Departing elected officials deserve thanks for service

By Mike Anthony

Voters had their say in municipal and school-board elections last week, and several new officials have taken — or soon will take — their seats.

As we’ve noted before, serving in public office is a thankless job.

No matter what decision you make, someone’s bound to be unhappy.

Public service is a labor of love, as school board members serve without pay and municipal officials receive modest pay. Therefore, we believe the departing elected officials should be applauded for their service.

Two local mayors — Jeff Schlink in Crestwood and Bill Nolan in Sunset Hills — lost their re-election bids last week. We salute both gentlemen for their willingness to step up and serve their respective communities.

Whether you agreed with them or not, they served with distinction and deserve to be recognized for their excellent contributions.

For the Lindbergh Board of Education, all three incumbents — Don Bee, Vicki Lorenz Englund and Kathleen Kienstra — were re-elected to three-year terms.

Newcomer Gary Ujka was elected to fill the remaining two years of former board member Vic Lenz’s term. Lenz resigned last summer after being appointed to the State Board of Education.

Former board member Mark Rudoff was appointed to the seat last summer, but said at that time he would not seek election. During a board meeting last week, Rudoff was honored for his service since August.

This was not Rudoff’s first departure from the board, as he provided impeccable service on the school board from 1999 to 2012. During that time, he served as board president from 2004 to 2008, board vice president from 2003 to 2004, board secretary from 2001 to 2003 and board treasurer from 2008 to 2011.

Once again, he leaves a remarkable legacy of exceptional service.

For the Mehlville Board of Education, Secretary Rich Franz lost his re-election bid, while President Mark Stoner and board member Elaine Powers opted not to seek re-election.

All three were lauded for their service to Mehlville by Superintendent Eric Knost during an April 10 board meeting.

Given their outstanding contributions to students, staff and the community, we believe Mehlville is a better district as a result of their service.

As we said, public service is a thankless job. South county is very lucky it has no shortage of exceptional people willing to step up and serve.