Saint-la­zare’s new mayor up for the chal­lenge

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

Ro­bert Gri­mau­do is the first to ad­mit he does not know how to run a town. But he’s more than rea­dy to learn and is confi­dent he’s sur­roun­ded by some of the best in the business.

Gri­mau­do, who was elec­ted mayor of Saint-La­zare last month in a by-elec­tion that saw a small per­cen­tage of vo­ters go to the polls, says he loves the town he now heads so much that he knows he’ll do a good job run­ning it.

“I’m not wor­ried about lear­ning the job, I’m sur­roun­ded by so ma­ny ex­cellent, com­petent people that work at town hall that can teach me,” Gri­mau­do said du­ring an interview af­ter he was elec­ted.

Gri­mau­do al­so said he will not make any ma­jor de­ci­sions or changes un­til he has a firm grasp on the new job.

And the new mayor stresses that he’s “in it for the long haul,” saying he will run for mayor again in the next ge­ne­ral elec­tion.

Gri­mau­do was elec­ted to fi­nish out for­mer mayor Pierre Ka­ry’s 16-month term af­ter Ka­ry re­si­gned due to health and pro­fes­sio­nal reasons.

Ka­ry pu­bli­cly sup­por­ted Gri­mau­do du­ring the short cam­pai­gn.

New mayor

Gri­mau­do, who is mar­ried and has a 21 year-old son, and a 19-year-old daugh­ter, works as a consul­tant in the North Ame­ri­can elec­tri­cal dis­tri­bu­tion and trans­mis­sion in­dus­try. Prior to that job, he ran his own com­pa­ny for 26 years. But Gri­mau­do says he has al­rea­dy ligh­te­ned his pro­fes­sio­nal load in or­der to be free to head-up the town.

“I had th­ree mayor clients and I told two of them I won’t be able to of­fer my ser­vices any­more... I kept one,” he ex­plai­ned, ad­ding, he sees the job of being mayor as an ex­ten­sion of his vo­lun­tee­rism. Gri­mau­do has vo­lun­tee­red as a kee­per coach for the town’s soc­cer club since mo­ving to SainLa­zare more than 10 years ago. He will main­tain that job as well, saying he loves wor­king with the kids.

Jo­king that he now has 18,000 new bosses - the ap­proxi­mate num­ber of people li­ving in Saint-La­zare - Gri­mau­do feels his num­ber one job is to lis­ten to the com­mu­ni­ty.

“I’ve at­ten­ded most of the (town) coun­cil mee­tings over the past 10 years and I’ve seen ma­ny si­tua­tions where ci­ti­zens wan­ted to be heard but were not lis­te­ned to... I want to lis­ten,” he no­ted.

And though he’s in­he­ri­ted a fa­mous­ly di­vi­ded town coun­cil, Gri­mau­do says he does not have any pre­con­cei­ved no­tions, or ani­mo­si­ty to­ward anyone.

“In run­ning my own business for 26 years, you learn to work as a team. All six (town) coun­cil­lors have strengths. I want to find their strengths and work with them.”

He says his “skin is thick” and he can take the heat if things don’t go as plan­ned.

Gri­mau­do wants to spend as much time as pos­sible in his town hall of­fice and says he has some ideas on how to get SaintLa­zare re­si­dents more in­vol­ved with their town.

The ful­ly bi­lin­gual mayor says he speaks French “90 percent of the time.” Gri­mau­do was born in 1960 in La­val. He and his fa­mi­ly mo­ved to Saint-La­zare in 1998.

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