Gary Bess

St. Louis County parks department director Gary Bess dealt with an embezzlement scandal during his tenure as St. Louis parks director.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Gary Bess isn’t the type of person destined to be sequestered in a corner office. 

Bess spent nearly four decades in the St. Louis parks department – including 18 years as director. He developed a reputation as a personable manager who worked hand-in-hand with employees. (He’s also renowned within local politics for his colorful sport coats.)

Three of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's appointees were approved by the St. Louis County Council. But Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, questioned his pick for parks director.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

During his first St. Louis County Council meeting as chief executive, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger saw three picks for top positions within his administration approved without difficulty. 

But at least one council member raised concerns about Stenger’s pick for the county’s parks director.

(via Flickr/ChrisYunker)

The head of the St. Louis city parks department has apologized for an elaborate fraud in which two high-level employees stole nearly $465,000 from the city.

"We know that we are the stewards of an incredible legacy, and stewards of the taxpayers' money," Gary Bess told the parks committee. "We want their trust, and know that we have to earn it. That's why I'm as disappointed as anyone that this has happened. On behalf of everyone in the administration, and the parks department, I'd like to apologize. It's not who we are."