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Board of Aldermen Meeting Agendas & Minutes

 

Every effort is made to ensure that the Agendas and Minutes provided on this and subsequent pages is timely and correct; however, users should keep in mind that this information is provided only as a public convenience. In any case where legal reliance on information is required, the official records of the City of Ballwin should be consulted.

The Board of Aldermen meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Ballwin Government Center, 1 Government Ctr. Schedule and place subject to change. Meetings are open to the public. All citizens are urged to attend.

Board of Aldermen Workshop Session

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Agenda click here

MEETING NOTICE & MEETING CANCELLATION

BOARD OF ALDERMEN WORKSHOP SESSION

MEETING NOTICE:  The Ballwin Board of Aldermen will meet in a Workshop Session on Monday, January 25, 2010, at 6:00 p.m..  This meeting will be held at the Donald “Red” Loehr Police and Court Center in the Board room at 300 Park Drive. 

Discussion items will include “An Outside Financial Perspective” by Laura Radcliff from Stiffel Nicholas, financial and policy related issues.  It is expected that official action may be taken.

This meeting and all other meetings are open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible.

MEETING CANCELLATION:  The regularly scheduled Board of Aldermen meeting on this date (January 25) has been canceled.  The next Board meeting will be held on Monday, February 8, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

Robert Kuntz, City Administrator

Residents of Ballwin are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the programs and services of the City of Ballwin regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, familial status, national origin or political affiliation.  If you are a person requiring an accommodation, please call (636) 227-8580 (V) or (636) 527-9200 (TDD) or 1-800-735-2966 (Relay Missouri) no later than 5:00 P.M. on the third business day preceding the hearing.  Offices are open between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday.

Meeting Minutes

MINUTES - BALLWIN BOARD OF ALDERMEN
WORKSHOP
300 PARK DRIVE
January 25, 2010

The Workshop Session was called to order at 6:02 p.m. by Mayor Tim Pogue.

             PRESENT                                                                                  ABSENT
MAYOR TIM POGUE                                             ALDERMAN JIMMY TERBROCK – OUT OF TOWN
ALDERMAN PRESS MCDOWELL 
ALDERMAN JANE SUOZZI 
ALDERMAN FRANK SCHMER 
ALDERMAN FRANK FLEMING 
ALDERMAN JIM LEAHY 
ALDERMAN RICHARD BOERNER 
ALDERMAN KEN MELLOW 
CITY ADMINISTRATOR ROBERT KUNTZ 
CITY ATTORNEY ROBERT E. JONES 

Also in attendance were Assistant City Administrator Tom Aiken, Finance Officer Glenda Loehr, Chief of Police Steve Schicker, Director of Parks and Recreation Linda Bruer, and City Engineer Gary Kramer.

The Pledge of Allegiance was given.

MINUTES
The Minutes of the January 6 Finance & Administration Committee meeting and the Board of Aldermen meeting and closed session on January 11, 2010 meeting were submitted for approval.  A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Fleming to approve the Minutes.  A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.

PRESENTATION
City Administrator Kuntz introduced Laura Radcliff, Senior Financial Advisor with Stifel Nicolaus.  She has been an advisor to the City of Ballwin since 1995 and specializes in municipal finance. 

Reserves:  Ms. Radcliff compared Ballwin’s financial health with other municipalities and the economy.  She said that Ballwin and other cities are at the mercy of the economy.  She said that the rating agency, Moody’s, has stated that while key economists report that the national recession is lifting, the impact on municipal credit quality remains negative.  They expect negative trends to continue for the next 12 – 18 months.  There is continued revenue deterioration, increase spending pressure, and deterioration of reserve funds. 

Ms. Radcliff said that a lot of cities maintain reserves.  She said that Ballwin has done a good job of building its reserves.  One of the reasons for reserves is for liquidity.  A reserve can cover cash shortfalls but can be replenished, it can be used as a rainy day fund or the money earmarked and set aside for specific future purposes.  She said that Ballwin has very little debt; the debt will come off the books in 2012 and 2017.  Standard and Poors said that most government revenue streams remain relatively stable, compared to corporations.  Sales tax is an unstable source of revenue and is a negative item in the rating of economic revenues. 

