Christopher Grau was selected by voters in Tuesday’s general election as the city of Chardon’s newly elected mayor edging out fellow Council member Nancy McArthur.
According to unofficial tallies from the Geauga County Board of Elections, Mr. Grau, 56, garnered 729 votes and Mrs. McArthur, 64, received 575 votes.
“I look forward to assuming the role as mayor in the city of Chardon and greatly appreciate the assistance I’ve received over the past few months from so many Chardon community residents and leaders,” Mr. Grau said on Tuesday. “Working with our team of council members and city staff for many years has been rewarding and we will continue to do everything within our capabilities to maintain Chardon’s small-town atmosphere and a welcoming location for residents and businesses.”
Mr. Grau has served as the city council vice-mayor since 2020, chairman of the Safety Committee, a member of the Finance Committee and has been on the city Planning Commission since 2015.
Since the late 1970s, Chardon had a city manager form of government where council named its president who acted as a ceremonial mayor.
Mrs. McArthur has served on Chardon City Council for 12 years, two years as an appointed mayor and six years as vice-mayor having been elected by fellow council members.
Though she lost her bid for mayor, Mrs. McArthur said that she wishes Mr. Grau much success.
“I’m just glad that people had an opportunity to go through this process and actually get to vote for the mayor,” she said. “They haven’t had the opportunity to do that since 1978 so it was an interesting process.
“We worked really, really hard,” Mrs. McArthur said adding that Mr. Grau “is a local boy here and he’s very well-known and people want him to be the mayor and I wish him all the best.”
In 2018, voters approved a charter amendment calling for residents to directly elect the mayor. In 2019, city council passed an ordinance to provide for an elected mayor in 2021 who would also serve as a seventh member of council.
As the vice-mayor and the chairman of the Safety Committee, supporting first responders serving in the police and fire departments remains one of the top priorities for Mr. Grau as the city continues to successfully grow through economic and residential development, maintaining staffing is critical for those departments.
Mr. Grau previously said the opportunity to serve as mayor would be a continuation of his desire to ensure the city remains a unique, safe and historical location for residents. He said he would respect the opinions of all and continue making decisions that best serves the community.
Because Mr. Grau was currently serving as vice-mayor, City Council will need to select someone to serve the remainder of the two-year term.
The term for mayor is four years with an annual salary of $7,000. City Council still elects the vice-mayor who earns $6,500 annually.