The Board of Aldermen held a meeting on Tuesday night July 5, 2011 at 7:00 PM. Those present included Mayor Greg Richmond, Alderpersons Keith Kohley, Kristin Lett, JR Fisher and Bill Hess. Also present were Chief Tom West, City Supervisor David Brodie, City Clerk Paula Brodie Tax Collector Dawn Bunch, Judge Clyde Davidson and Officer Curt Drake. Guests included Callie Hudson, McDonald County Emergency Management Director Greg Sweeten, Dawn Davidson, Nick Myers, CPA, Missy Freund, Dean Freund, Carson Bunch, Amye Buckley, Neosho Daily News and Joyce Haynes from the McDonald County Press.
The Mayor called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
The Board of Aldermen discussed the minutes from June 21, 2011. Ald Fisher moved to approve the minutes from June 21, 2011. Ald Kohley seconded. Aldermen Kohley, Fisher, Lett, and Hess voted aye, with 0 nays.
The Board of Aldermen discussed the minutes from the special meeting on July 1, 2011. Ald Kohley moved to approve the minutes from July 1, 2011. Ald Fisher seconded. Aldermen Fisher, Kohley, Lett, voted aye, with Aldermen Hess voting no.
The Mayor acknowledged Greg Sweeten the McDonald County Emergency Management Director who gave the Board a demonstration on how the IRIS emergency alert system works. He informed the Board that the programs set up fees, etc where all paid for by Homeland Security. He stated that in the near future the National Weather Service will be issuing the actual weather alerts on the IRIS system to all people who are on it. Mr. Sweeten stated that the Board could set up their City Clerk, Sewer/Water Supervisor, Mayor, Emergency Management Director, and Fire Chief as administrators on the system. The advantage of this would be that they could put out alerts such as a busted water line, boil orders, burning bands, etc. He stated that in the past the Homeland Security paid for the yearly subscription price of $2.00 but has since quit paying that fee. He stated that all citizens from McDonald County can be signed up by filling out a form and sending it to him. He encouraged everyone to sign up.
The Mayor acknowledged Nick Myers, who gave the 2010 Audit report. Mr. Myers stated that the Management Discussion and Analysis part of the audit report is put together so the audit is in plain terms. The rest of the audit is put together in financial reports. Mr. Myers said that the City has a total capital of assets in the amount of $4,070,155.00 with total liabilities of $1,164,867.00. The difference is a total net asset of $2,905,288.00 Nick Myers stated that he always encouraged the board by saying to be diligent in making sure to watch for segregation of duties. He noted that the audits are put together differently from years ago. He stated that the assets were not included in audits in the past but they were now. Ald Kohley moved to accept the audit report. Ald Fisher seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Hess and Lett voted aye, 0 nays.
The Board discussed Bill# 2012-424 for Ordinance # 2012-434 regarding changes to the personnel policy. The Mayor read the Ordinance for the second reading by title only. Ald Fisher moved to approve the second reading of Bill # 2012-424 for Ordinance #2012-434. Ald Kohley seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye with 0 nays.
The Board discussed the hiring of someone to clean city hall. It was noted that there are 8 applicants at this time. The Board stated that they would like to go over all of the applications. Clyde Davidson suggested that they might want to set up a committee to give the Board a recommendation. The Board agreed that they all wanted to be involved with going over the applications and interviewing the applicants. The Board set a special meeting at 6:30PM on July 7, 2011 to go over the applications.
The Board of Aldermen discussed the following old business:
1. The Board discussed Jesse Ruby’s water problem. JR Fisher said that per the recorded deed at Pineville it shows show that there is an easement that runs along Mr. Ruby’s property. He stated therefore he would move to have the city set meters side by side at Mr. Ruby’s property, placing Mr. Ruby’s meter first and then Mr. Cantrell’s. Ald. Hess said that the Board had previously acknowledged that the past Board should never have let the meter be set but setting meters for the Ruby’s and Cantrell’s only makes it worse. The Mayor noted that the line to Mr. Cantrell’s is a private service line, not a city line which means that if the city sets a meter on that line the water to Mr. Ruby’s would be through a service line to Mr. Cantrell’s. Ald Fisher stated that the attorney had advised the Board that they could go either way on their decision. Ald Fisher stated that the City could give him water so why don’t they. David stated that there was no doubt the city wanted to give him water the question was how to go about it. The Mayor asked where the meters would be set. Ald Fisher stated on Mr. Cantrell’s line. The Mayor stated that Mr. Cantrell might be willing to let Jesse have water but how will the city maintain the line. He said that the line will still belong to Mr. Cantrell. Ald Fisher stated that New Mac is willing to allow the City to use their easement so that the city would me able to maintain the line. David Brodie stated that he believed that New Mac does not have an easement only an ingress and egress. Ald Fisher asked the Board to ask Mr. Cantrell to come to a meeting to discuss getting his permission to allow the city to install a meter on his line for Mr. Ruby. The Board agreed to ask Mr. Cantrell to attend a meeting. Ald Fisher stated that he retracted his motion to approve setting the meters until after the Board meets with Mr. Cantrell. The Board agreed to a special meeting on July 7th at 7:00PM.
