Joe Garritano is no stranger to networking and project management, having spent plenty of time in financial services and city government. With that experience under his belt, he relishes the chance to lead the Missouri Municipal League (MML) into its next chapter.
Garritano was elected president of MML last week after a year as its vice president, pledging to continue advocating for members and spreading awareness of those serving local governments and the stories they have to tell.
“This role makes me the face of the league, so my job is to be that united voice to represent all of our municipalities and all of our elected officials,” Garritano told The Missouri Times. “What I’m looking forward to is bringing together our cities to advocate for those important issues that affect them. We feel we’ve got to make some progress in ensuring that there’s an awareness of local issues and how decisions that are made at the state level affect a community.”
Garritano was appointed to the Wildwood City Council in 2015 and serves as mayor pro tem when needed. He started working with MML several years ago and quickly became enamored with the group’s connectivity. He began serving on the board in early 2019.
“I found the league to be a great opportunity for connections with fellow elected officials throughout the state,” Garritano said. “It’s unlimited as far as how many people you can meet all over the state and I love the way the league comes together as a united voice for our cities.”
Garritano has served in various roles for national financial firms since graduating with a management information systems and criminal justice degree from Pace University in New York. He also works as an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University teaching project management and volunteers with several community groups. He lives in Wildwood with his wife and two children.
His experience managing and coordinating projects in all of his roles informed his plans to strengthen the MML’s membership. One of the biggest changes Garritano has heralded was the formation of a membership committee focused on increasing member engagement and retention, with an emphasis on reaching out to smaller communities not affiliated with the league.
A mentorship program slated for 2022 will connect seasoned and newly-elected officials to allow them to build relationships and learn from those serving in different capacities, Garritano said.
Garritano said he hoped to see the legislature pursue more of the league’s priorities next session after a bountiful 2021.
MML backed the Wayfair tax signed into law this summer which allows Missouri to impose a sales tax on online purchases made through vendors with a physical presence in the state beginning in 2023. Garritano said the tax would level the playing field for small businesses while creating new revenue for communities.
Another bill that didn’t make it across the legislative finish line would have altered Missouri’s Sunshine Law to ensure lists compiling the information of residents subscribing to email lists would be covered under the law. Garritano said MML would continue its push for the bill next session.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to advocate and work hard for the league and I’m excited that I get to lead us into another good year,” he said.
Garritano has no shortage of passion for the league and its mission to give communities a voice through cooperation and advocacy. With more than 640 municipalities served under MML and more to be reached, he looks forward to leading the organization to an even brighter future.
“We have an incredible opportunity as a league to help these communities be successful, and that’s what I’m looking forward to the most,” Garritano said. “I’m hoping we can continue the great work we’ve done in 2021 and build awareness about our cities and what it takes to run them, all the good things that are coming out of our cities. We have a lot of amazing people and stories to be told, so the more we can share about our cities and the role they play in the lives of their residents, the better.”
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at email@example.com.