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Council Member Suggests City Violated Sunshine Law

Paulette Carr, Ward 2, apologized Monday for what she thought might be a violation of Missouri's Sunshine Law.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Paulette Carr issued a mea culpa Monday night, saying she didn't catch what may have been a violation of Missouri's Sunshine Law and 's charter at the last council meeting.

Carr was referring to the city council's vote on Councilman Michael Glickert's request to seek an . The council approved the measure 5-0 July 23. 

Mayor Shelley Welsch and Councilman Byron Price were not present at the July 23 council meeting. 

Carr said that the RFP was not on the agenda prior to the meeting but that Glickert brought it up in a council study session prior to the meeting. He then brought it up again during council member comments during the council meeting.

"It was not mentioned in the agenda or the council notes," Carr said. "It was brought up by one council member one hour before the meeting."

She noted that Missouri Sunshine Law requires that the agenda for a public meeting be posted 24 hours prior to a meeting, unless an emergency exists. The Sunshine Law states:

At least 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) before a public meeting, the public body must prominently post a notice of the meeting in its principal office. If there is no such office, the public body should post the notice at the meeting place. The notice must include:

  • Time of meeting;
  • Date of meeting;
  • Place of meeting;
  • Tentative agenda of an open meeting; and
  • Whether the meeting is open or closed.

If the public body intends to hold a meeting by conference call or other electronic means, the notice must specify the location where the public may observe and attend that meeting. If the public body meets via Internet or other computer link, it shall post a notice on its Web site in addition to posting the notice at its principal office.

If exceptional circumstances prevent the public body from posting notice 24 hours in advance or prevent the meeting from being held at a convenient time or in a place reasonably accessible to the public, the reasons should be stated in the meeting’s minutes.

"I profusely apologize if a violation has occurred," Carr said. "The public and the rest of the council deserve advance notice."

Councilman Stephen Kraft noted the request came out of council member comments.

"This was not an ordinance and was not a resolution," he said. "We didn’t spend any money. We asked the city manager to put together an RFP. The Attorney General isn’t here and the usual person who would bring the council to court on this issue cannot." 

Carr filed several Freedom of Information requests and prior to in April. 

City Manager Lehman Walker confirmed that the RFP has been issued, but to date, no bids have been submitted.

"We just put out the RFP," Walker said. "If we choose not to proceed, then we don't proceed."

Councilman Terry Crow said if another vote was necessary, he would be happy to re-vote.

"It was a unanimous vote and it is likely to be again," Crow said. "We are getting our house in order in many ways and this won’t hurt anything to vote again."

Crow also noted that he expressed hesitance in July to move forward on a traffic study until the RFP was presented to council and the body could discuss the cost of such a study.

Arthur Sharpe, Ward 3, also said he believed the council acted correctly in July, but if it hadn't, he had no objection to voting again. Sharpe acts as mayor and runs council sessions—including the July 23 meeting—when Welsch is not present. 

Price asked that the council not continue to debate the issue Monday as the council had a reception planned in memory of former Councilman Larry Lieberman following its meeting. 

The issue will be on the city's next council agenda and the city attorney is looking into whether a violation occurred.

