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Gralike to serve on MFPD board


By KAREN CALLANAN

Staff Reporter

Former Mehlville Board of Education member David Gra-like was appointed this week to the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

Board of Directors Chairman Tom O'Driscoll made the motion Monday night to appoint Gralike, a lifelong resident of the Mehlville Fire Protection District, to fill the seat formerly held by former chief Joseph Gaterman. Gralike will serve until next April's election.

Gaterman took the oath of office as the third director on April 19 after being elected to office April 8. Gaterman last his battle with cancer on April 29.

"I look forward to working with Mr. O'Driscoll and Mr. Ottoline in assuring that our community is protected," Gralike told the Call after the board's decision.

Gralike was elected to the Mehlville Board of Education in 1997 and re-elected in 2000. As president of the Board of Ed-ucation, he established a Citizens' Advisory Committee, which identified and prioritized the district's needs and evolved into the victorious campaign committee to fund those needs.

In addition, Gralike assisted with the formation of the South St. Louis County La-bor political organization in the early 1990s. In his response to a questionnaire from the fire district's Board of Directors, Gralike wrote, "As a school board member I demanded that we compensate our teachers as though our future depended upon them. I believe that firefighters and paramedics should be compensated as though our lives depend upon them."

Before making his motion to appoint Gralike, O'Driscoll outlined the process that he and Board Treasurer Dan Ottoline Sr. used to fill the board vacancy. He said the board met in closed session to discuss this process a few weeks ago.

"In essence, what we tried to do was first of all, get the names of people who were interested in serving and then ask them to tell us their qualifications in their mind in terms of serving on this board and try to get a feel for what they thought were the most pressing issues for the fire district at this particular time."

"We had some absolutely excellent candidates to look at ... I was just tickled with what we got back from those seven people," O'Driscoll said. He said all the candidates did a "very nice job responding to us," and he appreciated their efforts.

In his questionnaire, Gralike responded, "The most important objective is to provide the equipment and facilities necessary for our firefighters and paramedics to allow them to fulfill their responsibility of protecting the public. Secondly, it is essential that all district employees develop genuine reverence to the district, the district's administration and board. Thirdly, the Mehlville Fire Protection District must engage the community to improve the public's perception of the district and to encourage support."

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