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Segars takes on new role with City Council

Veteran education leader agrees to fill vacant seat

POSTED: September 14, 2013 11:33 p.m.

Curtis Segars, retired for 27 years, has a new, if temporary, job as a member of the Gainesville City Council.

Segars was sworn in as the Ward 1 representative last week to serve the remaining four months of former Mayor Danny Dunagan’s term. Dunagan represented the ward and held the mayor position until a city charter change last year made the positions of council member and mayor separately elected positions. So he resigned at the end of August to run for the new elected mayor position.

City Council will add the elected mayor position to five ward representatives for a total of six members. Previously, one of the five members has served as mayor, with the position elected by the council and rotating every two years.

Segars, 80, was appointed and approved by the council to serve until the November election fills the empty seat.

“I’ve kiddingly said that they tried to find someone as old as (Mayor Bob Hamrick), so they found me,” he said.

He has taught government and said he’s always been interested in it because of his passion for history. He recently participated in the city’s transportation focus groups.

Segars plans on being a team player, but is known for speaking his mind. At last week’s work session, he gave his opinion on dogs at the annual Mule Camp Market Festival scheduled for October and problems with traffic at the downtown post office and on Green Street.

He said he felt the post office is a large bottleneck. He also said Green Street was too narrow and has drainage problems.

“I have never been known as a ‘yes’ person,” he said. “If I felt very strongly, then I would say so. But otherwise, I think it behooves (me) to be a team player.”

Some of the topics concerning Gainesville he’s paying attention to is taxes, economic development, traffic and quality of life.

“I feel very uncomfortable going down Green Street beside an 18-wheeler,” he said. “I mean, we don’t have enough space.”

This isn’t Segars’ first foray into public office. He served as Hall County Board of Commissioners chairman from 1989-92, an experience he calls “interesting.”

Segars was the principal of Gainesville High School for many years, including years when city schools were desegregated. He dealt with racial issues and worked to form consensus to make integration successful.

After he retired in 1986, he took on projects and volunteered his time with several organizations. He founded Clearing House, an organization designed to help young people with drug and alcohol addiction through counseling and drug screening. He also worked for Riverside Military Academy and served as a probation officer for Juvenile Court.

“It takes a community, it takes awareness,” he said. “I don’t feel I’ve ever retired.”

Segars is a longtime Gainesville resident and he feels like he understands the issues that face the city. He’s also very committed to his church activities.

He doesn’t have any further interest in holding a government position.

“Running for any position means having to go and ask people for money,” he said. “Which I detest. I’m a has-been.”

After his service on the council, Segars said he hopes to go back to spoiling his seven grandchildren.


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