Gaston mayor stepping down at end of term
Gaston Mayor Tony Hall isn't running for re-election this fall, but this won't be the end of his leadership stint, he said.
Hall said personal family matters and health issues are the reasons for his decision to not run again. But once those are resolved, he said he plans to step his involvement right back up.
"I've already made it known that I'm interested in filling any council positions that open as people move away," Hall said.
There is only one candidate in the running to fill Hall's position: City Council President Jerry Spaulding, who has served on the council since 2011.
"He's a good guy," Hall said. "He's been on the council a long time. He's got experience from being on the council and I think he will do just fine."
Hall, who served as mayor for just four years, but was first elected to city council in 2008, said he is very proud of all that he and the council have accomplished over those years.
"The thing I'm most proud of and the reason why I ran was, we were nearly six years behind in our (state) audits," he said. "The good news is, we just finished our last audit. They are all caught up as of this month. I guess I'm most proud of accomplishing the number one task that I set out to accomplish."
It doesn't stop there though.
"There are a lot of tasks that we have accomplished for our small city," Hall said.
Those tasks included modernizing the office equipment, lighting and look of Gaston's building, upgrading computers, inputting security systems, establishing council procedures, establishing new water and collections policies, and bringing the city's employee wages up, which were vastly behind, he said. A maintenance program for equipment was established, as well as a training program for city employees, and much more.
"We were very, very busy," Hall said. "We now we have a grant writer, a funding specialist, (and a) city clerk, which we never had before. That was a big achievement there because when I first took over, we had two full-time employees and they just were (overwhelmed). They had so many responsibilities."
He added, "We have grants now, we are putting in sidewalks, (making) street improvements and we take surveys now, so our entire staff has come a long, long way, including our council. We actually have debates at council now more fluently than we've ever had before, which I've encouraged all along, and we have some pretty good leadership on our council."
Above all else, Gaston has been very behind its neighbors in the county and is now starting to catch up, Hall said.
"We are actually functioning now as more of a modern city now than we have in the past," Hall said. "Overall, I would say that the experience has been very positive for myself, for the council and also for the staff."
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
Subscribe to our E-News and get the week's top stories in your inbox
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It can cost as little as 3 cents a day.)