A temporary committee now has the responsibility to make recommendations to the Platte City Board of Aldermen when a complaint is lodged against an elected official.
The aldermen unanimously passed a resolution to create the temporary “ethics and rules committee” during the board’s meeting last Tuesday.
The resolution also included the names of the two aldermen who will serve as committee members: Ron Stone and Tony Paolillo.
Before the vote, Mayor Frank Offutt explained that he exercised the power of his office by way of a “mayoral initiative” to establish the committee.
In addition, Offutt told The Landmark that the goal of the committee is to address assignments received from the mayor’s office.
“It is anticipated that the rules and ethics committee will be a valued addition to the city’s committee system now in place,” Offutt said.
Despite the unanimous vote, one board member didn’t receive detailed answers to his questions during the meeting Nov. 23.
The resolution states that the new committee is a temporary one, and alderman Andy Stanton asked the mayor how long the committee would be in place. Offutt said the question was a subjective one and didn’t elaborate further.
Stanton also asked why the committee was being formed.
“Because the mayor sees a need,” Offutt replied.
However, Offutt was more forthcoming about why he felt the committee was necessary in an interview with The Landmark.
“When a complaint arises about the action(s) of an elected official, it is appropriate for a structure to be provided to address those comments,” Offutt said. “The rules and ethics committee is expected to assist in the advancement of good government when making recommendations to the board of aldermen addressing the action(s) of elected officials.”
While city officials haven’t acknowledged any connection, the mayor’s idea to form the ethics committee comes a few months after Charles Cook, elected alderman, was charged with a misdemeanor of exposing himself to a 37-year-old Platte City woman as he was giving her a ride home in his truck.
Cook’s case is still in the court system. His next court appearance on the charge is scheduled for Jan. 11. He continues to serve as an alderman.
In other business, the board unanimously passed a 15 cent increase in water rates for Platte City residents. The water rate increase had been built into the current fiscal year budgeted revenues.
Also, Officer Michael Reilly and Lieutenant Al DeValkenaere were sworn into service on the Platte City police department.