Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recommended Reading 10: A Missouri Discussion on Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

"Multi-use TIF project gets mixed reviews from commission - Columbia Missourian"

Hat tip: Another TIF story …, "The WATCHWORD"


May 4 City Council Agenda Available

If you are interested in reviewing the May 4 City Council agenda, it is now available for reading online.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. rather than 7 p.m., to allow time for the Council to deliberate and select a new Zone 3 Council member.


Nuts and Bolts: City Council Zone 3 Candidate Selection

Each of the nine candidates vying for the Zone 3 City Council seat were given 5 minutes to address the City Council in a special meeting in Council chambers at noon on Wednesday. The meeting took about an hour's time, in total.

The City sent out a news release regarding the meeting. If you were unable to attend but, would like to listen to the candidates for yourself, the news release indicated it will air on "...the City's government access channel, Mediacom Channel 23, at 8:30 p.m. tonight; 3 p.m. Friday, May 1; and 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 2." The meeting has already been posted at TV23. Click the "City Council link" from this page, then click the April 29, 2009 meeting link to view the meeting in its entirety.

Mayor Jim O'Neal outlined the process of selection. He said each Council member should form questions to be asked of the top three candidates, and submit the questions to City Clerk Brenda Cirtin's office. Then he, the City Clerk and the City Manager will go over the questions looking for commonalities, one assumes, so that the same question(s) will not be repeated.

Each Council member will vote for their top 4 picks from among the 9 candidates and turn their choices in by noon on Friday. After tallied, the top 3 candidates will be chosen from those 4. The Council will vote from among those 3 top candidates at the upcoming City Council meeting on May 4, after the Council's questions are asked of each of the 3 candidates. That meeting will start at 6 p.m. instead of the usual 7 p.m., to accommodate for the questioning and action of the Council on that issue.

It will require 5 votes for a candidate to be approved for the seat. If no candidate receives the required 5 votes, the candidate scoring the least votes from among the three will be eliminated from the contest, and a new vote will be taken from among the top two. It is unclear what will transpire if each of those two, remaining candidates were to receive 4 votes each from the Council. Without the Zone 3 Council member, there is an even number of voting members remaining. In total, eight members will approve the candidate.

The candidate who wins the seat will be sworn on May 18, at the following Monday night, scheduled Council meeting. Mayor O'Neal wanted to allow the new Council member time to advise and include family and friends at the ceremony. O'Neal suggested, however, the new member will be expected to get right to work after his approval at the meeting on May 4.

Most of this information is available to the public through City news releases. If you would like to receive them, you can subscribe to them at the City's Web site.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recommended Reading 9: CID, TIF, & TDD; Tools in the City's Tool Box

Ibarra, Burlison call for greater CID awareness Springfield News-Leader

I just have a few points to add to Johnson's article in today's News-Leader. Unfortunately, my allergies have been running amuck and yesterday I didn't feel up to recapping the meeting. So, I'll just add onto Johnson's accurate report.

Mayor Jim O'Neal wants to have a philosophical discussion about the use of community improvement districts (CIDs), tax increment financing (TIF), and transportation development districts (TDDs) before City staff asks for approval of many more projects involving the use of the development strategies.

"It's (the CID) an interesting political creature and I understand there's some philosophical discussion behind that," O'Neal said. "We'd like to have that discussion before we vote on many of these."

The comment came on the heels of a brief discussion raised by Councilman Nick Ibarra about the transparency, or lack of it, regarding community improvement districts. Ibarra asked Economic Development Director Mary Lilly Smith how the public knows when they are in a CID.

"There's no requirement that they post the sales tax at the register," Smith answered. She explained that the creation of the CID creates a new jurisdiction within the City.

After the creation of the district, those within it can seek an additional sales tax, in this case, The Shoppes at James River would use the proceeds of the sales tax to improve a storm water basin and take over the ongoing maintainence of the basin. The basin is currently the responsibility of the tax payer through the City. Developer Tom Rankin said he would be unable to pay the $300,000 for use of the basin, required improvements to it, and ongoing maintenance of it without an initial 1 percent tax.

"We can't afford to spend that kind of money without getting some return," Rankin said.

Smith explained that those who live within the district would not lose their ability to vote in support or opposition of the additional sales tax. Registered voters who live within the district would vote it up or down. Sometimes the districts, however, only contain the property owners, in which case, only the property owners would vote on whether to place an additional sales tax within the boundaries of the district.

