Eastman to serve as Crestwood city administrator

Eastman to be Crestwood’s first female city administrator

By MIKE ANTHONY

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen voted last week to approve Mayor Jeff Schlink’s nomination of Petree Eastman to succeed Jim Eckrich as city administrator.

The board’s 7-0 vote directed that an ordinance be drafted setting forth the terms of employment and compensation for Eastman, who will be the city’s first female city administrator. As proposed, aldermen will consider the ordinance when they meet Oct. 11.

The board’s vote also waived the city’s residency requirement for Eastman, who lives in University City.

Ward 2 Alderman Steve Knarr was absent from the Sept. 27 meeting. The board’s open-session vote came after a roughly 40-minute closed session.

Eastman is a consultant for the St. Louis Area Municipal League. She served as University City’s assistant city manager from April 2007 until June 2010.

Asked about her reaction to the board’s vote, Eastman told the Call, “Well obviously, very excited. It felt really good and I’m really excited that it was a unanimous vote and that feels like there’s confidence going forward … It is very encouraging that the board did vote unanimously and so I’m very excited to get started.”

Asked if aldermen would consider the ordinance formally approving her hiring on Oct. 11, she said, “That’s our goal. What it will be will be an ordinance approving the contract between myself and the city. And so it will be a very simple ordinance, but my contract would be be attached …”

Eastman said she is looking forward to beginning her duties as city administrator.

“… I’ve been doing a lot of research, obviously, in preparation for this process, but there’s only so much public information that’s available online and whatnot and so I have a lot of work to do to feel like I’m getting up to speed,” she said. “It will take some time to get to know the players and their positions and what they view are critical issues.

“And so a lot of that process will not just be reading a lot of documents, but it will be actually talking with each individual board member as well as staff, department heads and even community stakeholders. It will take some time and so I don’t expect to do anything big and exciting the first day, but I do expect to hit the ground running and get up to speed as quickly as I can. There’s always a learning curve when you come into a new community, but since I’m from the area, it’s not a complete unknown to me.”

Eastman also has served as president of the St. Francis Homes Association in San Francisco, a consultant to the Missouri attorney general, an associate attorney at Armstrong Teasdale and supervisor of school finance for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

She received a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California Berkeley and a doctorate in law from St. Louis University. She is an Affton High School graduate.

Schlink previously told the Call that Eastman emerged as the top candidate for the job out of 30 to 40 total applicants.

Eckrich earlier this year requested to become director of public services, a position he held before becoming city administrator. He has been serving as both public services director and acting city administrator since the board approved his request.

Aldermen voted 5-3 April 12 to name Eckrich public services director, a post he held from November 2005 until July 2008, when he was named city administrator.