Monday, February 20, 2012

Editorial: Wentzville Political Communicators vs. Non-Communicators

Having worked for the City of Wentzville has its advantages when it comes to analyzing the Wentzville political landscape.  Now that I am no longer on the proverbial Wentzville government "t**t," it's interesting to reflect on how it is that Wentzville manages its affairs via its collective representatives. 

Suffice it to say, that I truly never met an elected Wentzville official that didn't think s/he had the best interest of Wentzville at heart.  Humans just act that way.  You know how they say no criminal in jail thinks s/he's guilty; well, so it goes that most politicians pretty much convince themselves that they are doing the "RIGHT" thing.  Necessarily, I'm sure, this includes me too.

Anyway, Wentzville basically has two types of elected officials -- communicators and non-communicators.  And it's important to understand that "communication" has varying definitions.  There's the strong-silent type, the talks-to-much type, the methodical-writer type, the only-says-what-needs-to-be-said type, the 500 e-mails-a-day-type and so on. 

However, even in light of these differing communication approaches, the basic premise remains; some Wentzville officials treat their positions as a very real and important JOB that must be done while others are not fully immersed -- communicators and non-communicatorsCommunicators hold meetings with constituents when they don't really have to, return phone calls, respond to e-mails, tackle issues (even those that aren't their pets), read letters, strive to sympathize/empathize with all sides of issues, meet in person, reach out for opinions other than their own on a continuous basis and so on.  No doubt, you get the gist.

I spent a great deal of my time on the bench in Wentzville communicating with all of the players on the board of aldermen.  I e-mailed aldermen and the mayor a fair amount of times.  Heck, I attended aldermanic meetings, spoke at those meetings, sent representatives to those meetings, and met with several Wentzville officials person-to-person on different occasions. I know who did research, read letters, sought answers, returned phone calls/emails, and so on.

As a for instance, let's take one issue in specific -- whether Wentzville's city  judge should be appointed or elected.  The position is currently elected every two years and is held by Judge Martin at the moment.  I truly believe that elected judges are the way to go because, among many reasons, it's just goofy to have a judge seemingly beholden to whomever holds the mayor's office (typically the appointer) at the time.  Doesn't make for a very independent judicial branch does it?  However, there were some on the board of aldermen who decided to  push for and thought that it was a good idea to move to an appointed-judge model for Wentzville.

As you might guess, as judge, I was interested in the topic and reached out to EVERY city official.  Here's what I experienced (take it for what it's worth):

  1. Cheryl Kross:          Communicator
  2. Rick Stokes:            Communicator
  3. Nick Guccione:        Communicator
  4. Paul Lambi:              Non-Communicator
  5. Vann Sample:           Non-Communicator
  6. Leon Tow:                Non-Communicator
  7. Chris Gard:              Wasn't There (but I hear decent Communicator)
  8. Chief Noonan:          Communicator (retired)
  9. Diana Wright:           Non-Communicator (removed)
Of course, as an editorial piece, this carries some measure of opinion, but it's pretty accurate.  Ask around.  Do not judge candidates by behaviors at the cusp of election time; rather, measure his/her behavior in the middle of two and four-year terms.


  1. Carter, are you serious? No one can say you are politically timid

  2. I heard about this. Advertise it on the Patch too

  3. I expect a judge to be a skilled writer. The New Wentzvillian needs to be a better editor!

  4. Why would ANY of the Aldermen want (former) Judge Carter's endorsement?

  5. I don't completely understand this editorial. He's making the point that the Judge should continue to be elected, and not appointed. Then, he rates the Mayor, Alderman, former Police Chief, and former City Administrator based on their communication with Judge Carter. What's the point? Remember, Judge Carter was arrested for a DWI, and found not guilty. He was needlessly tarnished, but I can see why people, especially the politicians might want to keep their distance until the court case concluded.

  6. The piece seems clear. Why Carter is so outward with his assessment is my only curiosity. Seems fair enough though

  7. I totally disagree with who's a communicator or who isn't. Kross is not a communicator....she can't even do her homework pertaining to city issues. Gard is just trying to be the expert on everyone's job who works for the city, which is he not, and who also berates the staff during public meetings. If you call that a communicator, then I want to sell you some swamp land in Florida.


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