Election 2012 Profile: Joanne Boulton for Clayton Board of Aldermen

Joanne Boulton is running unopposed this April to fill a vacancy in Ward 1 on the Clayton Board of Aldermen.

In anticipation of April 3 municipal elections in St. Louis County, Clayton-Richmond Heights Patch invited local candidates to answer several questions about their background, their respective city and their goals if elected to office. 

Links to Saturday's profile and those published in previous weeks will be added to the page. Questions for the candidates may be posted by commenting on this article. When doing so, readers are urged to follow Patch's terms of use.

(Get free election updates to your email inbox by subscribing to the  Clayton-Richmond Heights Patch newsletter.)

Additional questions about elections coverage may be directed to the editor by emailing nate.birt@patch.com.

The following is a profile of Joanne Boulton, who is seeking her first term as a Ward 1 representative on the . Marguerite Garrick also had filed to run for that seat but announced in February that she would be .

Name: Joanne Boulton
Years lived in Clayton:
11 years in Clayton, 30 years in the St. Louis area.
My husband, Scot, an attorney at Polsinelli Shughart, is an avid gardener. He is also active in the and volunteers at the Historic .  From time to time, he can be seen appearing as his alter ego, Ralph Clayton, at special events and tours.

We have two daughters, Elizabeth and Alexa. Elizabeth graduated from in 2007 and Smith College in 2011. She is currently a Fulbright Research Fellow in Darmstadt, Germany participating in atomic physics research. Alexa graduated from Clayton High School in 2010 and is currently a sophomore at University of Chicago.

My husband and I enjoy the active lifestyle available in the Clayton area and regularly take long walks through Clayton’s historic neighborhoods with our two dogs, Jesse and Ginger. I also delight in hiking, biking, cooking and travel.



Continuing education courses:

Professional background:
Currently I am a Project Coordinator with Trailnet on The Confluence Partnership and have direct responsibility for developing and implementing projects that reconnect people to our region’s Great Rivers. Two of our signature events are Eagle Days on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge and The Confluence Trash Bash.

I regularly collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies, for-profit and non-profit corporations, and individuals. It is essential to my role to listen and partner with diverse stakeholders to forge a shared vision that translates to actionable programs. Working collaboratively to design and implement programs that improve our region’s quality of life and governance is what I love doing.

Elected office(s) held previously: None

What do you like about your city?

I love that Clayton is a vibrant community that takes pride in its heritage, neighborhoods and schools while striving to be in the forefront of new initiatives.

The City has adopted the all-encompassing “” policy that focuses on planning an entire roadway with all users in mind — including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. As an avid walker and bicyclist, I especially appreciate this commitment by the city.

If you could change one thing about your city, what would it be? Why? 

Clayton attracts many wonderful seasonal activities such as the and .  I would like to see an expansion of these types of activities year round, which would create a more vibrant city center.

Identify a challenge your city is facing at this time.

In the current economy, most cities are facing a harsh economic reality of declining revenues and increasing costs. Clayton is not an exception. In the last two fiscal cycles the city has run a general revenue budget deficit, reaching $2.3 million at end of fiscal year 2011. 

Fortunately, as opposed to most U.S. cities, Clayton has a strong general revenue reserve and has been able to maintain current services using those reserves. However, deficit spending cannot continue indefinitely. Some difficult choices will need to be made, and the city staff has begun a dialogue with citizens about options going forward.

Describe a difficult decision that you have had to make. How does this situation illustrate the approach you would take to problem-solving as an elected leader? 

The Board of Trustees of my church appointed me the Owner’s Representative for a $2.5 million new chapel construction and renovation of our existing 1916 church structure. Unfortunately, the list of “wants” far exceeded the monies available and I was tasked with the difficult process of selecting which projects would and would not be included.

To prioritize the many requests, I met with each stakeholder or group of stakeholders to discuss the impact their requests would have on achieving the mission of our church. Over the course of a month of meetings we ferreted out true needs from wants. In many cases, by collaborating and thinking outside the box, we were able to determine that a result could be achieved in a less expensive manner. 

By involving all the stakeholders in the decision making process, everyone took ownership of the process and worked together for the common good. The outcome was an award-winning new chapel and beautiful restoration of the historic original building.

How would you characterize Clayton's economic climate? 

See “challenge” question above.

What is your philosophy with regard to economic development and financial responsibility in the city? 

Attracting new economic development is a vital component of a healthy city. However it is extremely important, in dense urban areas, that economic development is pursued in a manner that will not negatively impact the quality of life in residential neighborhoods. We must also seek development that will ultimately benefit the city and not increase deficits.

Our current financial situation is a great concern and my understanding of finance and respect for fiscal discipline have prepared me to seek solutions that are cost-sensitive while allowing our city to pursue growth and maintain our pre-eminence as a regional leader.

Identify an issue that is of greatest concern to the Clayton residents you would represent.

For the last three years, Clayton has administered a citizen’s satisfaction survey. Each year the city has received satisfaction ratings of between 94-97%. My goal is to continue to provide this high level of service while making sure the services are delivered as efficiently as possible. I support the city’s on-going efforts to assess & improve service delivery.

Clayton will celebrate its 100th year in 2013. What does this anniversary mean to you? 

Reaching the 100th anniversary is a moment of great pride for Clayton, and the city has made a commitment to mark the centennial in a way that will engage the community. I am very excited about all the festivities surrounding the celebration of ; in particular I am eager to see the that will be published in commemoration of the Centennial.

During a community engagement event hosted by the Centennial Steering Committee many appealing ideas and events were proposed. Beginning with the kick-off party in December 2012 this will be a wonderful opportunity for all members of the Clayton community, old and young, to come together and celebrate our past while looking forward to our future.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

For more details please visit my website at www.BoultonForAlderman.com.

Marta Varga March 27, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Great philosophy! I will support her! Marta V.


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