Ms. Radcliff said that Ballwin’s general obligation bond issue and certificates of participation are supported by the general fund.  There may be a refunding opportunity next year for the certificates of participation.  If not to many things change, the city may be able to get 2% present value savings on the refunding.  With today’s outstanding debt, that would be a little over $100,000 over the life of the debt.  It cannot, however, be paid off before the call date which is September 1, 2011. 

Ms. Radcliff said the fund balance has risen from $8.7 million in 2008 to a projected $9.06 million budgeted for 2010. This is almost 65% of the total budget.  At some point the question needs to be asked, where is Ballwin going in terms of the size of the reserve?  The current policy is a minimum fund balance of 25% of budget.  There needs to be a certain amount of liquid cash for the ability to pay bills before the revenue comes in and for the flexibility.  Major expenditures should also be considered; not just capital items, but also pension benefits.  Right now the city is funding as required. 

Financial Management – Controlling the Budget – Surplus vs. Deficit:  Ms. Radcliff said that most cities are facing tough times as revenues go down.  She said Ballwin has a very manageable debt portfolio.  Revenue diversification is important to rating agencies.  Ballwin has received good ratings for diversifying the revenue base.  The utility tax is beneficial for the good rating that Ballwin has received.  She stressed that while economic times are getting better, it is not headed back in to great territory.  We are not going to see an economy that was as robust as the one we grew to know and love. 

Ms. Radcliff said that the reserves are not earning much money in today’s economy.  The Feds fund rate for the first quarter of 2010 is at 0.25% and is expected to stay at those low levels.  It appears that the 2-year, 5-year, and 10-year treasury rates will go up. 

Ms. Radcliff said that in 2008, Moody’s comments about Ballwin were that Ballwin has a low debt burden, a number of years in the past of operating surpluses, and two revenue sources that are increasing.  The utility tax and the settlement from the phone companies resulted in additional revenue streams to the City.  Moody’s stated that the down side is that the city’s 1% general fund sales tax is the city’s largest revenue source.  There is no capital borrowing projected, which is good.  Ballwin will reap the benefits of the general obligation bonds coming off the books in a couple of years, which will be approximately $1 million per year.  She said this will be like having a new revenue stream available to the City. 

Ms. Radcliff said that Ballwin is in better financial shape than most cities at this time.  Diversification of revenues is recommended to minimize the city’s reliance on sales taxes.  She said the city should continue to manage the debt figure, and to think about how the reserves should be used.  Every city is facing tremendous pension pressure because pension investments have decreased. 

Questions

Alderman Boerner said that the FDIC has $1.245 trillion that has been allocated to buying mortgages in the 4% range.  This program is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2010.  What impact will this have?  Will it increase mortgage rates? 

Ms. Radcliff said the position of Stifel Nicolaus is that there are a series of opposing forces that will be focused on interest rates this year.  The Feds fund rate is shown at a low level because this will be done in opposition to some other things going on in the economy.  There are many factors at work all at one time.  She said she will obtain and forward this report.

Alderman Boerner asked when will Standard and Poors review Ballwin again? 

Ms. Radcliff stated that the two major rating agencies said that they are reviewing the way they look at municipalities in general.  If a Aa rated municipality is compared with a Aa rated corporation, the Aa rated municipality would be much healthier.  She said when the new rating scale is applied, some of the ratings for municipalities will be elevated.  Ballwin will be reviewed every time it has a new debt offering and periodically if there is no debt offering, which would be every 2, 3, or 5 years. 

Alderman Schmer asked how does Ballwin compare to municipalities in the St. Louis area?  Is this public record?