By there being no requirement for the affected business owners to post the sales tax at the register, patrons who enter the district to make purchases within it are usually unaware they are paying a higher tax rate than they would at a store or restaurant not located within the community improvement district.

Councilman Doug Burlison was concerned about the CID's potential effect on any sort of a sales tax which might be initiated as a cure for the police and firefighter pension plan.

"If we're putting in an additional tax here and an additional tax there, that doesn't go unnoticed," Burlison said. He fears adding yet another community improvement district, with an additional 1 percent sales tax, will lessen the chance of passage of a pension sales tax for the pension fund.

The News-Leader article linked above lists the 7 existing CIDs within Springfield and the rate of additional sales tax each district charges.

The passage of Council Bill 2009-095 did not create a new CID. It authorized the Mayor to sign a petition to create the Shoppes at James River Community Improvement District. That step is a necessary, preliminary step for the creation of that district.

As a part of the explanation to the bill, the Planning and Development Department's Ralph Rognsdadt noted: "This resolution merely authorizes the Mayor to sign the petition to establish the CID. It does not establish the CID. The City Council will consider a bill to establish the district at a subsequent City Council meeting." At the time of the Council's consideration to establish the CID, the public will have an opportunity to speak.

The preliminary step was approved with Councilmen Ibarra and Burlison opposed.

City Manager Greg Burris indicated the budget should be the priority for the Council for the time being but, agreed the new Council needed to understand the development strategies.

"You do need to be aware of the tools we have in our tool box," Burris said. Burris said he will have a presentation prepared to facilitate a discussion about the development strategies in the near future.

For more information about Community Improvement Districts, Tax Increment Financing, Transportation Development Districts and other municipal development strategies click this link.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Zone 3 City Council Seat will not be Filled on Wednesday After all

Councilman will not be sworn into office until May 18

Originally, Mayor Jim O'Neal expected to walk out of City Council Chambers on Wednesday afternoon with a newly appointed Zone 3 City Council person.

According to a news release from the City, the Mayor has come up with a new process for selecting the Zone Council member.

The news release outlines the procedure after the noon, Wednesday meeting:

After the special meeting, the current members of the City Council will be asked to submit by noon, Friday, May 1, the names of the four candidates they each believe to be the best qualified for the Zone 3 seat. He also is asking the current Councilmembers to submit three or four questions they would like to ask each of the finalists.

On Friday, May 1, the votes from the current Councilmembers will be tallied and the top three candidates will be asked to have second interviews with the City Council at 6 p.m., Monday, May 4. These interviews will be at the beginning of the regular Council meeting, which will start an hour earlier than usual.

At the second interview, the Council will ask the candidates questions from the lists submitted by the Councilmembers. Following the individual interviews, the Council will make its selection of the new Zone 3 Councilmember.

The new Councilmember will be sworn into office at the City Council meeting on Monday, May 18.


A Letter to all the Big Shots he could Think of in Washington

This "guy" doesn't get excited enough about something to write a letter to all the big shots he can think of very often but, he got excited enough to do it today. Even more exciting, he sent me a copy and authorized me to post it here.

Instead of an LTTE (letter to the editor) consider it an LTTB (letter to the blogger).


This entire Washington thing has gotten WAY out of hand to the point where MANY of us are just flabbergasted! When will we hear at least a PORTION of the TRUTH about how and why our economy ended up where it's at?

For a long time we heard it was "caused" by the sub prime mortgage fiasco. Many of us never bought that line at all. The sub-prime mortgage crisis is but a symptom of what is really wrong with our economy and our Country. And all of you in Washington know it and also know what the real problems are but, of course, you can't ever speak about them.

"FOLLOW THE MONEY" is all we have to do out here in fly over country to uncover the truth. Politicians and large corporations are the same thing, all about money and lavish life styles! Is it any wonder the people themselves ended up wanting to follow the lead of their Government and Corporations??? Money for nothing and chicks for free?

Just in CASE you all REALLY ARE as ignorant as you often seem to be, here are the reasons for the problems we face... PLEASE TRY to understand this...

1> ALL banks HAD regulatory oversight. Did any regulators have any problem at all with the way banks were lending money? Not that I ever heard about... Greed clouded everyone's vision.

2> Nearly everyone ALREADY KNEW the housing market was over heated in the early 2000's. The FED and Greenspan conspired to keep interest rates artificially low along with lower lending guidelines MANDATED by CONGRESS. All to keep the housing bubble pumped up. Greed clouded everyone's vision.

