“I believe it is time to spend more time with my wife and family,” Charnisky, 69, said in a resignation letter on Jan. 27 to St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano and the city’s Board of Aldermen. He has been the city administrator for St. Peters since May 1997, and has worked in municipal government for 43 years. He is resigning effective July 29.
The city’s Board of Aldermen approved the hiring of Russell W. Batzel, the city’s manager of transportation and development services, to fill Charnisky’s position.
The board approved an ordinance at their Feb. 25 meeting appointing a city administrator as well as a separate ordinance authorizing Mayor Len Pagano to execute an employment agreement with Batzel. Batzel would start work in his new position on July 29.
“As one gets older, one realizes their existence has limits and one should enjoy oneself while still healthy and able,” Charnisky added in the letter. “I have dedicated myself to the city of St. Peters without hesitation. I also can publicly state these past years have been the very best years of my life.”
Charnisky’s letter also lauded the professionalism of city employees.
“They all understand the importance of customer service and commitment,” he stated. “They all make my job easier.”
He also thanked the city’s elected officials, particularly Pagano, for “your support and friendship,” adding, “I am very proud to have been part of this exceptional team and will always treasure my memories working with all of you.”
The city administrator’s responsibilities include supervising much of the daily operations and administration of the city, including personnel decisions and developing an annual budget as well as preparing topics for board meetings.
Batzel, 59, has worked for St. Peters for more than 20 years managing various city departments including water and wastewater utilities, stormwater, fleet maintenance, streets and traffic, engineering, planning, building and economic development.
Before coming to St. Peters, Batzel worked in private consulting for 16 years with Black & Veatch as a project manager. He is a registered professional engineer.
Charnisky spent 25 years working for the city of Bolingbrook, Illinois, a growing suburb outside Chicago, before coming to St. Peters. He was hired as a Bolingbrook police officer in 1973, serving 14 years as chief of police and six years as city administrator.
In transferring to St. Peters in 1997, he came to a city in the midst of explosive residential development that pushed its population from 486 in 1970 to an estimated 56,000 today. The city experienced much of the initial growth that led to St. Charles County becoming one of the fastest- growing counties in Missouri.
Lisa Bedian, the city’s communications director, said Feb. 23 that Charnisky’s salary is about $180,000. Batzel’s starting salary is expected to be about $155,000.
Until his retirement, Charnisky said in the letter that he pledges to “continue to work diligently for the city of St. Peters, ‘my hometown.’”