McGill resigns

Ralph McGill
Citing health concerns, McGill resigned Thursday, June 21, effective immediately.

“Many of you know I have had some health concerns that I have been tending to for the past few months,” the mayor stated in his letter of resignation dated June 19. “ln order to focus on my health, I have decided to resign as mayor of the Town of Farragut at this time.

“I want to thank the staff for their support, the Board of Aldermen for your leadership, and most of all my wife and family for always standing by my side with their love and support,” McGill stated in the letter. “I am proud of our accomplishments, and I am proud of my Town. I know the future of Farragut is bright and will continue to shine through the future leaders of our community.”

McGill’s presence in Farragut was felt even before the Town was incorporated.

“We go back to the ’70s,” Farragut Municipal Planning Commission member Betty Dick, who is part of the original group responsible for forming the Town, said during FMPC’s meeting Thursday, June 21. Then, she broke down into tears.

Dick said McGill was admitted into the hospital last Friday night, June 15.

“[McGill] is the reason there is a Town of Farragut because we had no leader until we found Ralph, and he agreed to do it,” she recalled. “Everyone in Farragut (government) owes their job to Ralph McGill because there would be no town without him.”

“Mayor McGill had an enormous impact on our Town, starting with his efforts to help incorporate the Town of Farragut back in 1980 and through his recent service as mayor,” Town administrator David Smoak said. “We appreciate Mayor McGill's leadership and his dedication to our great community and wish him well as he focuses on his health.”

According to a press release from Town of Farragut, Vice Mayor Ron Pinchok will be sworn in as mayor at Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 28, in Farragut Town Hall Board Room.

Pinchok, who is out of town on vacation, said he found out about the resignation Thursday morning.

“I knew (McGill’s] had something going on — but I don’t know the details — so I was not really surprised (at the resignation),” the vice mayor said.

“Ralph was one of our Town’s founders,” he said. “His leadership is exemplary.

“I want to offer my prayers,” Pinchok said. He remembered he decided he would only run for alderman five years ago if McGill would run (for mayor) again.

“I think very highly of (McGill),” he added.

“My love for the Town of Farragut runs deep, and it all got started over 40 years ago, when Marianne and I moved our family to this lovely community,” McGill, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, stated in his letter. “We had a great vision for our community, and through many people's efforts, we were able to incorporate our own little Town of Farragut in 1980, with slightly over 6,000 residents, so we could determine the future of how we would grow and develop.”

Dick remembered the early days when “Knoxville was just waiting to take us over, and they already had most of Turkey Creek.”

McGill and Dick were part of the small group disillusioned with Knoxville’s government that set the wheels of incorporation in motion.

“Ralph is a very smart man, and he guided us through,” she said. “You know, we (incorporated the Town) in 27 days, put everything together.

“We had been at (Knox County Commission and Knox County Planning Commission) meetings for two or three years,” Dick said. “We decided to get together and form a town.

“But, none of us thought we were capable of taking the leadership role,” she said. Then, McGill took the helm.

The Town was incorporated in 1980. Bob Leonard was elected its first mayor and Eddy Ford its second.

McGill, the Town’s third mayor, would be elected to that office in 2009.

“When I ran for mayor in 2009, l wanted to help our Town become more receptive to business and help our community thrive,” McGill stated. “Fast forward all these years later, and I don't think any of the original founders of the Town could have imagined how great our Town would become.”

Debt-free, the Town has operated without a property tax. Still, the mayor noted, “Farragut's sales tax revenues have doubled; businesses have added over $142 million in real property improvements; we have added over 800 new homes with a total value of $268 million; and (we) were named the most business-friendly city by the Beacon Center of Tennessee.

“We have also enhanced our parks facilities by adding three new artificial turf fields at Mayor Bob Leonard Park, expanded McFee Park with the addition of the splash pad in Knox County, created an Outdoor Classroom for students and community groups to increase their experiential learning and preserved our heritage with the renovations that are ongoing at the Campbell Station Inn,” McGill stated.

He added the Town also was able to make significant infrastructure investments with improvements to Everett, Old Stage, Watt and Campbell Station roads and numerous greenway trail connections throughout the Town.