CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Mayor Dan Bishop called the Regular October 23, 2000 City Council Meeting to order in the City Council Chambers at 7:30 p.m.
City Manager Kirk Davis
Item 3. on the Agenda. Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Dan Bishop led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag in which all joined.
Item 4. on the Agenda.. Approval of Minutes.
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to approve the Regular October 9, 2000 City Council Meeting Minutes as submitted. Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0)
Item 5. on the Agenda. Consent Agenda -- No consent items.
Item 6. on the Agenda. Communications from the Audience.
Terri Hoppenthaler, 2706 NE 57th Terrace, said she has concerns about Resolution R-00-87 (Item 14 on the Agenda) and asks if the current employees that this concerns are going to be "grandfathered". The way she understands this resolution as she reads it today is that it does not "grandfather" the current couples that we do have.
Mayor Bishop noted this item will be discussed when we get to it on the agenda and told Ms. Hoppenthaler that she is certainly welcome to stay and listen to the Council discussion at that time.
Ms. Hoppenthaler asked if citizens will have a chance to speak in regards to the resolution because they certainly have in the past. Mayor Bishop agreed that Ms. Hoppenthaler could speak to the issue now.
Ms. Hoppenthaler said the Gladstone Department of Public Safety has certainly not been free of its problems but to terminate current employees because they are married is extremely unfair. These couples did not hire each other, nor do they supervisor each other, so nepotism cannot be the issue. A resolution regarding future employees would be acceptable and in fact probably a good idea, however to eliminate current employees is not. These people have been with the City for many years and hundreds probably thousands of tax dollars have been spent on their training. She said she questions that this is even the real reason for this resolution. Public rumor has it that a disgruntled employee is behind this and that there are other issues involved. If one or all of these people affected by this resolution are guilty of some misconduct, they need to be terminated for those reasons, not because they are married. It is her opinion that the City employee who rumor has it is the one who is calling the Tapes, criticizing the Public Safety Department and his or her superior officer with the encouragement of a Councilperson, be terminated for insubordination. If he or she is unhappy with their job they are unsafe as back up to officers on the street protecting the city. Please let our supervisors supervise, and our City Manager manage, that is what we pay them for.
Melanie Clark, 417 NW 80th Terrace, Kansas City, Missouri, 64118, stated she has been employed with the City since 1984. She said she actually had a letter to read but will just turn it in for Council to read because the previous speaker said everything too well.
Larry Whitton, 3308 NE 70th Street, said he would concur with comments made by Ms. Hoppenthaler for the first time in his life. He said he agrees wholeheartedly and he thinks you would be making a great mistake if you carry this out.
Item 7. on the Agenda. Communications from the City Council.
Councilman Shirley Smith said the State of Missouri suffered a stunning blow with the loss of our Governor. He did a lot for this state while he was here and will have an impact on this state for many decades to come. All we can do is just support the families and make sure the fire does not go out.
Councilman George Nodler, Councilman Bill Cross and Mayor Dan Bishop had no communications at this time.
Councilman Anita Newsom asked City Counselor Thompson if the solicitation ordinance includes door to door visits by individuals espousing their religious beliefs, distributing literature and requesting donations. She had been approached by a visitor at her residence after dark and when she referred to her No Solicitation sign, the individual indicated it did not apply to them.
City Counselor Nancy Thompson responded that the solicitation ordinance governs the door to door sale of goods and services. If someone is going door to door to try to persuade you to change your religious affiliation or requesting donations that is not solicitation under our ordinance and is permissible.
Item 8. on the Agenda. Communications from the City Manager.
City Manager Kirk Davis reminded that November 3rd, 4th and 5th are the annual Fall Brush Disposal Days at the Public Works facility from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day.
He also reminded that Halloween is coming and cautioned everyone to watch out for the kids while driving.
Item 9. on the Agenda. APPROVAL OF FINANCIAL REPORTS for September, 2000.
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to approve the Financial Reports as submitted; Councilman Bill Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) .
Item 10. on the Agenda. PUBLIC HEARING: on a request to rezone from R-1 (Residential District) to CP-O (Commercial District-Planned), property at the SE Corner of Old Pike Road & Englewood Court. and legally described as Lots 10 & 11 Brady Hills. Applicant: Eagle River Investment, LLC. Owner: Sylvia Gould Trust (File #1137)
Mayor Bishop opened the Public Hearing and explained the hearing process.
