Tuesday, April 23, 2024

'Workaholic' Jarratt takes reins as Granbury's mayor


With loved ones by his side, Jim Jarratt was sworn in as Granbury’s new mayor at the end of last week’s regular City Council meeting, receiving enthusiastic applause and cheers from supporters who filled seats in the council chamber.

“It has been a journey,” Jarratt said, addressing the audience after being administered the oath of office by Municipal Judge Alan Hines. “It started out six or eight weeks ago, and it culminates here tonight.”

Not many people in Granbury knew who Jarratt was before he filed to run for mayor in a special election necessitated by the resignation of longtime mayor Nin Hulett.

 Although Jarratt was serving on the city’s Capital Improvement Advisory Committee and had served on the city’s Municipal Utility Advisory Board and the county’s Library Advisory Board, the self-professed “private person” went from a virtual unknown to mayor of a growing tourism destination in just a few weeks’ time.

Jarratt is never spotted on a golf course or a tennis court and, although he enjoys meeting people, he isn’t much for hanging out at bars. Most evenings, he’s in by 8 p.m., listening to classical music while catching up on the latest news on his iPad.

“I’m pretty boring,” he confessed, adding that he has been called a workaholic all his life.

Jarratt bested three other candidates in the June 29th special election, netting a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff. A runoff between Steven Vale and Cathy Reidy for the Place 5 seat has been set for Tuesday, July 27. Early voting is underway at Annex 1, 1410 W. Pearl St.

A native of Comanche, Jarratt received a bachelor’s degree in English from Austin College in Sherman in 1967 and a master’s in management from Northwestern University in Illinois in 1989. He served in the United States Marine Corp from 1963 to 1964.

Jarratt said that his career included “first line” board room positions at Johnson & Johnson, Frito-Lay, Citibank and Equifax. He retired from UnitedHealth Group as vice president of operations in 2009.

After retiring and moving to Granbury, Jarratt began serving the community through city and county board appointments. He said he has served on several for-profit boards representing businesses in the telecom and healthcare fields and is currently on the board of trustees for Austin College.

At his swearing in, Jarratt was joined by his sister, Judy Jarratt, professor of education and counseling at Wayland Baptist College in Lubbock, his son, Jameson Jarratt, daughter Jennifer Luker of Fort Worth, and “very special friend” Mary Helen Neal of Fredericksburg.

“She won’t let me call her my girlfriend,” Jarratt said dryly.

In his remarks to the council and audience, Jarratt said he had received “outstanding support” from Hulett, City Manager Chris Coffman, city staffers and members of the council.

Although Jarratt believes that the city “has a lot of transparency” and provides “an unbelievable amount of information,” he indicated that he wants to find ways to share more information with the public. One of his campaign promises was greater transparency.

Jarratt said he realizes that most of Granbury’s residents did not vote for him. Of the city’s 7,594 registered voters, 1,480 turned out for the special election.

“Those are the people that I need to impress and bring into the city government,” he stated.