Candidate Profile: Thomas McGhee runs for North Pole Mayor

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:23 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Thomas McGhee is running for mayor of the city of North Pole.

He said he is running because he wants to make things better for North Pole. “I really wish that we would have more constituent participation at our city council meetings, that they would be more informed as to what the city’s doing, where we’re planning for our budget sessions, when we’re planning just basic decisions on our sewer and water, and how we’re expanding those. They should be informed. We need the city residents to actually participate and be involved. This is the first year in the 25 years I’ve been there, and the 20 years I’ve served on the council, we don’t have two people running for the council. We couldn’t get someone to fill the second seat.”

McGhee said infrastructure needs to keep up with the city’s growing population. “I don’t think any of us, at this point, have taken the time to really study the impact of the influx of people within the actual city limits, and the two major roads, which is the Richardson Highway, Santa Claus Lane, and 5th Avenue that come into North Pole. We need to look at those and make sure we are up to standard to be able to handle this volume of traffic. At any given time, if you go in there, into North Pole during the business rush hours, well those three roundabouts get backed up pretty good, and I think it’s time that we review our situation within the entire city limits,” he said.

According to McGhee, North Pole should look into hiring a city manager. “I think it’s time that we separate the responsibilities of a city mayor and a city manager, so that we can have continuity within our city management team, our department heads and our employees, and they’re not wondering what’s going to happen every six years, or every three years, when a new boss comes in.”

“Since I have witness six different administrations, I’ve witnessed a number of things and difficulties within the network of the city that has struggled many times with our employees. Our employees have a very good longevity track record. We have employees that have been there for 20 years. We have employees that are coming in new. They like the city of North Pole. They love their jobs,” he said.

McGhee is running against incumbent Mike Welch in the municipal elections on October 5th.

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