Administrator stonewalls his way through interview

By Mike Anthony

It’s evident that Crestwood City Administrator Mark Sime either doesn’t understand the city’s Charter or has elected to ignore its provisions.

Sime is declining to explain why he attempted earlier this year to reclassify the city clerk’s position as an unclassified position — a change that appears to violate the city’s Charter and is opposed by City Clerk Tina Flowers.

In February, Sime proposed an ordinance to amend the municipal code to make the position of city clerk exempt from the city’s civil service rules — the same status as elected officials, the city administrator and department heads.

Under the Charter, the city clerk “shall be a civil service employee.”

Sime’s proposal cost the city roughly $1,690 in legal bills, but was never considered by aldermen since he removed it from the Feb. 11 meeting agenda on Feb. 10. Consider his responses when we asked about his proposal:

• “Well, that’s getting into the personnel arena here, and since it didn’t come out, then I’d prefer not to discuss it right now.”

• “… This is where it will be a discussion about the Charter versus the civil service rules, and I’m not here to get into that discussion with you at this time.”

• “That is still within the personnel arena, and I can’t discuss that at this time.”

• “… I’m not going to comment on her (Flowers’) opinions.”

Given his stonewalling, we can only conclude that Sime believes he’s not accountable to the public or press for his official actions.

Then there’s Ward 4 Alderman Michael Vincent’s May 30 email, in which he writes about the reclassification proposal, “It is my understanding our clerk initiated discussions with (Sime) and that he attempted to positively help her …”

Flowers, in an email written later that same day, stated, “I did not initiate nor did I support the reclassification of my position as city clerk …”

We’ve worked with Flowers for years, and in our opinion, she has far more credibility than Sime. For example, asked about Vincent’s email, Sime said, “It wasn’t sent to me.” However, copies of the email the Call received after making a public records request show Sime was copied in on Vincent’s email.

Asked if he had seen the email, Sime said, “I can’t comment on that.”

Given his egregious conduct, we believe aldermen should take immediate action to severely discipline — or perhaps even terminate — Sime.