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Former Hillsboro administrator remembered

Staff writer

Hillsboro council members who worked with longtime city administrator Larry Paine, whose funeral service was today, lauded Paine’s accomplishments during his 12 years at the helm of the city.

Paine fought cancer from January 2018 until after he announced his resignation effective June 2020. He was Hillsboro city administrator the final years of a 47-year career in city administration.

Mayor Lou Thurston took office two weeks before Paine was found to have cancer after collapsing on the steps of the statehouse.

“My first executive order as mayor was to tell him to stay on the ground and he was going to the hospital,” Thurston said.

Paine brought professional administration to Hillsboro, Thurston said.

He worked in Jerome, Idaho; Cave Creek, Arizona; Baldwin City; and Concordia before Hillsboro.

Byron McCarty, a councilman for more than 20 years, said the city accomplished many things during Paine’s time.

“We got a lot of construction done,” McCarty said.

The city’s pool was built, and much work was done on city streets and sewer lines.

Paine also oversaw much change with Hillsboro’s hospital.

A hospital that operated in a building now used as a nursing home was closed when a group came forward to build and operate a new hospital at a different location.

That group went bankrupt soon after construction.

Another group approached the city, promising to operate a hospital. That group, which operated hospitals across the nation, also went bankrupt.

Paine and the council oversaw the city’s position in bankruptcy proceedings.

“We were at the point of cutting off utilities for the hospital before they declared bankruptcy,” Thurston said. “Larry navigated us through that. He was a steady hand.”

A third group, with some officers in common with the one that originally built the hospital, now operates Hillsboro Community Hospital.

“They have been successful,” McCarty said.

He also commended Paine’s ability to work with people across the state and with former mayor Delores Dalke, whom Thurston succeeded.

“I think he was a good administrator,” McCarty said. “He did a lot for the city. He had a good handle on the budget and did a lot of stuff with that. We got a lot of things accomplished.

“Tabor has done a lot. Old buildings have come down and new buildings gone up. Larry was involved in all of that.”

When Paine announced his retirement in January 2020, he had things he wanted to finish in his remaining six months.

“When I started getting better from my cancer, there were projects I wanted to get done, so I brought my ‘whipping stick,’ ” Paine said. “That was when I had to kick ass and take names.”

He and his wife, Susan, remained in Hillsboro after retirement.

“He was a good friend, and I will miss him terribly,” Thurston said. “Hillsboro is a much better community for having had Larry Paine in it.”

Last modified June 7, 2023

 

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