Crestwood official longs for a kinder, gentler city

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Crestwood Ward 4 Alderman Mike Vincent’s tenure on the Board of Aldermen is quickly coming to an end — and none too soon.

Since last April when he was appointed by former Mayor Jeff Schlink to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Dan Tennessen, Vincent has distinguished himself with his high and mighty pontificating from the dais. But being an alderman today is much different then it was when Vincent served from 1990 to 1994.

In outlining his reasons why he declined to seek election this April, Vincent said at the Jan. 27 board meeting, “… In the last nine months, I have been called corrupt. I’ve been accused of being part of a conspiracy to get rid of our previous city clerk. I’ve been somewhat ridiculed for abdicating my fiduciary responsibility, for berating constituents, and I would ask you to note the plural of that, and for being part of a new political power machine led by our mayor …

“After a 45-year God-blessed career, I do not need this kind of unjust criticism in my life … (Ward 1) Alderman (Richard) Breeding referred to this fact in a recent meeting, that service to our citizens as an alderman in Crestwood 2015 is not like what I experienced 20 years ago in a somewhat kinder and gentler Crestwood …”

As for his berating citizens, we agree that should be plural. There’s former Ward 4 Alderman Steve Nieder, whom Vincent repeatedly berated. But Vincent apparently has forgotten how he rudely and loudly interrupted — at least twice — R. Hahn, who spoke at the board’s Nov. 25 meeting.

Vincent is a man who apparently has no problem speaking out of both sides of his mouth. In one breath, he is calling for unity. Yet, in the next breath, he’s grandstanding by making a divisive motion for nominations to replace current board President Mike Tsichlis of Ward 4 — the same man who recommended his appointment to Schlink.

Crestwood may have been kinder and gentler in the past, but we believe citizens are much better informed today about their government than they were 20 years ago — and therein lies the rub for someone who prefers to sweep any hint of controversy under the rug to preserve the good name of the city of Crestwood.

Because citizens are better informed today, they also hold their public officials to a higher degree of accountability. Perhaps that’s why Vincent, by not seeking election, evidently heeded President Harry S. Truman’s advice: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”