Oliver, Grissom make their case for mayorPublished 6:01am Saturday, August 18, 2012
Russellville Mayor Troy Oliver and District 5 City Councilman David Grissom have been pounding the pavement and knocking on doors throughout the summer.
Now, the two are gearing up for the final homestretch leading to the Aug. 28 municipal elections. The two have worked together on the Russellville city council for four years, but on Aug. 28, Russellville voters will decide if they want to keep Oliver, a retired general and businessman, in the mayor’s post for four more years or turn it over to Grissom, a local businessman who is completing his first term in office as well.
Oliver said his main objective when he decided to run for mayor four years ago was to address the needs he saw in the community and to make a difference – something he feels he has been able to accomplish.
“Since being your mayor, the unemployment rate has gone from 12 percent to 7 percent, the school system has been funded more than it has ever been funded before, and the city has received millions of dollars in government grants,” Oliver said.
“Various projects have also been funded and completed including the new city hall, Fire Station 1, the reparation of the dam at Sloss Lake, the renovation of the Canteen, the “Streetscape” improvement of downtown, and the turn lanes that were added to many city streets with pavement repairs throughout the city.”
Oliver said he has also made it a priority to ensure the city remained fiscally fit during his time in office.
“I have made internal changes to bring financial stability to the city by presenting the council with a complete budget before the beginning of each year,” Oliver said. “During the past four years, we have reduced the debt by over $3 million for the city and school system, and we currently have over $3 million in cash for the city. The city is in better financial condition than it has ever been.”
Even though Oliver feels he has been able to accomplish many things during this past term, he said he wants to continue to serve the city as mayor so he can make even more improvements.
“I still have unfinished business and more ideas for improvement of our city, which include controlling litter and neighborhood cleanups, creating new and revitalized housing, working on downtown projects, focusing on economic developments, making business-friendly safety improvements and making educational improvements.
“I realize jobs are the most important issue, so I will continue expanding work on career tech, workforce training in job skills and trades, and recruiting new industry and jobs to our community.
“I also want to focus on our youth and their workforce development through our career tech and summer student work program that encourages our youth to prepare themselves for the workforce and gives them hope for a brighter future.”
Being the mayor of a city can be a very taxing job, so when he decided to run for the position in 2008, Oliver said he made sure he was taking on the job for the right reasons.
“Being mayor isn’t about obtaining a title or gaining recognition in the community, and it isn’t about money either,” Oliver said. “It sounds like a great idea to be mayor, but actually putting thoughts into action is something that takes planning, hard work and proven leadership.
“For me, being mayor is about seeing a city that I’ve called home for 45 years fall short and making sacrifices to help this city reach its fullest potential. I am mayor because I care about this city and all of its people.
“I believe I have the leadership, business and management experience required to be an effective mayor. I have worked hard all my life to achieve my personal goals.”
Oliver said he worked his way through college before receiving his degree from the University of North Alabama in accounting, economics and military science. He is a Vietnam veteran and commanded 44 men when he was 22 years old. His military career spanned 34 years before he retired as an Army Major General in the Army National Guard. He also worked as a CPA where he audited banks and served as an accountant for a manufactured housing company, which he eventually became the President and CEO of before starting his own business, Crimson Industries, that he sold in 2000. He currently owns a 150-head cattle farm that he has operated for 23 years and has served as the mayor of Russellville full-time since 2008.
He has been married to Brenda Thornton Oliver for 46 years and they are members of First Baptist Church in Russellville. They have three children, Sharon, Jonathan and Laura Beth, who were all raised in Russellville.
“I feel like I am the candidate who is strong in my faith and family values, and I have proven myself as a leader on the battlefield, in industry and in city hall,” Oliver said. “With another term, I will expand on my ideas and policies that have helped us prosper over the past four years.”
Grissom is currently a city councilman representing Russellville’s District 5.
After being involved in the city’s government since 2008, Grissom realized he wanted to take on a larger role so he could better serve the town that has served several generations of Grissoms over the years.
“I think this is a crucial time in our city’s history and a change is needed in the way we do things,” he said.
If elected mayor, Grissom said he has some specific ideas that he wants to put in place to ensure the city of Russellville is a place where people want to live, work and enjoy their time.
“Good paying jobs will be my top priority,” Grissom said. “I will work with existing businesses to keep and continue to create jobs. I will work every day with our Industrial Development boards in recruiting new jobs to our city for our people.
“I will work hard to make this a reality because I want my daughter, Kate, who is a second-grader at West Elementary, to be able to find a great job opportunity in Russellville when she finishes school.”
Grissom also said education was important to him and would continue to be important to him if elected as mayor.
“We must continue to provide for our school children because they are our future,” Grissom said. “I am a graduate of Russellville High School so I know firsthand that we have a great school system, and I will always be committed to Russellville City Schools.
“I plan on working with Superintendent Rex Mayfield in any way possible to keep our system strong for our kids.”
Grissom said his attitude towards leadership is one of teamwork and working together toward a common goal. He said he believes working together is the best way to effectively run a city government, and that what he hopes to do if elected.
“I believe teamwork is more important for our city now than ever before,” Grissom said. “First and foremost, the mayor and council members must work together as a team for the people and our city, and this spirit of teamwork must be incorporated into every department and by every employee of the city. From the mayor to the department heads to the part time employees, we must all keep in mind that we work for the people of Russellville.”
Grissom is a lifelong Russellville resident. He graduated from Russellville High School in 1990 and attended Northwest Shoals Community College’s Phil Campbell campus from 1990-1991 before transferring to the University of North Alabama where he received a B.S. degree in marketing and graduated magna cum laude in 1994.
He is married to Melissa Fuller Grissom who is an art teacher at Russellville High School. They have one daughter, Kate Reed Grissom, who is 6 years old and in the second grade at Russellville West Elementary.
Grissom is president of Alabama Gun & Pawn, Inc. in Russellville; Alabama Title & Pawn of Haleyville, Inc.; Alabama Title Pawn, Inc. in Moulton; Alabama Title Pawn of Red Bay, Inc.; Alabama Super Pawn, Inc. in Sheffield; and Cash Spot in Russellville. He was also vice-president of Diamond House, Inc., in Russellville from 1990-2000 and was the manager of Grissom Car Wash in Russellville from 1988-1990.
He is a member of the Community Spirit Bank Board of Directors, Community Spirit Bank Advisory Board, and the Audit Committee of Community Spirit Bank; He is also a member of the Board of Directors, Title Pawn Council of Alabama, Birmingham; the Board of Directors of Council for Fair Lending, Birmingham; a lifetime member of Russellville Lodge # 371, a member of Scottish Rite 32nd Degree Valley of Birmingham, a member of Cahaba Shrine, Huntsville, and a member of the Franklin County Shrine Club, Russellville. Grissom and his family are also members of South Side Baptist Church.
“I will be honest, ethical, and trustworthy in all of my actions is elected as mayor,” Grissom said. “I will be responsible to the citizens of Russellville, I will follow through with commitments and take responsibility for my actions. I will consider every decision with much thought and prayer and will do what is best for the citizens of Russellville.”