Monroe City Council appoints new member

Four of seven members have terms expiring at the end of the year.

Credit: Kim Dalton

Credit: Kim Dalton

MONROE — A new face has been added to City Council.

Michael Graves, 44, was recently approved as the newest council member to replace Tom Callahan, who resigned at the end of 2022. Graves is filling Callahan’s term that expires Dec. 31, 2023.

Now the majority of council members, four of the seven, will leave their seat or seek re-election this year. Only Marc Bellapianta, Dr. Kelly Clark and Ben Wagner have seats on council through Dec. 31, 2025.

Graves was one of six Monroe residents who applied for Callahan’s seat and was unanimously approved last week by the other six council members.

In his application letter, Graves, who received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mount Vernon Nazarene University, said he has been a Monroe resident since 2003. After growing up in West Chester Twp. and graduating from Lakota High School in 1997, Graves and his wife, Paige, realized they wanted to raise a family in a smaller town.

Graves said he has “grown to love this small town” and he called serving on council “a great opportunity to use my experience and gifts to help in the guidance of this city.”

It’s important, he said, as Monroe continues to grow and be a desirable place to live, for it “not to lose who you are.”

Graves said it’s too early for him to decide whether he will run for council when his seat expires at the end of the year. He wants to spend the next 11 months as a “servant for the city.”

He has coached for the Monroe Little League and Majors programs for the past seven years and also coached Monroe soccer, Monroe Premier League, Monroe basketball and been associated with Monroe wrestling and Monroe cheerleading organizations, according to his application.


Here are the seven members on Monroe City Council and when their terms expire:

Marc Bellapianta, council member: Dec. 31, 2025.

Dr. Kelly Clark, council member: Dec. 31, 2025.

Jason Frentzel, council member: Dec. 31, 2023.

Keith Funk, mayor: Dec. 31, 2023.

Michael Graves, council member: Dec. 31, 2023.

Christina McElfresh, vice mayor: Dec. 31, 2023.

Ben Wagner, council member: Dec. 31, 2025.


Name: Michael Graves

Age: 44

Family: Wife: Paige; Children: Carter, 12, Chase, 11, Brooke, 7.

Education: Graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Occupation: Owner of Graves Insurance

Work experience: Product specialist/agent MetLife/Mass Mutual, 2015-2017; agency owner Allstate Insurance, 2010-2015; field compliance coordinator State Farm Insurance, 2008-2010; senior agency field specialist State Farm Insurance, 2001-2008.

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