By ALLEN RAU
While the contentious Washington County elections are over, newly elected county Mayor Joe Grandy will not have much time to take a breather.
“Now the heavy lifting begins,” Grandy said recently.
After winning the election over James Reeves by a mere 643 votes, Grandy admitted that it was “a relief to have the campaign over. Been going on for a long time.”
“Pretty tough races, the primary and the general and both of them were close,” Grandy said. “And we worked so hard all the way to the very end on both of them.”
The newly minted mayor said his first move would be to “get everybody together and just talk through any issue they have and try to get an understanding of their priorities as we begin to come together as a team.”
When asked about dealing with a fewer number of commissioners, Grandy said, “I don’t think it makes any difference. It’s less individuals to meet with and try to understand what their needs are, but at the same time in order to accomplish anything, you still have to get a majority of the group.”
Grandy said trying to solve the school conundrum would be one of his highest priorities, along with continuing infrastructure work and maintaining solid finances.
“We’ve worked on various components of infrastructure in the county and we’ll need to continue that. We’ll need to continue the quality level of stewardship and check our finances and obviously, we have one school under construction and one school project yet to be started. So, the school situation is going to be a high priority for me.”
As a former commissioner, the new mayor is aware his new responsibilities differ substantially.
“(Being mayor) will be 100 percent different. The executive piece of the government is obviously different from the legislative piece. As mayor, you’re pretty much alone and solo and have a different set of priorities to focus on.”
Grandy concluded with the recognition that progress would require cooperation.
“At the end of the day, elected officials and elected bodies need to come together in order to achieve the goals that we’ve set forth for the county.”