Grose says administration’s focus will be on providing good services, communication

Mayor-elect Jeff Grose (R) speaks after being sworn in Friday with his family seated in the front row at council chambers. He officially takes office on Monday. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW – Sworn in Friday as the new mayor of Warsaw, Jeff Grose focused a short speech on the importance of communication and the role of limited government.

Dressed in a suit and tie, the 56-year-old Grose was sworn in by Kosciusko Circuit Court judge Michael Reed in front of a large crowd in the city council chambers Friday afternoon.

The former hoops star who led Warsaw Community High School to a state championship and was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball 39 years ago, takes over a fast-growing city with the support of an all-Republican elected group of leaders.

Grose, along with all other elected city officials, including new city councilman Juergen Voss, were sworn in before outgoing mayor Joe Thallamer introduced the new mayor who then addressed assembled guests.

Grose began by saying he’s had a “truly blessed life” and thanked “the good Lord,” his wife, his father, his children and his late mother who he referenced several times about her oft-heard reminders to keep it short.

Most of all, Grose said it was an honor and a privilege to continue to serve the community.

He also tipped his hat to Steve Hollar, a lifelong friend and former teammate who was part of the state championship, and attended Friday’s ceremony.

Hollar served as chairman of Grose’s mayoral campaign.”His belief (and) trust in me, on a variety of fronts, it’s priceless,” Grose said.

The ongoing sense of commaradirie between Grose and Thallamer and elected officials was  apparent after the swearing-in ceremony. During a photo session afterward, Thallemer was asked to join them for a group shot.

On more than one occasion, Grose has referred to Thallemer as “a friend in the arena.”

“Joe and I, for 24 years, have served this community, and he’s been a great mentor and a great friend. We’ve been blessed to have him,” Grose said.

In a 12-minute speech, Grose said his administration would focus on providing solid basic services while remembering the importance of communication.

He first talked about his call to service — literally — in a phone call from former mayor Jeff Plank about 25 years ago.

“I think it’s time to be a member of the Warsaw Plan Commission,” Grose recalled Plank saying. “Our first meeting’s next Monday night at 7 p.m. I’ll see you there.”

“Mayor Plank didn’t ask me, he told me, ‘Jeff, time to practice what you preach in that classroom each and every day.’ He used to visit my classroom and lecture my students: Get involved, give back, go your community. Be a good neighbor and participate in a positive and productive manner in local affairs,” Grose recalled.

In Friday’s speech, Grose said he wants “to stay true” to the country’s founding principle of limited government.

“Adhering to this principle means that If and when government does come into play, it better be good government, good government,” Grose said.

He addressed the importance of basic public services, whether it involves helping somebody at the cemetery or with a building permit or trash service.

He also mentioned the role of providing ongoing Infrastructure improvements via the public works department and the need for “exceptional public safety” services from police.

“Our local government must continue to oversee these desired services for our taxpayers in an efficient and cost effective manner,” he said.

“This will be our primary focus each and every day that we come into this building and serve the community,” he added.

He talked about the importance of “constant communication, positive participation and transparency” and said turning to Facebook to get a point across isn’t always productive or efficient.

“In this very polarized society that we live in, please don’t hesitate to contact me,” Grose said. “Please don’t hesitate to contact the council. These are good people.”

“It’s a two-way street,” he said. “We must expect this for government to work for our entire community.”

An unofficial motto for the next four years, he said, could easily be, ‘Neighbors serving neighbors while cultivating community.”

“Remember we’re your neighbors as we try to serve you and we want to address your problems and we want you to come to us and we’re going to do the best we can — and it all starts with my office,” he said.

Grose and Voss officially take office on Monday.