Gillsville has had past problems finding candidates to run for City Council.
But the city straddling Hall and Banks counties had no issues this year replacing longtime Mayor Larry Poole.
Gillsville native Roy Turpin stepped forward as soon as he learned Poole was ending his 20-plus years on the council.
“I enjoyed being on the council, and I think I’m going to enjoy being mayor,” he said during a recent interview. “I’ve got a few projects I’d like to see get done.”
Turpin, who takes office for a four-year term on Jan. 1, sure has the background. Born and raised in Gillsville, he graduated from East Hall High School in 1969 and has served on the council since 2005.
One infrastructure project he’d like to see happen is expansion of sidewalks.
He’s also interested in finding uses for a historic, vacant city-owned building at the corner of Ga. 52 and Bryant Quarter Road downtown.
“Larry and I have wanted to make that a pottery type of building, giving potters around here access to the building,” Turpin said.
Also, “we’ve got a lot of old history” he said. “I’d like to see some display cases put in the back of the building to give the basic history of Gillsville and the surrounding area.”
There are a few other “odds and ends I’d like to see done, but we don’t really have the money to do it at the present time,” Turpin said. “Over a period of years, maybe I can figure how to get a few grants and get some help to do them.”
He said his first objective is keeping Gillsville’s city status intact.
“We don’t have a paid employee, so we have to do it on our own, and that takes up a lot of time,” said Turpin, a General Motors retiree since 1999. “But thankfully, I can give a lot of time. I’ll have plenty of time to be … an active mayor.”
And the mayor’s job “is pretty intense,” Poole said in an interview earlier this year, reflecting on his career in the post. “You wouldn’t believe it, looking at the town, as small as it is. But one of the biggest challenges we’ve had ... is maintaining its status as a city.”
But Turpin, who has been married 47 years and has two grown children and two grandchildren, believes he is up to the task.
“I’m laid-back, kind of like Larry,” said Turpin, also an Army veteran. “I try not to get too excited. I’m not a spur-of-the-moment type of person. I try to think things through.”