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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Skip Schaller sees continuity in Monett utilities service

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monett Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch, at left, showed plans for the new water treatment plant in Monett to Skip Schaller, the new assistant utilities superintendent who began his duties Jan. 14. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
Skip Schaller, the new assistant utilities superintendent for the City of Monett, began his duties on Jan. 14. Schaller was introduced at the January meeting of the Monett City Council by Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch, who said Schaller will step into the top utilities spot when Rauch retires later this year.

A 1986 graduate of Monett High School, Schaller comes to the city after serving 20 years with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Schaller spent the first 10 years working in construction, including making contracts, and the second half in maintenance, overseeing the condition of highways.

Both would help Schaller as he takes on duties for the city.

"Pete's vision in planning ahead for Monett's needs will be an incredible boon down the road," Schaller said. "With the water treatment plant, the last two summers show water is a precious resource. The plant gives Monett room to grow."

Looking ahead to the next five years in Monett, Schaller saw a heavy focus on maintenance. He felt the water loop completed around the city in 2012 will eliminate many potential problems.

"I've spent a lot of time meeting people during my first week," Schaller said. "I'm impressed with the professionalism and the passion people show for their work. The city is lucky."

In touring the electric system with foreman Aaron Burdett, Schaller said the city's system has significant capacity to serve the community. He also liked the crew sizes in Monett for being able to handle system challenges.

Schaller has worked with Street Superintendent Russ Balmas in a number of collaborative efforts, including making improvements with MoDOT on the intersection at Ninth Street and Cleveland.

"It's good business that pays back," he said.

Schaller's work with MoDOT in making extensive street repairs in Joplin following the May 22, 2011 tornado, in addition to responding to ice storms over the past six years, provided experience that Schaller expected to draw upon in the coming years.

Many times in recent years, nearby towns have encountered situations where their resources could not handle utility problems. Calls for help have come to Monett, and Rauch has regularly sent city crews to help.

"That won't change with me," Schaller said.

Schaller comes from a family tradition of public service. His father, Gus Schaller, was a contractor and civil engineer who worked on water and sewer projects across the state. His brother, Jack, is the assistant public works director in Joplin.

Schaller's office is located in the rear of the collector's office at Monett City Hall, where the assistant building inspector last had an office. He plans to be in the office every day and looks forward to meeting people in the community.

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