3 Incumbents Face Challengers For Florissant City Council

By Carol Arnett

The three incumbents on the Florissant City Council will have opposition for the three seats in the April 8th election.  John Grib (Ward 2) will be opposed on the ballot by Tim Jones, Pat Stinnett (Ward 6) will have ballot competition from Gerald Henke and Jeff Caputa (Ward 4) has a challenger from a write-in candidate, Kevin O’Donnell, the first write-in candidate for the City Council in memory. In Ward 8, incumbent Mark Schmidt is running unopposed.

The Independent News sent each Florissant City Council candidate with opposition a request for biographical information and a set of questions. Their responses are summarized below.

The questions: What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing the city in the next three years? What is the biggest issue facing your ward? What would your goals be in the next three years if elected? What would you do to increase economic development in your ward and throughout the city?

Ward 2

John Grib and his wife, Mary have lived in Florissant since 1970. He was elected to the Florissant City Council in 2008. Before that, Grib served on the Florissant Planning and Zoning Commission for 20 years. He’s a trustee at the Knights of Columbus Council 295 a member of Florissant Old Town Partners and St. Ferdinand Parish Men’s Club.

Educator since 1966, teaching courses at the secondary and college level. Educational background: B.S. from The University of Missouri (Mizzou), Masters Degree in Business Administration. Participated in numerous Planning and Zoning/Land Use seminars from the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering.

Important issues facing the city and ward: Protect property values and enforce property codes, provide a strong police department and safe neighborhoods, ensure a balanced budget, appropriate funds to repair or replace our aging streets.

Goals in the next three years: protect property values and enforce property codes, provide a strong police department and safe neighborhoods, ensure a balanced budget and appropriate funds to repair or replace our aging streets

Economic development depends on the confidence of investors to invest in a community that: protects property values and enforces property codes, attracts new residents and has accredited schools districts, and provides a strong police department and safe neighborhoods

Tim Jones was born and raised in Florissant. He is 47 and has lived at 865 Daniel Boone 23 years and has four children. He attended Ferguson Florissant School District schools, then attended the Operating Engineers Apprenticeship Program. He is a 30-year member of the Operation Engineers and was elected Committeeman of the Lewis and Clark Township in 2009.

Important issues facing the city and ward: Helping in any way possible with continuing success in the Hazelwood School district. Continue attending board meetings at Hazelwood and Ferguson Florissant School Districts. Getting fair share of Ward 2 improvements. Looking into more lighting for safety reasons.

Goals in the next three years: Reconnect with the Ward 2 residents. Let the residents know that he is here and be visually seen throughout the neighborhood.

Economic development: help the economic recovery. Big business and small business and hopefully see some residential recovery. Build a relationship with the city’s realtors.   Visit with every business in the ward.

Ward 4

Jeff Caputa is married and has been a resident of Ward 4 for 27 years with three children. He is a Marine Corps veteran.  He was elected to council in April of 2013. He served on the Florissant Traffic Advisory Commission and Florissant Environmental Quality Commission. Attended the National Labor College, Certified OSHA 500 instructor and a 28-year member of Cement Mason Local 527.

Important issues facing the city and ward: one of the biggest issues in the Ward and the city is the vacant homes. To address this, city council and the administration worked together and adopted the Florissant “Homeownership Assistance Program” and it is becoming a popular program.

Goals in the next three years: continue to work and serve the residents of ward 4 and keep a good working relationship with the other members of the city council and the administration.

Economic development: support the current and future businesses of the ward and the city and maintain the city as a business friendly community.

Kevin O’Donnell is a write-in candidate. He was raised and educated in Florissant, retired from GE after 35 years. Been attending Florissant City Council meetings, work sessions, and budget hearings for the past 8 years. Member and block captain of Neighborhood Watch. Graduate of Florissant’s Citizen’s Police Academy.

Important issues facing the city and ward: maintaining and increasing population. Vacant housing stock is affecting the city as a whole. Prioritizing where and how much money is spent (necessary infrastructure improvements for the majority of residents versus amenities for the minority).

Goals in the next three years: see that ward 4 gets a fair share of street repairs, increase communication between the residents of ward 4 and the city, expand the Neighborhood Watch program, work to create a non-biased Charter Review Commission.

Economic development: Bring in new businesses that will make Florissant a destination, work to keep the businesses the city currently has by encouraging residents to shop locally. The city council should be included in regular conversation with the City’s Economic Developer.

Florissant Ward 6

Pat Stinnett and his wife Helen have resided in the Florissant community for 35 years and raised three children. He’s been a councilman for the past three years. Chairman of the Valley of Flowers, active member of Old Town Partners, Greater North County Chamber of Commerce, Trustee Valley Industries, St. Louis County Veteran’s Coalition , VFW Post 4105, American Legion Post 444 and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 794.

Important issues facing the city and ward: preservation of property values; the city must enforce fair property maintenance codes. Many of the streets of ward 6 are in need of renovation and resurfacing. The slurry sealing of streets has reached it’s potential now that the run off gutters have been filled with seal and water is flowing on to lawns.

Goals in the next three years: Ensure city government is open to public scrutiny and input, keep a balanced budget with common sense fiscal policies, make sure city services enhance living in Florissant, and safeguard and improve the quality of life for senior citizens.

Economic development: continue to showcase the resources of our city as well as present our outstanding citizens to the business community. Encourage our existing merchants to expand their businesses and reward them for their commitment to Florissant.

Gerard Henke is 58 and married to Barb and they have 4 children. He was a 37+ years Letter Carrier, 23 years as local president of Florissant Branch of National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), Arbitration advocate for NALC Region 5 (MO, KS, IA, NE), Director of Education for MO State Association of Letter Carriers for 20 years.

Important issues facing the city and ward: Neighborhood stability, protection of property values and code enforcement.

Goals in the next three years: Promote a greater sense of neighborhood and foster more community involvement, create a program to help seniors that need assistance with the upkeep of their property.

Economic development: Explore the possibilities of partnering multiple businesses to create business districts rather than random individual ventures.

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