Belleville’s newest elected leaders officially take office

Five new Belleville officeholders were sworn into office just before the City Council meeting began Monday night.

Jenny Gain Meyer was sworn in as the new city clerk to take the position previously held by Dallas Cook. Gain Meyer defeated Libby Barbeau on April 4. Instead of running for re-election as clerk, Cook ran for mayor and lost to Mayor Mark Eckert.

The new City Council members are Shelly Schaefer, Mary Stiehl, Dennis Weygandt and Roger Barfield.

Incumbents who won re-election also were sworn into office Monday night. They are Eckert, Treasurer Dean Hardt and aldermen Ken Kinsella, Kent Randle and Johnnie Anthony. Also, Jane Pusa was appointed to the council in December 2015 and she won her election on April 4.

The swearing-in ceremony was in the Sen. Alan J. Dixon building at Lindenwood University-Belleville at 2600 W. Main St. because City Hall is closed for renovations.

Here’s a breakdown of the five new officeholders and their goals:

Jenny Gain Meyer

Gain Meyer, 41, left her post as director of environmental programs with St. Clair County Health Department on Monday before she was sworn into office as city clerk.

Gain Meyer said she will meet with the city clerk’s office staff and then reach out to the department heads across city government to see if there is anything they want the city clerk to do differently or to keep doing what is already being offered.

She plans to “talk to everybody” to get their input.

Shelly Schaefer

Schaefer, 47, is a teacher with Belleville School District 118. She defeated Michael Hagberg and Suzanne Whitehead to represent Ward 5 on the City Council.

Schaefer said she will work to be a “good listener” and be the “voice for my ward.”

“I really just want to see Belleville continue to do the wonderful things that it’s doing right now,” Schaefer said.

Mary Stiehl

Stiehl, 64, defeated Bob White, who was the Ward 6 incumbent alderman.

Stiehl said she will pay attention to what the constituents want and direct them to the right department heads.

She said one of her priorities will be to work to get businesses to move into vacancies in shopping centers.

Dennis Weygandt

Weygandt, who is retired, defeated Trent Galetti, who was the Ward 7 incumbent alderman.

Weygandt said he will work to improve streets and sidewalks in the city and to find ways to reduce the number of vacant homes.

“Let’s get the town going,” he said. “I want the whole city to prosper.”

Roger Barfield

Barfield, who spent 31 years with the city’s police department and retired as assistant chief, was unopposed in the race to represent Ward 8 on the City Council.

Barfield, who most recently worked as a manager in the city’s housing department for eight years, said public safety will be his top priority along with improving the quality of life of residents and improving neighborhoods

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