties on the city council.

“My kids grew up at city hall … I even went into labor during a city council meeting,” she said. “My office has a little closet where I still keep the toys from Renys my children used to play with.”

She couldn’t name one thing she has accomplished during her tenure that she takes particular pride in because “we’re only a sliver of what it takes to make things happen around the city,” but said she has enjoyed watching Bath become a desirable place that’s attracting young families.

“That was always one of my goals so it’s fun to see it come to fruition.”

But her job hasn’t come without its share of hardships. She said she has been challenged by the rise of social media, which she has seen used to “spread misinformation or opinions without conversation.”

“When we do that, we miss social cues, we miss facial expressions and the person’s tone,” said Eosco. “You lose the ability to have a conversation with other people when this happens. I’ve seen it in Bath but you can see that nation and worldwide.”

In her final months as the city council chairwoman, she said she hopes to help establish the city’s climate change commission, which councilors voted to form shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Maine. Esoco said appointing members to the committee “has been put on the back burner because of everything that has come up recently.” The main goal of the committee is to continue public education on recycling and composting practices to help reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Despite the job’s challenges, she said she suspects she isn’t finished working in municipal government yet.

“At some point, I will get back into this world, but right now I need to go inward and focus on my family.”

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