For the first time in nearly three decades a person not named Rone or Davenport will be mayor of McMinnville as Alderman Jimmy Haley will etch his name in the mayor’s chair defeating incumbent Mayor Dr. Norman Rone.
“I think this was a mandate that the people want change,” said Haley upon his election to the mayor’s office.
Haley, who has served as an alderman for 10 years, soundly defeated Rone by a count of 2,020 to 858, carrying a majority of the city’s ballots with 54 percent of the vote. Local businessman David H. Hill finished close behind the incumbent with 635 votes while John R. Shields Jr., lost for a second straight mayor’s election with 221 votes.
Rone served as McMinnville mayor for four terms, his time in office split up by a decade in which Royce Davenport served as mayor while Rone was temporarily retired from politics. Rone returned to the political scene four years ago and won his most recent term by defeating then incumbent Davenport in a four-way race.
For the 77-year-old veteran mayor, his loss to Haley was his first defeat ever in a city election, although he did fall to Charles Curtiss in the Democratic Primary for state representative 20 years ago.
While working side by side for the past four years, Rone and Haley were split on their visions for McMinnville’s future. Most recently the leaders did not see eye to eye on a pay raise and extended contract for city administrator David Rutherford. While voting to give the raise and package to Rutherford, Haley later said the vote was a mistake and he did not support the board’s endorsement of the city administrator.
“We need to work as a team,” Haley said of his plans for city hall. “Without team work nothing happens.”
Haley said he would like to see a vision team formed that can “think outside the box” when it comes to creating future plans for the direction McMinnville needs to go.