Since last Monday, two Brentwood residents have spent most evenings knocking on Brentwood doors, seeking support for a petition to get the city audited by the Missouri State Auditor's office.
The two recent financial scandals surrounding former city administrator Chris Seemayer and the Brentwood Fire Department—and the perceived lack of response from elected officials during a meeting on July 18—sparked Maureen Saunders and Julie Pozzo to organize an effort to audit the city's bookkeeping practices.
Under Missouri law, residents can band together to force political subdivisions (like city governments or schools, for example) to pay for an independent audit from the state auditor's office. The audit would likely cost between $50,000 to $75,000, but could examine bookkeeping practices, city finances and contractor lists, among other things.
Saunders and Pozzo must gather 750 signatures from Brentwood voters before the state auditor's office is required to begin the process.
With a red clipboard and a determined step, Pozzo marched from door to door on Florence and Joseph avenues on Wednesday night. Some residents weren't home, but everyone who answered the door quickly snatched the clipboard and scribbled their name on the petition.
"There doesn't seem to be a sense of obligation to do what's best for the community," said Steven Vanden Hoek, a two-year resident in the 8600 block of Florence Avenue.
His neighbor, Jim Schanarr, said something similar.
"It's just a waste of taxpayer dollars. Whenever I see governmental waste, it bothers me," Schanarr said. Firefighters should be paid well, he said, but not for work they didn't do.
On the 8500 block, Julie Launis said she seeks more accountability of Brentwood City Hall.
"We pay a lot of taxes," Launis said. "When we see and hear things like this, we need to see how our taxes are spent."
Reached by phone, Saunders said she started the petition process because she wants someone to examine Brentwood's internal controls; something she asked about during the July 18 meeting.
"I'm just an accountant and things don't seem to be adding up," she said.
Residents interested in more information about the petition may reach Saunders at email@example.com and Pozzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See related on Patch:
- After Plea, Details on Seemayer Investigation Are Scarce
- Brentwood Residents: "I'm Embarrassed."
- Overtime Pay Scandal Plagues Brentwood Fire Department
- For Seemayer, Gambling Addiction Could Have Gotten Worse
- Following Scandals, a Q&A With Mayor Kelly (Part I)
- Mayor Kelly: "I Feel Bad for the Reputation of the Firemen"