By Russell Varner
October 29, 2008
Even after what seems like a lifetime for many at Elon, Mayor Jerry Tolley continues to leave his mark there. And he couldn’t be happier to still be here.
The man who is best known to many students as the mayor of the Town of Elon now has been involved with Elon University since 1967, when he was an assistant football coach under Red Wilson. What people may not know is that it was Tolley who led Elon’s football team to back-to-back NAIA national championships in 1980 and 1981 and was elected to Elon’s Sports Hall of Fame.
But Tolley, who is in his third year of the four year term, is also proud of what he has done as mayor in making the Town of Elon a better place for everyone to live. “The best part about being mayor is some of the things that you accomplish during your time in office,” said Tolley. “I’m particularly proud of keeping the taxes low and having what most people consider a wonderful town to live in.”
It hasn’t been all fun and games for Tolley though. He has also had to face many of the same problems many other mayors face. “It’s difficult to balance what the citizens want sometimes,” he said. “There are always two sides to every issue and often different citizens want it different ways. So it’s hard to give everyone what they want and you just have to figure out what is best for everyone.”
Some may be surprised to know that being mayor is only a part-time job. Tolley’s full-time job nowadays is working in Elon’s University Advancement department as the director of the Elon society. “Most politicians in North Carolina are not full-time and most have other full-time jobs,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a challenge to balance both of my jobs. But the university does allow me to take off time for my mayor duty, though my full time job is Elon and I’m also mayor.”