Would someone help me understand two recent votes in the City of Parkville?
1) At the Sept. 7 Parkville Board of Aldermen meeting, the board voted 5-3 to award a $264,780 contract to McClure Engineering for the design of the ball fields in Platte Landing Park. One of those nay votes was cast by Ward 1 Alderman Tina Welch. At the Feb. 2 board of aldermen meeting, she voted against approving an application for a $1 million partnership grant from Platte County to help construct the ball fields. Yet, as a member of the Parkville Finance Committee she voted yes on Aug. 30 to approve the contract with McClure. Why? I asked her by email to explain her vote on Aug. 30. I got no reply.
2) At that same Sept. 7 board of aldermen meeting, Aldermen Dave Rittman and Brian Whitley voted to approve the contract with McClure. Why were they allowed to vote on this? They both serve on the Executive Committee of the Parkville Economic Development Council. McClure Engineering is also a member of this same Executive Committee, represented by Mike Kellam as vice-chair. Does anyone see a conflict of interest here? Parkville Municipal Code (Section 107.050) states that “the appearance of fairness and impartiality is as important as actual fairness and impartiality.”
Public Works Director Alysen Abel would say that McClure already has a three year professional services contract with the city (dating from October 2019) as one of 13 on-call consultants. McClure has the most experience of the 13 in ball field design and that is why the city chose to use them. This begs the question, did McClure join the Economic Development Council before or after October 2019? How important is it that Rittman and Whitley did not recuse themselves? Without their votes in favor, the result would have been a 3-3 tie. Since Mayor Nan Johnston was curiously absent from the meeting, there would have been no one there to cast the deciding vote. So I guess the matter would have been at least temporarily postponed. Now McClure has been given the green light to design their vision of the future of Platte Landing Park.