Some Pevely Comments

19 Dec

– In the wake of Pevely City Administrator Terry Thomas’ ouster Monday night, Mayor John Knobloch, whose vote broke the tie to let Thomas go, said that “he is doing the best he can to take over the duties of city administrator.” I was concerned that he meant to do this permanently. However, in today’s Leader he says he plans to post a job opening. I’m not sure who would want the job, given what has just transpired.

– Here is a story KMOV aired during last night’s 10 pm newscast.

– The members of the council who voted not to retain Thomas have been silent about why. Aldermen Debbie Hurley said she didn’t know she was voting to fire Thomas. Does that mean she didn’t want to do so? Ilda Kennon said she also didn’t know, but is OK with the firing. Marlin Hahn did not comment. Whatever their thinking, they owe their constituents an explanation. Otherwise, people will attribute it to conspiracies and backroom deals. I thought something similar when the County Council sacked two Port Authority members. I supported that move, but thought the council members should have been more forthcoming about why (a couple of council members said a few words, but overall the explanation was inadequate).

– But the plot thickens, as today Thomas went back to work as administrator:

Thomas said Thursday that the vote was a procedural matter involving a reading of the bill related to his employment, but no vote was taken about whether he’ll keep his job.

He also said four aldermen must vote to fire him, and he expects his return to work will force the board’s hand to vote on whether he’ll keep his job.

“Until then, I’ll keep my job,” said Thomas.

I’m not sure I agree that it takes four aldermen to fire him. One of a mayor’s duties is to vote in case of a tie among the aldermen. Therefore, It would seem that he can be the fourth vote to dismiss an appointed city official. But I’m not sure.

– As a way to resolve some of the city’s issues, there’s this:

Missouri 79.240: Any elective officer, including the mayor, may in like manner, for cause shown, be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to the board of aldermen, independently of the mayor’s approval or recommendation.

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5 Responses to “Some Pevely Comments”

  1. Some2 December 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    I agree with your interpretation regarding the termination threshold for Thomas. As the mayor votes in a tie that would create a majority. The 2/3 requirement only comes into play if the council/board wishes to remove the administrator over the objection of the mayor.

    Thomas has caught a break with his status. He should use the second life to negotiate a proper severance instead of playing a game of chicken that will tag him with a termination. In that case he wouldn’t have to say “yes” to having been terminated on future job applications.

    Of course he never should have been fired in the first place. People hate severances but this is exactly why they exist. The man is a victim of a political ploy and has conducted himself properly professionally.

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  2. Doris Borgelt December 20, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    The statute says two thirds of all those elected to the board of alderman. The mayor was not elected to the board of alderman, so in this particular case it doesn’t matter how the mayor voted…and if they try to push it, I see a long and expensive court case for Pevely.
    .

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  3. Anonymous December 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    If three members vote no, three vote yes and the mayor breaks a tie that is only a 4/7 vote (57%). It requires a 2/3 (66%) vote.

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    • JC Penknife December 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      2/3 is only needed without the mayor’s approval.

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  4. Some2 December 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    The statute quoted is in relation to what it takes to impeach the mayor.

    Here is the relevant section of the law for the City Administrator-

    The mayor may, with the consent of a majority of all the members elected to the board of aldermen, remove from office any appointive officer of the city at will, and any such appointive officer may be so removed by a two-thirds vote of all the members elected to the board of aldermen, independently of the mayor’s approval or recommendation.

    Rsmo 79 establishes the Mayor as having a seat on the board of aldermen but being unable to vote except in cases of a tie.

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