What You Need to Know About Arnold Council Candidate Vern Sullivan

25 Jan

Vernon Sullivan is running for Arnold city council in ward 3. He is currently on the Fox C-6 school board.

Sullivan serves as treasurer for Building a Better Arnold. This is a political action committee that led the failed charge to raise the sales tax in Arnold in November 2015. This was the city’s attempt to blackmail city residents suffering from recurring stormwater problems into supporting the tax before they could get some long-awaited help from the city, despite the fact that the city just earned $9 million by selling the sewer system to American Water.

The campaign to pass this tax was funded by several groups. One was Anheuser-Busch, who gave $15,000 after getting a $20 million tax abatement from the city. The Missouri American Water Employees PAC gave $10,000, after the aforementioned sewer sale, the campaign for which was boosted by the city council’s pre-election threat to jack up sewer rates by 75%. Arnold construction company Kozeny-Wagner gave $5,000, likely with an eye on future construction contracts funded by the tax hike.

If he was such a big backer of this tax hike, how will he vote on future tax hikes if elected? His selection for this treasurer job also suggests a certain coziness with the current regime, which is not what we need.

Fox Issues

Sullivan was head of the Fox C-6 Scholarship Golf Tourney from 1999 until it was discontinued in 2014. Money from this tournament was used by disgraced former Fox superintendent Dianne Critchlow as part of her scholarship slush fund, through which she funneled scholarships to the children of her cronies (and to her own kids). If Sullivan didn’t know that Critchlow’s kids were receiving golf scholarships, he probably should have.

Sullivan was elected to the Fox board in 2014, about two months before the (first) Critchlow scandal broke. Here are some decisions he has contributed to since then:

  • Allowing Critchlow to retire without being fired
  • In the wake of the scandal, he voted to appoint Tim Crutchley, whose hands are of questionable cleanliness in all this, as interim superintendent.
  • He voted to hire the daughter of board member Cheryl Hermann.
  • Awarding fired nutrition director Kelly Nash, a nepotism hire, a $20,000 settlement after likely failing to get her required certification.

All told, Sullivan seems like an establishment, status quo candidate when that’s precisely what Arnold does not need.

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