After five terms and ten years of service to City, District 4 Alderman Gordy Earll won’t be seeking re-election in April.
His many roles include Council President, Chair for the Board of Public Works and Judiciary and License Committees, member of Finance, Budget, and Personnel Committee, Airport Committee, Cable Committee, Utility Commission, University Commission, and the Capital Improvement Program Committee. He also voluntarily attends monthly Police and Fire Commission meetings to stay informed before the agenda comes before Council.
After stepping down, Earll plans to serve on a number of committees but is scaling back his commitment due to health reasons which have made it difficult to continue at the same level.
“I thought, it’s time to step down for me and to allow younger people to serve,” he said.
He first became interested in the position in 2008 when the District 4 Alderman resigned with a year left in his term, which Earll and three other candidates applied to fulfill. Though he wasn’t selected at the time, Earll was later encouraged by two council members to run at the next election in 2009. With nothing to lose, he went for it and won by several hundred votes. Since that time, he has faced opposition only once.
Reflecting on his time on the Council, Earll is most proud of standing behind projects such as the fire station, library, UW STEM building, and the Marshfield Area Pet Shelter. He was also supportive of making the move to a new City Hall. Though the old City Hall hasn’t found a buyer as soon as expected, he stands by the decision.
“There are several options we’re exploring at this point. In the meantime, there’s enough money being generated in rentals in that City Hall right now to pay for expenses, so it isn’t costing us anything to sit on it and continue to look at offers,” he explained. “Hopefully down the road, we’ll be able to choose one that best fits what’s good for the city.”
He hopes the City continues to work toward a new police station. Lack of space is a problem, and its landlocked location prevents expansion. Proposed solutions have been to remodel the existing station, tear down the old City Hall and build on that lot, or build on a different space entirely that would allow the addition of a garage to store vehicles during the winter instead of leaving the vehicles running. The City is working with a consultant on solutions.
“I took a tour in Baraboo about six months ago. They had just built a new police station with a garage, exactly what we’re talking about, and it’s wonderful,” Earll said. “They’ve got all their vehicles in there. It clears up any kind of mess outside.”
He supports building a new facility in a new location somewhere in town to accommodate the size of garage the police department needs. “It’s time,” he said. “Just like it was time for a fire station, it’s time for a police station, too.”
Currently two candidates are interested in running for District 4. Also up for election are the other even-numbered Aldermanic Districts (2,6,8,10).
He advises anyone running for a seat that being an Alderman takes more effort than they might think. “It takes a lot of time, and you’re only to get as much out of it as you put in it. I feel that in order to do a good job at this you have to do these things and be a good spokesman, not only for your district, but for the city in general.”
Earll averages an attendance of over 200 meetings a year. While he acknowledges that level of commitment isn’t possible before retirement, he hopes to see younger members join and commends those who currently serve in addition to balancing full-time responsibilities.
“I hope we see more of that. The City needs young people involved in this. These projects are down the road after us old guys are going to be gone,” he said. “I encourage people to get involved and serve where they can. If they can’t serve on the Council, serve on committees. People just aren’t involved enough, but they should be.”
The spring primary is scheduled for February 19, 2019, and the election on April 2, 2019. Individuals interested in running for Alderman in their district can visit Marshfield City Clerk Deb Hall at 207 W. 6th Street (New City Hall) to fill out a Campaign Registration Statement and a Declaration of Candidacy. Signatures must be returned by January 2.