BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon City Councilwoman Mary Albaugh on Tuesday announced her resignation.
Albaugh’s current term expires in May 2022, but she plans to move to Georgia next week to be closer to her daughter and other family members.
During Tuesday’s Buckhannon City Council meeting – Albaugh’s last – city officials thanked her for her years of dedicated service. Albaugh has less than 10 months left in her second four-year term. City residents first elected Albaugh to council in 2014, and she was re-elected in May of 2018.
Financial Director Amberle Jenkins told Albaugh what an honor it has been working with her.
“When you became City Recorder in 2010, you asked me what you could do to help,” Jenkins said. “That was our first encounter, and it was wonderful. I said, ‘please help with the election’ because we had retiring people, and everything was kind of put on me at one time … and you did a great job there.”
Jenkins detailed the multiple roles in which Albaugh has served the City of Buckhannon.
“You (Albaugh) did the Christmas decorating in 2011 and helped spur the lights for the Christmas Tree and the Christmas lights and decorations up and down Main Street,” Jenkins shared. “You served on the Police Civil Service Commission in 2012 and the Buckhannon City Planning Commission from 2010 to 2014 and you bridged the communication between the American Legion and the City of Buckhannon. You have really brought a lot of patriotism in, and in 2013, declared ‘Americanism Project.’ You bought, yourself, the flags that went on Main Street and the bunting that went on Buckhannon City Hall.”
Jenkins said everyone laughed in the past prior to that first 2010 municipal election because when Albaugh was looking for poll workers, she called them ‘pole’ workers.
“That’s a little different type of career there,” Jenkins joked.
Jenkins told Albaugh everyone appreciates her service, and city officials hope to hear from her often.
Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble thanked Albaugh for her service and said if she needed anything to give the department a call.
“It has been great knowing you and we know you supported us over the years, and we thank you,” Kimble said.
During the comments and announcements portion of Tuesday’s meeting, council members took the opportunity to thank Albaugh. Councilman C.J. Rylands told Albaugh he had appreciated working with her.
“Thanks for working on all of the things we have accomplished and making some difficult decisions,” Rylands said.
Councilman David Thomas said he and Albaugh had a great relationship over the years.
“You have been very positive for the community and have put in many, many hours helping folks out,” Thomas said. “It is fantastic what you do for the Veterans in the area. I was down there a few times to see the wonderful work you did down there. I wish you the best in Georgia. It has been a pleasure to work with you.”
Councilman Jack Reger offered congratulations to Albaugh on her move to Georgia.
“Observing you from afar, I have known you to be a servant in the community,” Reger said. “Positions can always be filled, but shoes cannot. You are leaving a huge pair of shoes to fill. We wish you the best and hope you enjoy your time down in Georgia.”
Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders thanked Albaugh for her support when he was a rookie, having just been appointed city recorder.
“You patiently listened to my interview, participated in my interview and asked some tough questions,” Sanders said. “You have been a great mentor and I thank you for that. It has been a pleasure to serve with you and work with you on the Waste Board. I am going to miss you, but I know you are making a great move for you and your family. Godspeed.”
Skinner echoed other council members’ gratitude to Albaugh for her dedication.
“Being the young one here, I have looked up to you for many years,” Skinner said. “I grew up in the neighborhood, rode my bike by you and waved all the time. You and I have worked together, and you have certainly taught me a lot about public service over the years.”
Skinner said Albaugh has a lot to be proud of in the work she has accomplished over the years.
“We are all going to miss you,” Skinner said. “We hope you will get involved down in Georgia and bring some life into that community, too. They will be lucky to have you. Their gain is certainly our loss.”
Albaugh told her fellow council members she has enjoyed serving with each one of them.
“I have enjoyed it, and I am thankful for the volunteers of our community,” Albaugh said. “I have seen the changes within our community, and I am very proud of that.”
Albaugh said she is moving to Georgia to be closer to her daughter.
“I have siblings right out of Savannah and nieces and nephews I have a lot of people to visit,” she said. “Here in Buckhannon, so many seeds have been planted and grown and we are a role model to many, many cities,” Albaugh said. “Keep that seed of volunteerism watered and sewn. God bless you and God bless America and God bless all of our Veterans and all of you.”
It’s unclear how or if Albaugh’s seat on council will be filled prior to the May 2022 municipal election. City attorney Tom O’Neill said if council decides to fill the slot, there’s no specific rules governing the process.
“If council chooses to fill the seat, they are not obligated to do anything in particular,” O’Neill said Wednesday. “They can use whatever process or standard that they choose, or they can elect not to fill the seat. They don’t have to fill it, given that there’s only eight or nine months until the next city election in May. They are not legally obligated to fill it.”
Like the rest of council, O’Neill said he would miss Albaugh.
“I hope she considers running for something down there,” he said. “She’s a great public servant, and she will be an asset to whatever community she’s living in.”