Hallberg reflects on her four years as McGregor’s mayor
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
When Gay Hallberg became the mayor of McGregor four years ago, she hoped to make the city a better place for her family, especially her grandchildren.
“I wanted something stable so they’d want to stay in the town where they grew up,” she reflected after her final city council meeting on Dec. 18. “I felt like the town was stagnant and needed improvements.”
During those four years, Hallberg helped facilitate a number of improvements. She is most proud of presiding over the start of the city’s riverfront project, the sewer project, the completion of the Sixth Street bridge, getting the dyke built up, beginning improvements to the hardware store and building a greater camaraderie with the police and fire departments and McGregor Municipal Utilities.
“To me, every year was an honor,” Hallberg said. “I have great respect for this town. I wanted to push the envelope and get more and more done.”
However, the journey wasn’t easy. Hallberg said the worst part of the job was dealing with naysayers who said something couldn’t be done, as well as those who spread lies or gossip.
“It can be a thankless job,” Hallberg said. “Some people have no idea how a town runs and they’ve never set foot in the council chambers.”
But Hallberg said the naysayers—those who warn people not to get involved in city politics—shouldn’t be heeded. She encourages everyone, especially young people, to get involved.
“You have to get your feet wet and get involved in activities,” she said. “Whether it’s clubs or commissions, at least you’re trying. It’s not a lifetime. There’s nothing that says you have to stay.”
Even though Hallberg’s term as mayor has come to an end, she hopes to stay involved with McGregor through the board of adjustment, as well as starting a committee to get a veterans memorial built.
Through it all, Hallberg said her family deserves recognition for putting up with the long hours she has worked. She also wants to be remembered for one thing: “Just that I did a good job.”