ust say no to nepotism.
That’s what the Platte City Board of Aldermen decided at a meeting Tuesday night, when they declined to make a change in the personnel policy that does not allow relatives of appointed officials to work for the city.
The policy was called into question after Kerry Scanlon, a member of the Platte City Parks Board, was forced to resign because his daughter wanted to work as a lifeguard at the city swimming pool this summer.
Mayor Dave Brooks had brought the issue up for discussion last month. The mayor had said it is difficult to find parks board members, and he hated to lose one because of the policy.
But members of the parks board supported keeping the policy in place. Dick Stephens, president of the parks board, appeared at Tuesday night’s meeting to oppose any change.
Brooks asked why the park board was adamant in seeing the policy stay.
“I can think of a variety of reasons,” Stephens said. He explained that, for example, if the parks director had to discipline the child of a park board member, that board member could hold a permanent grudge against the director, creating an uncomfortable situation.
“Nepotism has never been a good deal. There used to be problems with nepotism in the City of Platte City. I don’t know why you think it would be any different now,” Stephens said.
Brooks lamented the loss of Scanlon from the board.
“We have somebody who worked on the board for years, his daughter wanted to work at the pool, and now we lose a board member and we don’t gain a friend,” the mayor said.
Stephens pointed out that Scanlon had been aware of the policy “for a long time.”
Brooks said filling the volunteer board positions “is not impossible, but it’s not always easy finding the right people. You want that person to be a do-er.”
Alderman Gary Brown said he feels there are “plenty of other good people around town who could fill vacancies.”
Brown and Alderman Ron Porter reminded Brooks that the mayor had chastised the aldermen several months ago for not following the recommendation of its planning and zoning board on a zoning issue. The mayor vetoed the board’s action in that case and forced another vote.
“You’ve told us how important it is to respect the votes of our boards,” Brown told the mayor.
Following discussion, aldermen unanimously voted in favor of Alderman George McClintock’s motion “to kill this agenda item.”
After the vote, City Clerk Tanya Bates said of the proposed change: “You won’t be seeing this again.”
In other business, the aldermen:
- Voted to adopt a new pay scale for city employees for the fiscal year 2004. The average percentage increase will be 4.09%.
- Heard Dannie Stamper, parks director, report on the Fourth of July celebration. He said the parks department spent $9,500 on the 36-minute fireworks display. Stamper also noted pool attendance is down this summer when compared to the previous year, a statistic he blamed in part on rainy days earlier this summer.
- Heard Brooks announce that planning for the HOG rally (see related story) will begin this week. A band will play from 7-11 p.m. at the street dance to be held Saturday, Sept. 6. Brooks also showed a plaque that has been constructed to note the site of the original Platte County Courthouse, which was located near where The Landmark and Wellsbrooke Antiques buildings are now located on Main Street.
- Announced the board will hold its regular meeting at 5:30 on Tuesday, July 22 prior to the annexation hearing that night. The annexation hearing will begin at 7 p.m. “We will hand out a sheet at the door explaining how we are going to conduct the meeting,” Brooks said. Alderman Ron Porter indicated he may be out of town at a family reunion and unable to attend the hearing.
- Approved a “right of way” ordinance which also codified the existing franchise tax for utilities providing electricity, gas and telecommunications services. City Administrator Keith Moody explained that as a result of fairly recent state legislation, cities are better off using the term “business license or business tax” instead of franchise fee. “We’re not changing our fees,” he said, which are 5% of gross receipts received by utilities for doing business in the city. City officials said the new ordinance was basically a change in terminology. Since telecommunication companies are not required to enter into franchise agreements, without the change in terminology it would have been possible for the city’s franchise fees from those companies “to go away,” Moody said.