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Brentwood's Elected Official Insurance Ends

Kelly defended the city-paid benefit and himself in an acrimonious meeting where he was told more than once to resign.

The Brentwood Board of Aldermen voted Monday night to end city-paid health care for elected officials, a benefit that has been maligned by many residents and one vocal alderwoman. The decision follows , including an

The motion by Alderwoman Maureen Saunders passed in a 4-3 vote minus Alderman Andy Leahy, who recused himself and stormed out of the room saying his vote would be “tainted.”

There was some back-and-forth between Leahy and Saunders, but it wasn’t clear what Leahy meant by the word.

(Keep up with all the Brentwood news, get Maplewood-Brentwood Patch free in your inbox every day.)

“It’s just a shame they didn’t end (the health insurance benefit) at the beginning, when we knew we didn’t have the appropriate means to authorize it," Saunders said after the meeting. "It states in our code and in state statute that you’re supposed to vote on compensation, and benefits are part of compensation."

City administrator Bola Akande said the benefit has been paid through August, after which it will end for affected aldermen.

Cindy Manestar, Maureen Saunders and Patrick Toohey were told that the benefit was being phased out and that they couldn’t take part as new aldermen. Saunders made her motion on the condition that the insurance would be available to all elected officials or none of them.

Brentwood Rec Center discussion

The meeting began with a discussion of the .

The most popular use of the space would be as a multipurpose fitness space and gymnasium, and as a swimming pool, said Reed Voorhees of Cannon Design. He referenced findings of a survey of 645 Brentwood residents conducted by his firm. Reed also said the recommendation is to remove the existing building and build a new facility.

“There (were) some pretty vocal people supporting ice, but often when we would query people in these meetings, the large number of them weren’t even from Missouri,” he said.

Alderman Tom Kramer said the existing building is falling apart and insurance may be harder to get because of that unless the city moves forward with a plan. Saunders said there is not an emergency, and she encouraged the aldermen not to abandon their vision of what is best. She said she wants to see drawings before she votes.

Kelly agreed but said aldermen still need to move forward.

“Ultimately, whatever plan we put together, whether it’s a bond issue or not, it’s the voters who will approve it,” he said.

Alderman Keith Robertson said board members all know people in the community and need to come up with something to present to them rather than doing any more surveys.

“If everyone in the room starts smiling and says that’s great, then we know" we’re on the right track, he said.

Public comments: Pat Kelly needs to resign

Of the eleven residents who spoke in the first public comment session, six called for Kelly to step down.

Julie Pozo told Kelly she’s lost faith and trust in him, and she called for him to step down.

Mark Wilson wanted to know how each of the aldermen stood on health insurance and other Brentwood part-time employees.

“For the sake of the community, please resign immediately,” he said to Kelly, a comment that prompted applause from the audience.

Kay Scott Boyd said Brentwood is becoming a cross between two movies: Mutiny on the Bounty and The Titanic.

“To me, you are Mayor Kelly Blythe,” she said.

Boyd’s daughter, Katherine Boyd, said her senior year in college has been put into question because her parents can’t afford for pay for health insurance.

“How do you deserve it when I can’t even get it?” she asked the council.

Barry Williams spoke about the mayor and alderman of Ladue. He said they do their jobs for no compensation and added that Kelly should step down.

Kelly responds to criticism

“I am very proud of the service I’ve given to this community," Kelly said. "People take things and they twist them, then they misunderstand and automatically think the worst."

He began by denying that he knew about . He said it wasn’t until the police chief called him on Ash Wednesday of last year that he knew about it.

Then Kelly vented against commenters on Maplewood-Brentwood Patch.

“I’m up here facing you,” he said. “Where are the people who are writing the stuff on Patch? They’re turning our city into a joke. If I have a problem, I try to solve it and resolve it. I don’t try to go out and try to find blame and criticize people.”

He said they have their own agenda and turn things around for how it fits them best.

“I’ll tell you what, I’m not resigning,” he said. “I have too much respect for the city. I have too much respect for the board, and I have too much respect for the citizens who elected me.

“There’s nobody that’s going to question the love that I have for this community and the effort that I put into it,” Kelly said, his voice raising and cracking. “And you can do whatever you want, but I love this community and I’ve never done anything that I thought was illegal. Period.”