Ms. Radcliff stated that this is public record.  She did not bring this information to this meeting, but will forward the report.  Every city is different and needs reserve funds for different reasons.  Reserve funds are for liquidity and for a rainy day fund.  Some of the cities in Nebraska stopped snow plowing streets because they did not have big enough reserves for Public Works during the snow storms.  Reserves should be built up in lieu of debt.  Reserves could be built up over time for a specific project.  Another reason for reserves is because the revenues may not be as high in the future as they are at the present time.  Some reserves are meant to be spent in the short term and then replenished, some are meant to be spent in the long term, and some are meant to be a rainy day fund.  The Moody report states that Ballwin budgets conservatively and noted that Ballwin may budget to spend more than it takes in, but doesn’t usually do so.  This is not a negative.  The Moody rating will not be affected even though borrowing against reserves will be affected or declined.  City Administrator Kuntz said that Moody gets a copy of the budget and the audit.  Ms. Radcliff said that if the reserves were wiped out, that would be a problem. 

Alderman McDowell asked what would be a good ratio of diversification.  Ms. Radcliff said she doesn’t know the answer in terms of percentage.  She will follow up on this. 

Alderman Suozzi asked Ms. Radcliff how long has she been reporting on Ballwin reserve balance, rate of the balance, bond rating, and diversification of revenue affecting the bond rating.  Ms. Radcliff said she has been reporting this information to the Ballwin Board of Aldermen since 1990 every other year.  Alderman Suozzi said that the new Aldermen and residents who have questioned the Board’s review of these issues now know that this is reviewed on a regular basis.  City Administrator Kuntz said that the Reserve Fund Policy was originally adopted on March 24, 1997. 

Alderman Suozzi asked if there is a range of reserve balances or is it dependent upon the revenue streams.  Ms. Radcliff said that if cities were compared that are in a similar rating range and divided into a group of suburban cities with a population of about 32,000 mostly residential, there would be a range of reserve balances across the country that is relatively narrow.  She said that 15% is viewed as more of an agricultural community reserve.  25% to 45% is probably the band that would be expected for a Aa rated city in a suburban area.  Anything above that means that the city is doing good things and has an outstanding record. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that Ballwin is now in a position of maintenance as opposed to growth.  All of the facilities are able to accommodate a build-out population.  If annexation were in the future, none of the government structures are obsolete and all are able to accommodate the growth.  This is another factor that may indicate that the reserve funds do not have to be extremely high. 

Mayor Pogue asked former Alderman Ray Kerlagon to address the Board.  Mr. Kerlagon said that the Board has done a good job with city funds. 

Alderman Fleming asked what is Ballwin’s current rating.  Ms. Radcliff said the rating is Aa2 on the General Obligation bonds, and Aa3 on Certificates of Participation.  Alderman Fleming asked if the rating agencies will care where Ballwin’s revenue comes from as long as the reserves are increasing.  He said that years ago, funds were raised for street repairs from vehicle stickers.  Ms. Radcliff said that the agencies do care where the revenues come from.  They like property taxes because there is less fluctuation and more stability.  She used the example of the utility tax, sales tax, and vehicle stickers.  If one of those was the revenue source and there was an economic decline, the revenue stream will go down.  If the sales tax is combined with the utility tax, which might go up even in an economic decline, they will fluctuate but at different times for different reasons. 

Alderman Fleming asked if the ratings agencies care what the reserves are spent on.  Ms. Radcliff said that there is a distinction between ongoing and one-time draws.  A one-time draw of funds is not necessarily a negative.  If the reserves were spent down for recurring operations, and didn’t have a revenue source which would be recurring with the expenditures, that would be problematic.  If there were no mis-matches, it would not be viewed in a negative way.  The rating agencies like long term financial planning.  The cities with a higher ratings than Ballwin are Chesterfield, St. Louis County, and Town & Country. 

Alderman McDowell said that the City of Ballwin has moved consistently toward diversification year after year.  This approach will continue.  He said that the decision should be made whether or not to inform the residents of the need for additional or balanced tax revenues. 

