Jerry Mouser is back in city government and couldn’t be happier.
An alderman for 18 years, from 1997 to 2016, he had resigned when he moved three blocks out of Ward 3. But he was never really gone.
He faithfully attended City Council meetings, but sat in the audience. When an opportunity to run for office opened, he campaigned for city clerk, and won April 4.
“I enjoy the people, talking to the residents. In my job, I talk to people every day. I just like being involved in the city, finding out about new things in meetings. I just like to be a part of it. I enjoy it,” he said.
The city clerk position is part-time. Duties include issuing licenses (business, liquor) and special permits, taking care of cemetery business, reviewing council agendas, taking roll call at council meetings, and managing paperwork.
“Maryanne Fair is a master deputy clerk. We have it worked out so that I will come in every morning for 30 to 45 minutes, and sign whatever is needed. If she needs me, she can reach me. Or, if there is a bid opening, I’m three minutes from city hall. My hours are flexible,” he said. “I like the staff. I think we’re really going to do some things. We try to help the residents. I think I can be effective. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
Mouser hopes to provide necessary information to residents.
“People have busy schedules. I will get people answers. I’m not going to hide anything from anybody. It’s not worth it,” he said. “They elect you to be their representative. I understand people’s frustrations. I just want to get things done.”
Mouser has been a car enthusiast most of his life: “For as long as I can remember.”
His first car was a 1955 Ford. Later, all he drove were Oldsmobiles, but then he would have two or three cars extra. He had purchased such classic cars as a 1940 Chevrolet, 1932 and 1933 Fords, and a 1968 Nova during his days attending car shows, swapping and collecting.
He has been involved in the automobile business for a long time. He is currently the business manager for Jack Schmitt Cadillac. He has been there since 1991, but has managed dealerships, too.
He owned the Oldsmobile dealership in downtown O’Fallon in 1980.
He began working at Household Finance in downtown St. Louis in 1973, and then briefly worked at a bank.
“You’re dealing with people buying cars. I was always talking cars,” he said. “Buying a car should be fun and exciting.”
He looks forward to work every day.
“I just love being here. I could quit, but I don’t want to. I love it. I like that, every morning, I have a place to go. Jack’s a great boss,” he said. “I like and trust the people. It’s a good working relationship. We’re like a big family.”
Mouser grew up in East St. Louis, then moved to Belleville with his mother after his parents’ divorced. He graduated from Belleville Township High School in 1965.
He joined the Army during the Vietnam era, serving as an infantry soldier from 1969 to 1976. Afterward, he spent time in the Army Reserves as a drill sergeant.
He met his wife, Rita Cullen, in 1991. He is stepfather to her three grown daughters, and also a grandpa.
He has lived in O’Fallon since 1984, and has three dogs — a Schnauzer and two Maltese.
“I love my dogs,” he said.
In his leisure time, what does he enjoy?
“I used to fish a lot, spend time on my boat. Now, I work mostly in the yard, or in the house. I still fiddle with cars. I am a homebody. I like hanging in town, hanging around the house,” he said.
He is enthusiastic about his city.
“I’ll be out walking my dogs without worrying about anything. I can walk the streets, and it’s very safe. Everybody says, ‘Hi,’ to you,” he said.
“Our job is to grow the city, get people to come to the city, and get heads in beds,” he said. “The Family Sports Park is the future.
He hopes the city resumes sponsoring a homecoming.
“We don’t have a homecoming anymore. I hope we can work things out again — something like a parade downtown, have rides for kids, a wholesome community event. It’s good for the soul of the city,” he said.
In the past, homecomings were very popular.
“It was a family environment. Kids can see how the world used to be. It’s important to have it in the park, and have people participate. You develop a sense of community. People see their neighbors. It’s a bonding situation. I think that’s important. Then, they look out for each other. It’s also a fun thing to do,” he said.
He maintains a positive attitude.
“I am happy to be here. I’m too old to let people upset me,” he said.
Q. Do you have words to live by?
A. I believe you can have everything in life that you want if you help people get what they want.
Q. Whom do you most admire?
A. John F. Kennedy.
Q. If you could spend time with a famous person, past or present, whom would it be?
A. Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Q. What is the last book that you read?
A. Various automobile publications.
Q. What do you do for fun and relaxation?
A. Working as O’Fallon, Illinois, city clerk is great fun for me. Fishing and yard work.
Q. What is the usual state of your desktop?
A. Organized clutter.
Q. What did you want to do career-wise when you were growing up?
Q. What do you think is your most outstanding characteristic?
A. Self-starter and dedicated to my work.
Q. What irritates you the most?
A. People that won’t listen.
Q. What type of music do you listen to?
A. ’40s, ’50s, ’60s.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Working with the public and making new friends every day.
Q. If you were independently wealthy, what would you be doing?
A. I would be operating a stray animal rescue center.
Q. When they make a movie of your life, who would play you?
A. Tommy Lee Jones.
Q. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you have with you?
A. My wife and my dogs.