Why I am running for Mayor of Maplewood as a write-in candidate

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Why I am running for Mayor of Maplewood as a write-in candidate
By Barry Greenberg

I am too committed to the Maplewood community to have it move in the direction it is going: a place where City Council believes that institutional knowledge is a liability, whether it be as elected officials, board and commission appointments or the hiring of the City Manager. Change for the sake of change is not a viable political philosophy.

In the 18 years I served on City Council and as Mayor, there was an exchange of ideas and respect for dissenting viewpoints. Meeting minutes weren’t tabled to keep the public from knowing how decisions were being made. We corrected our minutes in public, in real time because that’s how transparent government works. I believe that the Council and Mayor should serve the community they live in, not promote personal agendas or attempt to solve world problems beyond the scope of the Council’s role as delineated in the City Charter.

I originally did not file to run because the election process had become so politicized, mirroring the tactics ruining our state and federal governments by polarizing voters and pushing them farther to the opposite ends of the spectrum. I didn’t care to subject myself again to social media posts that included personal attacks on my family and my role as a parent. After the candidate filing deadline of October 31st, the news came out regarding the process to hire a new City Manager, and I couldn’t be complacent.

In 18 years of service, I made some mistakes, learned from them and grew. When things didn’t turn out as planned, I learned how to do better research, listen to more people and process information for the benefit of as many citizens and businesses as possible. I mention businesses because they have been the economic engine of the city’s prosperity and their health is essential to the health of our community.

I appreciate the City Hall staff, the Public Works Department, our Police and Fire Departments, and all other city departments that have done an outstanding job through their dedication and professionalism. When a city succeeds as we have, much of it has to do with the role of the City Manager, whose job is to be CEO of the municipality. The selection of that position requires experience, skills and dedication, all of which are essential qualifications.

I am extremely fortunate to have the love and support of my wife, Deni, for 24 years. She has accompanied me to numerous National League of Cities and Missouri Municipal League conferences, (not at taxpayer expense), ribbon cuttings, Kiwanis meetings and Maplewood events. I am proud of my daughter Lis, her husband Jake and their two boys, Beau and Ryatt. I also take immense satisfaction that my son, Dan, married a teacher and became a paramedic and firefighter. He and his wife Emily have given us both a grandson, Eli, and granddaughter, Mila. And to complete our family is Davi, our beautiful and beloved whippet.

I am committed to making sure that the workings of the Council are open, honest and transparent. I am committed to listening to all voices when helping make Council decisions. I am committed to maintaining and restoring the checks and balances in the City Charter that define the roles of the Mayor and City Manager. I am committed to doing what I think is in the best interests of the entire community. And that is why I am committed to running for Mayor.

For more information, please visit writeinbarrygreenberg.com

Editor: As always, comments are subject to moderation.

25 COMMENTS

  1. My experience with Barry was him monitoring my construction build outs on Sutton Blvd. He told me it was taking too long. But what he did not monitor was the payments I was receiving from the building owner. PS. I was never paid the final in full. Barry has some personality flaws. Maplewood MO from my experience is a drama and ongoing drama. The City charter they have adopted is questionable.

    • Thank GOD that Mayor Knapper doesn’t have any personality flaws or control issues or contentious relationships or fiscal shenanigans. You are right about one thing-Maplewood is absolutely embroiled in drama! And while Barry may have some issues, the current mayor is arguably the common denominator in most of the BS going on here now!

  2. My suggestion to those seeking “proof” of concerns about either candidate: seek out the people who have had or more recently left leadership roles in the city and have a personal conversation. Once burned, people, for their own peace of mind and often the city’s welfare at heart will NOT make the details of their experiences THAT public. Then make your own judgement regarding your vote. This isn’t a big town. Further, read up on “effective” management and leadership practices in our kind of city government…one with a city manager (different than one without a city manager).
    (Then there is the wielding of political powers on any level …that a whole other topic, on and under the table…which is totally fraught with opinion as we see nationally.)
    Hopefully our good little town can weather all this as positively as possible and move forward! We have always been a relatively positive place in recent years and we have embraced change…more than many may realize. It does take a deep understanding of the various segments of our community, however, to not trample on folks in a rush to judgements/single-minded change. It takes patience and a diplomacy that can be hard to come by at times.

