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Cindy Manestar: Reorganization Not on the Road to More Transparency

The Brentwood alderwoman doesn't like a proposal that department heads report to the city administrator and not committees.

Ward 2 alderwoman Cindy Manestar sent her constituents an email on what she called a "hot topic."

In the Aug. 13 email newsletter, which was forwarded to Patch and she gave permission to use, Manestar expressed a concern about changes to Brentwood's organizational structure that she said does not meet its current codes.

Instead of department heads reporting to a committee, they will report to the city administrator.

"This drastic structure change would alter the duties and responsibilities of each level of government within our city and minimalize the role of the board of aldermen.  It would remove the board from involvement in certain steps and processes that we currently oversee," she stated in her newsletter.

“So if you sum that all up, that’s every department that the city has reporting to the city administrator, who reports to the mayor,” Manestar said later in an interview.

“I feel like if we’re supposed to be on this path to better oversight, better transparency,” she said. “I don’t think that that’s the road that this handbook is proposing, takes us.”

In Aug. 15 ways and means committee meeting, committee member Maureen Saunders said she would like to know who gave the direction to write the manual and change the organizational structure. She asked if it was mayor Pat Kelly.

City administrator Bola Akande said it was the existing aldermen at the time she was hired.

Kelly was in the audience at the meeting and asked committee chair Tom Kramer if he could take the podium and answer the question.

“I have not talked to the staff about the personnel manual at all since it started, so I did not direct any change with regard to the organizational chart,” Kelly said.

He said he thought what the staff was trying to do is develop best practices and bring forward what was a logical change.

 

 

 

Bill Lammert, Sr. August 20, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Speaking of transperency. Author fails to mention the alderman's husband is employeed by the city, as a Police Officer, I blieeve. Doesn't the Brentwood police department respond to a comitee instead of the aldermen? Her husband stands to benefit if things stay status quo so I'm told... Sounds like St. Louie police board shenanigans to me.
Mr. Completely August 20, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Police officers report through a chain of command no matter who the department head reports to. That will remain unchanged so the alderwomans husband, the police officer, or his wife have no dog in this hunt based upon employment in the Brentwood P.D. What is of concern is that by having department heads report to unelected city employees Brentwood citizens are going to be unrepresented in matters of city business. In order for there to be fair and accountable government the elected officials must be involved in all city business. The proposal to have department heads report to an employee who reports to the mayor sets this town up like Iraq, you know, a dictatorship. I thought Americans were being killed in Iraq because we didn’t approve of dictatorship.
Richard Emery August 20, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Bill, Please use spell-check! It is really difficult to read your posts with so many misspellings.
Cindy Manestar August 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Currently police and fire report to the public safety committee, streets and parks report to the public works committee and the finance dept reports to the ways and means committee. Each committee is made up of members of the board so any issue, problem, concern, request etc. that a department has, is brought to the appropriate committee where it is discussed then forwarded onto the entire board with the committee's recommendation. The board then examines the issue and makes a determination based on the committee recommmendation. There are two means of oversight currently in place... at the committee level AND at the board level. My concern is if all departments report to the city administrator, then the C/A could make decisions on certain issues and items that would typically go to the committees for review and might never make it to the board level. That would narrow the oversight the board currently has! There is a reason these committees were developed and adopted by code. Less oversight is not what I think the citizens of Brentwood are looking for. And just FYI, I am not a member of the public safety committee. However in our last administration the board member who was the chairman of the public safety committee had a son who was and still, is a Brentwood police officer. I have the upmost respect for these individuals with whom I am referring to. I just wanted to point that out to Mr. Lammert, with all due respect.
Rockos lipstick August 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Alderwoman Manestars husband has been a policeman for 15+ years. This is & was common knowlege prior to & after her being elected. Anyone could have stepped up to run against her. Nobody did & she was elected-everyone was aware of her husbands employer. I don't see what any of this has to do with her making sure that King Kelly can't write & try to slip thru a manual that that will basically take any checks & balance out of our system. Our last City Administrator had too much power, took advantage of us all, & robbed the city blind. I think if you over turned more rocks you would find more missing, that's a whole other story... So now we have a manual that takes gives Bola & King Kelly the only say so, more power over everthing in the city, & takes our elected officials power to govern & transparency away almost completely. Sounds BRILLIANT to me! Our Police Chief Steve Disbennett & Fire Chief Ted Jury were hired to runs their departments. Bola has no clue what is needed by those two departments. So I guess we'll just give her & Kelly the power to determine the needs, training, & manpower needed to keep our city safe. Why don't we just give Bola her own fire helmet, gun, badges, police car & fire truck and let her put out all the fires herself & arrest all the criminals. In fact as long as King Kelly approves it we can pay her extra, off the books, for all her police & fire work! No need to ask the board why would that matter?
Mr. Completely August 20, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Rockos lipstick, you nailed it.

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