Newport Mayor Mark McConnell announced Monday he will not seek re-election.
McConnell said he wants to change how he volunteers in the community and that he and his wife want to travel more. He said he also wants to enhance his physical fitness.
McConnell said he is proud of the progress the city has made to establish a pro-active and positive approach to putting the city on stronger financial footing. He said part of that meant increased financial reserves and trimming the city’s costs for employee pensions and health care.
McConnell said he had hoped to fill empty store fronts along Highway 101 and to restore city amenities lost due to the recession, but it didn’t happen.
He said he has enjoyed his time as Mayor and that December 31st will be his last say on the job.
Here is the letter Mayor McConnell read to the city council Monday evening.
To the Citizens of Newport-
I have decided not to run for a second term as Mayor of Newport. I am honored to have served the Citizens of Newport for the past four years, first as a City Councilor and then as your Mayor. I am at a time in my life where I wish to use my volunteer time and energies in other areas in the community, to spend more time with my family, and to have time to pursue travel and fitness for myself.
I am very proud of my record as a Councilor and Mayor. I feel my greatest contribution has been to encourage a positive and proactive approach to City business and management. We have conducted two City Employee surveys, numerous Community Forums, started a new Economic Development initiative, and we continue to work on supporting and acknowledging the great and dedicated City Staff.
I have advocated for sound financial policies that will take the City into the future. This includes dealing with the underlying issues in finances concerning lack of reserves, and employee compensation and benefit packages that were unsustainable. I feel that we are now on a track that will allow the City to make sustainable financial plans, and allow for realistic management of the core services the City should be providing.
Every vibrant and progressive City should have work that is unfinished — goals for the future that need energy, resources, and time to accomplish. It needs the leadership and support from the Citizens to get the job done! I am sure that some of the issues that I had hoped to make more progress on will continue to receive attention, and the seeds we have planted these past two years will continue to grow and produce results in the future. I had hoped we would make better progress on revitalizing our Main Street- Highway 101. I had hoped that we would see all of our empty storefronts full of new businesses. I had hoped that we would have more amenities that would attract and keep the younger generation as they look for a place to work and raise a family. I had hoped we would be known for our stewardship of the environment and our efforts to live more sustainable life styles. As a private citizen, I will continue to advocate for my hopes, and will continue to contribute with a “get your hands dirty” approach to positive change for Newport.
Thanks again for the opportunity to serve you, and please get involved in positive change for Newport. The best way to get something done is to roll up your sleeves and help with friendliness and a smile!! Newport is the Volunteer Capital of Oregon!!
Sincerely, Mayor Mark McConnell