Council hires Jamie Long to replace retiring Mari Anne Ryder as city clerk

By Ralph Echtinaw

Jamie Long of the city’s Finance Department was officially hired Tuesday as the new city clerk, who supervises elections in St. Louis.

City council approved the hiring of Long, 45, on a 5-0 vote. Long is already familiar with the clerk’s job, as she has served as deputy clerk for the last few years. She attended her first city council meeting Tuesday, sitting next to outgoing Clerk Mari Anne Ryder, who took the meeting minutes for the last time.

Ryder, 61, has worked for the city since 1997. Jan. 27 will be her last day on the job. The public is welcome to attend her retirement party 2-4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at city hall.

Mari Anne Ryder (center) takes meeting minutes notes for the last time as Jamie Long waits in the on-deck circle (right).

“I appreciate you being a great clerk for us,” said Councilman George Kubin. “I always felt confident in your abilities. I’d almost call you the pulse of the city.”

Councilman Bill Leonard is glad the city promoted an existing employee instead of bringing in an outsider. “I’m a firm believer in promoting from within,” he said. “I’m old. I’ve seen a lot of things. And I’ve seen them go out and get a hired gun. And personnel are always upset. (You) don’t know who you’re getting for sure. It never works out.”

Mayor Tom Reed, a retired teacher, said that “In the education field the superintendent is the most important and you work your way down the line. But the secretaries and the clerks are the most important thing to keep the schools running. And it’s the same in the city. We have a city manager and Keith and Phil and Mari Anne to keep things going. I appreciate that very much. I’m going to miss you (Mari Anne), but congratulations.”

The annual salary for the city clerk is $48,300 to $53,700, depending on qualifications.

Building bridges

The city hopes to obtain a SPARKS grant from state government to create a pedestrian bridge over the Pine River and canoe/kayak portage around the dam.

Council members approved spending $9,100 with Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment of Livonia (OHM) to survey the two acres on North Mill Street between the electric plant and city hall; a necessary first step to creating the portage path and pedestrian bridge.

The bridge would permit pedestrians to cross the river from North Mill Street to Barnum Park on North Main Street. The canoe/kayak portage would start somewhere in the vicinity of North and Pine streets and finish near the pedestrian bridge.

The SPARKS grants top out at $1 million, but Public Services Director Keith Risdon expects the project to cost more than that. “Hopefully we would then be able to continue to apply for grants so we can phase our work and applications,” he wrote in a Jan. 10 memo to City Manager Kurt Giles.

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