Art Hammen, 7001 N Benton Court, Gladstone, Missouri introduced himself as a representative of Eagle River Investment, LLC. He said the request is for rezoning and site plan approval for an office building on the southwest corner of Englewood Court and Old Pike Rod. An established residential area adjoins the property on two sides with commercial property on the other two. About four weeks ago they held a neighborhood meeting to give the residents of the area an opportunity to review their proposal, ask questions and make suggestions. Those in attendance were supportive of their plan, and a least one of the homeowners is in attendance tonight and may wish to address the Council. As a result of that meeting they made a change to the site plan to accommodate the neighbor’s wishes. He referred Council to the revised plan and noted the change that was made on the south side of the property. They had originally proposed over-planting trees along the side. At the request of the homeowners they have agreed to include a privacy fence along the side and in doing so they would be reducing the trees to a number that is still in compliance with City requirements,.
Asecond minor change they made to the site plan addresses the entrance point on the south side of Englewood Court. There is a fairly severe grade going from east to west. The original plan showed a straight drive coming in and to accommodate that would have meant an unusually steep entrance and egress from the area, therefore they have shifted this slightly to the east to make this a more level drive and something that is more navigable for people coming in and out.
Mr. Hammen distributed a picture of the site as it currently exists. From the picture it can be seen that presently the site is not even somewhere where the rats want to continue to live. They propose an office building with two faces, one to the east and one to the west. To the east they face a residential area. Their proposed building would be similar in design to a picture he presented. It would be very residential in nature with both a brick and lap siding facade with gables and bird houses across the top with additional windows giving it very much a residential feel. To the west is an existing two story brick office building and they are looking at a facade on that side which is complimentary to the existing building. He understands there are eleven conditions contained in the staff report and they are in agreement with all of them.
Mr. Hammen noted that City Staff has recommended approval of the request and the Planning Commission also unanimously recommended approval. He requested that Council approve both the rezoning and the site plan, and invited questions.
Councilman Newsom asked about the drive into their property from Englewood Court and how it aligns with the Federal Credit Union directly across the street. Mr. Hammen said the farther to the west they go or closer to their entrance, the steeper the grade would be. The last thing they want to occur is for someone to slide into the street and cause traffic problems. Ms. Newsom said so the line of site is appropriate. Mr. Hammen said what is proposed is the recommendation of their engineers and is seen as satisfactory.
Jack McDonald, 308 NW 55th Terrace, Gladstone, Missouri, said this property adjoins his to the south on the back side. He is in favor of this application because it will get that eyesore of a house torn down. It is rat infested and is nothing but a mess, and what is proposed will be a heck of an improvement.
Councilman Cross asked Mr. McDonald how long he has had to view that eyesore. Mr. McDonald said although he has not always lived next door he was born and raised out here and it has been an eye sore for 45 years. Councilman Cross said he has been aware of it for 35 years and he certainly sympathizes with Mr. McDonald for putting up with it that long.
Community Development Director Scott Wingerson said Mr. Hammen did a good job explaining the project, so he will just highlight some of the conditions in the site plan ordinance. Condition #4 requires that trash pickup be limited to 8AM - 6PM. Condition #7 requires that the property be allowed one free standing sign which shall be monument style and compliant with the Sign Code. #9 requires the storm water study concerning detention and drainage of the property, and requires that it be conducted and the results of that implemented by the developer. He noted the Planning Commission in their unanimous recommendation to the Council added a 12th condition which requires privacy fence along the east and south property lines to be installed and perpetually maintained. So there are actually 12 conditions in the Site Plan Ordinance rather than 11 as referenced by Mr. Hammen.
There were no additional persons to speak for or against the application and Mayor Bishop closed the Public Hearing.
Item 10a. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 00-42, rezoning property at the SE Corner of Old Pike Road & Englewood Ct. from R-1 (Residential District to CP-O (Commercial District-Planned). Applicant: Eagle River Investment, LLC. Owner: Sylvia Gould Trust (File #1137)
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to place Bill 00-42 on First Reading; Councilman Nodler seconded.
