Mayor says putting measure on November ballot a waste of thousands of taxpayer dollars
The matter of how long the mayor’s term of office should last has caused some controversy at Parkville City Hall — but not over the actual term of office.
At the Board of Aldermen meeting last week, the Board unanimously authorized a special election Nov. 5 to ask voters if the mayor’s term should be extended from two to three years. Two days later, Mayor Jim Brooks e-mailed a letter to the Board stating he would not sign the ordinance, much to the Board’s dismay.
“I have no intention of signing this action, as I see the special election costs, estimated by staff to be $5-6,000, as an unnecessary and blatantly wasteful use of taxpayer money considering that you have the option of waiting to bring this measure to the voters at the April 2014 municipal election at no additional cost,” Brooks stated in the letter. “I want you to understand that my action and request here is due entirely to the needless expense you are causing the City to incur, and has nothing to do with my options to run for re-election as mayor.”
He urged the Board to reconsider its decision, but said even without his signature according to state statute the ordinance will take effect Aug. 20.
After discussion and approval by the policy and finance committees, City Administrator Lauren Palmer introduced the measure to the full Board late last month. Palmer said staff had no recommendation on the issue as it was a political matter, but reported that a change would shift mayoral races so elections would not always coincide with elections to the same seats on the Board of Aldermen. A longer term could also provide for more continuity in the position.
At the Aug. 6 meeting, neither Brooks nor the Board discussed the measure before its approval.
“I didn’t say anything before it was voted on because Marc Sportsman made the motion almost immediately after I called for discussion, and I knew I could either veto it on the spot (awkward) or just not sign it and wait for the next meeting to let the Board take remedial action,” Brooks told The Citizen. “Frankly, I was astounded that the Board voted unanimously to flush five or six thousand dollars down the drain without so much as a peep before the vote.”
Alderman Jim Werner is co-chair of the Policy Committee where the term extension proposal was first discussed, along with Alderman Kendall Welch.