Jan Adams August 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Paulette Carr is engaging in blatant, shameless hypocrisy. When I submitted a valid Sunshine Law request for Paulette’s public e-mails relating to City business, Paulette intervened and instructed the City Clerk to violate the Sunshine Law. Her intervention put the City at risk of a lawsuit. I will not abuse judicial process for personal political gain by suing the City as Paulette did. But I will produce the evidence and expose her blatant Sunshine Law violation(s) at the next Council meeting. Furthermore, when she wanted to turn the driving range lights on and force removal of the new logo, she was not concerned about advance notice to the public.
Jeff Hales August 14, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Ms. Adams: Much like your campaign, I think it would be appropriate to substantiate your allegations against Ms. Carr. Your lack of candor was not particularly ingratiating during your campaign, nor is it now. Seeing as you have raised an issue in this forum, I would hope that you enlighten Patch readers and provide your evidence for the alleged Sunshine violations. Regarding your claims about the driving range, as I'm sure you know from your copious notes, it was added to the agenda and the motion was made only after the City Attorney advised the council that this was the proper way to proceed. This is validated by the meeting minutes from April 23 may be found here: http://www.ucitymo.org/DocumentCenter/View/5899 With regards to the logo, it was clearly listed on the June 11, 2012 Council Agenda under Council Reports/Business titled "Discussion on City's New Logo": http://www.ucitymo.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/5961 As you are also aware, Ms. Carr did not and has no authority to "force removal of the new logo". A motion was made by Mr. Kraft that the new logo be officially adopted; the motion was rejected by majority of council. In Representative Democracy as well as in elections, we don’t always get the outcome we desire.
Jan Adams August 14, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Paulette's inappropriate intervention in my Sunshine request involves a number of e-mails which I do not intend to publish in this forum. The e-mails will be made a part of the City's public record. As to the vote on the driving range lights, the issue is whether Paulette "provided advance notice to the public" not whether her strategy was legal. In this matter, she also violated the City Charter because she did not move to send the issue to the Park Commission for its recommendation. As to the logo, Paulette forced the removal of the new signage when she voted to reject the logo. That was a 4-3 vote, so the rejection would not have occurred if she had not voted to reject. She has the authority now; she just does not understand it OR she intentionally misuses it.
Jeff Hales August 14, 2012 at 11:48 PM
With all due respect, your refusal to substantiate your claims in this forum is a copout, though not unexpected in the context of your campaign for council. With regard to the vote on the driving range lights, you were not clear which vote you were referring to. From the context of your response, you would seem to be referring to Bill 9157 which Ms. Carr introduced on 5/29. Advance notice was indeed provided as it clearly appears in the 5/29 meeting agenda which you may review here: http://www.ucitymo.org/DocumentCenter/View/5950
Jeff Hales August 14, 2012 at 11:48 PM
(continued...) The issue regarding not sending the issue to the Parks Commission is not a violation of the City Charter. While the Charter established the commission, Ordinance. 6860 established their authority. In the June 11, 2012 council meeting, Mr. Kraft made a point of order citing that the bill had been improperly introduced for this very reason. Mayor Welsch sought discussion and ultimately the input of the City Attorney before issuing the following ruling: "I wished this would have come up two weeks ago (at the last council meeting), and I am uncomfortable not sending this to the Parks Commission because it has been questioned by boards and commission members for not bringing them into the loop on the discussion, with (City Attorney) Mr. Martin's ruling that because this is an ordinance as opposed to the charter, that we will not be be breaking a law to ignore the ordinance, I will rule that we will leave the bill on the agenda." So, at the next meeting while issuing your latest indictment of Ms. Carr, I hope you will be sure to also scold the Mayor for her ruling that it was proper to proceed with the vote on the bill.
Jeff Hales August 14, 2012 at 11:49 PM
(continued) As for the logo, your logic is misguided. It took four votes of Council members--Price, Carr, Crow, and Sharpe--to defeat the logo. In fact, the four NAY votes occurred in exactly that order, so I would think that by your logic, Mr. Sharpe held the power to “force removal of the new logo” by literally casting the 4th vote. Again, I reject this logic and find it convoluted.
Jan Adams August 15, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Jeff, are you Paulette's surrogate, or a paid consultant, or are you just a former campaign volunteer who is now speaking for her? If I decide to respond to your latest message, I want to know who I am debating. It is my understanding that you are not a resident of University City and your business is not located in University City. Is that correct? Are you the person who has been videotaping the City Council meetings lately? I merely want to know more about the person who wants to debate this issue with me.
Charles F August 15, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Jan- it's been 4 months. When will you get over the election loss? You only seem to care about issues brought up by Mrs. Carrr and have disregarded all the corruption and embarrassment brought forth by you cohorts Mr Walker and Mayor Welsch. No comments from you on any of that or your supposed representation of Mr. Walker.
Jacob Piwo August 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I just looked up BITTER in the dictionary and along with a picture of Jan, there was the below definition: 1. having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes. 2.producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt. 3. hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow. 4.causing pain; piercing; stinging: a bitter chill. 5. characterized by intense antagonism or hostility: bitter hatred.
Eric Roberts August 16, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Jacob Piwo - To say that you looked up BITTER in the dictionary and found a picture of Jan is rude and sarcastic. You comments add nothing and are not amusing in the least. I don't know you but already you have made a bad first impression. You should confine your comments to intelligent response and comment and avoid childish attempts at ridicule. Eric Roberts.
Jeff Hales August 16, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Ms. Adams, this is not a campaign, this forum is a place for a discussion not a debate. You already have responded to my last message. What you have not responded to is the request that you substantiate the allegations you have leveled in this forum. You are free to take issue and respond to any of the facts that I have pointed to: 1. Advance notice was given to the public as evidenced by the public record of the meeting agendas. 2. Introducing Bill 9157 was not a violation of the Charter. 3. The Mayor ruled against Mr. Kraft’s point of order that the bill was improperly introduced, stating that because the City Attorney indicated that voting on the ordinance would not break any laws, it could remain on the agenda. 4. Council Member Carr was the second NAY vote against the logo. The fourth vote, (presumably the one you say has all the power) came from Mr. Sharpe.
