ALBANY – Twenty years in public service taught Gene Glascock a virtue about working on major projects.
It taught him patience.
Work with the federal government on public works projects highlighted his 16 years as alderman and the last four as mayor, a post he held until Dec. 31. Successor Eileen Bates-McCarroll takes office in a ceremony tonight (Jan. 3) at 6 p.m. at the Albany Multipurpose Center on the grounds of the Albany Elementary School.
Glascock did not like the long waits on projects any more than other mayors, but he accepted that federal projects will inevitably move slow.
It’s a piece of advice he gave to his successor Bates-McCarroll, who defeated him in November. She was set to take office Jan. 3, after press time.
“When dealing with federal projects, you have to accept that you’ll have to take it slow and easy,” Glascock said. “If you want to build something or perhaps expand a waterline, you should go with it, but keep in mind that the government moves awfully slow.”
It’s not only the response from the government on projects that posed challenges for Glascock. The litany of rules and regulations involved in projects also proved cumbersome, he said.
“There are so many rules and regulations, and you find out quickly that things won’t happen as quickly as you like to think they would,” Glascock said.
The hardships after the Great Flood of 2016 also brought some of the biggest challenges and changes to the town, said Glascock, who took office as mayor seven months before the disaster.
“We weren’t really prepared, and we didn’t think we’d get a flood like that,” he said. “We had seen high water, but nothing ever like that … we may have had one or two houses flood before that.”
The municipal complex was declared a total loss after more than 4 feet of water deluged the area occupied by the town hall and police department. Work continues on the new, $1.1 million facility that will house the town hall and police department under the same roof.
The town has since digitally archived its records to prevent a loss of documents in future disasters. The disaster led both the town government and its residents to take on a greater sense of preparation in the event of another severe flood.
“You won’t hear anyone doubt that it couldn’t happen again,” Glascock said. “People are doing what they can to stay prepared and perhaps build on higher ground.”
He considers the Veterans Memorial Plaza at Albany High School his greatest legacy.
The grass-roots effort for the project made it enjoyable, said Glascock, who turns 80 this year.
“It was during my first term as councilman when I tried to get some kind of memorial site here for the town, and next thing you know we had a bunch of veterans involved to get it to what we have today,” he said.
Even with the challenges of getting projects in gear, Glascock said he enjoyed his entire run in public service.
“It’s been a good ride,” he said.