NewsPoliticsThe SouthSider

Official bills go missing in mayor’s office

CITY HALL – Two bills recently passed by the Board of Aldermen were delayed from going into effect after official copies of them were misplaced in the mayor’s office.

“The Mayor signed the bills, and we’re working to ensure they are recorded in the Register’s office,” Nick Dunne, public information officer for Mayor Tishaura Jones, said in an email Thursday. But he didn’t respond to a follow-up email asking how it had happened.

One bill accepted a $1.65 million federal grant over five years for mental health services to help prevent people with serious mental illness from potential arrest. The other accepted a $71,150 grant for COVID-19 tracing from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and a $5,000 grant to help fight COVID-19 from the National Association of County and City Health Officials, also for COVID-19 response. Both were passed on May 27, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said.

Reed told the Board of Aldermen at its meeting on Thursday that he’d gotten a number of calls from a number of aldermen asking about some bills. After checking, the mayor’s office informed Board of Aldermen Clerk Terry Kennedy that it had lost the bills.

“They have not been able to locate them. They lost them,” Reed said. He said that after the Board of Aldermen meeting, he would sign new copies of the bills. Seventh Ward Alderman Jack Coatar, who chairs the board’s engrossment, Rules, Resolutions and Credentials Committee, also would sign the bills. 

The new bills would be sent back to the mayor’s office for signatures, Reed said. The bills were delayed more than 20 days, which means they automatically became law without the mayor’s signature. The bills contained emergency clauses calling for them to go into effect right away.

Kennedy has a receipt showing that the bills were indeed delivered to the mayor’s office.

“Her staff has notified us that they did receive the bills, but they somehow have been lost,” Reed said. 

In another matter, the board’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the bill to spend $80 million in federal COVID-19 relief money from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The full Board of Aldermen is expected to take the bill up at its meeting on July 9. The board is expected to take final action at its July 16 meeting. That’s the board’s final meeting until it breaks for the summer. 

Also, the Board of Aldermen will hold a hearing at 9 a.m. July 8 on a bill that would make it a crime to lift the handles of doors or otherwise try the doors and locks of successive car doors.

The exception would be if the person owns the vehicles or has the permission of the owners. The penalty for violation would be a fine of up to $500 or up to 90 days in jails. 

Jim Merkel

southsidemerkel@gmail.com Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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