Alderman Suozzi suggested adjusting the policy and using some of the reserve funds.  Alderman Schmer said that reserves can go up and down quickly.  He said that in 11 of the past 20 years, Ballwin has been below where it should be in reserves. 

Alderman McDowell said the percentage makeup of the revenue stream will be different from city to city depending on the types of businesses or shopping malls that may be in their area.  The standard level cannot apply to every municipality.  He said the reserve policy is only a thought for consideration.  The policy has been working and it is feasible for the future, but may need some changes.  Even in the recession, Ballwin’s policy has worked very well. 

Alderman Suozzi said the policy establishes a minimum fund balance.  Perhaps the minimum percentage should be raised.  The other side is reflected in expenses and how the reserves will be spent.  Alderman Fleming said he is in favor of keeping the minimum balance percentage at the current level.  City Administrator Kuntz suggested that some of the funds be earmarked for a separate fund. 

Alderman McDowell said that legislatively, he would like to have the flexibility to apply funds on an as-needed basis.  He said the Board has enough financial restraint to apply the reserves as needed.  He does not want to designate the usage long before the need because the priority of the need may change.  A change in the minimum percentage should be incrementally increased.  Additional revenues would have to be utilized to do this.  A decision would have to be what services are going to be cut to increase the minimum reserves to 25%. 

Alderman Schmer said that the reserve fund is sometimes called a rainy day fund.  This is not accurate because it is impacted by what the businesses do in Ballwin.

Alderman McDowell asked if reserve funds can legally be earmarked for a particular project.  City Attorney Jones said that this is only a budgeting tool and does not have to be followed unless a separate fund balance is determined.  He said the policy was amended in May, 2000.  At that time, the operating surplus was 6 months.  This was not met in 2 years and then the goal amount was lowered. 

Alderman Boerner asked what is being done to minimize the amount in the cash account in order to maximize the investments.  Finance Officer Loehr said more can be done.  Interest rates are low.  Short term CDs are being used at this time.  Alderman Boerner said that earning 1% or 2% is better than earning only ¼ % in a money market account.  Alderman Boerner suggested that Ballwin could generate $20,000 - $40,000 in additional revenues by fully investing the unreserved surplus, which is about $2.5 million that is in a money market account.  City Administrator Kuntz said that we will do this. 

Funding Strategy:  City Administrator Kuntz brought up the property tax option.  Alderman Suozzi said she likes the concept but the timing is not right.  She said that a lower amount should have been presented in 2008 immediately after the first amount was turned down by the voters.  She said this is something that must be done, but first, the economy must improve. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that the leaf collection program is as efficient as it’s going to get.  The cost is primarily labor.  Allied Waste as no interest in getting into the leaf collection business. 
Regarding street lights, City Administrator Kuntz said that the Board’s authorization to participate in the opposition to the rate increase was very timely.  Additional smaller cities have joined in and have met the 80%.  The utility company would like to see the municipalities drop their objections to the proposed rate hike.  Not only is there a potential for a freeze in street lights, but an additional 10% rollback in the rates, and possibly the elimination of the $12.13 maintenance fee.  This would be a very significant reduction in Ballwin’s street light burden, if it is approved. 

Regarding Ballwin streets, City Administrator Kuntz said that in the absence of additional funding, reallocating resources or continuing as we are doing are the options at this time.  For a property tax to be approved, a specific planned benefit will be necessary. 

Alderman McDowell said that the citizens will have to approve a tax to pay for leaf collection and services of that nature, or some services should be cut.  When the proposal is worded in that manner, decisions can be made. 

Mayor Pogue disagreed and said that just because the residents reject a tax, doesn’t mean they don’t want the services. 

Alderman Mellow said that the residents in Ward 4 believe that leaf collection should be paid for by the people who use it with a charge per house where it is being used.  Alderman Suozzi said that the residents in Ward 2 want the leaf collection program to continue as it is. 

