CITY HALL – Questions over what should be on the agenda of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment led to sharp disagreements at the panel’s meeting last week.
Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed clashed sharply with Comptroller Darlene Green at the board’s Aug. 21 meeting over whether two items should have been included and why an item he wanted included about body camera was left off. Reed asked that there be discussion at the preparatory meeting prior to the next “E & A” meeting on why items are not being put on the agenda.
Reed, Green and Mayor Lyda Krewson are the three members of the estimate and apportionment board, which serves as the city’s executive branch and approves the budget, appropriations and real estate purchases. Board Secretary Stephanie Green, who works in the comptroller’s office, assembles the agenda.
Darlene Green said that items to be put on the agenda should be sent to the secretary in advance of the “pre-E & A” meeting. If a member shows up with an item after that meeting, it may be too late.
“Please understand that there is a process. I do understand that you have issues,” Green said.
“Everything that you said was done,” Reed said. “I’ve seen that process work when it’s convenient and not work when it’s convenient. We need something that assures that we can do our work that we need to do here.”
During the discussion, Krewson said it might help if the members could put items on the agenda up to two hours before it’s posted. The state’s Sunshine Law requires it to be posted 24 hours before the board’s meeting time of 2 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
Stephanie Green said that would be hard to do, especially since employees have to eat their lunch during that period.
“There has to be time to process the item,” Stephanie Green said.
The mayor suggested 9 a.m. on the day of the posting and was told that might be too long, too. But that matter was tabled until the next meeting.
Even though it wasn’t on last week’s agenda, E & A members did discuss ways to seek proposals for providing body cameras. The agenda does allow other items to be brought up.
On another matter related to the agenda, Reed also said two items concerning St. Louis Lambert International Airport shouldn’t have been on the agenda.
One item concerned parking facilities at the airport, and the other dealt with accepting up to $515,000 from the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission to reimburse the city for direct costs incurred for the marketing and promotion of air service at the airport.
Neither item has been introduced in the Board of Aldermen, which is now on its summer break, Reed said.
“It should not have been on this agenda to begin with,” Reed said. “By law, we just can’t do it.”
The comptroller said it could be handled more quickly this way.
“Each branch has its proceedings. There is an efficiency that should be adhered to here,” she said.
“If we have already approved it here, then of course, it would not have to wait to come back to the Board of E & A. But it’s up to you, Mr. President,” she said. “I have no argument with your stand. I’m just making you aware that it has an opportunity today, but if you would like to bring it back, that’s your prerogative.”
Reed moved that the two bills be removed from the agenda. Krewson seconded his motion and voted with Reed, but said, “I don’t think it matters if it’s done today or in the next meeting.”
Green cast a “no” vote, and the measure passed, 2-1.
According to the City Charter, the Board of Aldermen may not pass any ordinance on any kind of spending “unless the board of estimate and apportionment shall have recommended or joined in recommending the same.”