Three months have passed since a trio of City Council members were sworn into office in April.
Patch sent five questions to Robert Hoffman, Scott Saunders and Charlotte D'Alfonso to answer for an electronic interview. Councilwoman D'Alfonso was first to respond.
Creve Coeur Patch: Can you give an example of something you've learned about the way the city functions that you didn't know before being on city council?
D'Alfonso: I knew we had a professional staff. However, I was impressed at how absolutely hard they work. The number of grants they go after, promptness in answering citizen complaints, and level of knowledge is incredibly high, especially compared to other city staffs.
Creve Coeur Patch:Most interesting issue/concern raised by one of your new constituents?
D'Alfonso: Whether to authorize the use of smoking shelters built, paid for, and maintained by businesses to be utilized by smokers. The original intent of the city's no smoking ordinance was to protect employees from second hand smoke. As a non-smoker, I enjoy living in a city where employee health is protected. On the other hand, I do not believe the government should regulate personal behavior. I question the message we are sending by allowing smoking shelters. I have only heard from a few constituents on this issue.
Creve Coeur Patch: Is there an issue/area of policy facing the city you've discovered since taking office that you think needs to be addressed?
D'Alfonso: Open and transparent government is essential to meet the public's trust. I believe the process of nominations to both paid committees and volunteer committees should include formal discussion of all applicants prior to a vote. If this happens, a more open and effective process will ensure the best people in the best positions to help the city grow and prosper.
Individual interactions with developers outside of council meetings is an additional issue. Individual meetings with developers create perceptions among both residents and developers which can be misconstrued. I believe that the needs of the city are best served when the council acts as one with one voice.
Creve Coeur Patch: You've been actively following city business for some time now and attending city council meetings for much of the last year, but this is your first time as a city council member in Creve Coeur. How have you balanced the time commitment that comes with any elected office along with work and family?
D'Alfonso: I get great personal satisfaction out of making a difference in city government and that passion gives me the drive to dedicate time and energy to serving on the council. I also think it is my honor and duty to model good civic behavior for my children. I am blessed with a large family and friend support system which allows me to devote the necessary time to actively participate in council meetings, research the issues, and maintain communication with my constituents. The Creve Coeur city staff facilitates all of this by doing an excellent job of getting me the information I need to make informed decisions.
Creve Coeur Patch: Fill in the blanks: Creve Coeur needs MORE _______ and LESS________.
D'Alfonso: Creve Coeur needs MORE citizen involvement and LESS traffic congestion.
Creve Coeur Patch will publish the other electronic interviews in the order they are received.