Alderman Fleming said that it makes sense from a financial revenue stream standpoint, but that will not be enough to cause residents to vote for a property tax.  He does not like threatening people by telling them that the leaf collection service will be discontinued if the tax is not approved.  The people should be informed that if they vote in favor of the property tax, the city will apply the money to streets, or say what the services will be, not what will be taken away if they reject it.  Alderman McDowell said that when people know what the tax will be used for, they are more likely to vote for it. 

Alderman Fleming said that after this meeting, people are going to say that our reserve funds are good and there’s going to be another million dollars in the budget in 2012, so there’s no need to vote for a tax. 

Alderman McDowell said that he will not vote to get rid of leaf collection. 

Mission Statement
A motion was made by Alderman Schmer and seconded by Alderman Mellow to adopt the Mission Statement.  A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.

Staff Reports
City Administrator Kuntz said that since the Board is requesting department head reports on staff purchases and changes, instead of a City Administrator summary, he is asking for further Board direction.  Alderman Fleming asked for more information from the department heads on issues that require Board approval. 

Alderman McDowell said that the Board can ask the department head any questions for additional information.  The basic information can be provided to City Administrator Kuntz as it has always been done, and the department head can answer any additional questions.  A report from each department head at each Board meeting is not necessary.  Alderman Fleming said that the Board needs to know about things that are different or newsworthy. 

Purchasing Changes
City Administrator Kuntz said that it has been suggested that all bills be submitted to the Board of Aldermen before payment.  Des Peres is a 4th class city and they do this on a modified basis.  City Attorney Jones has drafted legislation for consideration which conforms to all aspects of State Statute. 

Mayor Pogue asked if this would this mean that the Board would have to approve the purchase and then also have to approve the payment as a follow up.   City Attorney Jones said yes. 

Alderman Boerner said that according to the wording of the state statutes, no bill will be paid unless a warrant has been first prepared by the head of the department.  He asked what is this based upon.  City Attorney Jones said it is based on the State Statute.  Alderman Boerner asked what is a warrant in this wording.  City Attorney Jones said it is an order to pay money.  It originated when checks were not cable of being negotiated.  Alderman Boerner said that the warrant is an indebtedness.  He said that this does not apply to us at all.  City Attorney Jones said that this is the way one city that’s comparable to the City of Ballwin handles what they believe to be the statutory mandate, to have the Mayor and Board approve a list of bills.  It’s not necessary to adopt this language in this particular format.  The statute is there and has always been there.  Sunset Hills has a list of bills that may be 3 pages long, and the Board adopts the list with usually little if any questions.  Sunset Hills does not have a City Administrator and is a city of less than 10,000, not a city of 32,000. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that the question has been asked are we going to have a purchasing policy that complies with ALL statutes of the State of Missouri.  Every single rock has been turned over to make sure that every wording that could remotely affect Ballwin has been included in the policy.  Alderman McDowell said that all that needs to be done is that the bills are paid on time, which has always been done. 

Alderman Schmer said that when a purchase has been approved and the bill comes in, the Board will then have to approve payment of the bill.  City Attorney Jones said that is correct.  Alderman Schmer said this is a waste of time.  This is what the City Administrator and Finance Officer do.  He said that we can’t hand tie the trustworthy people who run the city. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that the statute is 96 years old.  At the time the statute was enacted, most cities and counties had a small governing board that consisted of three trustees.   One was the chairman, one was the treasurer, and one was the secretary.  The treasurer could not write checks without a counter signature.  In discussing the matter with the Municipal League Executive Director, it was recommended to eliminate the treasurer position.  This function would be performed under the city administrator form of government.  The Board approves the budget and delegates a lot of the day-to-day operation by that statute of government. 

Alderman McDowell said that when the Board approves a purchase, the Board should not also have to give authorization to pay the invoice.  It’s been approved and this would be a waste of time.  When the purchase is approved, the payment is also approved.  He said that from an administrative aspect, he does not want to cripple the administration.  If there is a radical change to the purchase, the Board should be consulted. 