IA August 16, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I do not see any of my comments ! Does Ucity patch understand Free speech and the 1st amendment? IS Ucity patch a kind of Communist paper ?
Maggie Rotermund August 16, 2012 at 07:33 PM
IA- Your comment was removed for violation of our terms of service. Profane language is not allowed.
Jeff Hales August 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM
(continued) Let me remind you, this is a discussion that you initiated This is about your allegations; this is not about me. This is not the first time that you have questioned someone as being a surrogate or paid consultant without merit, and while I do appreciate predictability, I find this line of questioning rude and boorish. It really should not be so inconceivable that individuals may disagree with your charged political statements. Furthermore, it’s rather disingenuous of you to state in previous Patch comments to others that you “would be happy to have this discussion if you would reveal your true identity”, you have my name and my picture, but again you refuse to have a discussion. I find it hard to believe that you don’t know who I am; you have—after all—sent emails to me. Your apparent investigation into my personal information is rather creepy and frankly evokes thoughts of McCarthyism; I’m not sure whether I should be concerned or whether you would just like for me to be concerned. This discussion thread is not “the court of Jan Adams”, you may not refuse to be accountable while demanding accountability from others at the same time.
Jeff Hales August 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Mr. Glickert's motion was not to direct the City Manager to put out an RFP, it was to HIRE a traffic consultant. This was a vote to spend money. As recorded by the meeting minutes, Mr. Glickert's motion was “for Council to direct the City Manager by means of a RFP to hire a traffic consultant to do a comprehensive traffic and parking study of the Loop and the contingent neighborhood.” Mr. Kraft is incorrect and would be well served to consult the meeting minutes and restrain his obnoxious commentary about his colleagues. He would seem to be suggesting that since Ms. Carr is on the Council now, there are no other citizens paying attention and they can do as they please and disregard the Sunshine Laws.
George Lenard August 17, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Jeff Hales: Is the rumor true that you are not a U City resident? If so, exactly what is the nature of your interest in these matters?
Jeff Hales August 17, 2012 at 09:18 PM
I was unaware that such a rumor was circulating, though I suppose I'm flattered to be the subject of so much attention.
Jacob Piwo August 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Sounds like we live in Mayberry and Gladys Kravitz has nothing else to do all day but figure out who lives where and every bit of information about them. Do you have to be a resident of Ucity currently to comment on stories and take interest in University City? That sounds like the same notion I have read that some want to check ID's before you can comment on articles. AOL better up their advertising rates, because they will have to hire someone full time to monitor the site. How small town minded. I realize a city with a population of 38,000 isn't huge, but seems like the thinking of someone from a tiny little village in middle america.
George Lenard August 18, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Jeff: Your failure to answer a simple yes or no question is duly noted. Jacob: You are right, you don't HAVE to be a resident. But when someone is as vociferously one-sided and predictably anti-administration as Jeff Hales, their opinions would carry less weight to some residents and readers if he were not a resident, and such status would raise questions about his motives. There is nothing wrong with the thinking of most people I know from tiny villages in middle America. Since that characterizes my wife and every member of her very large extended family, plus her distinguished ancestors, I take it as an insult personally and on behalf of the millions so stereotypically mis-characterized.
Jacob Piwo August 18, 2012 at 11:28 PM
George--I don't know why you would take it as a personal insult, when you and I do not even know each other. If I got my feelings hurt every time I read something in online news article comment sections (or on the internet in general) that I felt was offensive, I would need to be on about 10 antidepressants. You give this comment section way too much credence.
Jeff Hales August 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM
George, I have noted your notation, but I was really hoping you would say something of substance on the issue of the allegation by Ms. Adams that Ms. Carr "instructed the City Clerk to violate the Sunshine Law". I think that's a far more interesting topic and one of significance and consequence for the city. And George, remember when you said this to me: "Jeff: The more you talk, the less you say"? For someone who takes to insulting others , you have awfully thin skin.
Steve August 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Hold on!!! Gladys Kravitz did not live in Mayberry. Gladys Kravitz was the neighbor of Samantha and Darrin Stephens. Mr. Stephens worked at that prestigious, Madison Avenue advertising firm McMann & Tate. The Stephens' home is located in a nearby upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood, either in Westport, Connecticut or within New York State. Thankfully, my childhood years of television watching, and battling my mother for “sitting to close” and “not seeing the light of day” have proven highly beneficial.
Jacob Piwo August 20, 2012 at 10:38 PM
LOL...good point Steve.
Kathy Leahy August 30, 2012 at 01:44 AM
The Sunshine Law clearly states that a TENTATIVE agenda must be posted. Since an agenda was posted, the Sunshine Law clearly allows for last minute changes. What Paulette Car should appologize for is not the she may have missed something, but that she once again wasted the council's time on a nuance of law that it seems she did not understand, and on an issue for which there was no controversy. When can we expect the council to get anything done for the betterment of University City?
Steve August 30, 2012 at 02:07 PM
" All public governmental bodies shall give notice of the time, date and place of each meeting, and its tentative agenda, in a manner reasonably calculated to advise the public of the matters" . How is leaving an item off the agenda "reasonably calculated to advise the public" that the item will be discussed at the meeting? Public bodies could avoid difficult discussion that residents are interested in by leaving items off the agenda and amending it at the meeting. This does not fit with open government as promised by law and promised by the Council. I believe open meetings with disclosure of the topics to be discussed is for the betterment of University City.

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