New commissioner Gary Williams sworn-in


Hits the ground running

Newly-appointed commissioner Gary Williams has a 15-hour Monday planned. 

The former Cottage Grove Mayor was sworn in as commissioner for East Lane County on Thursday and has been on the run ever since.

"It's been a bit of a whirlwind," he told The Sentinel.

Williams was chosen from 27 applicants to fill the seat left vacant by longtime commissioner Faye Stewart. Stewart left his position in March after accepting a role with the city of Cottage Grove as the head of its new joint public works and community development office. 

On Monday, the commissioner will complete orientation and meet with staff. 

The business of governing however, is not new to Williams who spent 12 years as the mayor of Cottage Grove, a position he says helped prepare him for his new role.

"During the interviews some people had their speech written out and what they wanted to say," he said. "I just went in and spoke from the heart and mind and experience on why I was suited for the position and by golly, it worked."

Williams beat out fellow Cottage Grovers Cindy Weeldreyer, Mike Fleck, Dan Nordin, and Christy Inskip as well as former representative Cedric Hayden and Kevin Matthews who came close beating out Stewart for the seat during the November election.

“We had a remarkable field of candidates, each of who would have been an asset to East Lane County,” said Lane County Board Chair Pat Farr in a press release distributed by the county. “Mr. Williams will serve the constituents of East Lane County well and we look forward to working closely with him on behalf of our community.”

As for Williams, his hectic schedule will continue but he says there isn't much more to report. 

"The only new news is I'm back in government and here to serve the people as faithfully as I did as mayor. It's just casting a bigger net." 

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