On May 23, Ellisville City Councilmember Gary Voss [District 1] passed away, leaving an unexpired term and an empty seat on the council.
However, on Sept. 6, after four months of discussion regarding multiple candidates, the council unanimously voted to nominate resident Stephen Chismarich to fill the vacant position until the next citywide election on April 3, 2018.
Mayor Adam Paul noted at the Sept. 6 meeting that “there were a lot of names mentioned, and we appreciate people’s willingness to serve.”
According to the city’s nomination, Chismarich was chosen not only because of his desire to advance the city but also because of his interest in many different areas of city government.
“Mr. Chismarich has been a very good, independent voice for his community,” Councilmember Ken Newhouse [District 2] said. “After a parks event, I had the opportunity to talk with him, and I think he would be a very good addition to the city council.”
Chismarich has lived in Ellisville for almost five years and is a trustee with the Lemar Park Homeowner’s Association [HOA]. That role served as a springboard for his interests in city government.
“When we were doing the close-out on our development, there were some inconsistencies with what the builder was supposed to provide,” Chismarich said. “So I got involved with the city to help negotiate a peaceful resolution of those items.”
Chismarich worked with the HOA and passed a bill to improve street maintenance for his subdivision, which was privatized about four years ago. The bill’s passage helped residents to receive services like trash disposal and snow removal. Following the bill’s passage, Chismarich joined the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission [P&Z].
“I got involved with HOA and heard, ‘You might be good at city government,'” Chismarich said. “Not necessarily specific to city council at that point, but in regard to paying attention to details. So I joined the P&Z, and I’ve been doing that for about a year.”
Chismarch cites the passage of the bill as a pivotal moment leading up to his council appointment.
“It was suggested to me that, because I try to do a good job and pay attention, that I step up for the appointment,” Chismarich said. “I do remember, four years ago when I got the city bill passed, someone also mentioned to me, ‘You’d be good on city council.’
“To be honest, I don’t think I would have stepped up in the Homeowner’s Association to pass the bill and help peacefully resolve some of the issues in the city if the developer hadn’t failed to fulfill some promises. But when I did that, I found that I enjoyed it.”
A member of the Rotary Club of West St. Louis County and an affiliate member of The St. Louis Association of REALTORS®, Chismarich said his community-oriented mindset was passed down from his father, who was an active citizen in his hometown in Pike County.
“I grew up in Bowling Green [Missouri] and my father is a business owner,” Chismarich said. “He’s always been involved in the Rotary Club or involved in other city services, sitting on a park board or any other committees. My father, as a small business owner in a small community, set the example for me of how important it is to serve your community. Obviously, I enjoy it.”
Chismarich is a U.S. Navy veteran and currently works as a mortgage banker at Delmar Financial Company. His wife, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Chismarich, works as a pediatric hospitalist specializing in hospice and palliative care with Mercy Hospital. The couple has five children, three grandchildren and a dog named Mia. He will be officially sworn in at the city’s next council meeting on Sept. 20 at Ellisville City Hall.