Crestwood’s recovery due to Robertson’s leadership

“Call the Tune,” by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Nearly two years ago when this newspaper endorsed Jim Robertson for mayor of Crestwood in the April 2002 election, we wrote that Crestwood voters would make one of the most critical decisions in the city’s history.

Little did we know at the time just how prescient that observation would be as Crestwood has faced — and weathered — possibly the most tumultuous period in its history in large part because of the leadership exercised by Mr. Robertson since he was elected mayor.

Given that, it was with great sadness that we reported last week he would resign his office, effective last Saturday. We believe citizens have lost one of the greatest leaders ever to hold the mayoral post in Crestwood.

Mr. Robertson is one of those rare elected officials who actually did what he said he was going to do. As a Ward 3 alderman, he championed citizens’ access to their government.

For promoting open and accessible government in Crestwood, the Call in 2001 nominated Mr. Robertson for the Missouri Press Association’s Sunshine Award, and he was one of two winners statewide to receive the honor.

Mr. Robertson set a statewide example in promoting public access to government as he was at the forefront of the successful struggle to amend the city’s Open Meetings and Records Policy to require the tape recording of closed sessions of the Board of Aldermen involving litigation and real estate matters.

As an alderman and even more so as mayor, Mr. Robertson provided citizens with the dynamic and innovative leadership they deserve.

We shudder to think of the shape Crestwood would be in today if Mr. Robertson had not been at the helm during the city’s fiscal crisis. Because of Mr. Robertson, the city today is on the road to financial recovery.

Perhaps City Administrator Don Greer put it best when he said, “… How do you measure the impact that the man’s had? He stopped it. He stopped the bleeding. We would have been bankrupt.”

We also agree with Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood, who said of Mr. Robertson, “His impact continues. To say it in the past tense would not be really giving the efforts of the last 21 months credit.”

It’s our fervent hope that perhaps Mr. Robertson may someday decide to seek elective office again because this country and its citizens need more people like him.