Councilman Newsom said it looks like an excellent improvement to that corner. Councilman Nodler and Bishop also agreed that it was a major improvement and a very nice looking building.
The vote: All ”aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the First Reading of Bill 00-42, Waive the Rule and place the Bill on Second and Final Reading; Councilman Nodler seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the Second and Final Reading of Bill 00-42 and enact the Bill as Ordinance 3.773; Mr. Nodler seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0)
Item 10b. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 00-43, approving a Site Plan in conjunction with a rezoning at 305 NW Englewood Court subject to certain conditions. Applicant: Eagle River Investment, LLC. Owner: Sylvia Gould Trust (File #1137)
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to place Bill 00-43 on First Reading; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All ”aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the First Reading of Bill 00-43, Waive the Rule and place the Bill on Second and Final Reading; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the Second and Final Reading of Bill 00-42 and enact the Bill as Ordinance 3.774; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0)
Mayor Bishop congratulated Mr. Hammen on approval of the project and wished him good luck.
Item 11. on the Agenda. PUBLIC HEARING: on a request for a Special Use Permit to continue operation of a child care business from residential property at 7406 N Main. Applicant: Trudy Taylor. Owner: Keith and Trudy Taylor (File #1140)
Mayor Dan Bishop opened the Public Hearing and explained the process that first we will hear from the Applicant, followed by those in favor and opposed, and lastly the City Staff.
Applicant Trudy Taylor, 7406 N Main, said she resides at that address with her husband and two children. She has operated this home day care for over eight years. Prior to starting this business she taught pre-school for three years and frequently takes assorted classes through the Metropolitan Council on Child Care, the Northland Early Education Council and Heart of America Family Services. She is trained in both First Aid and CPR and is licensed for 10 children and currently has 9 children enrolled.
Councilman Newsom asked if this was not her 3rd application. Ms. Taylor agreed it was and said her first application was in 1992 for three years, and in 1995 she was granted a permit for five years.
Jim Groves, 9 NW 74th Terrace, advised that Ms. Taylor is kind of in his backyard and he has no objection to her child care business in fact you don’t hardly know it is there.
Community Development Director Scott Wingerson advised that the ordinance before the Council for consideration is the same as the 1995 ordinance . He will highlight two conditions which are the maximum of ten children, and the hours of operation of 6:30 AM - 5:30 PM. He noted that the Planning Commission unanimously recommends approval.
Councilman Newsom said she understands from the Planning Commission Minutes that there have been no violations of the special use permit and no complaints.
There were no other persons desiring to speak, and Mayor Bishop closed the Public Hearing.
Item 11a. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 00-44, granting a Special Use Permit to Trudy Taylor for operation of a child care business from residential property at 7406 N Main for a ten year period subject to certain conditions. Owner: Keith and Trudy Taylor (File #1140)
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to place Bill 00-44 on First Reading; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All ”aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the First Reading of Bill 00-44, Waive the Rule and place the Bill on Second and Final Reading; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the Second and Final Reading of Bill 00-44 and enact the Bill as Ordinance 3.775; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0)
Item 12. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 00-45, approving the Replat of Lot 1, “Sullivan Place”, 7615, 7617 N Woodland. Applicant/owner: Leonard and Kathryn Bronec (File #1141)
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to place Bill 00-45 on First Reading; Councilman Cross seconded.
Councilman Newsom said she understands this is a division of an existing lot. Director Scott Wingerson explained that in 1998, Council approved a final plat that took unplatted ground and created two lots. Mr. Bronick bought one of the two lots and is now requesting to subdivide the one lot into two. Ms. Newsom asked if the lots meet City Code as far as size. Mr. Wingerson said yes they do.
The vote: All ”aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the First Reading of Bill 00-45, Waive the Rule and place the Bill on Second and Final Reading; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0) The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Newsom moved to accept the Second and Final Reading of Bill 00-45 and enact the Bill as Ordinance 3.775; Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0)
Item 13. on the Agenda. BUILDING PERMIT APPROVAL for 900 sq. ft. tenant finish at 4770 N Belleview, Suite 101 for American Family Insurance. Applicant/General Contractor: Luke Draily (BP#00-0830)
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to approve the Building Permit for Suite 101, 4770 N Belleview as submitted; Mr. Cross seconded. Staff confirmed that everything is in order with reference the plans for this building permit. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0)
Item 14. on the Agenda. RESOLUTION NO. R-00-87, amending Section 1500.3 of the Gladstone Personnel Manual relating to the Employment of Relatives.
