New blood was injected into the Oakdale City Council with the swearing in on Monday night, Dec. 8 of newcomers Cherilyn Bairos and J.R. McCarty, replacing journeyman council members Farrell Jackson and Michael Brennan.
“I’m not a politician, but there’s a lot for me to learn,” said Bairos, 40. “I also don’t align myself with any political circle within the city.”
Bairos an insurance agent for Basi Insurance in Oakdale, previously ran for an open council seat two years ago but was defeated. Since then she’s served on the city’s Recreation and Parks Commission to stay active and gain experience for the future.
“I didn’t win the first time, but I overcame it and gave it another shot,” Bairos said, stating that many within the community encouraged her to run again.
McCarty, 41, also ran and was defeated two years ago and also stayed busy with city government, serving on the Oakdale Traffic Commission. McCarty previously served as city treasurer in 2012 when the former treasurer resigned amid his concerns of city financial mismanagement and a dispute with the city’s finance director over the process in which he was asked to sign 17 overdue statements.
McCarty, a manger at Cost Less Foods in Oakdale, said he anticipates a couple of challenges during his term.
“We need to recruit businesses to the city and not just wait for business to come to us,” said McCarty. “I’d also like to see us increase our financial reserve to become more stable.”
McCarty has frequently spoken up at city council meetings about the need for police positions and financial accountability.
“We definitely need more police,” McCarty said. “I’d also like to see us use our in-house people too instead of hiring out for consultants.”
Both McCarty and Bairos said they are interested in hearing what the citizenry has to say their priorities are for the city’s direction and promised to make themselves available. They both agreed bringing jobs to Oakdale was a priority.
“I also intend to hear what the kids in the city have to say and what they want,” Bairos added. “They’re part of the community. I want to let them know their opinion matters. They’re our future business owners, police officers, homeowners and city leaders.”
Also taking the oath of office at Monday night’s meeting was Mayor Pat Paul, who ran unopposed for another term in November.