Alderman Boerner suggested that the State legislative body be notified that this is old legislation, 96 years old, and needs to be updated.  Alderman Fleming agreed.  Alderman McDowell said that a 96 year old ordinance cannot be clarified without appeals because it is too antiquated, has been adjusted too much, and is not fully applicable to today’s standards. 

FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

Aldermanic Training:  Alderman Boerner discussed the post-budget review.  He said this was a greatly improved process.  It was recommended that the budget be increased for street repairs.  It was also recommended that an orientation session be conducted for new aldermen.  City Administrator Kuntz said that Administrative Assistant/City Clerk Marie Clark provides a “Ballwin Handbook For Newly Elected City Officials” along with an application from the Municipal League for the “Newly Elected Officials Seminar”.  Human Resource Coordinator Haley Morrison is currently reviewing this document to determine if additional information should be provided. 

Procurement Process:  Alderman Boerner said that he did an analysis of the purchase of the telephone system.  He said the cost was originally stated as around $33,000, but the exact total was $38,337.88.  The difference was $4,852.88, which is the cost of the telephones, and was not included when the project was evaluated.  He said this should have been included because it was part of the whole project. 

Concrete slab replacement:  Alderman Boerner said that on one project, the cost was for replacing slabs was 214% above the original bid.  It was 70% over bid on the overall project.  He said that he requested in writing what could be done differently, what are the current procedures, and why was there such a large overage in terms of the number of slabs that were poured.  Alderman McDowell asked why would City Engineer Kramer have to submit this in writing.  Alderman Boerner said because City Engineer Kramer was in charge of it.  Alderman McDowell said that this was not Mr. Kramer’s decision.  He said he has a problem with department heads having to put in writing what is already perceived and what went wrong.  Alderman Boerner said that he was asking for an explanation which was a reasonable question to ask.  Alderman McDowell said that a verbal explanation is acceptable, but the department head should not have to provide a written report.  Requesting a formal submission in writing requires Board approval.  Alderman Boerner disagreed.  Alderman McDowell said that this is moving into an administrative aspect for corrective action.  Mayor Pogue said that asking a question is acceptable, but asking for a written statement should come from the Board.

Alderman Suozzi said that the goal is to understand the reason for the overage and find a suitable way to present it to the Board.  She said that there should be a policy that will guide this process.  City Administrator Kuntz said that this is addressed in the Purchasing Policy that will be presented for approval at the next Board meeting. 

Alderman McDowell said that he does believe that individual Board members should be requesting written statements from department heads as to why they did something in a particular way.  He said that if a written statement is needed, it should only be requested as a Board, not by an individual Alderman.  Alderman Schmer agreed that a written statement should not be requested from an alderman.  Alderman Fleming said that a lot of his communication is by e-mail with a copy to City Administrator Kuntz.  If Mr. Kuntz doesn’t want the department head to respond immediately, it’s his choice.  City Administrator Kuntz said that staff usually requests his input before responding.  Sometimes he responds to the request instead of the department head or there may be two responses.  He said this is addressed in the new policy to be presented for approval at the next meeting. 

Alderman Boerner said that this should be thoroughly discussed at the next meeting by reviewing the statutes and ordinances.  If there is a difference in interpretation, he objects to this.  He believes that it is authorized in the ordinance that an individual alderman can ask for the books and records and how it was handled.  Alderman McDowell said that if it’s in the statutes, it is a formal process.  Alderman Boerner said it is not a formal process.  He said the statute says that any alderman can do this.  Alderman McDowell said that if it wasn’t a formal process, it would not be in an ordinance or statute. 

Alderman Schmer said that Alderman McDowell has a problem with a written statement personally generated back to the alderman as an explanation.  He said that Alderman Boerner is looking for concrete numbers such as books and numbers.  He said that he is concerned for the staff member to not have the trust or belief in the Board to where the alderman can call or send an e-mail and get a response instead of a formal statement.  He said that no information has been held back from any of his questions.  Alderman Boerner said that if you don’t get it in writing, it is subject to change. 

