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Passing of the Gavel

Marco wins mayor’s seat in a landslide

Submitted photo Current Elkins Mayor Van Broughton, left, hands his gavel Wednesday to Jerry Marco, who won a decisive victory in the mayor’s race in Tuesday’s municipal election. Broughton chose not to seek re-election.

ELKINS — Jerry Marco said his landslide victory in the Elkins Municipal Election Tuesday both humbled and surprised him.

Marco tallied 707 votes in the election, while his closest competitor received 166. He will officially take over the seat from current Mayor Van Broughton on April 1.

“I’m very excited but also very humbled by the support I received from our community,” Marco told The Inter-Mountain Wednesday. “The response I received back when I started going down this endeavor was very overwhelming.

“The feedback and encouragement that I received to try to make a difference was a very humbling experience. I’m looking forward to serving the citizens of Elkins and trying to be a great mayor.”

Marco, who retired from the FBI in September after 28 years of service, said he had talked to his wife about running for mayor for several years. But it wasn’t until he ran into one of his former basketball players that he realized he definitely wanted to become a candidate.

The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley Jerry Marco will take office as Elkins mayor on April 1.

“I had one of my former basketball players tell me about an experience he had while fishing and it made me really get serious about running and hopefully making a difference if elected,” said Marco, who has coached basketball and gymnastics at a youth level for 29 years. “He said while he was fishing he had to stay in the water the entire time because there were so many needles on the bank. That image really stuck with me and I thought we have to work together as a community to try and get this cleaned up.”

Marco believes his time in the FBI will give him an added advantage when it comes to working alongside local law enforcement officers.

“I’ve been working with some of the local law enforcement guys even before my retirement with the FBI,” Marco said. “I have a good relationship with Police Chief Travis Bennett and I’ve known Sheriff Rob Elbon for many years. I have tremendous respect for both of them and I like the fact that they are willing to work together, which is necessary for law enforcement to be successful.”

Marco said he has already been working with Bennett and Elbon about the issues of drugs and homelessness, which often go hand-in-hand.

“We all agree that there is probably a need for some sort of rehabilitation facility needed in this area,” he said. “So I definitely would like to be a huge advocate for that.”

Marco also wants first responders in the city to be properly equipped, and is hoping that the addition of some surveillance technology in the city will thwart some theft issues.

“I would like to get our police officers and all of our first responders some body cams,” he said. “For the safety of the citizens as well as the officers and first responders. Safer streets are also really big on my list. I’ve talked to individuals about the possibility of putting some street cameras around to try and mitigate some of the crime in the area.”

Marco said he also wants to make sure all city workers receive competitive wages.

“I think we need competitive wages,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think we have that right now. We have to invest in our employees if we want to keep them in this area.”

Marco said he wants to talk to all city employees in order to gain perspective on what they do and how the city operates.

“My goal is to meet with all the city employees starting at the ground level so that I can understand the way this city functions,” he said. “I want to know what we are doing well and where there is room for improvement. What better way than to go and talk to the people who do those jobs everyday?”

Developing downtown Elkins and working with the Randolph County Development Authority will also be essential, Marco said.

“I’m very excited about our city’s potential for growth,” he said. “It’s all about the core foundation that’s been established previously that we are going to be able to build off of for economic development. I want to work with the Randolph County Development Authority to help develop the Railyard and any other projects that come along.”

Marco said having a good relationship with Broughton, who decided not to run for re-election, is going to be key to the changing of the guard.

“I want to thank Mayor Van Broughton for sharing so much valuable information with me,” Marco said. “He has been a tremendous mentor to me since I made the decision to run for mayor. He’s been very supportive and we both expect a very smooth transition.”

Marco said he will be available to speak with anyone in the community once he takes over in April.

“I know that I don’t have all the answers, so my door will always be open to people who want to come out and share ideas,” he said. “I have some plans but it takes a community effort to make it work. It takes a community to make changes in any town.”

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