Councilman Shirley Smith moved to adopt Resolution R-00-87; Councilman Cross seconded.
Councilman Smith moved to amend Resolution 00-87 by the addition of the following language:
“For purposes of this policy only, the Fire/EMS Bureau will be considered a separate department”.
Councilman Cross said he would second the amendment for purposes of discussion.
Discussion on the Amendment:
Councilman Anita Newsom said she would like to know why the amendment was proposed.
Councilman Smith responded that it is kind of a long story. Councilman Newsom said there are a lot of people here who would like to hear the story.
Councilman Smith said she would do this as truthfully as she can. There have been disturbances in the Public Safety Department which came to our attention and we have tried for a long time to try to get staff to take care of them and they don’t seem to be able to do that, so this is our attempt to try to update our Personnel Manual which is 1992, and sadly in need of updating. The grandfather clause was mentioned and there is one as it stands now. Most grandfather clauses by attrition take care of themselves, but this has been eight years so I suppose you can say we are artificially enforcing the termination of the grandfather. There has been some discussion about relative positions being not desirable, and frankly this is the only way the Council could see to try to do something about it
Councilman Cross said he seconded on the grounds that he did not like the wording to begin with. He thinks the amendment changed it a little bit where it would not affect anybody employed at the present time to the fact that by creating a separate department everybody would be still be employed in their same job and there would not be that change, but it would take care of things in the future. Mr. Cross said he is still not sure what the answer is to that yet, he does not know. He merely seconded it and is curious what his colleagues think.
Councilman Newsom said she sees this as being a punitive action and she cannot support the amendment and then if we want to go ahead and talk about the other resolution as proposed she has a whole list of questions for her fellow Councilmembers and staff.
Mayor Bishop said he is not able to support the policy draft that is submitted with the resolution, because it is so absolute in not being able to work for the same department, his concern is that it would cause at least one City employee to have to terminate his or her employment with the City, and he is not desirous of that happening at all. Public Safety is the largest department within the City. There are three bureaus in it and it seems to him that the amendment proposed by Councilman Smith, which for definitional purposes would construe the Fire/EMS Bureau as a separate department, creates an opportunity to move one of a married couple who are currently in the Public Safety Department to the Fire side instead of terminating that employment.
The Mayor said to him, the thrust of the policy is desirable and he thinks the reasons for it are stated clearly in the whereas sections of the resolution which says: “Whereas, in order to avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of favoritism or bias and to enhance supervision, security and morale, the City Council finds it is in the best interest to amend Section 1500.3”.
In asking staff to look into this issue the Mayor said they found that cities have a whole variety of responses to the situation where a relationship develops in the work place and marriage results. There are a number of municipalities that when that happens, they require one of the employees to leave at that very point, he presumes it is because of the perceived favoritism or the appearance of bias, this sort of issue. He thinks that Councilman Smith makes a good point, the grandfather clause has been there for eight years but he does not think we have to have our hands tied and not feel we can update and revise the personnel policies to bring them into line with the sentiment of the Council in that that is not a desirable situation to have in the workplace. By making the Fire EMS Bureau a separate department only for definitional purposes which is the way he heard the amendment to the resolution, that opens up the opportunity to bring one of a married couple to fire and remain within the Public Safety Department and not have to separate from the employment of the city.
Councilman Newsom said she still sees this as a punitive action taken on one particular situation. If the situation has been in existence for eight years and was grandfathered in under the wisdom of our predecessors, she thinks we are taking specific punitive action and targeting people where that should not be our job.
Councilman Smith said she knows the atmosphere around here has been sometimes people taking punitive actions, but she is not that kind of person. She accepted this as something in the City that we were required to look at because it was brought up and we are just doing what we think might be a good way to do it. She said she is not trying to punish anybody, she does not even know these people, so she has no personal interest in it. From a standpoint of personnel manual and policies, it has just gone on for a long time and the whole manual is going to go under some scrutiny because of it. But she is not trying to punish anybody.
