By Kevin Wilson: PNT Managing Editor
After nine years in Elida, some might argue with Gerald Lee’s sentiment that he’s a relative newcomer to the community. One thing that’s not up for argument, though, is the end of his time as the mayor for the village of about 250 people.
Lee’s resignation was given during Monday’s Elida board of trustees meeting, and mayor pro-tem Nancy Ward will fill the role until March, when the position is up for election.
Lee was himself a mayor pro-tem, and took the position in July 2003 when Bennie Thurman resigned.
“The best way to leave it is that I left for personal reasons,” Lee said.
Ward said she has lived in Elida all of her life, and worked in the local school system for 29 years, 17 as a principal. One thing she never thought she’d do during her time was become mayor.
Ward was serving her second stint on the board of trustees, and is the third mayor for the community in two years. Ward said she wasn’t surprised about Lee’s resignation because the two had discussed the matter previously.
Lee said he was happy that during his tenure, he and the board were able to secure a Community Block Development Grant to assist with the village’s intent to own its water.
“Elida has never owned its own water,” Lee said. “and due to the efforts of myself and the council, Elida will be owning its own well field and will be owning its own water well.”
The water plans are a big part of Ward’s nine months in office. She said the plan is to be carried out in three phases. The first phase is to buy wells the city had previously leased and update the water system around those wells. The second phase is to get a new water tower, and the third phase is to upgrade Elida’s water lines.
Lee said that he would be happy to be of any assistance to the community, and Ward said she’d likely take Lee up on that.
“Gerald Lee was a very fine mayor,” Ward said. “I am going to look to him for guidance in the next nine months.”
Ward has no plans beyond the next nine months for the mayor position, which carries no salary. She said she plans to reclaim her spot on the board of trustees when a new mayor is elected and serve out at least the remaining two years of that term.
“This is a wonderful community, a good God-fearing community,” Ward said. “I feel honored to serve as mayor for the short period of time and I hope I do a good job for that term.”
Manuel Jasso becomes the new mayor pro-tem and Kay Nuckols was appointed to the board of trustees to fill the spot vacated by Ward.