Also in Maplewood-Brentwood Patch:


John July 17, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Last night was better than any reality TV series. For those of you not attending it is lots of fun. The following opinions will be a synopsis of the players involved as I have watched them over the past year Pat Kelly - very strong performance last night. He stood tall and took the arrows. Does he have a long way to go to win back the public, yes. And from last night much of the public will never allow him to win them back. Alderman Harper - tip of hat to Anthony, voices his opinion, does not hide behind any lawyers or sunshine laws, is very upfront. The voters should be very happy with him as their rep. Alderman Robertson - again very up front, listens and gives solid input. The only strike against him is he often lets his opinion override the actual will of the people. Needs to remember he represents the voters, not the Mayors, the other Aldermans not himself, its the voters that your represent, their agenda comes first.
John July 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Alderman Wynn, not sure why he is even there, looks completely disinterested, hides his head in his hands, offers no opinion on topics. In my opinion looked very foolish last night when he lashed out at the voters. He does not seem to understand he works for them. Talks about how honest and solid he is inside, this is an interesting stand when he makes no attempt at correcting the situation. Alderman Kramer continues to grow in his role on the board. Concern about his owning so many properties in Brentwood and making policy. Is a conflict of interest in the making? Alderman Toohey, very quiet last night. The only time he spoke was to try to have it both ways. Voted to keep the insurance yet wanted everyone to no he actually wanted to vote the other way because of the wives and children being affected. Can only vote one way, sorry, that went over very poorly. Alderman Leahy, he really looked poor last night by abandoning his voters. Relishes his role in talking about everyone having an equal emergency phone and citing line items and then runs out of the room when it is time to take up the most important issue. The great irony is hin is final statement he wanted to make sure everyone gets and votes on election day. Meanwhile, he is suppose to cast maybe the most important vote of his Aldermanic career and he runs away. I am not sure he has the ability to give a straight answer. Hides behind the lawyer and sushine laws.
John July 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Alderman Manestar, please speak up, we elected you to be a voice of the people. You appear to fear the others who a time bully people. Your vote is just as inportant as theirs. Represent us like we voted you to do. Did cast a yes vote to get rid of the insurance benefit, so she did show the internal fortitude in this arena. Alderman Saunders, she has a point about a hostile work environment. She continues to put facts on the table while getting hammered by emotions. The Mayor and her seem to be the most informed in all things involving the city. Watching the two of them debate in a very professional manner is worth the price of admission. Some of the other Alderman should take lessons from the mayor and her on how you conduct yourself at a meeting. For those of you that missed last night, get involved, the community is starting to be run by the voters again. We still have a long way to go, yet the ship is turning.
Jack Bock July 17, 2012 at 11:29 PM
As far as I am concerned, I was not in violation of "Roberts Rules of Order" as Alderman Leahy said I was. Alderman Leahy interrupted me when I was speaking, therefore, Alderman Leahy violated the "Roberts Rules of Order" as I had the floor. How rude! I did become loud when addressing Alderman Leahy because I am not use to being interrupted when I have the floor. I did notice when an Alderman/Women had the floor, other Aldermen interrupted the Alderman/Women who had the floor. Once again how rude. Also, when the Mayor asked where are the people who write their comments to the Patch. I thought he was calling on us, so I raised my hand, but the Mayor did not recognized me.
Betty Dilthey July 18, 2012 at 03:02 AM
As a former and long time resident , I read with interest the article about six residents at the Aldermen meeting asking the Mayor to resign. Having served as an alderman, I agree that it is time for this mayor to GO. How can he justify all the things that have been going on in Brentwood and claim ignorance to the fact! He's their leader – the one that signs the checks. Did he not EVER question a casino charge on the credit card statement that passed his desk or did he just blindly sign the check? Did he not question pay checks that were unbelievably high or did he again just sign a check? A good mayor knows what is going on. He has the answer when a question is asked or knows how to get it. He doesn't just stand there looking puzzled. I believe the people have a right to request his resignation. It is time for them to get organized, take a petition and go door to door. There are more than six people who feel Brentwood needs to remove their mayor and start over. Brentwood was a city where you were proud to live and it can be again. All that is necessary is for the people to take interest and elect those who are competent and willing to serve. There are many second and third generation people still living in Brentwood and they can remember how it used to be. Step up – take action – and give back to Brentwood it’s once good name. It was and can be again a place you are proud to call home. Betty Dilthey

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