Saint-lazare’s new mayor up for the challenge
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.
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.