Marana Councilman Jon Post led all vote-getters in last week's town council election, gaining his first four-year term after serving 17 months as an appointee.

"I was very, very pleasantly surprised and very humbled by the results," Post said Monday.

Councilwoman Carol McGorray, on the council for eight years, was chosen by the people to her third four-year term. She edged Kelle Maslyn by 156 votes. Larry Steckler was fourth.

During the primary election in March, voters re-elected Herb Kai and Patti Comerford to the seven-member governing board.

McGorray said her election was "awesome, great" and "just what I wanted.

"We have come so far with Marana, and we have, I feel, really surpassed neighboring communities with our vision, our determination and being able to get the job done," McGorray said. "I want to take this forward from here, I really do. We've built a solid foundation, and I want to go forward from here."

McGorray "really worked hard," she said. "I put in long days before the general election. I didn't really ramp up my campaign in the primary."

Other candidates increased their commitments of time and money, she observed. "That really has not occurred in Marana before, so I didn't have a lot of money. That meant I did all the footwork."

Post was appointed to the council in January 2008. He has two overriding priorities.

"Number 1, I want make sure we get through the financial crisis strongly, so that Marana is positioned to absolutely take off when that's over," Post said.

The town is "very, very close to having a balanced budget" for the fiscal year that begins July 1, he said. "The only way we've been able to do that was with the help of the employees. They contributed a great deal back to the town."

"I want to see us get through this economic crisis," McGorray said. "We've been tightening the belt, and hopefully not having to lay anybody off. To me that's critical."

Town employees "deserve a tremendous amount of credit for what they've done," voluntarily accepting furloughs, giving money back to the general fund and accepting shorter hours, she said.

"It's remarkable how they've come together, kind of as a family," asking itself "how can we keep something for everybody with this pot of money?" McGorray said.

She's pleased the town is close to balancing its fiscal 2009-'10 budget "without disturbing the reserve fund. The reserve fund has been built over the years, at a steady pace," McGorray said. "It's the highest we've ever had it, and that's good money management."

State funding remains an uncertainty, Post pointed out. "What we do know" is Marana is "close to a balanced budget without a lot more heartache," he said.

Marana must also move ahead with its economic development plan, striving to "protect the businesses that are already here, and we really have to get exploratory as far as bringing new businesses here," McGorray said.

Post's second priority? "For me, it's to try to keep it the same type of town that I grew up in, the same feeling, the same neighborly atmosphere, where you can feel like you can go anywhere and run into somebody you know," Post said.

Post has learned a few things since taking office.

"Politics isn't necessarily very fun," he quipped.

"I've also learned you take common sense, a little bit of caring, and it's pretty easy to be able to make good decisions you can live with."

"No matter what comes before me, I start by analyzing," McGorray said. "I look at it, and come to my own decisions about it. That's very important. Make your own decision. A key ingredient for any council member is they have to have the good of Marana in their hearts. When you analyze everything with that in mind … you'd probably all come to the same decisions."

Election results

Marana Town Council election, May 19:

Jon Post – 1,672 votes (32.1 percent)

Carol McGorray – 1,392 (26.71 percent)

Kelle Maslyn – 1,236 (23.72 percent)

Larry Steckler – 900 (17.27 percent)

Write-ins – 11.

Turnout – 2,921 of 17, 715 registered voters (16.5 percent)

Early ballots – 2,397. Election Day ballots – 524.

Marana voters have retained the town's home rule status, according to results from the May 19 general election.

Voters approved of home rule by a margin of 1,550-927, or 62.60-37.4 percent.

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