Ottoline demands apology; but taxpayers want one, too

Mike Anthony

Mike Anthony


We’ve written many times about how lucky we are to live in a country as wonderful as the United States of America. We’ve noted that only in America do we have the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of speech that allows anyone to stand up in public and make a complete and total jerk of himself.

For the past two years, we’ve been more than amused by the rumblings emitted by Dan Ottoline Sr. as a member of the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

Though Mr. Ottoline had served on the board since 1999, he didn’t have much to say back then, silently voting to approve budgets with deficits of nearly $5 million.

After reform candidates Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman ousted two incumbents two years ago, Mr. Ottoline changed. All of a sudden, he had a great deal to say.

We particularly were intrigued with his newfound zeal regarding the district’s finances and the Missouri Open Meetings and Records Law, also called the Sunshine Law. It’s no secret that Mr. Ottoline didn’t seek re-election in April, but those who may have believed they heard the last of him didn’t attend the May 10 board meeting.

For quite some time, the public-comment period at meetings of the Board of Directors has been quite a scene, but Mr. Ottoline and his wife, Patricia, added a whole new dimension to the spectacle.

After Mrs. Ottoline spoke — some nonsensical rambling critical of Mrs. Stegman in particular — Mr. Hilmer called on Mr. Ottoline to speak — apparently before Mrs. Ottoline had concluded her remarks.

“Is that all?” she asked.

“Yeah, you’re done,” Mr. Hilmer replied.

“… You’re done. It’s my turn. Shut up,” Mr. Ottoline so eloquently told his wife. “Before he says it,” he added, apparently referring to Mr. Hilmer.

Referencing an incident that occurred between Chief Jim Silvernail and failed write-in candidate Dennis Skelton after the April 12 board meeting, Mr. Ottoline said the chief owed women who were present April 12 an open apology for alleged “abusive language.”

We can seldom recall an elected official sorrier than Mr. Ottoline. For a man who once said Mr. Hilmer and Mrs. Stegman “screwed” district employees out of money, he owes an open apology to taxpayers for doing the same for years.