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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.

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“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:


Mr. Completely July 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Like him or not, Kelly deserves credit I suppose for having the guts to attend the meeting, take the heat and answer his critics. I echo the demands for his resignation however he stands by his beliefs. That’s what makes America what it is. The Patch reports: Alderman Andy Leahy, who recused himself and stormed out of the room saying his vote would be “tainted.” Alderman Leahy invalidated his office and his voice on future government issues in Bentwood by not voting on this issue. Leahy should resign as well and provide a detailed explanation to Bentwood citizens as to what exactly he meant. Leahy was elected to vote on pressing issues not to storm out of meetings and take his dollies home.
TOOWARM July 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Ditto.... Kelly's reign will be over in 2015. Collect your 14 grand for the next 2 years and go. Don't put any tax issues on the ballot until gone also... Can we get Kelly's name scraped off the fire station also.... What an arrogant embarrassment.
Brandon Jones July 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Where are the people who are writing stuff on Patch? I'm right here Kelly. I'm not trying to hide behind a screen name, that's my name. Half the city knows me. The only reason I wasn't there is because I don't live in Brentwood anymore, so I don't have the legal right to speak. But, I still love my home town and I can still voice my opinion here. You sir, are an embarrassment. You care about nothing but yourself and big business. You couldn't care less about the people living in Brentwood. Please resign before you have a chance to steal any more residents houses with "eminent domain". And, you didn't know anything about seemayer stealing? I call bullshit, you two were practically joined at the hip. You probably also knew about the fire department problems. I say recall him if he won't resign.
Jh July 17, 2012 at 01:04 PM
In reality, the city officials have been recieving what everybody should be entitled to. The real swindle is that not everybody does. I geuss this is a case of since I dont have it, you cant have it either.
Brandon Jones July 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Jh, I have no words for you. Vote for Obama if you feel you are entitled to healthcare at my expense.
Ronnie Devo July 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM
"..at my expense." Naivety reigns. You don't pay for anything at Brentwood's city hall, even if you own a home there, which you don't. Only if you shop there, do you pay sales taxes that run their government. Residential real estate taxes for the city itself are zero. It all goes to the schools, the county, police/fire pension, etc.
Brandon Jones July 17, 2012 at 03:24 PM
@Ronnie Devo, I was speaking to Jh, who feels that everyone is entitled to healthcare, I.e. Medicaid, Obamacare, which are paid for with federal and state income tax, which I pay. But, you sai yourself in your comment that we pay for it, through sales tax. I pay sales tax. Even though I don't live in Brentwood anymore, I'm there all the time. I frequent Schnucks, target, micro center, Walgreens, Circle K, etc. I eat at Carl's, Sonic, Popeyes, Joy Luck. I pay sales tax in Brentwood, therefore I pay for there saleries, insurance, pensions, etc.
James Tiberius July 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM
It was clear by the emotions expressed from both sides that Brentwood is well-loved. Regardless of where you stand on issues or what historical opinions have been last night raw emotions bubbled to the surface. Last night ...  I also heard citizens apologize for over-zealous attacks and misunderstandings. I heard Alderman share their truth. I heard the Mayor share his truth and express the depth of his emotions and convictions. I heard respect fo those who ask the hard questions. Respect for those who invest time and energy to read through complex documents and challenge our understanding of these documents. I heard real people on both sides of communication disconnects.   Communication disconnects that have led to a building frustration in an environment of distrust and lack of respect. Maybe we should have a community cry at the ice rink for what has happened to our community, get to know each other a little better and start the healing process.  Perhaps then we can move forward with direction, a renewed sense of spirit and a willingness to give each other the benefit of the doubt. There is sound guidance in Robert Fulghum's - Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten. i am going to add to the list: Banging your head against the wall doesn't feel good.
Ed July 17, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Do you or anyone else seriously belive that healthcare is entitled to healthcare at ANYONE else's expense ? Or that it's OK if sales tax is used to pay for it? Put your hand into your own pocket, please and keep it out of mine!
jeanne e braddock July 17, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Mr Kelly, I have written cimments on patch.com about you. The reason I did nit attend last nights meeting is because I have a disability and was in bed. If you want to have a discussion about gealth insurance and being ill, I can tell you ALL about it. YOU are the one making the city look stupud, NOT the residents. Shame on you. Your time to go is NOW and make it snappy
Jim Schmuke July 17, 2012 at 08:55 PM
We do not need another fitness facility in our around Brentwood. Most of the people that use the ice rink ARE from other cities besides Brentwood. That's kind of how that works. You bring in people to use the ice rink, then afterwards go the bars and restaurants in our community and put money into the local economy. We could always tear down one of the thirty banks we have and put up a new rec center.
TOOWARM July 17, 2012 at 09:26 PM
I was just thinking... Officially, the Board ended the benefit.. Unofficially , the benefit was never documented to be approved. Officially.. How do we get tens of thousands of dollars back?
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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