Mayor Bishop addressed Councilman Newsom and said if he can speak to that, he certainly is not either. In fact he thinks that the legs fall out from under that accusation you are making when you consider the fact that he thinks punitive would truly be trying to separate someone from their employment in the city , targeting one specific person. What we are talking about here is a uniform policy.
Ms. Newsom said you are still talking about an administrative transfer not employee initiated desired transfer. That is punitive, she said she has worked in a system where that has had to take place.
Councilman Smith said, sometimes things have to happen that people really don’t like too much but if it is the thing that has to be done.
The Mayor said the current policy is clear that you cannot hire a family member of a city employee though persons may want to work here very badly and avail themselves of the benefits of our pay structure and compensation plan. He guesses the argument could be made that by not hiring them it is punitive to them, but it is a decision that is made in the best interests of the smooth functioning of the operation and this is clearly policy action within the purview of the Council. His only purpose is to try to enhance and better the Personnel Manual.
Councilman Newsom said she has some questions of staff. What is the number of employees this policy would affect in the draft ordinance and all the accompaniments that Mr. Bishop provided Ms. Thompson that he wanted it modeled after which was provided in Council’s packet on Thursday. City Manager Davis answered four employees, two families.
Ms. Newsom asked if these employees were all employees of the City at the time that the current policy was put into place and as such were “grandfathered” eight years ago. Mr. Davis said yes. Ms. Newsom said and at that point in time they were not given a specific time range that within 2, 5, 7, 8 years you are going to need to be looking for other employment. Were they functioning under the assumption that they were “grandfathered” in for the term of their employment with the City. City Manager Davis said he can’t answer about what conversations they might have had in 1992, but he would assume that was the case. Ms. Newsom said we have nothing on record to show otherwise? Manager Davis said we do not.
Ms. Newsom said if one or more of these employees should choose to leave the City’s employ or feel that they need to leave the City’s employ because this resolution is forcing them to, what does that do with their retirement contribution to LAGERS. What happens should they leave under this policy.
City Manager Davis responded that obviously it does not impact LAGERS benefits accrued to date but if they would leave the City’s employ it would cease to grow at that point. Ms. Newsom asked if they became employed with another LAGERS entity do their benefits continue to build. Mr. Davis said that is correct. How long have these employees we are talking about been in the LAGERS system, just a ballpark number. Mr. Davis said in excess of 13 years each but probably longer than that.
Mayor Davis asked for clarification on the amendment. Does Council anticipate an amendment to the budget because those positions are not budgeted in the fire bureau. Would you anticipate a budget transfer or come back and amend the budget in that department and then fill the opening in law enforcement, otherwise you have a shift in resources.
Councilman Smith said it was never, ever, ever, our intent for anyone to lose their job, ever; or even their benefits. So if we impose this then it would be up to us make sure that everything available can be done for them.
Mr. Davis said he understands. His question is if we move one or two employees to the fire bureau will their positions in the law enforcement division be vacated, or should they be filled, and will it require a budget amendment in the fire bureau division.
Mayor Bishop told City Manager Davis that those are really specifics of implementation of the policy that fall to the City Manager and his staff to figure out how to implement the policy. There are all sorts of implications to the personnel policy as it currently exists and staff is able to conduct themselves and govern themselves accordingly to implement those policies, and he sees this as no different.
Councilman George Nodler asked if the intention of the amendment is to keep all four of these people employed in Public Safety.
Councilman Smith said, if we can yes. Our intention is to do that, we don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, we never did, that was never a point, and there were no punitive actions.
Councilman Newsom said Ms. Smith uses the phrase “our and we”. Ms. Smith said me then, it was theoretical. Ms. Newsom said Ms. Smith is not speaking for her so she wants to clarify that and have that on the record. Ms. Newsom said she does not want this policy but that is more issues down the line.
Councilman Cross said with what we are hearing and the discussion we are having, we might be better off giving this more time, thought, and study to see what the alternatives are and answer some questions that they (staff) may have on how this could possibly be worked out and what could be done at this time. Mr. Cross said even though he voted for the amendment and thought it was all right to begin with he sees the ramifications from it and that maybe we better table it, drop it, or do something at this time, because we are not reaching any type of an agreement among ourselves.
