COLUMNS

Litter Czar steps down - Cites burned bridges as reason

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Head of the Mayor's Litter Committee Steve Pierz, AKA Peoria's Litter czar, and a genuinely nice guy, sent out an E-mail this morning at 6:08 a.m. telling everyone he was stepping down from his volunteer position because he had burned bridges. It left me curious about what bridges had been burned until a press release sent out by the city Oct. 24 hit my eyes.

The parting of the ways between the city and Pierz, it appears, revolve around of, all things, a home beautification project.

His E-mail this morning read:  Team, 

Attached is an email, that i just sent to the Mayor and Council.  I am stepping down from the leadership position of the MLC.  Over the last couple months, i have burned many bridges that would adversely affect the MLC and my ability to lead the group.

My resignation is effective on Nov 18th.  I will attempt to find someone willing to assume the leadership role as i move on.  If any of you will be willing to take on the leadership role, i will do what i can to make the transition as smooth as possible.  There will be a few loose ends that will need to be taken care.

I would like to say, how much fun and how much i have enjoyed working with all of you and thanks you all for showing me what a great city Peoria is.  This was one of the hardest decisions i had to make, for many reasons.  I am confident that we can transition me out and the new Czar in without any problem and probably get much more accomplished.

Thanks,

Steve Pierz

The e-mail to the mayor and others read:

Mayor Ardis,  Council, and Mr Schaab.

The Mayor's Litter Committee has had almost 3 years of AMAZING results and engagement in the community.  Our accomplishments are more than just picking up litter, they also included proactively eliminating litter, creation of the best litter website, engagement of the community and businesses, providing hope. partnering with the city and their many departments, as well as changing lives for the better .  I am particularly proud of the comprehensive strategic framework that will allow the MLC to continue to move forward, Rappers against wrappers, the public service announcement, the 20,000 volunteer hours, One a Day Program, as well as the people that I have met.  There were many hundreds of people that made all this possible and I thank them very much.  Peoria is moving quickly towards the vision of being "The cleanest city in the United States".  I have heard many comments from citizens as well as visitors, how clean a city of Peoria is.  

Effective November 18th, I am stepping down from the leadership position of the Mayor's Litter Committee because I don't feel the same drive and enthusiasm as I once had, and recognize that this effort would be better served under someone else's direction.  

Thank you for your past support.

Steve Pierz

The city press release, which might go a long way toward explaining those burned bridges read, "The City of Peoria has settled the litigation filed against it and its Historic Preservation Commission by Steve Pierz and Leslie Paulson ... This litigation centers around the property at 528 High Street and the denial by the Historic Preservation Commission for a certificate of appropriateness."

The city concluded Pierz left out some important information on his application.

The city may have won this battle, but it may well have lost the battle for beautifying the city with the loss of Pierz, who did incredible work on battling litter.

The city will be hard-pressed to find a man or woman who will do a better job than Pierz.