    • Or they can watch that disastrous budget town hall meeting that was a dumpster fire wrapped inside a train-wreck! That alone tells you all you need to know about this mayor and her plans for the city aided by her sycophants on city council. Highly educated people mostly and coming up with some realllly dumb ideas.

  3. When Mayor Knapper took office in 2020, she was endorsed by over half of the existing City Council serving at time. It speaks volumes that 4 of the 6 council members from that time no longer support her.

    Knapper came in like a wrecking ball beginning with city commissions…she kicked people off boards/commissions and appointed unqualified and/or ineligible people to serve, only to turn around weeks/months later to reinvite the people she kicked off after realizing that qualifications and skills actually matter. This was especially unfair to those who she appointed who were set-up for failure from the start. Despite open positions on boards and over-qualified candidates applying, she declined to appoint anyone for whom she didn’t deem to be an ally. This was just a preview into what we now know to be appalling acts of cronyism.

    As a politician, Knapper wants to make a name for herself, which isn’t unusual for politicians…however, she wants to do it on the taxpayer dime. If nothing else…please, please, please VOTE NO on the propositions J&S. Look no further than the circus budget town hall meeting from 1/24 at Schlafly Bottleworks. It’s well worth the time…and though sound quality limited and only TWO council people in attendance..tells you everything you need to know.

    Go Barry.

    • Knapper made a name for herself, alright. Google her and a lot of her sketchy actions are right at the top. She’ll be hard pressed to get elected elsewhere considering the distaste she’s engendered. For someone who brags about how smart she is, she sure makes stupid decisions.

      • and she literally CANNOT admit when she is wrong. She is surrounded by sycophants and political climbers who are too thick to realize that she has limited appeal beyond our uber liberal little town.

        Their realities are crumbling now that more and more people are aware of her cronyism and arrogance. I still cannot get over how she treated her former campaign manager and clearly thought he would just roll over an play dead…but again, narcissism is a weird thing. Just ask Trump.

      • Okay, I literally did exactly as you suggested and Googled “Nikylan Knapper” and even within the 62 results shown to me on the first page, there were ZERO questionable or sketcy things that I found. I know algorithms and stuff can affect what we see, but can anyone point me to some evidence of wrongdoing that’s not hearsay?

        Again, not saying anyone is wrong. I’m just looking for some evidence.

        I witnessed a rather juvenile interaction between Mayor Knapper and Jenny Schmitt, and I’ve had a rather eye-opening back and forth with Barry…where he was ready to argue over social media. So maybe both have personality issues. Don’t we all.

        • Sounds like you will just have to follow your hunch/gut on this, Travis. I would say the palpable backlash against Knapper-especially from many who supported her suggests that while there may be nothing illegal, her political capital has declined considerably.

          And if you don’t think the manner in which the old city manager exited and the new one came into power isn’t “sketchy,” I truly don’t know what to tell you. It was the opposite of transparent. Also, she doesn’t support local businesses.

          Just ask some of the restaurant owners about her Food Truck shenanigans. She is resistant to criticism or even questioning by anyone.

  4. “I believe that the Council and Mayor should serve the community they live in, not promote personal agendas or attempt to solve world problems beyond the scope of the Council’s role as delineated in the City Charter.”

    All of that. I think our local leaders misinterpret or seriously misunderstand their roles. They were not given a mandate for the types and scope of changes they are proposing. Especially with Prop J. To call it misguided and not well thought out would be an understatement.

    • Can you show me where in the charter that it says Council is given a mandate to make changes?
      Below I have pasted directly from the charter.

      Its worth noting some specific lines:
      Council is the legislative body.
      The Mayor is recognized as head of the city government for all legal and ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law
      The council by the affirmative vote of a majority of its members shall appoint a city manager, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Council

      I understand there are lots more details to our chapter, none of them change these fundamental things. I didn’t write the chapter. I have read it. lots of times!
      if I am misinterpreting my role. I am open to that conversation.

      https://library.municode.com/mo/maplewood/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTICH_ARTIIPO
      ARTICLE III. – THE COUNCIL

      Sec. 3.1. – Where powers vested.
      Except as this Charter provides otherwise, all powers of the city shall be vested in the council. The council shall provide for the exercise of these powers and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law. The council shall be the legislative body.

