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U City Mayor Mulling Councilmember's Safety Concerns; Doesn't Want Council Meetings to Feel Like Armed Camps

University City mayor said she feels safe with 2 police officers at Council meetings, but takes seriously concerns expressed by Council member Lynn Ricci.

said she "personally" feels safe with two police officers in the City Council chambers.

In an email to University City Patch, she said "However, I am, of course, concerned when any member of Council feels uncomfortable or unsafe in a meeting."

In a letter to the mayor dated Friday, Feb. 25, Council member Lynn Ricci said she wanted to see ''5 police officers at our meeting" to remove any person, councilmember or audience member alike that gets "physical, loud and menacing."

Ricci's remarks come after the mayor wrote a letter of reprimand to for what she called his "bullying" and "disorderly" behavior at the council meeting on Monday, Feb. 14.

In her letter, Ricci wrote, "I am now as of this last meeting uncomfortable for safety of all in council chambers." 

"When a council member gets physical, loud, and menacing, it is frankly not that individual councilmember that I fear as much as the unknown audience member who, however irrational it may be, is incited to act," she wrote.

In her email, Mayor Welsch said she'd like to see the council discuss safety concerns in person "not over- email." She said the council needs to find the right balance between safety and "the need to ensure our residents don’t feel they are in an armed camp when they attend Council meetings."

Meantime, the mayor also said she does not support Council member Ricci's call for the council to formally make an independent investigation into recent disclosures of council information, including the mayor's letter of reprimand to Council member Byron Price.

"This is a public document," said Mayor Welsch. "The focus should be on Councilmember Price’s disorderly behavior." She said the City Council cannot conduct business "when one of its members continues to resort to personal attacks on Councilmembers and City staff."

Beth Campagnella February 27, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Ricci feels she needs protection becuase she is a nasty aggressive bully that has done nothing but rip apart he community-I can see where she's concerned for her safety. Price's behavior is nothing compared to hers-she is the queen of rhetoric she acts in opposition of every word out of her mouth-she must be republican-she just keeps making the same accusations over and over again while commiting graver offenses herself-but if you say the same thing over and over the public starts to buy off on it-tragic for such a great town-how did such negative people take control of the Council?
Holston Black Jr. February 27, 2011 at 05:02 PM
I feel quite safe at council meetings but if an elected official doesn't STAY AT HOME> When you feel so superior to your constituents, you cannot be effective in helping them. I feel more uncomfortable with armed police standing around and not on the streets patrolling. But it's only money, oops, I forgot we don't have a budget issue.
Maggie Stanley Majors February 28, 2011 at 02:41 AM
To me, 5 officers at a City Council meeting seems absurd. Clearly, Kirkwood in still in the back of our collective mind. I'm not saying it shouldn't be. I have already mentioned race in response to the previous article about City Council. Most agree that race had some role in the Kirkwood tragedy. But I agree with Mr. Black: armed police tend to escalate a situation, not diffuse it. I sincerely hope Mayor Shelley Welsch reconsiders Council member Ricci's request. See 'consultant's post on the previous article if you're still asking why 5 officers are not needed. Consultant eloquently invokes the memory of Officer Mike King to make the point: http://universitycity.patch.com/articles/councilwoman-calls-for-more-police-at-council-meetings-probe-into-leaked-information
3rd Ward Rogue February 28, 2011 at 07:16 AM
Ms Campagnella--- Lynn Ricci supported Barbara Fraser the Democrat for the 24th Senate District, the Republican John Lamping won the seat.
Maggie Stanley Majors February 28, 2011 at 08:01 AM
Audio files for city council meetings: http://www.ucitycitizen.org/ Thanks to whoever is maintaining this site and recording the sessions!
Nora March 01, 2011 at 03:37 PM
I had the fortunate to speak at the council meeting, but for those not present, here is what I said. I was upset to hear that our council member had been reprimanded, especially since I’ve witnessed similarly disrespectful behavior by other council members in session. But I’m most upset by Council person Ricci’s request to increase the number of police members assigned to council meetings. Ms. Ricci, police are not pawns to be used in political gamesmanship. They are here to serve residents and keep the community safe. UCity as a whole, and the 3rd ward especially, has experienced escalating violent crime recently. In February, we watched cops in our backyard talk down a suspect who’d brandished a firearm at cops after assaulting his family members. Fortunately, the cops successfully negotiated his surrender without serious injuries to him, themselves, or the neighbors. This is where cops need to be, protecting the community. They don’t need to be wasting time in council chambers just to score some political points for the council. It’s especially frustrating to hear about this from ward members who insist that we’re facing a budget crisis. Most people just want to live in safe communities with decent school systems. If you focus on reducing crime, increasing public safety, and improving the school system, the budget matters will take care of themselves. Please retract this inflammatory request and focus on the critical issues affecting our community.

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