Cash flow report:  Alderman Boerner said that indebtedness should be on the report. 

City Attorney Reporting Structure:  Alderman Boerner said that the Mayor, with approval of the Board, appoints the City Attorney.  The Board, with or without recommendation by the Mayor, has the authority to remove either the City Administrator or City Attorney from office.  Subsequent to the passage of #3480, the City Attorney reports to the City Administrator.  He said the question that was raised is under what circumstances would there be a conflict of interest.

Alderman Boerner made the following statements to the Board:
“We on the Board, the mayor and staff are natural persons under the law.  The City of Ballwin is not a natural person, but a person nonetheless - a person that will out live us all.  The way this person, the City, speaks to us is through its ordinances – unless changed, they remain constant over time.  In like manner, the State of Missouri speaks to us through its statutes.   We have a fiduciary as well as a statutory obligation to listen and comply with these statutes and ordinances. Compliance is the only choice with respect to state statutes.  With respect to city ordinances, our choices are compliance or change.

Statutes and ordinances, among other things, define structure, responsibilities, obligations and limits of authority.  The Mayor and Aldermen and alderwomen, as the case may be, are elected to carry out the wishes of the City which were established directly and indirectly by our residents through these ordinances. The wishes of the City are set in motion by appointment of certain officers and the hiring of other City staff. 

The Mayor, Board of Aldermen and one Alderwoman are directly accountable to the people. The City staff is directly and indirectly accountable to the Mayor and the Board.  Although the Mayor and the Board and staff serve the City, each does so in a very different capacity and from a very different perspective.  The City staff is primarily responsible for generating the transactions that move the City forward in time. The Mayor functions as the chief executive and the Board approves transactions, enacts legislation and assures compliance with applicable statutes and ordinances. (So, on the one hand there is the operations arm of the City; and on the other hand is the executive, legislative and oversight arm of the City.)

The city office that does not fit neatly into any of these capacities is that of the City Attorney. The City Attorney drafts legislation, advises the Board and the City in legal matters, attends meetings, and represents the City in legal proceedings.  Although the City Attorney listens to the City through its ordinances (just as all of us do), his guidance regarding priorities, how issues are framed and whether and what information and documents are brought to the board level are determined largely by the person to whom he reports.  The City Attorney reports to the City Administrator.

The ordinances of eight of nine municipalities (excluding Ballwin) reviewed by this alderman required that the City Attorney report to the Mayor and the Board.  No chief legal counsel of any for-profit private or public sector corporation reports to a manager or administrator:  Rather, this function reports to the executive area at the highest level.

Therefore, the Finance and Administration Committee recommends that the ordinance enacted by Bill #3480 be repealed and a new ordinance be drafted directing the City Attorney to report to the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen.”

City Attorney Jones asked what does it mean to report to the Mayor and Board.  How is this done?  It’s not possible to call each alderman or communicate with everyone.  Alderman Boerner asked how do other cities do this?  City Attorney Jones said that it depends if there is a City Administrator or not.  He said that his position is not an executive position.  It is a legislative position.  Alderman Fleming said that the ordinance was changed because a previous mayor abused his privilege of asking for information in writing from the City Attorney.  He said that he will support a motion have the City Attorney report to the Board.  He suggested discussing this after the closed session and also recommended that no decision be made until if Alderman Terbrock can be included in this discussion. 

Alderman McDowell said that there is no conflict of interest that is going to take place between the Board and the City Attorney, or the City Administrator and the City Attorney.  He said that this is an attempt to micro manage.  He is opposed to this charge. 

Alderman Suozzi said that in totality, she cannot accept and approve the document titled “Finance & Administration Recommendations”.  She said that she has problems with Item B under General Administrative Matters.  Who determines what is negative in a newspaper article?  Who makes the analysis whether something is negative or positive.  She said this is unfair to expect the City Administrator to defend against the media which is often ill-informed and misguided.  She said that this is not necessary. 

