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Ballwin honors retiring employees, announces new city administrator

Four Board of Aldermen members were sworn in again at the June 22 meeting after running unopposed in their early June elections. They were Michael Finley (Ward 1), sworn in by long-time St. Charles County Circuit Judge Norman Steimel, followed by Kevin Roach (Ward 2), Frank Fleming (Ward 3) and Ray Kerlagon (Ward 4).

Shortly after that first order of business, Ballwin honored four long-time employees who have opted for retirement. 

“I promised not to embarrass them,” City Administrator Bob Kuntz said. “I see Dan Trower in the back, who just retired a couple weeks ago after 30 years with the city, and most of you know him from the parks department and all he’s done with the concerts, Ballwin Days and things of that nature. Thirty years is a long time of service to be recognized. 

“Pete Kraut is also here. He was initially in the parks department, then he transferred over to the public works department. Pete is retiring with (nearly) 36 years of service — and it just seems like yesterday, right?”

While those two were on hand at the Ballwin Government Center, Sgt. Ron Moushey, who recently retired after 40 years with the Ballwin Police Department, was not. Kuntz extended special wishes for successful retirement to all three.

“Gentlemen, 30 and 36 years is definitely an accomplishment, and your experience will certainly be missed,” Mayor Tim Pogue said to Trower and Kraut.

Moments after Trower and Kraut had their photos taken, the board turned their attention to the passage of Ordinance 20-11 and the introduction of a new city administrator.

“With the passing of this ordinance, I would like to announce (that), after a long search, … we have selected Eric Sterman as the next city administrator,” Pogue said. “Eric comes to us from the city of Sunset Hills where he has served the past four years. Eric was actually Sunset Hills’ first city administrator. So, he’s built a great relationship with the staff there to make that transition and he will be starting with us on Aug. 10.” 

That announcement provided a measure of finality to Kuntz’s long-ago decision to retire for the final time. 

Kuntz, age 72, began his initial tenure as city administrator in September 1988. He served in that role until June 2015, then returned in December 2018. 

Kuntz will remain as the full-time city administrator until July 10, then go half-time until Sterman takes office, which means one last extension of his contract.

“We appreciate that, Bob,” alderman Mark Stallmann (Ward 2) said. “There’s no baseball now anyway, so what else you got?”

“Actually, I do appreciate the opportunity to come back to the city,” Kuntz said. “There will be no third time, I guarantee you that. It really has been a humbling experience, and I really want to commend the support I’ve received from the staff members that are here, because it’s been very energizing for me to be able to work with this group of individuals that are really dedicated to the service of the community; not only in the good times, but also the bad times as you’ll see.  As we move through this virus, we’ve got all the pieces in place and you’ll all do a fine job in moving the city forward. I just appreciate the opportunity to come back for a limited period of time. Thank you to every one of you. You guys have been great to me and great to work with.”

During the aldermanic comments section at the very end of the board meeting, many of those feelings were shown to be mutual. One acclamation clearly stood out.

“Just in case this is your last meeting, thank you for your distinguished service to our city,” Finley said. “Thank you for all your hard work. Thank you for being on the bench for us. It’s nice when you need a pinch hitter and you have somebody on the bench. We dealt with, like all other communities, very unusual circumstances, and you provided us excellent leadership during that time. Thank you again, Bob, and look forward to seeing you on the golf course and various restaurants. Thank you again for your distinguished service to our city.”

Sterman was not on hand for the announcement.

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