3> Barney Frank and Congress MANDATED that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae lower lending requirements. Including, to a large extent, ignoring a potential buyers ability to repay the loan and, to a point, ignoring borrowers credit quality overall. An obvious recipe for disaster. Greed clouded everyone's vision.

4> The sub-prime lenders, themselves, seeing an opportunity to "game the system," because Congressional ineptitude gamed it to the max... writing BILLIONS of dollars of WORTHLESS loans. Now you want WHO to pay for this?! Greed clouded everyone's vision.

5> The ratings agencies... Giving these disastrous loans an Investment Grade rating?! The SAME agencies who were PAID by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to rate the loans in question?! WHAT?! Greed clouded everyone's vision.

6> And last, but certainly not least, the borrowers themselves... What were THEY thinking?! Many of them were spending WAY over their heads and KNEW it and DIDN'T CARE! We have taught an entire generation or two to have no personal responsibility for their own actions and this sort of behavior is the result. The "dumbing down of America" has its effects... And Greed clouded everyone's vision.

Many of us KNOW what is going on and OF COURSE many of us are very angry. The "loan sharks" are still out there today, lurking, swimming, watching... They are still led by CITI and B of A... In my opinion, this is all about unfettered GREED and CORRUPTION in GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS.

Our economy will suffer far longer than anyone in Washington seems willing to talk about. Sooner or later ALL the truth will come out. All of it... Capitalism is fine, unchecked GREED and CORRUPTION are NOT! That is the problem. PLEASE FIX IT!

Gregory S. Phillips, Joplin



A Timeline of the Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen's Task Force Selection

Via emails, and even a couple of phone calls, it has come to my attention there was some confusion regarding the process of selection of the 6 final members of the Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen's Task Force (or 7, including the Chair and Vice Chair selections).

I tried to clarify that process to the best of my ability in this previous entry but, I still received another phone call Friday evening from a citizen who had a lot of questions. He felt it might be helpful to have the Second-Round Applications list posted and still, further clarification.

I went directly to a newly elected member of the City Council to fill in some of the blanks on the process, and to assist in clarifying the issue, which appeared to revolve around whether all of the applicants were included in the process of selection undertaken by our newly elected and ongoing members of the City Council.

Councilman Nick Ibarra thought the confusion might be due to multiple lists, the original, plus the list of new applicants generated by the reopening of the application process for a brief window of time, immediately after the election of the new Council.

"The confusion, I believe, may be that there were two lists distributed. The lists were separated with one list being the original group of applicants, and the other being the new group. But all applicants, both old and new, were given to Council to be considered," Ibarra wrote in an email.

Based on information received in City news releases, from CityConnect entries, my own past reporting and information provided by Mr. Ibarra, this would be the timeline of the process:

Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen Task Force Selection Timeline

> February 26, 2009, applicants were solicited for the purpose of forming the Task force, with a deadline of 5 p.m. March 9. (City news release, "Police Fire Task Force and Voter Survey")

> March 10, the City's Web log, CityConnect, posted an entry stating the first application period was closed, along with a memo sent from City Manager Greg Burris to the City Council with recommendations for the selection process. (CityConnect: "Burris Memo - Task Force Recommendations")

> March 24, CityConnect issued another entry specifying the City Council, prior to the election of April 7, would choose part of the task force but, reserve some selections for the Council which would be voted in on April 7. (CityConnect: "Council To Begin Task Force Selection Process")

> March 31, at a City Council luncheon, City Manager Greg Burris made his recommendations to the (previous) City Council regarding applicants. Also included was a draft "charge" of the task force. Council could either approve Burris' recommendations or chose their own from the list of applicants for the task force. The City Manager requested they turn in their selections by 5 p.m. April 3. (CityConnect: "Burris Recommends Task Force Members")

> April 7, eleven applicants were approved to sit on the task force. (JackeHammer: "Police-Fire Pension Citizen's Task Force Approved at City Council Luncheon") Two of the members were later disqualified, due to conflicts of interest, leaving 9 approved members. Those disqualified were Carol Mihalevich and Matt Morrow.

> April 9, the new City Council was sworn in. (City news release: "City Council Swearing-in Ceremony")

> April 10, the pension task force application process was reopened with a deadline for applications of 5 p.m. on April 16, 2009.

An April 20 deadline was set for the incoming and ongoing City Council members to turn in 6 more recommended members each for the police fire task force, so that the results could be tallied in preparation for discussion and selection of 6 more members at the following day's City Council luncheon, April 21.