Alderman Boerner said that it was his understanding that it was one of the goals to increase communication.  If there were issues that needed to be communicated, it could be done on a timely basis.  Alderman McDowell said that this was not part of a recommendation that the Board should approve as the official policy.  Alderman Suozzi said that Item B was not discussed.  Alderman McDowell said that this report is only being approved as part of the Minutes of what was discussed.  He said he is not approving the report as a recommendation because it includes personal recommendations, personal assumptions and assertions of Alderman Boerner.  There are items that can be voted on as an individual basis, but not the report as a whole. 

Committee Meetings:  Alderman Boerner asked what is the proper way for the committees to meet and present recommendations.  Alderman Fleming said that the current approach seems to be the most appropriate.  Any alderman can call their committee meeting.  When something arises that needs detailed attention, that committee meets to discuss the issue.  Mayor Pogue said that all of the aldermen should know when the specific committees are going to meet so that anyone can attend. 

Alderman McDowell said that the committees are under the prevue of the Mayor and the Mayor has the ability to appoint the committees and alter them if he so desires.  He said that it is aldermanic courtesy to let the other aldermen know if there is a pertinent issue to be discussed.  The committee makes a recommendation to submit it to the Board.  It should be an item by item approval process. 

Alderman Suozzi said that if there is a committee of 4 members, it is required that the meeting notice be posted.  She said that in 14 years, she can’t remember a committee meeting that was conducted in between two Board meetings.  If there’s an issue that needs to be discussed more in depth, this should be made public.  Without the full Board knowing about the meeting sends a wrong message to everyone including the public.  If the items that were on the agenda for the Finance & Administration Committee were known by all of the Board, the Board members would have been concerned.  She said that if a Finance & Administration Committee meeting is held, that is something that is typically attended by the whole Board.  She said those issues are too large.  The items on that agenda concerned her with such short notice. 

Alderman Schmer said that Alderman Boerner’s intent was not evil or exclusive.  He said that if all aldermen should be at the Finance & Administration Committee meetings, then the Mayor should appoint all aldermen to this committee. 

Alderman Boerner asked that if 8 people attend the committee meeting, is it a violation of the Sunshine Law.  City Attorney Jones said that if it is not posted as a public meeting, it is a violation.  The agenda should also be posted.  Posting a committee meeting requires that Minutes be taken.  Only committee members would vote.  Other members of the Board who may be in attendance would not be allowed to vote.  It is not a violation of the Sunshine Law if more aldermen attend the meeting. 

GOALS AND PRIORITIES
Alderman Fleming said he would like to see a street program to address the amount the consultant said we should be spending.  Another priority is the Great Streets Initiative.  His third priority are the areas of what do the ordinances say about various subjects. 

Alderman Schmer said that he is submitting wording that is used by the City of Wildwood regarding the reasons for closed sessions.  City Attorney Jones said he will review the submission. 


PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION
Mayor Pogue said that Pat Buehrle is resigning from the Planning & Zoning Commission.  A Ward 1 replacement will be needed. 


Adjourn to Closed Session:  A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Schmer to adjourn to closed session to discuss personnel and pending litigation based on State Statute 610.021(1)(3).  A roll call vote was taken with the following results:  Ayes:  Aldermen Boerner, Mellow, Fleming, Leahy, Suozzi, Schmer, McDowell.  Nays:  None.  The motion passed to adjourn to closed session at 9:40 p.m. 

Closed Session:
The Board convened in closed session at 9:45 p.m.

A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Leahy to adjourn the closed session.  A roll call vote was taken with a unanimous result, and the closed session was adjourned at 10:19 p.m.

The Board reconvened in open session at 10:20 p.m.

Mayor Pogue stated that the Board met in closed session to discuss personnel and pending litigation matters.  No votes were taken.

A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Fleming to adjourn the open session.  The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 10:22 p.m.

Tim Pogue, Mayor

ATTEST:
Robert Kuntz, City Administrator
Approved and signed on February 8, 2010.