Close to a hundred residents were ready for something to go their way at the board of aldermen meeting last night.
They got it at the very end, when alderwoman Maureen Saunders made a motion in an almost “oh by the way” fashion, in the meeting at the Brentwood Recreation Center.
“And another thing,” she said, after agreeing to a time change for a joint ward meeting, “In listening to the residents, I am going to go ahead and make a motion that this board pursue civil action against Chris Seemayer.”
When Seemayer was found guilty last year of embezzling $30,000 from the city of Brentwood to pay gambling debts, he was allowed to resign instead of being fired, making it possible for him to get sick and vacation pay, and receive an almost $36,000 a year pension, to begin when he reaches 60.
In public comments, residents told the board how they felt about , spending up to $40,000 on a new car for the city administrator, raising the sewer lateral fee from $40 to $50 a year, overpaying firefighters for overtime in the past, paying city employees more that what comparable cities pay, and the fountain on Eager Road that requires $20,000 a year to maintain.
Resident Barry Williams launched into how the board let Seemayer leave the city after being convicted.
“Instead of firing (Seemayer) and trying to recoup the taxpayers’ money we did the opposite. You did. You did,” he said. “This body did the opposite.”
“At a time when our fiscal situation is not good, it’s hard to explain how this city is not trying to get that money back,” he said. “We need that money.”
He said the city can’t recoup the sick and vacation pay, but the pension can be stopped.
“I really would like to see this city launch a civil law suit,” Williams said. “He is not getting any of that pension.”
Mayor Pat Kelly defended how the city handled Seemayer.
“At the point he was arrested, of the $30,000, he had already paid back $15,000,” Kelly said. “As part of the settlement he paid an additional $15,000 to reimburse the city for all the funds he had taken, at which time he also gave up around half of his accrued vacation and sick leave days in order to cover our legal expanses.”
There was no ‘old business,’ so Saunders made her motion to pursue legal action against Chris Seemayer in ‘new business.’
After it was seconded, Kelly said it was a legal action that needed to be discussed later in executive session, and couldn’t be voted on in the public meeting.
City attorney Frank Albrecht said it couldn’t be discussed in the executive session because the agenda had already been set.
Alderman Andy Leahy suggested altering the motion, making it 'considering' pursuing legal action, which meant that if passed, the discussion could be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
It passed with a “yes” from every alderman, followed by applause from the residents.
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