FAIRFIELD — After 18 years of serving as the mayor of Fairfield, and eight years before that serving on the city council, Ed Malloy has decided to hang up his political hat.
The Glen Cove, N.Y., native moved to Fairfield in 1983 after being drawn in by Maharishi University to continue practice of transcendental meditation. In 1992 he ran for city council and served in that capacity until 2000.
“My simple desire to get into local government initially was to just serve and give back to the community. I also understood that through that process I would learn a lot about people and our community and how government works at the local level,” he said.
As a council man, some of his proudest work was helping pass the first optional local sales tax in the city’s history in order to build a new law center and jail. In 1997 he ran for mayor, unsuccessfully, and took the next four years off to reflect and build a stronger rapport. In 2001, he persevered and ran again, this time successfully.
“I wanted to take on more of a leadership role, more of a role and a position to shape the vision of the community going forward,” he said of his decision to run. “I always had a lot of respect for Mayor Rasmussen who came before me and the good steward of government that he was, so I wanted to build upon that.”
As mayor, Malloy learned a few things about the job he was not expecting to. Accessibility to the community was one. He said as mayor, he felt a responsibility to be ready and willing to listen to the people no matter if he was at work or at dinner, because they put him in this place of authority out of trust and respect and he wanted to return the sentiment.
“Any local government official has to be accessible, but when you hold that highest office it has a special priority, so that’s first and foremost,” he said.
He saw a shift in his own priorities as well once he became mayor, because he felt a stronger obligation to be involved in community activities and boards that came out of planning work done by the city. Showing support from the city’s standpoint was important to him to show the camaraderie between city and government officials.
Malloy also learned a few things he enjoyed most about being mayor, the least of which was working with the community and city staff to move forward in a positive direction.
“I have completely enjoyed working with our staff. They have been wonderful at responding to all of the things that we’ve done and that have been positive for the City of Fairfield and I am grateful to just have been a part of that,” he said. “By the same token, all the other elected officials, it really is a team effort and we’ve had a wonderful consensus based governing style where most people agree or come to agreement together on what is best for the city and that really takes people putting the best of themselves into that governing situation.”
The successful bridge of partnership between city and community is what Malloy finds most notable about his 18 years as mayor. Becoming an Iowa Blue Zone, being the first city in Iowa to achieve the Alliant Hometown Award, the street scape project and the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center building are all accomplishments he is proud of.
“All of those projects that have come together were partnerships between the city and private citizens and that public and private partnership is something I am very proud of, too,” he said.
After 18 years of accomplishments, Malloy has decided it is time to step aside and let someone else have a turn to be proud of work they want to accomplish with the city.
“Eighteen years is 10 percent of Fairfield’s 180 years, so I feel like having had that role and that position for 10 percent of Fairfield’s history is something pretty good,” he said.
As his time comes to a close and he looks to finish out his last few months, his advice to the next person who decides to run for Mayor of Fairfield is simple: try your best.
“Start by building a vision with others about what you want to accomplish and where you want to go. Be open and transparent and joyful about the office that you hold,” he said.