HINESVILLE, GA--The title mayor means different things in different places. In Hinesville, Tom Ratcliffe has been the CEO and ambassador of sorts representing the city to the state, to the military and to the world.
After eight years as Hinesville's mayor Ratcliffe's last challenge was to clean out his office. Each picture and plaque pointed toward achievement.
"In that period of time, there have been extraordinary memories and extraordinary opportunities," he noted over a pile of photos.
Under his watch, Hinesville became Georgia's 15th-largest city. He's worked as president of the Georgia Municipal Association in 2005. The city also partnered with a sister city in Korea.
He said the success of his tenure goes hand in hand with the growth of Fort Stewart. He said one of his proudest moments was the opening of the Midcoast Regional Airport.
The mayor says he's gotten too much credit for things city staffers did behind the scenes.
"My surprises were the level of activity and how busy this community is and what wonderful people we have working for the city," he noted.
He praises mayor-elect Jim Thomas and hopes success for him and his council.
"I like to think we've built a foundation and the first row of block," he added. "It will be up to those behind us to build on that foundation."
His accomplishments over the last eight years could guide the city for years to come.
Mayor-elect Thomas and the new city council will take their oaths of office Saturday at noon in the Shuman Recreation Center.