Dunstan considers Circuit Clerk appointment; Melucci remembered as dedicated public servant

Christina Stueve May 11, 2012, 8:18am


Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan said he expects to appoint an interim Circuit Clerk as soon as possible to fill the vacancy created by the May 10 death of long time Clerk Matt Melucci.

Dunstan said he was planning to seek input from Chief Judge Ann Callis and Deputy Clerk Judy Nelson as to Melucci's replacement.

He said that if office operations could continue without too much disruption, he would make an appointment at the next regularly scheduled board meeting on June 20, but if not he could call a special meeting.

Dunstan said he has 60 days to make an appointment - which would be voted upon by the full board - but does not expect to take that long to make a decision.

"I really haven't had a lot of calls on it," Dunstan said.

Melucci, who had served in the position for 20 years, had planned to retire when his term expires in December.

Democrat Mark von Nida and Republican John Barberis Jr. face off for the seat in the November general election.

Melucci, 68, had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer. He died at his home in Collinsville.

He was remembered fondly by a number of public officials.

"Matt (Melucci) was a wonderful person who excelled in serving the people of Madison County and the Third Judicial Circuit," Nelson said. "He was an excellent boss who was fair and treated his employees with respect."

Melucci announced his retirement as circuit clerk on Dec. 1. He also had served as chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party since 2007 and was recently re-elected to that post.

Melucci served as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Jerry F. Costello from August 1988-July 1991.

In a statement, Costello described Melucci as "a close and trusted friend for over 30 years."

"Matt was bright, honest, loyal, proud of his family, proud of his Italian heritage, true to his Catholic faith, true to his party – the Democratic Party – and a true friend. I will miss him but I know after spending time and speaking with him over the last several weeks that he was at peace and knowing that he was going to a better place," Costello added.

"Matt encouraged me to run for Congress in 1988, was one of my strongest supporters in the campaign and then went to Washington, D.C., to become my chief of staff after the election."

Melucci then returned to Madison County, where he was executive director of East-West Gateway Council of Governments from May 1979 until March 1983. He served as director of administration in Madison County Government from March 1975 to April 1979. While he was director of the East-West Gateway Board, Melucci was the first to introduce the idea of light rail in St. Louis.

He was a member of Saints Peter & Paul Church and the Knights of Columbus.

"Matt was a wonderful Circuit Clerk, who introduced many innovations to his office. It was an honor to work with him," Callis said in a statement. "He was also admirably dedicated to his church parish, his faith, his colleagues and the people of Madison County. We will miss him very much."

Melucci earned a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University in 1966 and a master's degree from St. Louis University in 1974.

Melucci was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, assigned to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan remembered Melucci as a public servant and a friend.

"He loved his dog, Buddy, he enjoyed playing bocce ball, was a devoted fan of the Cardinals and the NFL, and he loved serving the people. He will be sadly missed."

Madison County Republican Chairman Andy Carruthers shared his regrets.

"Unfortunately I didn't know him well personally, but it's a very sad day for Madison County. Matt was a longtime public servant and dedicated leader of the Democratic Party. He was well regarded by members of both parties, and he will be missed."

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