EDITORIAL: Crestwood’s transparency threatened by Sime, Stump

Call the Tune

By Mike Anthony

Jerry Miguel served the city of Crestwood admirably as a Ward 3 alderman for nine years, until he could not seek re-election because of term limits.

During his service on the board, from 2004 to 2013, Miguel excelled at keeping a close eye on the city’s finances, and his meticulous attention to detail reaped untold benefits for residents. Therefore, we were disturbed by his recent comments about City Administrator Mark Sime.

As readers may surmise, we’re no longer a big fan of Sime, who recently stonewalled his way through an interview with the Call. During that interview, Sime declined 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.

It’s the reclassification issue — along with several others — that rankled Miguel, who declared at the June 24 Board of Aldermen meeting that he has lost confidence in Sime’s ability to move the city forward.

Miguel’s comments, in our opinion, carry a great deal of weight, particularly given the fact that he joined other aldermen in voting 7-0 to hire Sime in January 2013.

“… I had full confidence in you, Mr. Sime, when you were presented to the board,” Miguel said. “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 over the past 16 months, Miguel said his opinion of Sime has soured, citing a series of events — including Sime’s firing of a city employee that was reversed by the Civil Service Board — and culminating with Sime’s effort to reclassify the city clerk’s position.

Under Sime’s “leadership,” the transparency that once was a cornerstone of Crestwood government has evaporated and been replaced with a shroud of secrecy. In his effort to keep the public and press in the dark, Sime has been ably assisted by City Attorney Lisa Stump. Stump’s unique view of the state’s Open Meetings and Records Act is troubling since her actions appear motivated by a desire to protect Sime rather than uphold the law.

Both the city administrator and the city attorney answer to the mayor and the Board of Aldermen. We believe city officials need to closely scrutinize the actions of Sime and Stump and decide if they’re the right people to serve Crestwood and its citizens.