After serving eight years on the Oro Valley Town Council, Councilman Barry Gillaspie is saying farewell to government. He is looking forward to concentrating on his personal life and career as the Director of Development Services for Information Technology at Pima Community College.
A resident of Oro Valley since 1985, Gillaspie served on the Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission, Vice Chairman of the Development Impact Fee Committee, and since 2004, as a member of council.
“We’ve done a lot of good things for the Town,” said Gillaspie. “I feel I’ve been a leader on a lot of major projects. Between the acquisitions of Steam Pump Ranch, Arroyo Grande, Basis Charter School, and developing the Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance, I think I’ve done a lot for the Town, and I’ve made the decision to end on my own terms. I thought this was a good time to step down and let someone else do the work.”
During his years on council, Gillaspie also focused on making Oro Valley a family-friendly community, as is evident in his involvement with the Oro Valley Aquatics Center upgrades and the archery program coming to Naranja Park.
“We don’t get anything done without all the support of the councilmembers, but one thing I was trying to push was giving families facilities such as these,” he said.
Gillaspie added that as he goes, he is proud to see Oro Valley coming out of the recession, and recognized Town staff for its fiscal responsibility in managing the budget.
Mayor Satish Hiremath said Gillaspie’s seat will be tough to fill given his leadership and extensive knowledge of planning and zoning.
“He’s worked hard to achieve what he has, and to his credit, he has taken on the lion’s share of the burden,” Hiremath said. “Oro Valley is Oro Valley because of Barry. He is very analytical and methodical and his abilities on council are the same ones that make him successful in his professional life.”
Gillaspie’s term expires on June 6, when Mike Zinkin and Brendan Burns will be sworn in.
Gillaspie said he believes the perspectives of the two new councilmembers will be valuable to the Town, and hopes the Town continues to progress with varying opinions and analytical thinking.
“It’s good to have differing opinions,” said Gillaspie. “Council shouldn’t be making 7-0 votes all the time. I’m hoping they will not prejudge each other. They’re all really good people, and I hope they take the time to get to know each other and give each other a chance. They all really care about the community moving forward.”
As a member of a couple of dynamic councils, Gillaspie said he has taken away some valuable lessons.
“One of the big things I learned was how to have patience and respect other people on council, and at the same time, balance the needs of the citizens,” he said. “We all need to work together as a team, find ways to put differences of opinions aside and compromise, just like we want our leaders to do at a national level.”
As he departs, Gillaspie said he plans to put more focus into his work at Pima Community College, and on maintenance on his home.
As an avid Argentine tango dancer, Gillaspie is also planning a trip to Argentina in June.
Still, he said he would likely find time to attend council meetings.
“I would like to stay involved and be useful,” he said. “I would like council to call on me if needed.”
Gillaspie said at a later date he would reassess whether or not to run for council again.