March 27, 2013 - Two years ago, union firefighters and their supporters pumped $100,000 into Mike Klund's unsuccessful effort to unseat Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer.
Klund and his union supporters now have set their sights on unseating current board Secretary Ed Ryan in the Tuesday, April 2, election.
Since his defeat in 2011, Klund has attended less than a handful of fire board meetings. During his entire tenure on the board, Ryan has missed three meetings, by his count.
As a board member, Ryan, a retired electrical engineer/project manager for the Parkway School District, saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars by painstakingly poring over page after page of blueprints for the three firehouses that have been constructed during his time on the board.
Two years ago, an online publication quoted Klund as saying, "I think Bonnie (Stegman) and Ed (Ryan) have concerns with the district. They don't have hidden agendas, I believe I would work well with them ..."
Yet today, Klund's union-funded campaign is attacking Ryan, spewing asinine allegations about "wasteful spending." Hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Let's consider some of Klund's "facts":
• Ambulance billing is double taxation. Hardly. The district bills the insurance company of a Mehlville resident who uses ambulance service and the resident does not make any co-payment. Given his desire to eliminate ambulance billing, a Call questionnaire asked Klund how he would replace the roughly $2.3 million that ambulance billing currently generates.
Not surprisingly, he didn't respond.
• Two years ago, Klund contended the fire district's reserves had been "depleted'' in building new firehouses. Yet, Mehlville's approved 2013 budget projects enough reserves to operate the fire district for a year.
Asked if he believed the district's reserves are adequate, Klund did not respond to the Call's questionnaire.
Klund claims he will "restore transparency to the fire district," yet he won't respond to this newspaper's questions, preferring to hide behind his union handlers.
It's this simple: A vote for Klund is a vote for union representation on the MFPD board. A vote for Ryan is a vote for taxpayer representation on the MFPD board.
Given the stellar job he's performed the past six years, the Call wholeheartedly endorses Ryan.