Facts don’t support Robinson’s claim that ‘Crestwood is a very open city’

After reading in the Call’s Sept. 18 issue what Crestwood Mayor Roy Robinson’s excuse was for the Board of Aldermen going into executive/closed session on July 8 to discuss and vote on raises for some of the city’s police officers, I decided to go to last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting and ask some questions.

To be frank, I had a hard time understanding how the raises given May 15 were not approved until July 8.

But I had a harder time believing the mayor’s reason for their approval in a closed session. The mayor said in the Sept. 18 Call that he was afraid something would be said by someone in open session that would be potentially harmful to the city or an employee. The use of an executive, closed-door meeting, he said, was “because we have people who will like to grandstand. They like to be able to shock people and try to make them make statements that they’re not prepared to make.”

So I was ready to ask questions in public about these closed sessions at the Sept. 23 board meeting. But I didn’t have to because at the Board of Aldermen meeting were members of the Crestwood Police Board. They assured us that all Police Board meetings were open to the public and anyone who wanted to know about the raises could have attended the Police Board meetings. I guessed that no “grandstanders” attend the Police Board meetings and those that do would not make “statements that they’re not prepared to make.” So it was OK that they were open to the public.

This made me feel much better until I realized that the mayor’s stated fears may have already happened in the open-to-the-public Police Board meetings. So I thought maybe something happened at the Police Board meetings that made him concerned. The only way to find out was to go to the city’s Web site and look up the minutes of past meetings.

This is where it really gets interesting. I could not find any minutes from any of the Police Board meetings held in 2008. More intriguing, all the agendas were the same except for the dates on them.

So, here we have pay raises given two months before those who are the only ones who can approve them voted to do so — the aldermen — and then their vote is taken behind closed doors two months after the fact because of the fears stated by our mayor.

But not to worry. All of the actions leading up to the increases are in the minutes of the open-to-the-public Police Board meetings, except any minutes of any of the meetings held are not available on the city’s Web site. One of the statements Mayor Robinson made last week was: “Crestwood is a very open city. All that we do up here is in front of the public.”

Somehow, the facts do not support his claim.

Tim Trueblood

Crestwood

Editor’s note: Mr. Trueblood served as a Crestwood Ward 2 alderman from 1993 to 2006, when he stepped down due to term limits.