Fired or Resigned? City Administrator's Ouster Remains a Mystery
Petree Eastman left Crestwood employment on March 9, but the nature of her departure remains unknown.
Fire Chief Karl Kestler was named acting Crestwood city administrator nearly a month ago, but details remain murky on the nature of Petree Eastman’s departure, who left city employment just six months into an 18-month contract.
Eastman’s last day was on March 9, City Attorney Robert Golterman said, but city officials won't disclose the nature of Eastman's departure. In a closed meeting on March 16, the Crestwood Board of Aldermen only voted for Kestler's appointment, but no record exists regarding a resignation or termination of Eastman.
If Eastman was fired, the vote should be revealed in the closed meeting's minutes. But in a St. Louis-Post Dispatch story, Eastman is quoted as saying that she did not resign. There also is no letter of resignation on file with the city, according to a Patch public records request.
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Board members and Mayor Jeff Schlink have declined further comment on the situation, referring all future questions to Golterman. Golterman said he expects more information to be available soon, but he wouldn’t elaborate beyond that.
Schlink did confirm that Eastman’s $98,000 contract terms are being worked out and that the city is not looking for a new city administrator.
At a March 27 meeting, the board approved a monthly salary bump of $1,500 for Kestler, adding to his salary of $82,830.
Several rumors have arisen in the Crestwood community regarding why Eastman is no longer employed with the city. The South County Times reported conflicts with the board over sharing the city’s checkbook register. However, during last month’s board meeting, Golterman said the city has neither confirmed or denied these reports.
Eastman was Crestwood’s first woman city administrator. Being a University City citizen, an ordinance was passed to allow her to work in Crestwood, followed by a standing ovation from the meeting audience.