Jim Worrall, Perry’s mayor of 21 years, will not seek re-election next year.
“After 21 years, it’s time to take a break,” Worrall said. “Basically I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do 21 years ago.”
City officials spoke positively of Worrall’s record. Many cited Worrall’s effort to prevent the demolition of the old Perry High School, which is now being used as the central office for the Houston County School Board, as one example of Worrall’s good work as mayor.
After more than two decades on the job, Worrall, 80, has seen many projects come to fruition, including the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter.
Perry has a city manager who handles the day-to-day responsibilities of city business, leaving the mayor to — among other responsibilities — run City Council, create committees and serve as a public representative of the city.
Worrall said he was proud of work done in Rozar Park, and the community center that has been built there. During his time in office he helped create a convention and visitors bureau with an office to hold it, according to a letter Worrall wrote announcing his decision not to seek re-election. In the six-page letter e-mailed Friday afternoon to a few close friends and a Telegraph reporter, Worrall discussed many projects he worked on and how they aligned with his campaign promises.
Worrall wrote in the letter that he worked to maintain the character of “old Perry.” Perry Parkway was designed to “highlight the original center of the community while at the same time providing areas for new growth with businesses growing on the parkway,” he wrote.
Ross Tolleson, Perry’s state senator, called Worrall “a good fine Christian man.”
“I think really his family life and his devotion to his family life really helped him as far as being a great man,” Tolleson said.
Worrall faced three contested elections as mayor. Worrall beat Gene Smith in a 1988 runoff in with a margin of less than 30 votes.
“Nobody in this town ever wins by a mandate,” he said, which means Perry might face a contentious race to replace this long time incumbent in November.
Worrall speculated that four or five people would run to replace him, though he said he does not know who yet. “I don’t really have a clue,” he said.