Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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Council member out, but not going away

Past and present members of the Williams City Council bid farewell to Councilman John Troughton Jr. at the city’s last meeting of 2020. 

Troughton lost his bid for re-election in the Nov. 3 presidential election. 

Newcomer Don Parsons and Councilman Roberto Mendoza were sworn in the same evening. 

While Parsons was the top vote getter, Mendoza won his second term in office by just three votes (636-633) over Troughton, with 839 voters failing to cast the maximum number allowed for the contest. 

Troughton has been one of the most active members of the Williams City Council, officials said, since first being elected in 2008. Troughton has served as both mayor and mayor pro tem, and sat as a member of many boards and committees. 

Former Williams Mayor Pat Ash, co-founder of Citizens of a Better Williams, attended Troughton’s last meeting on Dec. 16 to thank Troughton for his hands-on dedication to the city, and his many hours of service to Williams and Colusa County. 

“He has spent years with our children and our youth and decades with the Sheriff’s Department,” Ash said. “He and I pounded a few nails on the Old Gym roof, and there was just nothing that he was not willing to do. He is going to be sorely missed. To the rest of the council, I say you are going to have to step up your game because you have some big shoes to fill.” 

In his first run at the office in 2008, Troughton received the highest number of votes. He was reelected in 2012, again receiving the highest number of votes in a four-person race. He was elected to his third term on the City Council in 2016. 

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of this 12 years,” said Troughton, who added that he still plans to be a permanent fixture as a government watchdog and as a mentor.  

Troughton, who was Colusa County Sheriff in the 1970s, ran for the Williams City Council after the grand jury looked hard into the city’s finance department and didn’t like what they saw. Williams, at the time, had an unqualified financial director, and little or no oversight was provided by the City Council. 

After being elected, Troughton was tenacious at learning the ins and outs of the city by learning what the city can and cannot do with taxpayer money. He served as the primary liaison to the Williams Finance Committee and the Williams Personnel Committee, and oversaw the rebuilding of the city’s overdrawn or near overdrawn accounts.  

“We straighten that out and we have been on the uphill ever since,” Troughton said, at his last official meeting. “I want us to stay on the uphill.”

In his last term, Troughton and Mendoza frequently sparred over the issue of the city borrowing money to repair the roads, which Troughton believes is a bad idea.
“You would pay back $3 for every $2 you borrow,” Troughton said. “It would depend on the terms, but at 3 percent, to borrow $6 million, it would cost you about $10,159,000.” 

Councilman Sajit Singh said Troughton was unstoppable when he delved into the roots of an issue, whenever a problem arose, and that he had learned so much from him.  

“The time and energy (he spends) to find a solution to the problem is inspiring to me,” Singh said. 

Although sorry to see Troughton leave the City Council, Singh said he would not say he would miss him being around, because he knew Troughton still had much to offer the city. 

“I have so much more to learn from you,” Singh told him.

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