South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Crestwood board postpones approval of minutes from June meeting

Miguel outlines reasons why he’s lost confidence in Sime

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen recently postponed approval of minutes from its June 24 meeting after Ward 3 Alderman Bill Boston said he believed the minutes were “very incomplete.”

At the July 22 Board of Aldermen meeting, Boston noted former Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel had addressed aldermen during their June 24 meeting.

“… He spoke of six or seven deeply concerning events that took place at City Hall over the past 16 months. He spoke of these (events) in detail. Nothing of what Jerry spoke about to this board was put into the minutes,” he said. “I do not know why all this information and his comments have been left out of the minutes from that 24th meeting. I believe the minutes are very incomplete, and I believe this public information needs to be put into the minutes for our next meeting.”

The board then voted 7-0 to postpone approval of the minutes until its next meeting. Ward 2 Alderman Mary Stadter was absent.

Regarding Miguel’s comments at the June 24 meeting, the draft minutes stated Miguel “approached the podium and shared his opinion of significant events that had occurred over the last 16 months.”

But as reported by the Call, Miguel, who joined other aldermen in voting 7-0 to hire Sime in January 2013, cited a series of decisions made by Sime that have caused Miguel to lose confidence in the city administrator.

Miguel said June 24 that he had been out of town for a couple of weeks and when he returned, he was surprised to read a headline in the Call that stated, “Sime declines to explain his attempt to reclassify Crestwood clerk’s post.”

In that article, the Call reported that Sime declined to explain publicly 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.

In February, Sime proposed an ordinance to amend the city’s municipal code to make the city clerk’s position unclassified, or exempt — the same status as elected officials, the city administrator and department heads, who are not covered under the city’s Civil Service Rules and Regulations.

But City Clerk Tina Flowers, who recently resigned, wrote in a May 30 email sent to aldermen that she objected to Sime’s proposal and that it would directly conflict with the city’s Charter, which states the city clerk “shall be a civil service employee.”

After reading the Call article, Miguel said, “It got me to thinking of the events of the past 16 months. I had full confidence in you, Mr. Sime, when you were presented to the board. I grilled you intensively for an hour, and I had full confidence in your ability to lead the city forward in a business-like manner.

“But I reflected on the events of the past 16 months. First event was (eliminating) animal control. I fully supported that move. It was obvious to me that that was a duplication of services. I had no problems with that. I was a little bit surprised in how quickly it occurred, but nevertheless that had my full support.”

Next, Miguel cited Sime’s decision to outsource the city’s information technology services to ThrottleNet, which he “found understandable.”

“The third event was the pooling of the secretaries. Again understandable, but as I found out later, it was not very well-handled,” Miguel said.

The fourth event, Miguel said, was the “firing” of an employee.

“Questionable from the beginning — at least in my mind. The decision was reversed by the Civil Service Board. Obviously … the firing was uncalled for,” he said.

“Fifth, the outsourcing of the finance department. Again, in my mind, a bad move from the get-go. I applaud the board for finally coming and voting 6 to nothing to reject that proposition … But at the same time, I admonish the board for taking so long in which to do that, and I regret the persistence of the administration in pursuing that particular line.”

That issue, Miguel said, brought him “to the top of the hill. What pushed me over was what I saw when I came back — the attempt to reclassify the city clerk.”

Miguel, who served on the board from 2004 to 2013, asked Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding and Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood if they recalled the reclassification issue being raised about nine years ago.

“I think that issue came to the board when — about 2005. It was handled very appropriately at this board, at least as my recollection is concerned, was brought up, was discussed and the issue was dropped. As a result of these actions, Mr. Sime, my confidence in you has been lost. I regret to say that. The question for the board — I present to the board is: What’s the next thing to be outsourced? Will it be police or will it be fire? …”

The Board of Aldermen will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.

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