Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board, Residents Clash over Plan to Change City's Management

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board, Residents Clash over Plan to Change City's Management

Article excerpt

The Bellefontaine Neighbors Board of Aldermen and a roomful of residents differ on their approach to managing city business.

The alderman and Mayor Marty Rudloff want to consider hiring a full-time city administrator to run the day-to-day operations. However, several of the nearly 60 residents who were at last week's meeting of the aldermen thought just the opposite: that Bellefontaine Neighbors does not need such an official.

The bill, which creates the position of city administrator, was tabled until Oct. 19 by Alderman John Puzniak, 2nd Ward, the sponsor of the bill.

Bellefontaine Neighbors is managed by the mayor, Rudloff, who is self-employed. Rudloff says he has to work on city business at his job because there is no one at City Hall with the administrative authority. Rudloff says that a full-time city administrator would allow Bellefontaine Neighbors to run more efficiently. Rudloff estimated that the municipality could save several thousands of dollars a year because of better management.

In June, the board budgeted about $50,000 for the new position. If such a position were created, the mayor's salary would be reduced by $10,000 to $5,000 a year, due to the lessening of responsibilities.

Residents did not see it this way. Many of them at the meeting were opposed to the idea and said that Bellefontaine Neighbors could spend the money better by giving a utility-tax rebate or pumping more money into the police department.

Rudy Smith, a spokesman for many in the audience, said officials had not done their homework to determine whether a city administrator was necessary. "How can they do this without a feasibility study, more discussion with the residents, a cost analysis?" he asked. "A bedroom community like Bellefontaine Neighbors doesn't need this."

Rudloff said the city administrator could go to meetings with the utilities and other quasi-governmental groups such as the Municipal League and coordinate purchases with the department heads - chores that Rudloff is handling. …

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