Chuck Gross leaving county government to lead Duckett Creek
Chuck Gross, director of administration for St. Charles County Government, will be leaving his position in mid-January, to become executive director of Duckett Creek Sanitary District. The leadership of the sanitary district is changing because of the Dec. 31 retirement of the current director Tom Engle.
Gross, 54, is a former state legislator, having served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1993 through 1999, and in the Missouri Senate from 2000 to June, 2007. He served as the Senate Appropriations chairman from 2005 to 2007.
County Executive Steve Ehlmann said Gross’ service to county government has paid enormous dividends, especially in the area of the county’s financial position, as it struggled through the harsh economic climate of the last four years.
“With Chuck’s experience as Senate Appropriations chair and holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration, he was able to hit the ground running when he arrived here 5 ½ years ago, just as the economy was about to tank,” Ehlmann said. “His expertise was sorely needed as we worked through reductions in employee levels and cuts in operating expenses, while still maintaining healthy reserves and a balanced budget each year. I wish Chuck was not leaving, but I respect the opportunity he has to lead his own organization. I know he would like to come back as county executive one day, and I hope he gets a chance to do that, as he would do a great job.”
Gross, for his part, sees the move as a natural step in a career with ever increasing responsibilities. “While I thoroughly enjoyed county government, anytime you are asked to assume the leadership of an already successful organization, it’s a challenge you have to look at,” Gross said.
The county executive has filled the director of administration position with Joann Leykam, who has served as the county counselor for 18 years. Leykam came to county government after serving in state government in director positions in the Department of Mental Health and as an assistant attorney general. She served as interim director of administration under Ehlmann until Gross assumed the position after completing the 2007 state legislative session. Leykam is a graduate of Northwestern University and Washington University School of Law.
“Joann has an outstanding record of public service as the director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health,” Ehlmann said. “The years she has served as county counselor allowed her to observe firsthand the inner workings of all county departments. All of the department heads that report to the director of administration have the utmost respect for her leadership capabilities.”
Greg Dohrman, associate county counselor, will serve as the acting county counselor.