By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Mark Caillier knows the effort it takes to truly be a Keizer City Councilor.
He also knows he’s no longer willing to put forth that effort.
That’s why Caillier didn’t run for re-election this year to the Position 3 seat, a seat he’s held the past four years.
This is Caillier’s second time retiring from public service, the first being his 2003 retirement from the Salem Police Department. Caillier runs Emergency Services Solutions, LLC.
“I need more time for family and business now,” he said. “When I became a councilor, I found it to be a 20-hour a week job. I volunteered my time. If I do something, I do the best I can. I’m proud of what I did and we did a lot as a council. But it’s time for me to move on. I would never rule out the opportunity to run for council again, but it’s not the time now.”
There will be three new councilors next month in Ken LeDuc, Marlene Quinn and Dennis Koho, the former mayor. Caillier’s advice to the newcomers is simple.
“Do your homework,” Caillier said. “I spent probably eight or nine months going to every meeting I could. I still didn’t have a grasp on the issues. It’s a lot different when you’re in the chair. You need to prepare.”
Caillier found himself constantly doing homework and getting up to speed on subjects such as water, sewer and stormwater. Somewhat related to that, he doesn’t look at his four years on council in terms of individual accomplishments.
“I don’t have a list,” he said. “It was not one individual getting stuff done. Most stuff I’ve done, I talked to the city manager or city staff. City manager (Chris Eppley) told me to find something I was interested in. I wanted to do something other than public safety. Most of what I focused on what environmentally-related or quality of life things. I found it incredibly interesting.”
As a group, Caillier noted he came onto council just as the economy went into a nosedive.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is Keizer’s ability to survive the economic downturn,” Caillier said. “We did better than a lot of our neighbors. A lot of volunteers and staff stepped up. Everyone came together.”
Caillier, who turns 60 on Jan. 6 – the day before he hands over Position 3 to Quinn – said in hindsight he can see mistakes he made as a councilor.
“To sit here and say I always voted correctly would be an error,” he said. “They were appropriate votes for the time. There were times I felt one way and information indicated a different path. I followed the information. I would rather go with the information than my gut feeling. Now I would more likely go with intuition.”
For the future, Caillier has one wish.
“I believe a value the community has is the one high school, McNary,” Caillier said. “Every community I’ve seen that went to two high schools, that split the community. McNary and Keizer are synonymous. I want us to still have the one high school the community can rally around as its focal point. It’s worth considering that.”