Charlie A. Dooley served as the County Executive of St. Louis County from 2003 to 2015.
He grew up in St. Louis and attended Clark Elementary in North St. Louis and graduated from Wellston High School. As a very young man he became a mentor by coaching the youth of his North County neighborhood in baseball for a local Police Association. He developed a natural ability as a role model, and his early coaching was soon followed by many more admirable commitments during his lifetime.
In 1965, he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in the Republic of Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. As a Specialist, 5th Class, he received an honorable discharge in 1968. After his military tour of duty, he came home and went to work at McDonnell-Douglas Co. He enjoyed a thirty-year career there before retiring and moving on to a new vocation in public service.
During the years at McDonnell Douglas, Dooley also became more active in citizen affairs and soon progressed to his longstanding incumbency as Committeeman of Normandy Township. From there, he went on to his Mayoral position for the City of Northwoods. While mayor of his hometown, he invested an enormous amount of time into the community at large by serving as President of the Missouri Chapter of Black Mayors, President of the St. Louis County Municipal League, Co-Chair of the Normandy Communities Forum, Treasurer of the Mayors of Small Cities organization and member of the St. Louis County Economic Council. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1988 and in 2004.
Following his extensive responsibilities as mayor of Northwoods, Dooley's career expanded even further when he was elected First District Councilman of St. Louis County. Then in 2003, he was appointed to the position of St. Louis County Executive. He then went on to be elected to the office of County Executive in November of 2004 and was reelected numerous times. As County Executive, Dooley managed a county of one million people and a budget in excess of $500 million. Along with his many duties as County Executive, Dooley was also a member of the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council Board of Directors and oversaw the St. Louis County Economic Council.
As his responsibilities grew and expanded, his list of priorities also continued to expand and grow. Included on that list were economic development initiatives such as the almost 600-acre NorthPark Development and the innovative St. Louis County Economic Collaborative, which was created to connect municipalities and the region at large to draw national attention from business leaders and economic development professionals looking to establish or expand their businesses in St. Louis County. In another collaborative effort, Dooley took part in the first joint meeting between the St. Louis County Council and the St. Charles County Council. The two councils agreed to meet regularly in an effort to work together on issues of regional importance. He also championed the County's Family Mental Health Collaborative, which is now being used on a national level as a creative solution to the many problems associated with serving the mental health needs of an often underserved segment of a community.
While in office, Dooley continued to work with legislators in Jefferson City to implement legislative remedies for many issues impacting residents of St. Louis County. He worked with a number of those legislators on the serious problem of the escalating property taxes, particularly for senior citizens living on a fixed income. He has also worked to strengthen our neighborhoods with a property inspection program and with the reorganization of the Neighborhood Preservation program, particularly in the area of problem properties.
Dooley brought a belief to the position of County Executive that the 21st Century will require a higher level of responsibility, commitment, and giving back in order to overcome fiscal and environmental challenges that may arise. He asks everyone, regardless of age, color or creed, not to be afraid of the political system. Good governance, he believes, stems from talented, hard working office holders who benefit from the wisdom of informed and engaged citizens.