      Sec. 4.4. – Mayor’s powers and duties.
      The mayor shall have the following powers and duties:

      (a) Preside at meetings of the council, shall have the right to vote, and shall be recognized as head of the city government for all legal and ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law. (b) Call special meetings of the council as provided in section 3.10(a). (c) See that all laws, provisions of the Charter and acts of the council, subject to enforcement by him or by officers subject to his direction and supervision, are faithfully executed. (d) Have the responsibility of discussing with the city manager any and all policy matters; however, he shall not interfere in the day-to-day administration of city affairs.
      The mayor shall have no veto powers and shall have only those administrative powers as are set forth in this Charter or by state law.

      ARTICLE V. – CITY MANAGER

      Sec. 5.1. – Appointment; qualifications; compensation.
      The council by the affirmative vote of a majority of its members shall appoint a city manager, who shall serve at the pleasure of the council. The city manager shall be appointed solely on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications. He need not be a resident of the city or state at the time of his appointment. He may reside outside the city while in office for a period of time not to exceed six months, only with the approval of the council. The compensation and terms of employment shall be set by the council.

      Sec. 5.2. – Powers and duties of the city manager.
      The city manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the city. he shall be responsible to the council for the administration of all city affairs in his charge by or under this Charter. He shall have the following powers and duties:

      (a) The city manager shall see that all laws, provisions of the charter and acts of the council, subject to enforcement by the city manager or by officers subject to the city manager’s direction and supervision, are faithfully executed. (b) The city manager shall appoint and, when the city manager deems it necessary for the good of the city, suspend or remove all city employees and appointive administrative officers provided by law, by this charge or by the terms of the personnel code adopted pursuant to this Charter. The city manager may authorize any administrative officer who is subject to the city manager’s direction and supervision to exercise these powers with respect to that officer’s subordinates. (c) The city manager shall direct and supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of the city, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law. (d) The city manager shall prepare and submit the annual budget and capital program to the council. (e) The city manager shall keep the council fully advised of the financial condition and future needs of the city. The city manager shall submit to the council a complete report on the finances and administrative activities of the city as of the end of each fiscal year. The city manager shall make such other reports as the council may require concerning operations of the city subject to the direction and supervision of the city manager. All reports made by the city manager shall be made available to the public unless said report covers subject matter protected from public disclosure under the terms of Chapter 610 of the Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo ch. 610). (f) The city manager shall attend all open council meetings and shall have the right to take part in discussion, but may not vote. The city manager shall receive notice of all special meetings. (g) The city manager shall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this Charter, by ordinance or by law..

      • You misunderstand…the point is that the citizens here never asked any of you to literally give lawbreakers a “pass” on our dime. The term “mandate” was used loosely here-substitute it as you see fit with another word. Who originated this Prop J idea?

        We’re being asked to fund a public defender to defend people who are breaking the law. Period.

        And it’s stupid because unless you’re holding back additional info, the Maplewood cops will still issue citations for these violations, yes? So we pay the cops to enforce the law and then ask the defender to undo that legally and the violators then go on their merry way to likely get pulled over and cited again in a different area of STL. And per Nick Homa in the budget town hall, there is NO LIMIT as to how many times we would defend an individual for the same violation??????

        It literally makes no sense…and yet y’all are doubling down because you want to feel good about yourselves. How about you do that on your own time and your own dime, ok?

        • you used a quote from the former Mayor, that’s states I am working “beyond the scope of the Council’s role as delineated in the City Charter.”

          When people who may not have read the charter hear something like that, and believe it.
          I feel it’s right to share how the charter actually reads and help create a shared understanding of what the roles are.
          if you would like to have a discussion about any of the Propositions on the ballot or any other policies or procedures, Im happy to do so ANYTIME.
          [email protected] email me and ill send you, or any resident my personal cell number.

          • Matt, I would like the answer to GL’s question about who came up with this idea about hiring a defense attorney for people being ticketed in Maplewood as well. Lets be on the up and up and post the answer here for the sake of transparency. There should not be a reason it couldn’t be posted here and everyone that reads it will know. Why would everyone have to call you personally to find that out?

