Thursday, March 26, 2015

Editorial: Wentzville Police Chief Resigns, Harassment Suit “AbsoluteAbuse Of The Legal System” According To Prosecutor

This week it was announced that Ms. Harrison had voluntarily resigned as Chief of Police of Wentzville. She and the City of Wentzville have settled out of court. Anyone familiar with these matters knows that the insurance carriers for public entities usually insist on settlements to make such nuisance law suits go away to save on protracted legal costs.

Former Wentzville Police Chief Lisa Harrison
Harrison's suit came about after she asked the St. Charles County Prosecutor to file criminal charges against certain police officers. The reason for her request was that she believed these officers had run the license plate number of a vehicle that belonged to a person she was dating and was parked outside her home.  She claimed that the Mayor and several Aldermen were “conspiring” to spy on her.  

When the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney informed her that no crime had been committed to justify pressing charges, she retaliated by filing suit.

Harrison’s barrage of lawsuits targeted eight others besides the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney including the City of Wentzville, the City of St. Charles, the Wentzville's Mayor, and several of Wentzville's aldermen.  Did we leave anybody out?

In response to the suit, Republican St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar was quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch as saying, "this is an absolute abuse of the legal system."

All of the named defendants in the suit deny any and all allegations of wrongdoing.  Although only the suits with the City of Wentzville and Wentzville’s officials was settled, we feel certain that the remaining defendants will have little trouble in defending themselves against these revenge-fueled frivolous law suits.

While the law suit itself is frivolous, it gives the City of Wentzville an opportunity to learn an important lesson. Due to a law that was passed a few years ago at the urging of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, it is nearly impossible for a City to ever fire a police chief.  This type of "bureaucrat protection law" gives ineffective or bad police chiefs the leverage to say if you want me to leave you will have to pay me to go.  This state law needs to be changed.

In addition to this, the City needs to look to the metropolitan region for a new Chief of Police rather than another nationwide search. People who know our county, know our people, and have a positive reputation with other law enforcement agencies are the best candidates for this position. Initial indications are that message will resonate this time around with those at City Hall.

Seniors & Disabled May Qualify For Utility Tax Rebate From Wentzville

From April 1 through May 30, eligible Wentzville residents may apply for a City-utility tax refund.  The refund is that portion of the “City Tax” or “Franchise Tax” listed on the resident’s electric, gas and phone bills.  The application is for a refusnd of all franchise taxes paid on these utilities during 2014.

To be eligible for the refund, individuals must rent or own their own residence in the City of Wentzville, be at least 65 years old or be designated totally disabled by Social Security, and have a maximum 2014 gross income of not more than $37,600 for a single-person household and $43,000 for a married-couple household.  This refund program is based on your total gross income for filing year 2014, social security income included.

Residents may apply for the refund at City Hall, 310 W. Pearce Blvd., or at the Public Works facility, 200 E. Fourth St.. Residents will need to bring proof of residency (such as a current utility bill), income, age and/or disability, and copies of their gas, electric and primary phone bills for 2014.  Also, to comply with Missouri’s section 208.009, which prohibits a local public benefit being distributed to illegal aliens, residents will be required to present one of the following: a driver’s license, Social Security card or birth certificate.  For more information, please call the Finance Department at (636) 639-2155.             

Editorial: Michael Hays Has Earned Re-Election In Ward Three

Alderman Michael Hays, Ward Three, has always been the type of person to roll up his sleeves and pitch in to help.  As a founding member of the Wentzville Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Hays helped bring together other citizen volunteers like himself.  They receive basic disaster response skills and training and form an organization of volunteer emergency workers to supplement existing emergency responders in the event of a major disaster.  Hays believes in being prepared and keeping our community safe.
Alderman Michael Hays

Hays bring another set of valuable skills to his role as Alderman.  He spent nearly two-decades serving on the Wentzville Planning & Zoning Commission.  That gives Michael Hays a wealth of institutional knowledge of our city, zoning codes and proper city planning.  He knows what it takes to protect residential property values from the encroachment of incompatible development.  He has always worked to encourage the right kind of economic development.

As a member of the Board of Aldermen, Michael Hays has also been a vital part of the team that has been so successful in bringing jobs and new business to Wentzville.  He receives high marks from Mayor Nick Guccione who has also endorsed Hays for re-election.

“It is a pleasure working with such a dedicated public servant as Alderman Michael Hays.  He always puts the good of our community first.  His extensive knowledge from his time on the Planning and Zoning Commission have helped our city  to grow and prosper, while providing a high quality of life for  residents of all ages,” said Guccione.

Michael Hays also offers the most comprehensive platform of what he stands for and will work towards as Alderman.  His ten point platform includes: Keeping Wentzville a safe place to live, listening and being responsive to Ward three residents, maintaining the financial stability of the city, protecting property values, keeping our city clean and livable, maintaining streets and infrastructure, continuing to attract jobs and compatible development, maintaining and improving our parks, promoting sustainable growth, and keeping taxes low.

Hays opponent is no doubt a well meaning individual, but Ward Three voters get so much more benefit from having an experienced Alderman, who believes in always being prepared.