One of the longest, continuously serving public officials in Hall County, Gillsville Mayor Larry Poole, plans to leave office at the end of the year but is set to fill a seat on the city council.
Poole says he has "mixed feelings" about leaving the mayor's post and did not make the decision "lightly."
Poole, who is a retired BellSouth employee, said in discussing his decision "First and foremost. I enjoyed very much standing up for citizens of a rural area that otherwise have very little representation at any level of government. And it has been such a rewarding experience working with Council Members with such a wide range of talents, abilities and experience and are so willing to give of their time and efforts to make our little town such a great place to live and raise our families."
"One of my highest priorities, and one that was quoted in the media as I took office on January 3, 1994, was to 'work on stability for the area' and I believe we have been successful in that effort."
When qualifying for the Nov. 7 city election ended Friday, Poole was the only candidate for the Post 1 seat on the city council now held by Roy Turpin, who was the only candidate qualifying for mayor.
"My decision to run for a Council seat was somewhat of a commitment that I made to myself and the City to not leave the Council with a vacant seat if no one else signed up and also to assist with the transition if and when my service might be needed," Poole added. "I wish Mayor-Elect Roy Turpin the best in this endeavor and look forward to working for our City under his leadership."
About his decision to leave the mayor's post, Poole went on to say "...being a strong advocate of some sort of term limits, I felt that it was high time for a change in leadership and for someone else to step up and bring new plans and ideas to the table. While I take great pride in the accomplishments of our past several Councils, I believe that new leadership will bring even greater energy to help us move forward in making improvements to out City."
Poole also hinted at higher political aspirations.
"And, too, having a bit more time will allow me to perhaps explore the feasibility of other political opportunities that may open the door for me to assure that greater numbers of taxpayers are represented as wider ranging decisions are made."
A newcomer to the city council will be Jeff Perry, the only candidate to qualify for Post 2, which is now vacant.