Sunset Hills aldermen override mayor’s veto on committee nomination bill

Bill expands aldermen’s authority for nominations


By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

A bill giving both the Sunset Hills mayor and aldermen the power to nominate members to all city committees besides planning and parks and rec passed Sept. 13 after months of discussion and a mayoral veto. In the past only the mayor had that authority.

Pat Fribis

The bill was first passed in August 5-3 with Ward 2 Alderman Christine Lieber, Ward 3 Aldermen Cathy Friedmann and Randy Epperson and Ward 4 Aldermen Lindsay Hof and Fred Daues voting for the ordinance, and Ward 1 Aldermen Brian Fernandez and Ann McMunn and Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong voting against.

The bill was then vetoed by Mayor Pat Fribis with written objections. 

“Bill 13 is a proposed ordinance designed in part to undo the last election for mayor of Sunset Hills. The voting residents elected one mayor to be their mayor between the two candidates,” Fribis said, reading her objections aloud in August. “The proposed ordinance seeks to change the purposeful outcome of the election achieved by a majority of the voting residents by taking powers from a duly elected mayor and giving them to the board.”

Supporters of the bill said appointing or not appointing residents to boards and commissions based on who they supported for mayor was unfair. Proponents also argued the ordinance creates an opportunity for more residents to serve the city. 

“Our commissions as a litmus test of who supports who, although it seems to be our tradition, to me does not pass the test of equal opportunity,” Daues said at the August meeting. “With a contest for mayor decided 55 (percent) to 45 (percent), should the 45 percent be denied the opportunity to serve or, even worse, be removed? This vote is not anything but trying to offer the most amount of residents opportunities to serve.” 

The veto required six yes votes to overturn, so the revote was postponed for the Sept. 13 meeting, with McMunn indicating in August she would consider voting for the ordinance.

The board held no discussion at the September meeting, instead voting right away. The votes remained the same as the initial August vote, outside of McMunn, who voted in favor of passing the ordinance.

The final vote on the legislation was 6-2, with McMunn, Lieber, Friedmann, Epperson, Daues and Hof voting for the ordinance, while Fernandez and Wong were against.