Residents, neighbors await next episode of Sunset Hills soap opera

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer’s legal saga continues to dominate Board of Aldermen meetings, much to the detriment of the city.

As readers are well aware, Furrer has been charged with two felonies that stem from a July 29 incident in which the mayor allegedly hit Fenton bicyclist Randy Murdick with his car on Old Gravois Road. Furrer maintains his innocence and plans a “vigorous” defense against the charges.

As we’ve noted before, Furrer’s felony charges are an issue that will be decided in court. But given the fact that a jury trial is not set until December, Furrer’s legal troubles will continue to be a distraction for the foreseeable future at Board of Aldermen meetings.

That’s unfortunate. For many years, mayors have presided over board meetings, ensuring that business was conducted in a professional manner.

That’s not to say there haven’t been controversies or disagreements, but decorum was maintained, for the most part. That’s not the case today, as meetings have taken on a circus-like atmosphere, often with Furrer as the ringmaster.

On Oct. 11, seven aldermen sent a letter to Furrer requesting that he resign immediately. Ward 2 Alderman Tom Musich did not sign the letter.

On Dec. 12, six aldermen sent Furrer a letter requesting he “take an unpaid leave of absence to concentrate on your legal issues or step down as mayor immediately.” Musich and Ward 4 Alderman Donna Ernst did not sign the letter.

Despite the calls for him to take a leave of absence or resign, Furrer has been adamant that he will remain in office. That’s certainly his right, but to the best of our knowledge, he is the first mayor in the history of Sunset Hills to be charged with felonies while in office.

In an Oct. 14 letter responding to the request by seven aldermen that he resign immediately, Furrer wrote, “My court case will not interfere with my duties as mayor …”

Sadly, that’s not true as his court case has begun to take on a life of its own at board meetings, creating a wedge among aldermen.

Furrer may have entered the mayoral race last year with the best of intentions to serve the city and its residents.

But it’s undeniable that the drama of his legal situation has both city residents and those of surrounding areas eagerly awaiting the next installment of “As Sunset Hills Turns.”

And that’s not good for Furrer, Sunset Hills or its residents.