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Ottoline says fire district board hoping to meet sometime soon; up to O'Driscoll


Staff Reporter

Dan Ottoline, treasurer of the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors, says the board hopes to meet sometime soon, although it will be up to the chairman.

Board Chairman Tom O'Driscoll suffered major injuries in a hit-and-run accident when he was riding on his motorcycle on the afternoon of April 27. The three-member board's April 28 meeting was canceled and the board has not met since.

A St. Louis University Hospital representative said O'Driscoll was undergoing surgery May 22 when the Call inquired about his condition.

The day after the accident, he was listed in critical condition following a couple operations. Within a week, doctors had upgraded his condition to serious.

The board's third member, former chief Joseph Gaterman, lost his battle with cancer on April 29, 10 days after after being sworn in as the board's new secretary.

He had been elected to the Board of Directors on April 8, defeating two other candidates for the post.

Ottoline told the Call last week that while he and O'Driscoll could meet telephonically via a conference call, O'Driscoll does not want to do that.

Despite the lack of the board's regular weekly meetings, Ottoline assured the Call that the district is operating smoothly.

"If we were all gone, they'd trudge on," he said. "No matter how important we think we are, things go on without us."

Deputy Chief Steve Mossotti, who also serves as the district's media liaison, said the board would meet as soon as possible, but the district officials are "playing it by ear to see how Mr. O'Driscoll progresses."

O'Driscoll plans to continue with his po-sition as director, Mossotti said, and "hopefully make a full recovery back to the board table as soon as physically possible."

District officials have been conducting business as usual without the board meetings, the deputy chief said.

"The few items that would require the board's approval have been put on hold, but we don't have any major issue that we need done right away," Mossotti said.

Ottoline said that no discussions have occurred regarding an appointment to fill Gaterman's board seat.

"I figure the man's got enough troubles now," Ottoline said of O'Driscoll. "Once he gets better, then we'll talk. That's just another thing he doesn't need to worry about now."

Mossotti said that he only knew of speculations on who would be appointed to the board.

O'Driscoll had been riding a motorcycle through the intersection of Gravois Road and Duke Street April 27 when an unlicensed male driver in an automobile ran a stop sign and struck the left side of O'Driscoll's motorcycle, according to the St. Louis Police Department.

The driver of the automobile was arrested, but has not been charged, a police spokeswoman said last week. Warrants relating to the case have been taken under advisement until O'Driscoll can be interviewed, she said.

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