2. The Board discussed the electric hookups for generators at the Police Station and City Hall. The Mayor stated that Mr. Bunch brought up a valid point at the last meeting about the bidding process. He said that he felt that the city should advertise for new bids. David asked the Board if Carson could be included in drawing up the specifications for the bids.. The Board decided it needed to reject any bids that they had already received. Ald. Fisher moved to reject the bid from Gilliam Electric. Ald Lett seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye with 0 nays.
3. The Board decided to table further discussion on the annexation of 59 Highway south to Splitlog Road until Ald Fisher could look over the paper work. Ald Fisher will let the Board know when the item should be placed back on the agenda.
4. The Board discussed whether or not to purchase a back flow preventer. Ald Fisher stated he would like to see the Board continue to offer the service of selling water to people who need to haul it to areas outside the city. After discussion the Board decided to go ahead and purchase a back flow preventer to be able to offer water to those who wanted to haul it. Ald Lett moved to allow David to purchase a back flow preventer with a limit of $600.00. Ald Kohley seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye with 0 nays.
The Department heads gave the following reports:
Tom West- no reports
David Brodie stated that the DO meter quit at the Treatment Plant, so he can’t keep track of the oxygen level and temperature. He stated that the Department of Natural Resources requires him to keep this information daily. He reported that the cost for a portable one is around $800.00 and a bench top one will cost $1200.00 to $1400.00. David stated he originally hoped to repair the broken one it but that it is over 20 years old. He stated that he had been in contact with a salesman to see if he could get parts but was afraid that he would not be able to because of the age of the equipment. David stated that he would advise purchasing the portable DO meter for $800.00. Ald Lett asked if the meter had a warranty. David stated that the portable one has a three-year warranty. The meter would be purchased through USA Blue Book. Ald Lett moved to allow David to order a portable DO meter. Ald Kohley seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye with 0 nay votes.
David stated that he needed to order 6 new Sensus meters for around $122.00 a piece. Ald Fisher asked if he could check for comparative prices. David stated that Sensus was a specific meter sold by salesmen working specific areas. Ald Fisher moved to allow him to purchase the 6 meters at $122.00. Ald Lett seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye with 0 nays.
David informed the Board that he has a very small amount of compact rock to use to repair water lines. He asked the Board to allow him to purchase a load of rock. Ald Hess moved to allow David to purchase a load of compact rock. Ald Fisher seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye, with 0 nays.
David reported that Stewart Pace had informed him that the lights in the concession stand were not working correctly. David stated that he thought they just needed replaced. Ald Fisher offered to go with him to the concession stand to look at the lights and offered to go with him to purchase them as he felt he might be able to get a better price. David stated that the stools in the bathrooms at the ballpark had been reported as leaking. He said he had looked at them but was not sure they were leaking. Ald Fisher stated they could look at those too while they were at the ballpark and then check on prices.
Dawn Bunch asked if there were any questions on her report. There were none.
Paula Brodie- no reports.
The Board of Aldermen discussed the following new business:
Callie Hudson was acknowledged by the Board. She stated that she had been working on grants to finish the Community Building. She stated that she was at a place with the Rural Development application that they required a preliminary architectural drawing and land survey. She stated that Rural Development did not require bids to be placed in the paper however they had a list of surveyors, architects and engineers that she was to solicit bids from. She stated that she had received two architect bids; however one of them is no longer in business. She said the one bid she has is from Perigone Architecture. She said that they have been doing a lot of work in this area. She noted that the cost for the preliminary drawing and the survey will cost around $8,000.00. She said knowing the city did not have much money she had asked businesses in the area for assistance. She stated that Cornerstone Bank had offered $10,000.00 to the city to help pay for the preliminary plans. She stated that all they asked for in return was to have a photo opportunity of the city receiving the check and to display the plans for the Community Building in the lobby of the bank. Callie asked what perimeters the Board would allow her in applying for the grant. She was told to proceed with the application, staying in contact with the Mayor. Ald Fisher moved to accept the $8,000.00 from Cornerstone Bank to pay for the preliminary drawing and survey. Ald. Kohley seconded. Ald Fisher, Kohley, Lett, and Hess voted aye, with 0 nays.
Clyde stated that the Ballpark is hosting an awards ceremony on July 23, 2011 from 12:00 to 3:00 PM He stated that they would like to have the fire department present with a truck to spray the kids with water if they wanted to be sprayed. The Board agreed that it would be OK. Clyde stated that the recreation department is receiving 36 lights from the contractor who is installing new lights for the Neosho R5 School District. He noted that the agreement was for the contractor to do something with the old lights and they are giving them to the Goodman Recreation Department to be installed at the Goodman Ballpark.
