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People & Places

Best Mayor 

Ann Purzner

In the annals of history, diplomatic city officials are easily forgotten. It's the tyrannical city administrators — power brokers like Chicago's Richard "Da Mare" Daley and New York's William "Boss" Tweed — whose reputation and influence stand the test of time. It's all the more impressive when such a mayor rises above the din in St. Louis County. What other metro area has more than 90 municipalities vying for attention? Since seizing control of Overland by a mere five votes this spring, Mayor Ann "The Purge" Purzner has consolidated power in a Machiavellian fashion that's impossible to ignore. Immediately upon taking office, Purzner replaced the city attorney and police chief without consent of the city council. Meanwhile, she'd allegedly misrepresented herself throughout her mayoral campaign by claiming to have worked as a registered nurse, even after the state Board of Nursing warned her in 2002 to cease and desist from practicing or representing herself as an employee in the field. In May St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch labeled Purzner a "liar" with "zero credibility" and sued her for exceeding her power as mayor. A judge later ruled Purzner had indeed overstepped her authority in the firing of the attorney and police chief, both of whom have been reinstated. In June a group of Overland residents began a recall campaign, but the mayor remains unapologetic. "I have always tried to do the best for the community," Purzner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I am like an angel."

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