Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

County Rehires Ohlms, Schwendemann

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

County Rehires Ohlms, Schwendemann

Article excerpt

Gerald E. "Jerry" Ohlms, the former director of administration for St. Charles County, is back on the job for the county, this time as manager of the 500 to 600 flood-damaged properties acquired by the county in the federal buyout program.

Ohlms, 62, was hired in mid-April from among three applicants for the part-time job, said Tom Engle, who succeeded Ohlms after Joe Ortwerth was elected county executive.

Eugene C. Schwendemann, the former county executive who had appointed Ohlms to his former administrative post, also has returned to work for the county. Schwendemann, 52, started work April 3 as a planner for the county Emergency Management Agency.

Describing Ohlms' job, Engle said the county was trying to lease the bought-out flood plain properties to neighbors who, for $1 a year, could use the land for a garden, lawn or recreational space.

But those county-owned properties that have not been leased require maintenance, Engle said, and that's where Ohlms takes over.

Initially, Engle said, Ohlms will be supervising the seeding and putting straw on properties where damaged structures have been demolished.

The lots also will require mowing, and someone has to inspect the sites to prevent them from becoming dumping grounds. Ohlms will have a budget to hire part-time summer help and money for a truck and other equipment.

Engle said Ohlms will have "a mammoth job" maintaining the far-flung properties. Think about how much work is involved in keeping up just one yard, Engle said.

Engle said he recently spent seven hours touring the flood plain and still had time to see only 60 percent of the county's buy-out properties.

Engle said that Ohlms eventually may work himself out of a job. Engle said the county hoped to lease most of the properties to nearby homeowners, who would take over the maintenance. …

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