Best Bureaucrat

Les Sterman

Les Sterman retired from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments this past July, after 26 years as head of the region's planning and transportation agency. During his tenure at East-West Gateway, Sterman served as a chaperone of sorts, goading elected officials in Missouri and Illinois into sharing the sandbox we call "metro St. Louis." Sterman's influence helped spur the building of MetroLink and rein in the use of tax-increment financing, which can rob jobs and businesses from one local community to aid another. Sterman now heads the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District — a massive governmental program to rebuild and improve Metro East levees. He also remains active with East-West Gateway in its Great Streets Initiative, which advocates for more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares in St. Louis.

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