Patch sent all local candidates for office identical questionnaires in order to compile candidate profiles prior to the April election. Each candidate who returned the survey will be featured on the site.
Alex Berger III, 63
- Address: 8025 Venetian Drive, Clayton
- Occupation: Business Consultant
- Education: Drake University, Masters Public Administration (1974); B.A. History (1972); Drake University
- Family: Wife Cynthia. Two children — Clayton High School graduates 1997 and 2000.
- Years in Clayton: 50
- Professional Experience: More than 30 years professional and executive Human Resources and Customer Service experience (Barnes-Jewish Hospital, BJC HealthCare: Angelica Image Apparel; Emerson Electric: East-West Gateway Coordinating Council); Business Consultant (ProActive Leadership Consultants, LLC)
- Community Service: Trustee, Davis Place Subdivision; City of Clayton, Ward III Alderman, 2002-2011; 2012-present (10 years); Clayton Education Foundation; St. Louis Community College Foundation; Wilson School Board of Trustees
What prompted your decision to seek elective office?
I will provide the leadership for our community, the passion, the vision and to do what's right:
- I will enhance and improve our community through a pro-active approach to fiscal management and economic development
- I will ensure the vitality of our residential neighborhoods
- I will advocate and support empowered processes of citizen and stakeholder engagement.
- I will enhance and broaden community partnerships
As Mayor I will manage relationships and build networks. I will find common ground and build rapport to effectively lead change and create new solutions to build Clayton for tomorrow, TODAY!
Biggest issue facing Clayton
Clayton has become the best place to live, raise a family and work because of resident and stakeholder input to and partnership with the City government. Today there is a need to change, alter and renovate. We have an advantageous residential and business environment that in the past has generated sufficient revenue to support the delivery of services and operation of facilities. We suffered a downturn in revenues and we did not respond pro-actively on managing expenses.
We need to:
- be more disciplined and innovative in managing our expenditures.
- be more responsive to our business community and treat them like a customer.
- expand how we communicate and engage with our residences to develop new solutions to our challenges.
In what area does Clayton need to improve?
Our city government has been excellent in the delivery of services, safety and security to our community. However, we need our staff to be creative in finding ways to continue to deliver service excellence at a lower operating cost. We need to adopt a process improvement mentality.
We also need to focus on being more customer-service oriented. As a government, our customers are our residents, our City’s business owners and their employees. Not only should we be good stewards of their tax dollars, but we should also respond to their needs.
For example, a resident calling with question should be helped, not told to just “look on the website.” A business owner wanting to locate in our City should be guided through the development process to establish their business, not treated like an adversary. We should take a look at some of our regulations to see if they really make sense and serve the people, or if they have negative impacts that prevent our existing businesses from thriving and potential businesses from locating here.
What will I do to help small businesses and retail?
Economic development is a primary responsibility for the next Mayor of Clayton.
While a Task Force of city staff, elected officials, with citizens and Clayton business owners are currently in the process of developing new tactics to support our existing retail/restaurant businesses, we need a comprehensive marketing, promotional and support strategy for retail to accompany these fixes. I have long advocated for:
- Adding another signature special event, similar to the St. Louis Art Fair, to foster a greater sense of community, support our retail businesses and restaurants, and attract people from other areas to experience everything Clayton has to offer.
- Creating wayfinding signage, a Clayton Mobile App and expanded marketing efforts in order to promote Clayton retailers and restaurants, make it easier for people to locate parking and find their way around the city.
- Facilitating an entrepreneurship initiative, which would be a new development avenue for our city to explore.
- Assessing the opportunity to attract a cultural venue to Clayton. Clayton is known as a destination for dining in the region, but we lack other entertainment and cultural venues.
Most importantly, our City must partner with our business community. We are fortunate to have an incredibly smart and deep pool of talent in Clayton. Let’s get those experts involved, let’s develop stronger relationships so that we can better leverage our resources and our opportunities.
What single thing would I want to accomplish in my 1st year:
My top priority is to balance our City budget, but the most important thing I’ve learned while walking through our neighborhoods campaigning is that our stakeholders want to help and be part of the process.
There will always be circumstances impacting the City that we can’t always control, but we also have a gap, a disconnect, with those we serve and I believe our City government CAN control that. We can actively engage with citizens, make sure they are in the know, have a say and that they have the opportunity participate. We need citizen involvement to help make the hard decisions easier.