Officials attempt to clarify confusion about city administrator’s departure

Resident urges board to seek two-year extension of Prop S

By Kari Williams

Crestwood officials last week attempted to clarify confusion surrounding the departure of former City Administrator Petree Eastman.

City Attorney Rob Golterman said city officials can say Eastman no longer is the city administrator and Fire Chief Karl Kestler is the acting city administrator.

“At this point, that is the only thing that we’re in a position to state publicly,” Golterman said March 27 during a Board of Aldermen meeting.

Resident Gregg Roby, a former Ward 3 alderman, referenced another local publication’s account of Eastman’s departure from the city, which specifically stated Eastman resigned. He then referenced a section of the Missouri Open Records and Meeting Law, also called the Sunshine Law, which states meetings and records can be closed for hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting an employee.

“It does not relate to resignations,” Roby said. “Therefore, I question why the city has not posted within the 72-hour period of March 16, the minutes of that meeting.”

Golterman said the city has complied with “all provisions of the Sunshine Law.”

“What the city is able to say is that Ms. Eastman is no longer the city administrator, and we have a new acting city administrator,” Golterman said. “I haven’t said that what the paper reported is accurate. I haven’t said it’s not accurate.”

Two other residents also approached the board with questions about Eastman’s departure from the city.

In other business, Schlink noted Centrum Properties tentatively was scheduled to make a presentation at the board meeting about its plans to redevelop Crestwood Court, but the date was “very fluid.”

The mayor said there are a lot of “moving pieces” that need to come together for Centrum Properties to make an announcement, including having a majority of the leases signed.

“What they want to do is be able to put names to the specific stores and entertainment venues that they want to put together,” Schlink said. “… They are working vigorously to move this forward and to get this in front of the residents of Crestwood.”

However, when Centrum Properties does make a presentation to the board and the city, it will not be a full plan with a financial aspect.

“What they want to do is get the concept out there with the specific names,” Schlink said.

Resident Jim Rook approached the board asking for a two-year extension of Proposition S, a 20-cent, tax-rate increase approved in 2006. The proposition was designed to eliminate $2 million in debt and a $1.5 million line of credit, both from Southwest Bank.

In 2010, the board voted to sunset the Prop S tax in 2011 due to early retirement of the associated debt, rather than 2012 as allowed by the measure’s ballot language.

“I don’t like new taxes, but I think extending the Prop S tax for two years should go on the ballot and let the voters decide,” Rook said.

Rook suggested using the funds generated from extending Prop S for city employee pay raises in 2012.

“We need to reward (city employees) and keep them …,” he said. “So I would urge the Board of Aldermen to vote to put on the ballot the extension of Prop S until 2013 with the intent of giving employee pay raises in 2012 and let the voters decide.”

Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel said it would be appropriate for the board to look at the city’s revenues and expenditures at its next meeting.

“If the board is going to consider doing something relative to Prop S, then for the board to do something in August, even beginning now would be a relatively short time frame with which to go over that particular issue,” Miguel said.

The board also approved a conditional-use permit for Pointe Dance Studio at 9298 Watson Industrial Court.

Holly Smith of Pointe Dance Studio said she came to Crestwood about three years ago as a tenant at Crestwood Court and would like to stay in the area. She has a three-year lease on the property off Watson Road.

“I wanted to find a place in Crestwood because most of my clients are from here,” Smith said.

Also, Schlink told the board the Ways and Means Committee, which met March 20, does not plan to make recommendations to the board in the near future.

Schlink said the committee will continue to meet monthly to focus on what it can do to “best spend the city dollars.”