In the final day of qualifying, a three-candidate race emerged for mayor of Statesboro. The election will be held Nov. 7.
Until Friday, only incumbent Mayor Jan Moore had signed up and paid the $560 fee to run for that office. But John Grotheer, who has not served in elected office but recently retired from a 20-year career as a staff member in other city and county governments, qualified about 2 p.m. Friday. Then Jonathan McCollar, whose campaign for mayor in 2013 came down to a runoff with Moore, submitted his paperwork and fee before the 4:30 p.m. close of qualifying.
Grotheer’s entry prevents the 2017 race from being a simple rematch.
“I have decided to run for mayor because I believe the citizens are looking for a change in leadership and direction,” Grotheer said. “I believe the citizens deserve an open and transparent government, one that is interested in listening, being responsive, and genuinely committed to serving all the citizens of the city of Statesboro.”
He worked 13 years with the city of Covington as finance director and city clerk. For the most recent eight years, before retiring in July, Grotheer was finance director for the Bryan County government, based in Pembroke, and served one month as interim county administrator. He and his wife, Diane Drew-Grotheer, Ph.D., have been Statesboro residents since February 2014.
Grotheer attained a Master of Business Administration from Troy University, a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Savannah State University, and an associate degree from Armstrong State.
As a retiree, now 62, he would be available to the public full-time, he said.
“I’ve always enjoyed working in public service,” Grotheer said. “I was over the customer service and enjoyed helping citizens resolve their problems and issues.”
In Covington, he managed a $120 million city budget, he said. Statesboro’s budget is about half that size.
Asked earlier this summer about rumors that he might run for major again, McCollar had said he had no plans to do so at that time.
“What changed my mind was that I got overwhelming questions as to whether I would run again, and then the support to run again became overwhelming,” he said Friday.
So he thought about it and sat down with his family and talked about whether he should be a candidate, he said.
“And the conclusion we came to was that the issues that the city of Statesboro is facing make it a very unique time in our city’s history, and I feel that through my experience and my love for the city and my commitment to the city, I feel that it makes me an ideal candidate to create a city that’s going to be viable in the future, that brings the people together and embraces the diversity of Statesboro,” he said.
McCollar, 43, was born in Statesboro and has lived here all his life. He and his wife, Adrianne McCollar, are bringing up their five school-age children here.
He attained a Master of Public Administration, as well as bachelor’s degree with a major in history, from Georgia Southern University.
McCollar now works as assistant campus director for Armstrong State University’s Liberty Campus.
Moore’s victory in 2013 made her Statesboro’s first female mayor. Like McCollar, she is a native of Statesboro.
“I’m looking forward to my fall campaign and to continue to serve the citizens of Statesboro,” Moore said Friday. “We’ve accomplished some great things, we’ve set the stage to accomplish more, and one of my primary goals is going to be the continued effort to unite our community.”
In her other job, she is vice president for economic development at Ogeechee Technical College, where she was previously dean of students.
While mayor, Moore has garnered leadership roles in the Georgia Municipal Association, serving on its executive committee and chairing both the GMA’s revenue and finance policy committee and its municipal workforce development advisory council.
She is also a member of the board of trustees of the Georgia Women of Achievement, founded by former U.S. first lady Rosalynn Carter.
Moore, 55, and her husband, Bill Moore, have two children, Cecilia and Ginny, now young adults.
Both challengers identified some issues they are concerned about. The Statesboro Herald will soon publish more detailed stories about all three candidates.
Statesboro City Council members Phil Boyum, representing District 1, and John Riggs, representing District 4, emerged from qualifying week unopposed. No other Bulloch County town had a contested election as of the close of candidate qualifying.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.