Dispute over liability could threaten Crestwood-Central County contract

By Erin Achenbach
Staff Reporter
eachenbach@callnewspapers.com

Crestwood and Central County 911 Emergency Dispatch may not renew their contract after all, after amendments to the contract requested by Crestwood were rejected by Central County’s Board of Directors.

Lisa Stump

After initially voting to renew the city’s 2020-2025 contract with Central County 911 for emergency dispatch services in July, the attorney for Central County 911, Rob Schultz, told the Crestwood Board of Aldermen at its Aug. 27 meeting that the Central County board had rejected Crestwood’s amended contract.

When Crestwood voted to renew its contract with Central County, it approved an amended contract, altered from the one offered to the city by Central County.

At the time, Ward 4 Alderman Tony Kennedy expressed concern with an indemnification clause in the contract that would require the city to “hold harmless Central County for any liability or cost or claim arising from or related to the performance of the obligations of this agreement.”

The board and City Attorney Lisa Stump agreed to strike the clause from the contract, seemingly under the impression that it would not be a problem with Central County.

“We want to keep everyone the same and not treat anyone differently,” said Schultz, who further explained that the directors felt that the indemnification clause needed to remain in the contract since the other municipalities and fire protection districts Central County contracts with have the indemnification clause in their agreements.

“We’re very careful not to play favorites… I know from discussion we want Crestwood, but we just can’t give you a special deal when we’ve told other people no in the past.”

Some aldermen suggested that the clause be struck from Crestwood’s contract and an addendum sent out to Central County’s other municipalities to strike the clause in their contracts, and the Crestwood board voted to keep the contract as amended without the indemnification clause.

“I think it’s not a fair provision. I would never sign an agreement like this for my own family and for myself,” said Ward 4 Alderman Ismaine Ayouaz, referring to the unamended contract. “There’s no way I’m going to vote in favor” of a contract that still has the indemnification clause.

In a followup with City Administrator Kris Simpson, the Central County board will once again review and decide on the amended contract with Crestwood at its next meeting this week.

If Central County declines to accept Crestwood’s amended contract, Crestwood will have to find a different emergency dispatch service for 2020. The city will remain with Central County until the current contract, which has an indemnification clause, expires at the end of the year.