Arnold: Next Stage of the Boone-Moss Saga

29 Dec

Update: Here is the report on the investigation of the Boone claim.

I wrote here about the developing accusations of harassment leveled against city councilman Ken Moss by Arnold Parks and Rec director Susie Boone. In that post, I mentioned Arnold’s plans to hire Protective and Investigative Services of St. Louis to investigate Boone’s complaint. The results of this investigation are in. According to the company, their investigation substantiates Boone’s claims. A couple of notes about the investigation:

  • According to the October 11 edition of the Arnold Leader, the investigation was to cost about $2,ooo. But in the end, the city was charged $6,800, which is a pretty big discrepancy. According to the Arnold finance director, Deborah Lewis, $2,000 of that was for interviews with various city officials and employees, and the rest was for transcribing the interviews and assembling the report.
  • This situation started, we thought, with a complaint Boone reportedly filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (city administrator Robert Shockey said at the December 20 council meeting that it actually started with a complaint by Boone to him). I suggested in my previous post that I did not think this accusation was under the purview of the MCHR, as it did not appear to be based on some sort of discrimination against a protected class. And in fact, the agency said it “could not do anything with the complaint” and that it would have to go to a different agency. We know that no cmplaint was included in the investigator’s report, and that the investigator did not share a copy of it with Moss’ lawyer during the latter’s interview, according to Arnold Patch. Patch tried to acquire the complaint, but nobody at the city or the MCHR responded.

The council voted on December 20 not to accept the investigator’s report, by a 5-3 vote. The vote was split the same way as the votes on October 4 that I discussed in my previous post, with only Paul Freese, Bill Moritz, and Phil Amato voting in favor. Complaints about the report were that a lot of it was hearsay and unnecessary questions (Cricky Lang), that the report was not “valid” and the “summary was wrong” (Michelle Hohmeier), the investigation “was not done correctly” (Sandra Kownacki), and that it was a “sham” (Doris Borgelt). Moss refused the acting city attorney’s suggestion to recuse himself from the vote. (Note: this report is a public record, and I am working on acquiring a copy).

I found it interesting that Mayor Ron Counts strongly defended the investigation, saying “we have an obligation to our staff.” However, back in September, it was Counts, along with city attorney Bob Sweeney and city adminstrator/police chief Robert Shockey, who took Moss into another room during a closed council session to press him to resign. Had they succeeded, there would have been no investigation. As I wrote at the time, “[Sweeney] and Counts were perfectly willing to subvert the democratic process by removing Moss from the council behind closed doors with no public input.” They didn’t want this to be made public. But now we hear that this investigation was the proper way to support city employees. Moritz also spoke of his yearning desire to show the employees that he has their back.

Shockey spoke up during the council meeting, vehemently wanting to clear up (and put “on the record”) that he had no ties to the investigator, and that Boone filed a formal complaint with him, and that, not the MCHR complaint, was what triggered the investigation. This is contrary to what many thought, and Kownacki stated this at the meeting. Shockey also said, oddly, that “this has become, in my book, retaliation and harassment towards me” (51:10 mark on 12/2o video here). Is he going to file a complaint with the MCHR (or with himself)? Can we see a copy of Boone’s complaint to Shockey?

We are told by Sweeney that the three options going forward are to do nothing, to impeach Moss, or censure him. Freese made a motion to censure (later withdrawn), and said that impeachment was not ideal in his mind. It seems safe to say that a censure resolution will not pass, judging by the 5-3 votes we have seen (which would be 4-3 with a Moss recusal).

Other notes:

  • Moss’ attorney spoke at the meeting, and had a fiery exchange with Counts (his remarks began at 56:20 in the video).
  • A vote was taken and the motion passed to release the minutes of the September 20 closed session that relate to Boone’s allegations. Moritz offered this motion, suggesting that there were three items in those minutes that would apparently back up Boone’s case. I look forward to seeing them.
  • Ken Moss plans to run for mayor in April. He claims that this accusation is related to that. With Borgelt also running, this promises to be a bitter battle.
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One Response to “Arnold: Next Stage of the Boone-Moss Saga”

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  1. Boone-Moss Report: Shockingly Shoddy « Jefferson County Penknife - January 6, 2013

    […] that this report is not worth $6.80, much less the $6,800 PIS is charging for it (despite the initial assertion from the city that the report would cost $2,000). The council was right to refuse to pay for it, […]

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