Oakdale Mayor J.R. McCarty shared with The Oakdale Leader his heartfelt reflection on his experience as the city’s mayor as he prepares to vacate the seat for his replacement. McCarty’s last day in office will be Dec. 31 and council member Christopher Smith will take over as Mayor Pro Tem.
McCarty and his wife purchased a home that sits within the city limits but the road itself is not annexed into the city, which, according to city ordinances, made McCarty ineligible to continue his term as mayor but he plans to remain active within the community in his new role.
Here is the ‘Q&A’ with the outgoing mayor.
What were your hopes and aspirations when you first took office as the mayor and do you feel you met your goals?
My hopes were to continue being conservative with the city’s finances. When I first became Mayor, we were at 40 percent reserve level and now at 43 percent. I also wanted to renegotiate a great contract for fire service. Bringing Oak Leaf Meadows which is a 56-unit affordable housing property which is much needed. I believe I accomplished all three. The one thing I hoped to finish was the property tax sharing agreement with the county. I believe a new agreement would benefit all Stanislaus cities and I hope the council will continue this.
What are some of your proudest moments as mayor?
Having our police department at full staff, a great contract with fire service and seeing our citizens support local businesses during this pandemic.
What were some of the surprise challenges you encountered during your tenure as mayor?
Definitely the pandemic and economic shutdown. Two things I would wish on no mayor.
What are your plans for the future now that you're ending your term as mayor?
I hope to improve my golf game but I will still be very active in the community. I will continue to serve on the board for Pacific Project Heroes which is a nonprofit organization that helps the military, veterans and first responders.
What were your favorite community events as mayor and what did you enjoy about them?
There are many. Oakdale Saddle Club does an amazing job with the rodeo event. I enjoy the Oakdale Easter egg hunt and the Halloween parade because I love seeing all the kids having a great time and the smiles on their faces. Love Oakdale because we focus on those in need and our senior citizens.
In your opinion, what makes Oakdale a special place to live and call home?
The people who live here. It’s all about the people. We live in such a giving and caring community. We take care of each other.
Do you have advice for the incoming mayor?
You need to have some broad shoulders. It’s not about you, it’s a team effort. Be prepared to know the answers to people’s questions. Stand by your decisions whether they are popular or not. You need to always do what’s best for Oakdale despite your personal beliefs.
What will you miss about being the mayor?
Everything. It was an honor to serve as the Mayor of Oakdale. It was a privilege.
Going forward, what do think is going to be the new mayor's biggest challenge?
Trying to keep our locally owned businesses afloat during this pandemic. Bringing new retail into the city when it’s so easy to buy online now. Keeping the reserve levels to what we currently have.
What TV shows are you planning to binge now that you have some free time on your hands?
I don’t really plan to watch too much TV. I will be spending more time helping out with Pacific Project Heroes and I would like to get more involved with Without Permission which helps battle human trafficking. That is a big passion of mine.
One final note…
I would like to thank everyone who has supported me especially my wife and family. A special thanks to City Manager Bryan Whitemyer for his dedication to the city and all city staff. You can guarantee that if and when my road is annexed, I will be taking my seat back. It’s been an honor.