After more than 12 years as Elida’s mayor, Bennie Thurman is calling it quits.
The longtime mayor of the town with roughly 200 residents resigned on July 11 and said many things have changed over the years.
“There was no specific reason why I resigned — I just got tired and resigned,” Thurman said. “We used to make decisions with a handshake and now you have to have four country lawyers to draw up contracts and all that darn stuff.”
“It’s just one of those things they call progress.”
Thurman, a retired feed store employee, said he will take it easy now that he’s resigned and noted that former mayor pro-tem Gerry Lee will act as the town’s mayor.
“Gerry will do a fine job; I don’t believe too much will change,” Thurman said.
Lee was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Elida city council member Nancy Ward praised Thurman’s dedication to the community and said he will be missed.
“He was a very good mayor, but he had some health problems,” Ward said. “We were very sorry that he resigned because he had done a good job. His first concern was the good of the town, and he is very nice, very congenial, very easy to get along with.”
Madie Swagerty, former town clerk and treasurer, worked closely with Thurman, and said some of the biggest developments to the community while he was mayor included a three-phase road project. Elida officials were able to receive community block grants from the state to repair the streets.
“When we went off to give our little spiel to the state, we told them that strangers to Elida think we’re all drunk (drivers) because we zigzag up and down the streets — but that’s just because we knew where the potholes were,” Swagerty said.
On Thurman, Swagerty added: “He is a very good man.”