Missy Freund ask to be acknowledged by the Mayor. She stated that she understood that the Board of Aldermen held a closed personnel meeting on July 1st. She said that she had received a call around 8:00PM from the Mayor stating that she had been fired. She asked the Mayor to read the vote that was taken during the closed session. She noted that the Open Meetings Law requires the vote taken during a closed session must be released to the public within 72 hours of the closed meeting. She noted that it had been more than72 hours since the Board had held their meeting. The Mayor read the following roll call vote Ald Fisher voted yes, Ald Kohley voted yes, Ald. Lett voted yes and Ald Hess voted no. Ms. Freund then asked the Board to explain why they had fired her. Ald Fisher stated that he could answer that. He said that he had asked the Missouri Municipal League and that they had told him that the Board did not have to discuss why they had fired her. Missy stated after being an employee for several years she thought the least the Board would do was talk to her first if they had a problem with her work. She stated that none of the Board members had ever talked with her about the way she did her job. Tax Collector Dawn Bunch stated that Missy worked very hard and she wondered why the Board would not give her a reason for firing her. Ald Kohley stated that City Code Section 117.080 paragraph G allows the Board to terminate an employee for cause or no cause at all. Ald Hess stated that it was not fair that the Board did not discuss the problems with Missy before any vote was taken. He stated in fact he was never told the reason why the other Board Members voted to terminate her. He stated that he would like for the Mayor to call another closed meeting with the Attorney present. Missy asked how did the Board vote to fire her without discussing the reasons to remove her.
Clyde Davidson stated that as a citizen he is concerned that a Board would decide to remove Missy without even talking to her, or to Paula who works with her. He said it concerned him that they let an employee go without any discussion.
Missy stated that the other day Ald Lett and Ald Kohley were in the City Hall and asked her to give them the Closed Minutes from previous Board meetings. She stated that she told them that she could not provide the minutes to them. She said she explained that Paula was the custodian of the records, not her and therefore she could not give the minutes to them. She said she believed that Ald Lett and Ald Kohley were upset with her because she refused to give them the records. Ald Lett stated that it was Missy’s interpretation that they were upset with her. Missy stated that it was noted that the two of them left the City Hall and went to Ald Fisher’s business. Carson Bunch stated that would be a meeting if there were three of them together. Ald Lett stated that Missy should have gone into the business to see if Ald Fisher was present. Missy stated that she did not say that they had met with Ald Fisher, just that they were at his business. Ald Lett stated that there is no violation when two members meet at a time. Ald Hess stated that the Open Meetings Law was specific about members circumventing the open meeting law by meeting two at a time. Ald. Hess then stated that he still did not understand why the Board fired Missy. Ald Lett stated that she had talked with several business owners and people around town about Missy’s work and had received complaints. Ald Lett noted that Mayor Wilson had to reprimand Missy during his time as Mayor. Mayor Richmond stated that it was obvious that Missy was not going to get an answer. The Mayor stated that he did not know why Missy was fired either. Missy stated that she did not want her job back as she did not want to work for a city that treated their employees the way they did. She also commented that she had been keeping a record of things the Board had done in the past. Ald Lett called her on that comment and Ms. Freund stated that she could write down things if she wanted to in her own home. Missy stated that she had always treated the citizens with respect. She stated that she and her husband had fixed citizens water and sewer lines, mowed peoples grass who could not afford to pay someone and even shoveled snow out of the driveways of elderly people in town when David had snow plowed the streets. Ald Lett stated that Missy should have contacted the Board if people were complaining about David covering their driveway entrances. Missy stated that she was told by David that it was his job to snow plow the streets not shovel out driveways. Ald Lett stated that she should have told the Board. Missy stated that during the snow storm none of the Board members even came to the city hall to see if anyone needed anything.
Clerk Paula Brodie stated that the clerks made several decisions every day. She asked if the Board wanted every request brought to them in the future. She explained that the clerks and the other employees handled situations, some of them very stressful on a daily basis without calling the Board or the Mayor. She stated in fact on the day the Board terminated Missy she had handled a customer by herself who was very loud, offensive and using vulgar language at her because she had shut off his water service. She told the Board that the owner of the rental trailer had requested Missy to shut off the water service for non payment.
Ald Lett stated that she wanted it on the record that she did not appreciate the clerk screaming at her. Paula stated that she was sorry for getting loud but that the reason was that she was very upset and anxious about the whole situation. She stated that the Boards actions on Friday had her and every one of their employees afraid of loosing their jobs.
The Mayor stated again that it was obvious that Ms. Freund was not going to get a reason for her being terminated and that the Board needed to move on with their agenda.
The Board discussed the bills for July 1, 2011 for $32,652.08 including transfers. Ald Fisher moved to approve the bills. Ald Kohley seconded. Aldermen Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye with 0 nays.
Ald Kohley moved to adjourn. Ald Fisher seconded. Aldermen Fisher, Kohley, Lett and Hess voted aye with 0 nays.
Greg Richmond, Mayor
Paula W Brodie, MRCC, City Clerk