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

Military career impressive, transparency not so much

“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony: Sime’s father-in-law outraged over criticism of administrator

Crestwood City Administrator Mark Sime’s father-in-law is very proud of Sime’s military service.

And he should be. Sime, a retired Air Force colonel, has a distinguished military record. Sime’s father-in-law, Jim Furlong, outlined specifics of Sime’s 26 years of military service during the Aug. 12 Board of Aldermen meeting and called him “a true hero.”

“… I can go on and on and on about (Sime’s military service), and I find it outrageous that his ethics, his character and his honesty are in question here …,” Furlong said.

Sime’s military career is extremely impressive. Much less impressive, however, was the fact that the vast majority of those attending the Aug. 12 meeting were unaware of Furlong’s relationship to Sime. In a breach of protocol, no one — not Mayor Gregg Roby nor acting City Clerk Helen Ingold — stopped to ask Furlong for his address. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen speakers asked to stop their remarks until they identify themselves and provide an address before being allowed to continue.

We were curious about Furlong’s address and submitted a public-records request to the city for it.

“The city does not have that information,” Ingold responded.

The lack of an address also raised a few eyebrows among some of the city’s aldermen, particularly when they received draft minutes of the Aug. 12 meeting, which contained no address for Furlong. At the Sept. 9 meeting, Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild raised the issue, but noted the address had since been supplied.

However, the address was not a residence, but a veterinary hospital in Chesterfield. Curious about how Sime came to know Furlong’s address, the Call asked him about the fact that the speaker’s address was a veterinary hospital.

“I contacted him, and that’s the address that he gave me,” Sime said.

Asked if Furlong is his father-in-law, Sime answered after a long pause, “Uh, yes.”

When asked if he thought it odd that his father-in-law addressed the board, Sime said, “… I would have to ask: Why would it be odd?”

Ironically, the issue of Sime being a veteran was raised at the Aug. 12 meeting by former Ward 4 Alderman Deborah Beezley, who spoke just before Furlong. If we didn’t know better, one might believe the whole thing was choreographed with Beezley providing the setup by saying, “… I think, Mr. Sime, you’re a vet … and I think we are proud — I should think we should be proud that we have hired vets in our community. I’m saddened tonight by the way we treat people …”

That’s ludicrous. Certainly no one in public service would stage such an elaborate setup just to defend himself or herself against criticism. Equally ludicrous, however, is that somehow Sime merits a free pass from criticism on how he is performing his duties as city administrator because of his past military service.

Perhaps President Theodore Roosevelt put it best: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

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