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

Kostial soon to be known as the ‘Former Alderman’

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

The disenfranchisement of Ward 3 Sunset Hills residents by Alderman Keith Kostial ends this week, as voters were set to elect his successor Tuesday — after the Call went to press.

Fortunately, Kostial did not file for re-election, and as we noted last week, Ward 3 residents will be excellently served by either of the two candidates seeking election — Nathan Lipe and Lori Scarlett. Lipe came in second in the four-way race for mayor last year that was won by Mayor Pat Fribis, while Scarlett lost to Kostial by three votes in the 2015 election.

Elected in April 2015, Kostial’s tenure on the Board of Aldermen has been nothing short of disastrous. Since December 2015, Kostial has attended more Board of Aldermen meetings via videoconferencing than in person.

That’s an issue, as we believe elected officials have an obligation to physically attend meetings of the body to which they were elected.

Yet, Kostial repeatedly insisted his physical presence was not required at board meetings, as his job frequently required him to be out of state. He cited a 2013 change to the Missouri Open Meetings and Records Act to allow roll-call votes to be cast by elected officials attending a meeting “via videoconferencing.”

Emergencies undoubtedly will arise from time to time requiring an elected official to attend a meeting via videoconferencing instead of in person, but electronic attendance should be the exception and not the rule.

But with Kostial, electronic attendance is the rule — not the exception.

Since December 2015, Kostial has attended eight meetings in person, 11 via videoconferencing and one where he joined via videoconferencing halfway through the meeting. In the same time frame, he totally blew off six meetings.

Since the beginning of the year, the Board of Aldermen has met six times — Jan. 10, Jan. 23, Jan. 24, Feb. 28, March 14 and March 28. Kostial has missed five of those meetings. The one meeting he attended via videoconferencing on Feb. 28, he turned up halfway through the meeting.

Since December 2015, Kostial has been paid $5,200 for “serving” as an alderman. Given his poor performance, not to mention his inability to attend a majority of aldermanic meetings in person, we believe an excellent case can be made for Kostial to return most — if not all — of that $5,200.

Kostial initially was the “Robo Alderman.” He then morphed into the “Absent Alderman.” Soon he will be the “Former Alderman.”

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