Mayor Bishop asked Mr. Cross if he is suggesting that we continue this until the next Council Meeting and let staff bring forth some sort of memo perhaps addressing the issues that City Manager Davis is raising and then we can consider those as part of the discussion.
Councilman Cross said he does think those things should be discussed and worked out and decided upon. He seconded because he wanted to find our more information. At this time he would probably say that he can’t vote for that amendment even though he seconded. He said he would rather just keep it the way it is, rather than pass something that he feels might be okay but at this time it is not going to work the way we are doing it.
Motion to Continue: Mayor Bishop moved to continue Resolution R-00-87 until the November 13, 2000 City Council Meeting before which time City Staff will bring forth a memo discussing some of these ramifications that the City Manager is raising for Council consideration; Councilman Smith seconded.
Discussion of the continuance.
Councilman Newsom said there are some things that she would like to have answered as we go into continuing the discussion on this very upsetting issue. The current personnel policy (beige book) is a result of what kind of process. Wasn’t COG WIT (Employees Committee) involved pretty intensively during that process when it came about. We have the history of the policy as to what has taken place. This specific policy is in the Personnel Policy book as a whole. It is not something you throw out and start over but you monitor and adjust and you make changes as needed, like when we put in a technology policy. It is ongoing, it is a fluid document that changes as things need to be changed. She said she would like the history, she would like to know the background of how this policy came about. The budgetary questions that Mr. Davis brought up are valid and make good sense.
Ms. Newsom told Mayor Bishop that she thinks it is interesting that he would throw the ball back into Mr. Davis’ court to manage the budget at this point in time when he is constantly trying to manage other issues, such as this, which is personnel, which in her interpretation should be up to the professional staff to do. When a time comes in our city when a few chosen employees manage to get the ear of a Councilmember and arbitrary policies are enacted or proposed as a result of a personal agenda, our city’s employees become political subjects, their jobs become political. The interference of politics does not need to take place in the jobs of our employees. They need to be able to work at will and do their jobs without having to deal with the politics that may occur in the city without dealing with their performance criteria of their jobs. She thinks we are doing a major, major disservice to our employees that policies are brought forth because of one personal, political agenda and here we are possibly blanketing all the employees with a policy that comes from one personal agenda. She thinks it is a sad, sad day in Gladstone when we manage our valued employees that provide valuable services for our citizens in such a way. Changes such as this do not maybe affect us one on one because we are sitting at home in our homes expecting to dial 911 and have the police show up, expecting to turn on the faucet and have the water come out. It impacts our employees, their morale, their team building and their productivity. Working for years, hiring and dealing with employees and evaluating them, arbitrary and administrative transfers are very detrimental to the chemistry of an organization. She thinks moving forward on policies that have been brought forth tonight is detrimental to our city and our employees, and she will continue to fight making such arbitrary changes whether she is successful or not.
Mayor Bishop told Councilman Newsom that as far as her reference to personal agenda, the only personal agenda that he is pursuing at this Council table is to have the best set of personnel guidelines we can that are professional and fair. To say that to adopt a personnel policy is in furtherance of a personal agenda, he would point out that the 1992 personnel handbook was adopted by the then City Council, and was signed by the then Mayor Anita Newsom, so apparently each of those policies was in the arena of discussion for the Council. Those are policies that are not specific personnel decisions as to who is going to work where, who is going to be in what department. but general polices that govern every city employee. So his only objective is fairness and to have professional policies and you will see in the analysis that Nancy Thompson did that this would not be unusual. In fact this policy as amended would be somewhere in the middle of the opportunity of ranges . Attached to the information is a copy of the Liberty, Missouri Personnel Policy which absolutely has no grandfather clause and it doesn’t allow anyone to work in the same department if they get married. There is no opportunity, if there is no other opening they have to leave the employ of the city.
Ms. Newsom asked if there were any married couples working in the city when the Liberty Policy was enacted. Mayor Bishop said he does not know that. He thinks there are a number of assumptions here and maybe we need to give this more deliberation but he thinks there are impacts to morale. In referencing the impact on the morale of administratively moving someone from one position to another, that needs to be weighed against the impact on the morale of having a husband and wife situation within an office together. Mr. Bishop said he thinks there are ramifications of that as well, so that needs to be weighed against the ramifications of ending that situation. He thinks that when an employee decides to become married to a co-worker, that changes your status in the workplace. You’re no longer just a person who works there who is either unmarried or has a spouse who works somewhere else. Then the dynamic is that there is a husband and wife team and that changes the dynamic. That is why it is not allowed to hire someone if there is a current City employee. You cannot hire a relative of that person. So there are dynamics that develop and there is potential appearance of favoritism or bias and it can affect security and morale.
