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O誰eal steps into Gering Ward II council seat
March 26, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Former Gering School Board member Pam O誰eal is the appointed new member of the Gering City Council of Ward II. The action came on a 5-2 vote by current council members.

Rebecca Shields had been re-elected to the Ward II position last November yet the seat was vacated when she moved from the district.
O誰eal was among four candidates who presented credentials to the city council. 的 have a strong desire to be involved in things I care about, O誰eal explained during the interview process. 的 like to make a difference and this is a good opportunity for me to serve the community.

O誰eal has worked at Regional West Medical Center for the past 25 years and has taught at Western Nebraska Community College. She痴 also involved in the Matthew Project, an interdenominational faith ministry that provides meals to the needy in the community. 的t痴 a real eye opener to see the difficulties some people in the community have, she said.

She said her nine years on the school board gave her the opportunity to learn and grow in serving a wide variety of people and opinions.
O誰eal also serves on the board of the Riverside Discovery Center.
O誰eal said one of the critical issues facing the community is infrastructure and the need to have a plan to replace aging pipes and roads.

She also mentioned economic development. 鄭long with our plan for economic development, it痴 equally important to have a workforce that can supply the jobs needed by those businesses.
She said to supply that workforce; an education component needs to be in place to train people in the skills needed to fill the jobs.

O誰eal stressed that tourism goes hand in hand with economic development. She said it needs to be prioritized and worked into the overall plan.

O誰eal told the council she loves the 吐eel of Gering. Although she痴 a Scottsbluff native, she wanted to move to Gering when she got married. 展e wanted our son to go to school here and I love our neighborhood, she said. 展e get a lot of compliments from visitors on how the community looks and what it has to offer.

O誰eal said it痴 important for Gering to continue working with their counterparts in Scottsbluff, reducing costs in shared services and developing strong mutual working relationships.

的 think this would be a wonderful learning opportunity for me, O誰eal said during the interview process. 的 hope I can make a difference and provide a perspective.

At Monday痴 council meeting, Mayor Tony Kaufman recommended O誰eal for the Ward II council seat. Voting in favor were council members Dan Smith, Phillip Holliday, Troy Cowan and Larry Gibbs. Voting against were members Julie Morrison and Don Christensen. Kaufman cast the vote in favor to make the appointment final.
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