Saturday May 25th, 2024 3:37AM

Longtime Gainesville City Councilman George Wangemann announces resignation

By Hamilton Keener Anchor / Reporter

George Wangemann, who represents Ward 4 on the Gainesville City Council, announced Tuesday evening he will resign from the position at the end of the year.

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve the City of Gainesville for what some would consider a lifetime,” Wangemann said. “Devoting these last 38 years to serving on the Gainesville City Council has been more fulfilling and rewarding than I ever imagined possible. Through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I have met extraordinary people, including my fellow councilmembers you see before you today, and have been blessed with valuable opportunities to enact change for the benefit of my fellow Gainesvillians. While I wish my health allowed me to finish out my current term, I can truthfully say I have tried my hardest to act in the best interest of the people of Gainesville. Thank you for trusting me all these years to be your voice – I hope I have made this Council, this community and my family proud.”

Wangemann's resignation will leave the seat unfilled with about two years remaining on his term. City Manager Brian Lackey said the city has not yet determined a date for a special election to fill the remainder of the term. 

Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon said Wangemann has always put others before himself. 

“The thing that I think of more than anything is how he treated others with respect,” Couvillon said. “He would always kick in to volunteer to help others. George, not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.”

Wangemann is a part of ‘Keep Hall Beautiful’ and would log how many pounds of trash they picked up during cleanups, Couvillon said. 

“He has knocked on north of 15,000 doors in his time on the city council. You know, he wasn't just about serving people from the dais, when he was making votes. He was walking door to door asking people how he could help them,” Couvillon said. “That was very meaningful. The thing that I learned is that having that personal contact is important in being a good, sincere, Councilmember.”

Wangemann told AccessWDUN earlier in 2023 that he would not run for another term due to his age and medical issues he has experienced, including bladder cancer.

Aside from serving as a council member, Wangemann also served as mayor of Gainesville for several years in the 1990s.

“The first year I served as mayor, I went to Japan for a Japanese-American conference, and I really enjoyed that,” Wangemann told AccessWDUN in June.

Wangemann said some of his favorite moments throughout his decades in local politics have related to his time with other council members.

“We all learn from each other, especially me – I learned from the older people on the council,” Wangemann said, speaking on his early days on the Gainesville City Council.

Looking to the City of Gainesville’s future leaders, Wangemann said service is essential.

“Try to serve as much as you can and remember that this is all service, it isn’t something you get paid for,” Wangemann said when asked to give advice to future council members. “Service is the key word as a council member.”

Wangemann was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moved with his family to the Gainesville area in his early 20s.

His decision to get into local politics came about after encouragement from his father.

“My father wanted to become a congressman, and that never happened, but that was his hope,” Wangemann said. “And he says, ‘Why don’t you run for congress?’ and that never happened either. But I was happy to run for a community seat, such as the city council. I’ve enjoyed every bit of city council work. Every bit of it.”

At the end of the day, Wangemann’s continued service on the city council comes from a passion for serving others.

“I always want to help somebody,” Wangemann said. “I still try to do that today.”

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  • Associated Tags: gainesville, Gainesville City Council, City of Gainesville, resignation, George Wangemann, Sam Couvillon
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