Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Temperament an Issue in Chesterfield Mayor's Race

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Temperament an Issue in Chesterfield Mayor's Race

Article excerpt

CHESTERFIELD * In this city of sprawling subdivisions, strip malls and retail outlet centers, the contest to occupy the mayor's seat is normally about tax incentives, master plans and building new parks.

This year it's also about temperament or, more specifically, temper.

During his four years in office, Mayor Bob Nation says, he's worked to cut $900,000 out of the city's $41 million budget, get legislation passed that will return roughly $280,000 of Chesterfield's sales tax money to the city and make the city more transparent.

Read up on candidates and issues in Missouri elections in our Voters Guide.

Nation, first as a council member and then as mayor, also opposed a secret land deal through which the city has paid nearly $800,000 to lease a vacant lot. And he pushed the council to release documents describing details of the lease.

But many say he's prone to expletive-laced outbursts one of which led to his being formally reprimanded by the council in 2015.

City Councilman Randy Logan, who owns a scrap metal trading company and is running against Nation, said his opponent's inability to keep his cool had cost the city.

"He's had us in the news for all the wrong reasons," Logan said. "We need to be able to work with our neighboring communities and St. Louis County right now. Quite frankly that doesn't happen. I understand why some people don't want to deal with him. I have seen him lose his temper."

Logan, who also served on the council from 2009-2013, disputed that Nation had saved the city as much money as the mayor claimed. A good portion of the $900,000 includes raises that employees were not given while a salary and benefits study is underway. Those raises could potentially be back in the budget.

Logan also said he wanted to complete the city's levee trail and other projects.

Logan's most recent campaign finance report shows that he loaned his campaign $10,000. The only other money he's received is a $150 contribution from his campaign treasurer.

Nation has raised a similar amount of money but from various contributors.

'I'VE APOLOGIZED'

Nation, a retired American Airlines pilot, acknowledged that he is passionate and that he sometimes uses salty language.

In July 2015, he unleashed a "vulgarity-laced" tirade against former City Administrator Mike Herring to another top city employee.

Three months later, when an attorney formally served him with the council's censure, he responded that "this is [expletive deleted]" and that he was going to "fight these [expletive deleted] hard" and "kick them in the [expletive deleted]," according to an email from former City Attorney Harold O'Rourke.

"I understood him to be talking about you, as members of the City Council for the actions you took in issuing the charges," O'Rourke wrote. "He told me you will be [expletive deleted] for what you did."

Nation said the tirade came at a time when he was frustrated by "a City Council who condoned wasteful spending, secrecy, lack of transparency and outright not following state statutes or city ordinances. …

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