The Mayor said he thinks it is small picture to think that just because you move someone that automatically the ramifications of that are going to be worse than the ramifications of the current situation. Because he thinks there is a downside to the current situation and it is clearly Council prerogative to decide whether we want to maintain a policy where that sort of thing is allowed.
Ms. Newsom said she thinks where we have lost our Council view on our big picture view is when we start dealing with a specific situation. We have a great professional management team in place and if it was their perception and understanding in working with our valued employees on a day in day out basis that there was some sort of a problem, they would work with it and bring something to the Council that they would need to deal with that would remedy a situation like that. That has not been evidenced or brought forward in her estimation.
Mayor Bishop said if we continue this matter we will have the opportunity to look at it in some more detail.
Councilman Nodler said when the City Manager comes forward with the report at the next meeting he would like to have him give us some information on the four employees who are affected as far as their tenure with the City and possibly their own personal opinions and what hardships might affect them if this policy implemented.
Mayor Bishop said he is wondering if this does not raise some issues if we start talking about specific City employees that these are not some issues that are better dealt with in terms of a closed executive session for personnel matters.
Councilman Nodler said it was specific city employees that prompted you to come forward with this proposal that we are looking at tonight. From his understanding when you proposed this initially you talked about specific employees that you wanted to be affected by this, as he recalls the discussion. Mayor Bishop said there are not many married couples working for the City. Councilman Nodler said actually you mentioned one in particular that you wanted affected.
Councilman Smith said she thinks you are getting into matters you shouldn’t. Mayor Bishop said he continues to think it is more appropriate for a closed session.
City Counselor Thompson said as it relates to individual personnel issues, the staff will not be able to bring information forward in an open public session as a public document, because those are confidential matters. Councilman Nodler said not even their tenure with the City. Ms. Thompson said we can provide to the Council a range of tenure for all affected employees but we will not assign any specific identifying information other than a range and some general information.
Councilman Newsom said we are talking about employees being grandfather in under an ordinance and then eight years later we summarily decide to change it. The employees did not decide to become married after the ordinance came into effect is her understanding. They were married at the time the ordinance went into effect and were consciously grandfathered in at that point in time. She guesses we need some research on that, that is something she would like to have definite information on. She thoroughly understands that when policies are currently in place and it says if Joe marries Mary and they both work in the food service department at Winnetonka High School, they are gong to have to leave, She understands that and when they develop that relationship and when they take those vows that that is in the cards that they are going to have to leave. But when someone has had a long term career with our city and their married situation when they do not directly supervise each other comes into play, they are not hiring each other, they are not evaluating each other, she thinks we are looking at some problems and she would like some further research on grandfathered situations.
Councilman Nodler said he was surprised that this came forward as a resolution, when we amend this employment manual would it typically be by ordinance. Counselor Thompson said the personnel manual was adopted originally by resolution and all subsequent versions have been adopted by resolution as well as any amendments. Councilman Newsom said she trusts our management staff to do their job and do it professionally and she appreciates that.
The vote on continuing this matter until the November 13, 2000 City Council Meeting. “Aye” - Councilman Smith, Councilman Nodler, Mayor Pro Tem Cross, Mayor Bishop. “Nay” - Councilman Newsom. (4-1)
* * *
There were no communications from the News Media or further business to come before the October 23, 2000 Gladstone City Council Meeting, and Mayor Dan Bishop adjourned the Regular Meeting.
Councilman Anita Newsom moved to adjourn to Closed Executive Session in the City Manager’s Office pursuant to Missouri Open Meeting Act Exemption 610.021 (2) for Real Estate; and 610.021 (3) for Personnel Discussion as posted. Councilman Cross seconded. The vote: All “aye” - Smith, Nodler, Newsom, Cross, Bishop. (5-0)
Marilyn F. Ahnefeld, City Clerk