Lake Saint Louis has a new mayor.
Alderman Kathy Schweikert (Ward 2) was appointed mayor by the LSL Board of Aldermen at a special board meeting on Sept. 22. There was no debate and her appointment was quickly approved by a 5-0 vote, with Alderman Toni Zito (Ward 1) was absent.
Schweikert, 56, succeeds Mayor Ralph Sidebottom who died on Sept. 15 after battling pancreatic cancer.
An alderman since 2009, Schweikert most recently was the board’s president. She will serve as a mayor on a temporary basis or as “mayor pro temp” until the municipal election in April 2015. The mayor elected in April will serve the remaining two years of Sidebottom’s four-year term.
Sidebottom’s death also prompted other changes on the board.
Because Schweikert had to step down as alderman to become mayor, the board turned to a former elected city official as her replacement.
Former mayor Michael Potter, who has never served as an aldermen, will replace Schweikert as a Ward 2 representative. In the April 2015 election, the seat filled by Potter is up for re-election to a two-year term. The board approved his appointment by a 5-0 vote.
Potter served as the city’s mayor for 12 years, losing his seat to Sidebottom by 12 votes in April 2013.
Schweikert and Potter were sworn into office City Clerk Donna Daniel following board approval at the Sept. 22 meeting.
Succeeding Schweikert as board president is Karen Vennard (Ward 2), who has served on the board since 2010. Vennard’s appointment was also approved by a 5-0 vote.
Schweikert said she told Lillian Sidebottom, the wife of the former mayor, that she had big shoes to fill.
“I don’t look at it as replacing Mayor Sidebottom,” Schweikert said. “I look at it as filling in for him (from) now until April.”
Schweikert thanked her fellow aldermen for agreeing to meet and their willingness to make a decision on short notice. She also acknowledged the assistance provided by the city staff.
Schweikert said the city faces a number of issues.
“One of the main things is development,” she said after the meeting. “The Page Extension (Highway 364) is going to open up some opportunities for some businesses and offices. I’d like to see more restaurants, and that’s a priority for many of our residents.”
Alderman Joseph Pellerito (Ward 3) agreed that the Page Extension and an upgraded Hwy. N interchange may attract new development. He said the city needs to have board members or the mayor attending regional meetings of the St. Charles County Road Board and Municipal League. Addressing that issue, Schweikert said the board may need to discuss more clearly the city’s policy if the mayor or the president of the board isn’t available.
During the meeting, Schweikert and board members also lauded Sidebottom as a person and mayor.
Sidebottom, 71, also served seven years on the city’s Board of Aldermen representing Ward 1. He served as president of the board for three years prior to his election as mayor.
Reading from a tribute that appears on the city’s website, Schweikert said, “The Lake Saint Louis Board of Aldermen on September 15th lost their leader, colleague, and friend ….” She also acknowledged his calm, cool attitude and his sense of humor.
Quoting the tribute, she continued: “But probably the one quality that stood out the most was his concern for the well being of his ward and all the residents of Lake Saint Louis,” she said. “Mayor Sidebottom would remark over and over how much he loved Lake Saint Louis – there was no better place to live than this city and all it had to offer, and it was the residents who made the city what it was.”