STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
GRANITE SHOALS — Former Granite Shoals Mayor Frank Reilly left his home before sunrise to attend the funeral of a man he helped hire more than a decade ago.
John William Gayle, the first Granite Shoals city manager, died July 10 in Snyder. A funeral service was July 14.
Gayle, who was 74, was a U.S. Naval veteran and earned a Master of Business Administration at West Texas A&M University.
He served as the city manager of Tulia for four years, Snyder for 26 years, then Granite Shoals for four years. After he resigned from the position in Granite Shoals, he returned to Snyder.
Reilly was elected mayor in November 2005; Gayle was hired in January 2006.
“We tried on our own to find a city manager, but none of the people had the qualifications we were looking for,” Reilly said.
That’s when the council members turned to Texas First Group, which is made up of retired city managers and other city employees. The retired city managers work on a limited basis for a city hall, Reilly said.
That group recommended Gayle.
Reilly said Gayle’s experience in Synder and Tulia was unsurpassed.
“Those two cities had very good foundations for a city,” he said. “We were transitioning to a whole new city.”
Reilly noted that at the same election he was voted mayor, Granite Shoals residents also voted to change to a home-rule city from a general law city.
“The city’s government was based on statutory law by the state,” he said. “In a home-rule city, you have a charter and the people decide.”
Reilly couldn’t emphasize enough how important Gayle was to the future of Granite Shoals.
“We were truly blessed to have someone of John’s caliber,” he said. “We’ll personally be better because of his contributions to the city.”