Candidate for Aldermen Withdraws from Race After Comments at Board Meeting

John Zepaltas had previously filed for candidacy for Ward 3.

After Wednesday night's regular meeting, a candidate for Ward 3 Alderman was recorded on city video making comments to staff members that may have resulted in his withdrawing his candidacy.

John Zepaltas, who had filed for candidacy last month, approached city staff after the regular meeting was over and the aldermen and mayor had left the board room.

Zepaltis was upset about the cost overruns for the Splash Station project. He asked how the project got past planners.

The city's video camera was still running, and although he was off-camera, Zepaltas can be heard to say, "Mr. Kolb disappointed the hell out of me." He said that if that was the way that projects are administered, the procedures needed to be changed.

"I am just pissed," Zepaltas said. "If I had an AK-47. . "

At that point, procurement director Jerry Hillin interrupted him and said, "End that conversation now."

And Zepaltas added, " . . . I would make a lot of noise."

Zepaltas then left the room.

City Clerk Vi Skillman issued a list of candidates the following day, and Zepaltas was not on that list. Skillman confirmed to Patch that Zepaltas had withdrawn his candidacy.

Interim City Administrator George Kolb spoke to Patch about the incident. Kolb said that he believed that Zepaltas regretted his words and that he'd apologized. Kolb said that the incident "had dealt with itself."

He did, however, emphasize the need for diligent security at city hall, citing events like the Kirkwood city council shootings in 2008 and the recent Sandy Hook tragedy.

"We have to keep our eyes open," Kolb said.

Devon Seddon January 15, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Kolb should have the right to be the one to press those charges or not, though, no? I'm not defending what was said. I think Zapaltas said something stupid. I think at this point he has at least also realized that himself. Look, locking people up when they haven't acted in any way, but simply said something stupid would CLEARLY become a VERY dangerous thing, VERY quickly, especially in a day & age where there are cameras everywhere. Look into history at days even before cameras where people could be locked-up for something they said in anger. Look at how that turned-out. You wouldn't want to live in any of those places. I don't think we want to live in a country where someone is constantly looking & listening to see if anyone ever says anything for which they can be jailed. In a country where people are snapping left & right, do you really want to be responsible for taking away the freedom to vent as well? Be careful what you wish for is all I'm saying. Again, save the city employees. Yes, I'm in favor of it. Let's save the city employees, by all means. But let's remember as we do it, that McGuffin in this story, just like in Psycho, is the mismanaged money. Amazing how we are all now distracted from that little nugget, isn't it?
Devon Seddon January 15, 2013 at 12:37 AM
I'll admit, I was not at the meeting, and don't have the minutes in front of me. I was more interested in why more than what, & according to the story, I translated this: "approached city staff after the regular meeting was over and the aldermen and mayor had left the board room" & "The city's video camera was still running, and although he was off-camera, Zepaltas can be heard" as: the meeting was over, everyone else had even left the room but (boops) the camera was still running - sorry I misunderstood.
seriously concerned January 15, 2013 at 05:07 PM
You said you "have no horse in the race", well I do and I've paid very close attention to the Board meetings (which are public record) and voting records of the Aldermen (which are public record). I recommend before you comment that you take the time to research the record. I prefer to have the facts instead of making assumptions...but that's just me!
bad politics January 16, 2013 at 09:44 PM
KSDK (channel 5) news ran this story on the 5, 6, and10 o'clock news yesterday and the 6 am news this morning. So, I'm guessing SOME people think it's an important story! The leaders in Wentzville look extremely foolish and irresponsible with the mishandling of this situation. Mr. Kobe stated in his rambling way on the news how "aware" you need to be but turned right around and said they wouldn't be adding any extra security or changing anything in the Board meetings. I guess the liability will be on the city if anything happens in the future. It's on tape that they chose not to make adjustments or changes! Thanks to The Patch and KSDK for keeping us informed!
Devon Seddon January 29, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Your facts differ from the story. Is it me who is always pointing out that there is a difference between what actually happens & what's reported? Or is that someone else?


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