There's a New Woman in the Boss's Chair
Mayor-elect Sara Drew takes over as the city's highest executive tonight.
There's going to be a change of command tonight at the Stow City Council meeting.
Mayor Karen Fritschel has left City Hall as a public official after 20 years of public service and Mayor-elect Sara Drew will be sworn in tonight.
Twelve years ago, Fritschel said she had a hard time getting used to people calling her mayor.
"I had been around the city since I worked at city hall, then I was on council for 12 years and on some boards and commissions ... but, all of a sudden it was different, I was the mayor," said Fritschel. "That took a little adjusting. I remember people saying, 'Mayor,' and I didn’t even turn around at first."
But after 12 years as mayor, she said she's looking forward to life as a citizen of Stow but will miss many things about the job.
"It's bittersweet," said Fritschel. "I will miss all of the wonderful people and the opportunities I had."
But now that her term limit is officially over, Fritschel and her husband Larry have a lot planned.
"We're going to Arizona and on a safari in Kenya," she said. "I'm happy to be able to spend more time with my grandkids and I'm hoping to spend more time with friends, I feel like I don’t see them much anymore because I'd get so wrapped up in the city."
While Fritschel won't be serving as a public servant, she plans to stay involved with the community and the mayor-elect hopes to tap into her wisdom occasionally.
"I am going to do my best to enjoy retirement but I know things will come up, and I'm happy to offer her some guidance," said Fritschel.
"Who better to ask then the person who’s been through it?" said Drew, 40.
Drew, who had been on council six years, is excited to get into the mayor's seat and start working.
"Being apart of council ... we've been in crisis management mode for a couple years. Karen has done an excellent job managing the city through a financial crisis and we’re stable, but the truth is, it’s a new paradigm of local government and we're going to focus on the long-term," said Drew. "Karen had the daunting task of handling things when the financial crisis hit, now we have to maintain things and figure out where we're going."
The former service coordinator and case manager for the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board said she admits starting her new job as mayor is a little nervewracking.
"I think someone who wasn’t nervous wouldn’t be the right person for this job; the amount of responsibility and seriousness of the position should elicit some nerviousness. If you didn’t have that then I think you wouldn’t have the right perspective on how monumental this really is," Drew said. "I think it’s a healthy amount of nervousness."
"You can prepare as best as possible, get yourself ready, have everything in order until the day comes that you’re solely responsible for it, but you can’t really entirely know what to expect," she said. "I just have to have faith and trust in yourself and confidence, good training and good skill set to see you through everything."
Like the birth of the New Year a few days ago, Drew's swearing in tonight will be the first year of four with a new administration.