City Council Responds to Mayor unsigned appropriations bill

Florissant Councilman Tim Lee has sent out the city’s Council’s response to Mayor Tom Schneider’s return of $1  million in appropriations that were approved by the city council last week. The mayor, by not signing the bill, still allows it to go into effect as it was not vetoed

Here’s the City Councils Response to Mayor’s return of bills unsigned:  

The City Council respectfully disagrees with several statements made in Mayor Schneider’s memos regarding his return of  bills 8981 and 8192 unsigned.   We regret that he has taken this action, and feel compelled to respond after reading the memos he made public this week.

First of all, we feel it is totally inappropriate for the mayor to “call out” one council person by name in his memo.  This is not the first time he has done this, and we feel disrespected by his action.  These bills were introduced by the “Council as a Whole” and the vote was 9-0 in favor of both bills.  We further object to the mayors comments about “half baked pet projects” and comparison to congresses  “pork barrel project(s).” or that “urgent business was held hostage”.

One of these “urgent projects” was stopped by the mayor last year, after the council voted unanimously for the city to move forward and seek bids because of the urgency and safety issues involved.   The mayor stopped work on preparing and releasing bid specifications. because the council wanted to know the scope of work and the amount needed after the bids were opened.

Another “urgent project” is the request for new equipment and golf carts.  This last minute emergency was NOT brought to our attention till mid February 2014.   During the budget discussions in October, the only request was for one sprayer.   But the council held an executive session, a special council meeting, and dedicated time at a council work session to resolve this crisis.

The mayor was specifically invited and encouraged to attend council work session on Feb 27 when these issues were discussed and agreed upon.  He failed to attend.  The council president specifically asked for members of the city staff to attend this meeting, and the mayor stated he would not allow them to attend.

The mayor  failed to deliver information to the city council for review prior to meetings, many times, handing out documents during or just minutes before meetings and work sessions.

The mayor states that bill 8981 “contains unnecessary and unwelcome language that could be interoperated as endorsing or disregard for the separation of powers between the Administrative branch and the Legislative branch of our government.”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  The City Council believes that “good business practices” should always been followed when dealing with taxpayers dollars.  But more, we rely on the city charter to be our guide.

The City Charter  section 6.4 states:

All contracts providing for payment in excess of five hundred dollars ($500.00) but not in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for purchases of supplies, materials or contractual services shall be made with the lowest and best bidder after at least three (3) competitive bids“.

It further states:   “All contracts providing for payment in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for the purchase of supplies, materials or contractual services shall be made with the lowest and best bidder after due public notice inviting sealed bids.” 

And finally:  “The Council may not except specific contracts, purchases or sales from the requirement of competitive bidding nor shall purchases be parceled or divided to avoid the intent of this Section.”

It is the city councils responsibility to be accountable for taxpayers dollars.  When supplemental appropriations are requested during the budget year, we have an obligation to know exactly what is being purchased, the total cost, and how the decision was made to recommend the particular vendor.  We believe this makes good business sense, and that the City Charter is clear on expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars.

The City Council regrets the actions of the mayor, and hopes that this clarifies our position.  We encourage residents to contact us if you have any questions.

 



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