The City of Brentwood sued the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Aug. 19 seeking a declaratory judgment from St. Louis County Judge David Vincent concerning a document requested by the newspaper.
According to the petition for declaratory judgment, the document is a copy of a Letter of Understanding regarding the repayment of overtime between Brentwood and Local 2665 IAFF, the union representing the City of Brentwood firefighters.
The Post-Dispatch requested the document as part of an investigation by reporter and Brentwood resident Paul Hampel that exposed more than 24 years of Brentwood firefighters receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay for hours they did not work.
Brentwood, and the union, has asserted it is a closed record and is seeking an opinion from the court on whether the document is a closed or open record under the Missouri Sunshine Law. The Government in the Sunshine Act is a 1976 law intended to create transparency in government.
Brentwood alleges in the court documents it is uncertain as to the legality of treating the Letter of Understanding as a closed record, particularly in light of a case currently pending in the city, Ishmon v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners.
“The city is requesting a judicial determination of the propriety of closing this record under the Sunshine Law,” Brentwood attorney Frank Albrecht commented.