Maplewood-Brentwood Patch sat down for a cup of coffee with Cindy Manestar in the day after her first Brentwood Board of Alderman meeting.
Manestar ran uncontested for the open Ward 2 seat on April 3. Patch learned she’s open, honest and about as Brentwood it comes.
She took few out-of-town detours between growing up on Bridgeport Avenue and winning a seat on the Brentwood Board of Aldermen.
“I’ve lived in Brentwood basically my whole life,” she said. “I married my high school sweetheart, Jeff Manestar. Bought a house over on Annalee, live there 12 years, then we moved to Rosalie.” Jeff Manestar is a sergeant with the .
She graduated from in 1984. Her first date with Manestar was junior prom.
“We were just very good friends and, so no one asked me, because everyone thought I was going with Jeff,” she said, “so I asked him.”
Jeff played football and Cindy was a cheerleader. She was one of the strong ones, so was always on the bottom of the pyramid. She said when she didn’t remember a routine she disappeared into the bleachers and just got the crowd clapping.
“High school was fun,” she said. “I’m glad it’s over, though.”
She started going to Meramec Community College, but didn’t finish because she needed to work.
She sold jewelry to department stores across the country for a long time. “Great job, lots of fun,” she said. Then she was offered a promotion and had to make a decision.
“I was eight months pregnant, and I was up for a huge promotion,” Manestar said. With Jeff’s help, she decided right then to quit the fulltime job. It was the last one she’s ever had. “We have a baby now. Everything changes,” she said.
The Manestars have two boys now, a second-grader at and a seventh-grader at .
She started volunteering, and spent two years as McGrath PTO president. She became interested in city government when “all of the negative publicity got started,” she said.
“A year prior to all the negative press I had thought about getting involved in city government,” she said. “I heard that Lee Wynn wasn’t running, so that’s what made me think–he’s in my ward–maybe I’ll run.”
She said when she filed she expected to run into Mike Marshall. She wanted to tell him she wasn’t running because she was unhappy with him. She called him, and he called back to tell her he wasn’t running.
Manestar said she’s interested to see the results of the state audit of Brentwood. She hopes if the audit doesn’t rectify everything, the auditors can look at earlier records.
“From what we all understand, that’s where they’re going to find problems, not just 2011,” she said.
Also, she would like to keep the ice rink at the Brentwood Recreation Center, and not turn the facility into a fitness center.
“We have accessibility for a work-out facility, the right down the road, there’s a Club Fitness in Rock Hill, there’s a Club Fitness in Brentwood. (Do we need) another fitness center?” she said.
“I like that we have the ice rink – it definitely needs work,” she said. She said it needs to be reevaluated, not torn down.
Manestar said she was nervous before her first board of alderman meeting.
“Because all of the paperwork, it’s a lot of stuff to absorb,” she said.
The board was voting that night on funding for the Meridian development, and the new board members didn’t have the background information the others did. She said the executive session that night helped a lot.
“The advisors in there really caught us up to speed,” she said. “We could understand exactly what brought us to the point of passage of what we voted on–the amendment that needed to pass.”
Later, by phone, Manestar said she’s looking forward to doing her part. She said she knows there will be challenges, but knows that the board, working together can handle them.
“I have nothing to hide, I have no agenda,” she said. “I’m just there to try and do my part, and do my civic duty. I’m just a regular person.”