  5. Controversial opinion perhaps: I’m not liking either choice. But maybe that’s my own ignorance.
    Can we run down some of the various pluses and minuses for clarity’s sake? To save keystrokes, I will refer to our choices as NK and BG, if that’s okay.

    First let me start by saying that I’ve seen several accusations and predictions, etc. But I’m not sure where the truth lies. Some of the blame for this is that neither NK or BG seem to jump in to dispute these accusations. I’ll point some of these out in a moment. Maybe I should go down some pros and cons as I see them right now. These are my opinions, and I want to know what others think. Some of these may not have anything to do with the mayoral position, so again, forgive my ignorance.

    NK Pros (as I see them):
    1. Seems to have her heart in the right place and cares about marginalized people.
    2. Projects like the crosswalks seem to have turned out pretty good.
    3. Older adults seem to be considered in policies.

    BG Pros (as I see them):
    1. Has experience and maybe has learned some things.
    2. Maybe sees flaws in the propositions on the upcoming ballot
    3. Seems to have support from some business owners…including Crow’s Nest, Schlafly, etc.

    NK Cons (as I see them):
    1. Controversy over city manager not addressed in a satisfactory way. Perceived favoritism for “friends.” I’m not sure if there is any truth to this, but when confronted about this, the only answer I’ve seen is that “the board is the one who approved the new city manager.” That doesn’t really calm any suspicions about favoritism. Plus the process for seeking candidates seems to have rubbed some folks the wrong way. Instead of canned answers, the mayor or council could have said…”we see your point, and we will try to be more transparent next time.”
    2. Prop J? As others have mentioned on 40 South, hiring an attorney to fix or reduce fines for not having your car up to snuff doesn’t seem to address the underlying problem. I understand and agree that fines and fees disproportionately affect marginalized people, but I would rather have my tax dollars go to some sort of case worker who will help people get all the things in place to drive legally. I dread renewing my plates every couple of years. It’s a pain, and if I had a job that didn’t allow time off, I’m not sure how I would get it done. That’s where a social worker or case worker of some sort could be very helpful. And let’s say a lawyer fixes your fine and then you get pulled over in another community. You would be right back where you would have been before, owing money. A lawyer to fix fines WILL NOT HELP. It’s a terrible idea from my perspective.
    3. It looks bad that council members chose to leave under this leadership. In particular, Jenny Smith, who everyone raved about and seemed to have such a logical thought process. I watched a council meeting where Jenny and NK basically were going back and forth calling each other liars…shortly thereafter, Jenny was gone. Again, I don’t know where the truth lies in this…but somebody was lying and it just didn’t look good for the city. I saw some red flags and was pretty disappointed. The former city manager also decided to leave, despite being paid pretty well. There has been speculation about why he left, but not concrete answers. BTW, a similar situation is going on in Webster. City manager came in and ruffled a bunch of feathers, causing lots of city workers to quit. Part of it had to do with her friend being hired for some position. I don’t know if NK will read this but, YOU MUST AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF FAVORITISIM at all costs.

    BG Cons (as I see them):
    1. Personal interactions with BG have soiled my opinion of him. He was responsive, but basically told me my idea was stupid…Basically I said there was no parking at the Post Office and we could put a few parking spaces on the side of the building so that you could pull in facing the building and then back out onto the street and leave when done. His response was that I could park way over in the community lot, then walk over to the PO. I asked, what if I were in a wheelchair? Should I have to park over in the community lot and try to wheel across the street? He just seemed very defensive of the PO and also said their service was top notch and there were no issues there!
    2. Don’t know if this has anything to do with the mayoral position, but the city was sued for predatory policing practices. There seemed to also be some policies that allowed landlords to evict victims of abuse…depending on the number of noise complaints. Again, not sure if BG had any sway in these things, but it happened during his watch.
    3. I don’t know that things were any better in any way under BG. Let me know if I’m wrong, and how. I don’t want to hear about rumors of the current mayor appointing friends, etc…unless someone has absolute proof.

    To me, both candidates seem to be a bit high and mighty. I commend them for even attempting to lead our community, but I would like to see some transparency, accountability, integrity…and defend yourself if something is said about you that is wrong. Otherwise the citizens of Maplewood only have the voices of other community members, without any idea who has an agenda or personal vendetta.

