When Steve Maher made the decision not to seek re-election in Waxhaw, he knew that he had given everything he had to the job and it was time to move on. And move on he did, selling his house in Waxhaw and moving to Mint Hill to be closer to family. “I have served the Town of Waxhaw since 2011 as a member of the Planning Board, Park & Recreation Advisory Board, and the Board of Commissioners. I was appointed to serve as Commissioner on the Waxhaw Town Board in July 2014 and was later elected by the citizens of Waxhaw to serve as Mayor beginning in December 2015. I served one term as Mayor.”
While I spoke to Mayer Maher by phone as well as email, I will let his words be his own below.
Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to be? A: “No elected official accomplishes anything by themselves. Municipal government should be about community, not agendas or legacies. So I will answer this way: I am very proud of the Staff of the Town of Waxhaw. Together, we accomplished a lot, but it was their hard work that transformed and modernized nearly every aspect of the Town over the last 5 years. They did this work while also maintaining the same level of service our residents have come to expect even amidst the 60% population growth. They put growth standards in place where none existed. And I am proud to say that even with that growth, Waxhaw is one of the Top 5 safest Towns in North Carolina.”
“Where does a Mayor fit in? Three places. 1) A budget is your most important policy and vision document. Demand that the budget reflects the values of the Town. 2) Hold the team accountable to the community. And communicate often! We did that via a number of new communication channels and annual State of the Town. 3) Lead and champion: In today’s world, I believe advancing shared values creates value. I have tried to lead that way and I was humbled by the following compliment from Town staff: …”you have made Waxhaw a place with a vision, and for all our challenges even all of our flaws we are recognized that we are striving to move forward in an intentional manner. You gave us hope that we are truly capable of becoming the Town our vision statement describes…and your level of engagement will reap the rewards for years to come.””
Q: Do you have any regrets about your term? A: “I believe in community and the essence of community is respect and relationships no matter big or small. There has never been an issue in front of me that was important enough to pit neighbors against one another. There has never been an idea not worth a civil debate, and no challenge that cannot be met with mutual understanding and consideration.”
“What makes the role and leadership lonely at times is the lack of this respect and the unwillingness to talk. It creates a climate of anger, mistrust, prejudice, intolerance, and hatred. The issues we face are too complex not to have partnerships and collaboration. The mindset of deal making has created a competition that breeds disrespect. The sky is just not falling no matter what the rhetoric.”
“My biggest regret is that I could not do more to influence the behavior change here. I will continue to hope and pray for each of us to develop the ability to rise above this and engage in the respectful approaches to hopefully solve today’s challenges.”
What do you plan on doing with your time now? “As I shared when I decided not to run for re-election, my wife and I have decided to downsize to a home we can manage. I plan to rest a bit, and most importantly enjoy my family, my grandkids and spend more time with my Dad who turns 97 in 2 months.”
Q: Any plans to participate in the government of Waxhaw in any other capacity? A: “Downsizing has us moving out of Waxhaw. But who knows where I will pop up in the future! I will not be a stranger.”
Q: What else would you like to say? A: “There is a little book written by my good friend Loyd Pennington, entitled “Change one Word, Change your life”. It takes a couple of minutes to read, I do it regularly. I encourage everyone to get it and read it. I’ve come to realize that the simple changing of one word has changed my life. And it has helped me to realize what a privilege it has been to “get to” serve the Town of Waxhaw and its citizens. Thank you!”
From all of Waxhaw, Thank you Mayor Maher!