Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mueller to Retire as County Council's Executive Secretary

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mueller to Retire as County Council's Executive Secretary

Article excerpt

"Ask Joyce. She'll know the answer."

That's the advice given since June of 1978 to newspaper reporters and anyone else making inquiries about the inner workings of St. Charles County government.

Joyce Mueller, 54, the all-knowing source of information, will retire next week as executive secretary to the County Council. Over the years, Mueller has been Girl Friday to two county administrative bodies - the three-member County Court and its successor, the County Commission. Then, in 1993, under a new home-rule charter, she carried on as chief secretary for the seven-member County Council. Former Presiding Judge C.L. "Lee" Schwendemann recalls when Joe Haake, a former county clerk, introduced Mueller to the county judges as their new secretary. "That girl was unbelievable," Schwendemann said. "We three elected officials thought we were running the county. But it was Joyce who was doing everything. She was the finest I've ever run into." Carl Bearden, the first chairman of the County Council under the new charter, said, "Joyce is the kind of employee everybody wants to have." With her institutional and corporate knowledge, Bearden said, "she was a part of the successful transition" to the charter form of government. "She will be sadly missed." In the old days, Mueller recalls, county government was a lot less formal. The county had only about 200 employees. "We all knew everybody. . . . At lunch time, we used to go over to the restaurant run by Gus Duquette at the bus station." County government decisions were made by the three county judges in their one-room office. They met Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Mueller said that Schwendemann "was there all the time, although he didn't have to be. He just loved the job. People would come in and tell him about a road that needed repairs. . . . People wandered in and out. It was lots of fun." Now, she said, few people come into the council offices, situated in the lower level of the Historic Courthouse at Third and Jefferson streets in St. Charles. The seven council members have separate offices but are seldom there during the day. The council meets at night twice a month. …

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