Mayor unfazed by departure of city officials

Ex-Civil Service Board chair queries mayor on departures.

By EVAN YOUNG

Crestwood Mayor Roy Robinson said last week he doesn’t believe the resignation of three city officials in roughly six months’ time is indicative of an employee morale problem.

Public Works Director Dzenana Mruckovski will become the third department head to leave Crestwood in recent months when she resigns March 11 to become facilities director for the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington University.

Her departure follows that of Parks and Recreation Director Amy Meyer and Finance Officer Douglas Brewer last fall.

Meyer left to become a stay-at-home mother; Brewer took a job in North Carolina.

“They’re putting their families first,” Robinson said during a Board of Aldermen meeting Feb. 22. “They’re not going because we forced them out or anything. They’re going because they’re obtaining a better opportunity, or they think they are.”

The mayor’s comments were in response to resident Martha Duchild, wife of Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild, who asked Robinson during a period for public comments if he was concerned about a staff “morale issue” given that employees have left the city “in an economy where job security is at a premium.”

“I don’t think there’s a morale issue …,” Robinson said. “If they were leaving because they were unhappy and that they weren’t treated fairly, I’d be really concerned.”

Duchild said, “But how would you find that out unless you asked?”

Robinson responded, “Well, everybody that’s left has come to me personally and said how much they’ve enjoyed working in this community, and they hated to leave.

“However, because their families depend on them to bring home — what I call bring home the bacon — they looked at it as an opportunity to help their families. And I always encourage people to move on if they feel they can better themselves. I don’t have a problem with it.”

But the mayor noted that, due to the troubled economy, “we have not been able to provide raises as we would like to” even though “we ask our people to do so much.”

Employees received an across-the-board 2-percent pay increase in 2009, but no increases were included in the 2010 and 2011 city budgets.

While the city’s Civil Service Board is considering a new pay plan for employees, officials have admitted the proposal currently is unaffordable.

“Again, you’re not concerned?” asked Duchild, who formerly chaired the Civil Service Board.

Robinson said, “I’m not concerned.”