In a race that was decided by 213 votes, incumbent Aaron Hilmer defeated Mike Klund for board chairman of the Mehlville Fire Protection District and will serve another six-year term.
More than $90,000 was thrown Klund’s way as he collected 7,205 votes totaling 47.52 percent of the votes.
Hilmer received 7,418 votes totaling 48.92 percent of the fire district’s voters.
“I’m glad that voters looked through the deceitful campaigning of my opponent, and they elected me based on the performance of my last six years,” Hilmer said. “And I look forward to six more years serving them.”
Hilmer was leading by approximately 500 votes at one point, but Klund closed in on the lead, bringing the margin to a little more than 200.
“I was a little nervous, but at the end of the day, I was very peaceful that I work for the shareholders of the district, and if they wanted me to run their district they would re-elect me,” Hilmer said. “And they did.”
After his defeat, Klund said he would still be active in the fire district.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’ll still be the fire district watchdog and do what I’ve done, bring up questions and go to the meetings and do what I’ve been doing. I think we made a statement tonight.”
Klund’s supporters gathered at The Sports Pub in Oakville, bringing in firefighters not only from Mehlville, but from Mid-County, Pattonville and Affton.
“I never felt safe at my job,” said former Mehlville firefighter Dan Marcus. “People were getting fired and demoted without cause. I came to support Mike for a better reputation at the administrative level. They don’t meet and confer with the union.”
Marcus worked for Mehlville Fire for two years and now works for the Pattonville Fire Protection District.
Mehlville Fire Protection District Chief Tim White said that current Mehlville firefighters are being taken care of.
“This board has been quite generous with firefighters and paramedics here,” White said. “They (the firefighters) have always had the power and ability to find a way to slip away a lot of the taxpayers’ money in their direction. Now they have a board that’s more conscious.”
White said he approved of the current board’s mission to lower taxes while upping services to district residents.
“In no way are the taxpayers cheating these firefighters,” he said. “They’re still in the top 10 percent wealthiest people.”
As for Hilmer’s next six years, he said, “I feel that I have accomplished 80 percent of what I wanted to accomplish April 5 when I was elected six years ago. I have about 20 percent more left to go.”
|Mehlville Fire Board||Number of Votes||Percentage of Vote|