Crestwood now operating under ‘Roby’s Rules of Order,’ Duchild says

To the editor:

Anyone living within the boundaries of Lindbergh Schools should take note of how Crestwood Mayor Gregg Roby has decided to fulfill his campaign promise to “Restore the voice of citizens in city government.”

In Mayor Roby’s administration, the citizens’ right to speak freely and their duty to hold elected officials accountable have been trumped by the mayor’s efforts to manipulate public opinion.

To accomplish this, he has gone to these unprecedented lengths: Withheld information from the press and public, thwarted transparency through contorted interpretations of the state Sunshine Law, interrupted and cut off public speakers mid-statement, unilaterally changed the rules governing public comment at meetings, and twice attempted to remove a citizen from a volunteer board.

It is no surprise that he has bypassed the city’s website in favor of using as his main communication tool a private Facebook page where critical posts are deleted so that the carefully crafted message he wishes to spread can continue unquestioned.

His refusal to hold a town-hall meeting to discuss the new proposal for the mall property, allowing residents to engage in a public, dynamic discussion with the mall owner, further underscores his fear of losing control over redevelopment process.

The city is now operating under “Roby’s Rules of Order,” where the public servant has now decided he is the public boss.

It is disturbing to witness Mayor Roby’s intolerance, especially given that not long ago he was a direct beneficiary of former Mayor Jeff Schlink’s generosity in allowing all views the opportunity to be heard. Mr. Roby and his supporters took full advantage of this privilege, using the lectern at City Hall to criticize the former mayor, and using City Hall property as a protest site.

Where once there was a mayor who welcomed all opinions, we now have a mayor who openly and actively rejects those whose views are not consistent with his own and holds himself accountable to no one. If the redevelopment of the Crestwood mall property is to have any chance of success, Mayor Roby needs to step out of his carefully edited political world. While optimism about the mall plans is beneficial, Mayor Roby should allow those with a more critical eye the freedom to express their opinions as well.

Widespread support of redevelopment depends on Mayor Roby truly restoring the voice of citizens in city government.

The Lindbergh community can only hope he finds the courage to stick to his campaign promise.