by nathan oster
The question of “Who will become Greybull’s next mayor?” was finally decided Monday night when the Greybull Town Council tapped incumbent Councilor Bob Graham to serve the remaining two years of Frank Houk’s term.
“I have enjoyed immensely my time (on the council), but I am ready to go,” said Houk, who in the course of his final meeting at the helm drew thanks and well wishes from staff members, including Town Foreman Dalen Davis and Police Chief Bill Brenner, as well as some members of the audience.
When he opened the floor to nominations for mayor, Kay Fleek and Jan Johnson, who are also leaving the council at month’s end, nominated and seconded the nomination, respectively, of Graham to the office of mayor.
The hands of Fleek, Houk, Johnson and Bob Graham went up when the vote was taken, sealing Graham’s appointment. He’ll be sworn in, alongside new council members Myles Foley and Clay Collingwood, during a special meeting Jan. 2 at Town Hall.
Graham’s appointment will eventually create a vacancy on the council, but no action on that is expected until after the new council is seated in January.
Graham said he sent an email to Mayor Houk and the other members of the council after the November meeting, expressing his interest in completing the final two years of Houk’s present term.
He said he knows that he has some big shoes to fill.
“I didn’t realize when I ran for the council how much work our mayor does,” Graham said. “I saw how much time he spent in this office, doing his job. I just hope I can do one-tenth of what that man has done for this community.”
Graham joined the council in 2006, winning one of the two four-year terms that were up for grabs that year. He did not initially file for re-election in 2010, but accepted a write-in nomination after the primary and then received the most votes in a four-person general election race to win a second four-year term.
Graham has lived in Greybull since 1987, but is actually a Newcastle native. He graduated from Newcastle High School in 1965 and then spent three years in the U.S. Army, including one (1968-69) in Vietnam.
When he returned to the States, he settled into the oil industry, where he would spend the next 17 years working in North Dakota and Wyoming. When the bottom fell out of the oil industry in the late 1980s, he returned to Wyoming and to his roots in Newcastle.
From there, the trail led to Greybull. He arrived here in 1987, and after working for an oil company, then stints remodeling houses with Dave Williamson and doing concrete work with Bill Hunt’s crew, he went to work for the town in 1991 as a crew member. During his 15-year tenure with the town, he worked his way up to the role of assistant public works director.
In 2005, he went to work for TCT as a member of its construction crew, but has since retired.
Bob and his wife Jan have two grown children, Jody and Kim.