Well-qualified citizen slapped in the face by four Crestwood aldermen

To the editor:

According to Crestwood’s Charter, anyone seeking the office of alderman, through election or appointment, needs to meet the following qualifications: be at least 21 years of age, be a U.S. citizen and an inhabitant and qualified voter of the city for at least one year and be a resident of the respective ward for at least 90 days.

Prohibitions include being delinquent in payment of Crestwood taxes or fees or being a convicted felon. Mayor Jeff Schlink’s appointment to his vacated aldermanic seat, Doug Mosby, meets all of those qualifications. Why, then, did Aldermen Deborah Beezley, Mimi Duncan, John Foote and Chris Pickel reject his appointment? The simple answer: petty politics.

In a demonstration of stunning hypocrisy, Alderman Beezley expressed doubts that a former employee could make objective legislative decisions regarding issues that affected current employees — this coming from the same person who just months earlier was championing the cause for the city’s current employees’ right to campaign in Crestwood elections.

Not to be outdone, Alderman Duncan feigned concern over a conflict-of-interest issue. Is it possible that after two years on the board Alderman Duncan is unaware of an alderman’s right to recuse himself from a vote?

Surely she was paying attention when Alderman Pickel exercised this option on more than one occasion.

And how is it possible that after repeatedly lamenting the lack of resident involvement in the political process, Aldermen Pickel and Foote, given the option of offering a resident the chance to be involved, denied him that very opportunity?

All of this “concern” was nothing more than political window-dressing. As far as these four aldermen were concerned, Mr. Mosby’s rejection was a foregone conclusion. Mayor Schlink could have appointed anyone from Humpty-Dumpty to Thomas Jefferson; all would have met the same fate as Mr. Mosby.

The foundation for any legislative process is informed, articulate debate. Choosing a candidate simply because he represents a like-minded view is attractive to those legislators whose own convictions aren’t strong enough to bolster their efforts in persuading others to cede their positions on issues. Rather than attempting to win over an opposing view through vigorous debate, these aldermen have chosen instead to attempt to stack the political deck.

Crestwood residents deserve better than that. What happened at the May 24 meeting was inexcusable. A well-qualified citizen stepped forward to serve the community, and for his efforts received a slap in the face.

Martha Duchild

Crestwood

Editor’s note: Mrs. Duchild’s husband, Paul, serves as a Ward 3 Crestwood alderman.