    • “I don’t know if NK will read this but, YOU MUST AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF FAVORITISM at all costs.”

      LOL–that horse left the barn already–and make no mistake that it IS favoritism. She literally handed out board appointments to people who were her mouthpieces during her campaign. In fact, she put several of them on not one but two boards. She will put relationships over skills and experience every time she can. At the potential detriment to everyone who lives here.

      Also-I think you are referring to Jenny Schmitt (not Smith) who was a strong supporter of Nikylan’s until she had to work with her and found out just how unscrupulous she can be…too bad more people didn’t see it earlier or had just shown up to vote.

      I am confident that won’t be the case this time.

      • I’m not close enough to any of these people and haven’t followed closely enough to see, perhaps…But I don’t have any knowledge of board appointments to people who were her mouthpiece…I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just saying, how can a regular citizen of Maplewood confirm what you say.

        YES – You are correct…Jenny Schmitt! Sorry, Jenny! That’s who I was talking about. The interaction I witnessed between Jenny and NK was disappointing. But again, I haven’t heard anything directly from Jenny. So maybe she left for completely unrelated things.

        I still don’t know where the truth lies in most of this, but I’m not as confident as you that BG will win. A write-in is going to have an uphill battle in my opinion. There are some vocal people on this platform, but I don’t know if that will translate to votes, come election day.

        • I would start with looking at comments with real names. The anonymous posts get wild on this site. You can always reach out to any council member or the Mayor and ask questions or have conversations.
          Before I worked with the current Mayor I had mixed feelings about her based on other peoples opinions. When I started working with Council and the Mayor. I realized. I was wrong. The Mayor is not at all like folks like to portray her to be online. I’m not saying other people are wrong in how they feel about the Mayor or Councilmembers. I’m just saying, make your own opinion based on your actual experiences. I have lost “friends” because of my willingness to work with the Mayor and members of Council. The truth is. The Mayor and Council are all great people. But don’t take my word for it. Talk to them.
          My email is
          [email protected] more than happy talk with you anytime.

  6. Hi Mary! I’m curious what you’re seeing that I’m not, re: shift in power?

    To change our city’s power structure, we would need to change the constitution, and that would require a vote of the people. I simply don’t see that happening, or any evidence of Mayor Knapper working outside the bounds of the office??

    I guess I’m just wondering what I’ve missed.

    Also, I appreciate you and have enjoyed working alongside you and Mayor Knapper the past couple of years to help out our amazing Maplewood seniors through the Elder Task Force. That has felt to me like really important and valuable work.

    I recall “aging in place” was a priority of Mr Greenberg’s when I voted for him in his first term in office and was so glad to see an opportunity to serve those folks and be part of tangible efforts during Mayor Knapper’s tenure (resource fair, efforts to assist in real estate tax appeals, etc)

    Hope you are well. <3

  7. Very well thought out and stated. Napper has never made it a secret that she wants to ignore our Charter City Incorporation rules as established by the State of Missouri and become the dictator that runs the whole show with the city manager acting at her pleasure. We are going to need a good turnout of dedicated Maplewood citizens to stop this blatant regression.

  8. I agree, current Mayor has lost my support. I see Mayor Knapper’s actions the same way. Anyone want to question this and stand up to this? As a tax payer I would like more transparency.

    • Power hungry in the most obvious way. She has aspirations waaaay beyond our little town-which by itself would be fine, but she’s playing all of us for suckers. And her followers are zombielike in their devotion to her.

  9. Barry. glad you are taken this on. I will support you on this task. Anything i can do for you let me know. Dale bouffant Daddy

  10. Absolutely! The groupthink and blind loyalty to Knapper is jaw-dropping in its intensity. Have never seen such a shameless bunch of sycophants in my life.

  11. It appears to me, as I watch the continued actions of our present mayor, that an attempt is being made to change the city of Maplewood from City Manager run city to that of one run solely by the Mayor and City Council. Barry, thank you for stepping up and running as a write in candidate.
    To those who follow blindly the agenda being promoted today, without consideration of all future potential results….. …life is not a box of chocolates, It is more like a jar of hot peppers. What you eat today may burn your a– tomorrow!

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