The City news release, again, dated April 10, stated, "Mayor-elect Jim O’Neal said the new Council will be asked to select six individuals from the new applications, the remaining applicants in the original group of 54, and others who have been recommended by Councilmembers. Individuals who have already submitted applications do not need to re-apply if they still wish to be considered for service on the Task Force." (City news release: "Pension Task Force Applications Re-opened" (JackeHammer: "Pension Task Force Application Process Briefly Re-Opened")

> April 13, a CityConnect entry reminded citizens they had another opportunity to apply to be a member of the task force. (CityConnect, "Pension Task Force Still Taking Applications")

Author's note: For further insight, I asked Councilman Ibarra what he could tell me about the process between the reopening of the application process on April 10, and the April 21 meeting, in which the Council approved 6 new members to the force:

"The deadline for the second application process was the 16th of April at 5:00 p.m. The following day (April 17) the applications, both old and new, were delivered to me with my regular information drop off from the clerk’s office." Ibarra replied on April 27 (emphasis mine). "Additionally, Mr. Burris had attached a note requesting that Council have their choice of six candidates turned in for a tally by the following Monday at 5:00 p.m. (April 20) to ensure that the list of successful applicants could be discussed at the Tuesday luncheon."

> On April 21, our current City Council members selected 6 more applicants to sit on the task force. The following "Second-Round Applications" list was distributed to the City Council members, (asterisks marking details added by author for clarification):

Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen's Task Force

Second-Round Applications*
4/21/2009 (Numbers in parenthesis represent the number of votes the applicant received from the currently sitting City Council. If no number appears, the applicant was a new applicant who had applied between April 10 and April 16 but, who received no votes from the current City Council.)

Charles Wayne Bair
Nathan Baker
Lorenzo Baldwin (3)**
Thomas Billings (1)
Burl Brown (1)
Becki Carr
Gordon Elliot (4)**
Fred Ellison (2)
Jerald Fensterbaker (2)
Ed Griesbaum (1)
Louis Griesmer (1)
Donald Gutierrez (1)
Doug Harpool (1)
Jack Hembree (2)
Carl Herd (3)**
Bob Horton (5)**
Nancy Howard (1)
Denny Hyde (5)**
Chris Jackson
Joy Jones
Glen Larson
Michael Lumby
William Mabary
Joe Passanise (1)
Brian Perdue
Mike Ramon (2)
John Reed (1)
Steven Reed
Micah Scott (1)
Mark D. Steele
Andy Stewart
Larry Stock (1)
Bradley Stokes (2)
Brad Sturges
Steven Thomas
David Trippe (5)**
Katherine Trombetta (1)
Derek White (1)
Daniel Williams

*My understanding is, this list represents all of the new applicants who applied after the new City Council reopened the application process, whether the applicants received any votes or not. Applicants from the previously known list of applicants were included on the "Second-Round Applicants" list only if they received a vote from the current City Council, which would have been turned in by the City Council by 5 p.m. on April 20, in preparation for the luncheon on the 21st.

**Mr. Burris recommended the 6 names which received 3 to 5 votes from the current City Council, be approved and added to the existing 9 task force members to make a force of 15. Councilman Doug Burlison made a motion Burris' recommendation be accepted and those 6 recommended applicants were approved unanimously by a voice vote of the City Council. (JackeHammer: "Police and Firefighter Pension Task Force Selection Complete")

> On April 22, Mayor Jim O'Neal announced and introduced the Chair and Vice Chair of the police fire pension task force as Jerry Fenstermaker and Jerry Harmison. Fenstermaker will be a non-voting member, according to the City's news release.

The official charge for the task force was posted at CityConnect and a video of the news conference, held by Mayor O'Neal, was aired by the City's TV23, it can also be viewed online by selecting it from the "Special Programming" category link. (City news release: "Police-Fire Task Force Chair, Vice-Chair Named") (CityConnect: "Pension Fund Citizens Task Force Now Set") (JackeHammer: "Updates: Special Council Meeting to be Re-Scheduled; Chair and Vice Chair Appointed to the Pension Task Force")

> April 24, the City announced the first meeting of the task force would take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 27. The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the 4th floor conference room at the Busch Municipal Building and will also be accessible for viewing online at TV23's Web site.

Following is the tentative agenda for the first Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen's Task Force:


1. Individual introductions
2. Assign members to three teams
3. Deliverables / Assignments
4. Task force communications
5. Next steps

(City news release: "Pension Task Force First Meeting Date")


Saturday, April 25, 2009

This Week at Baptist Press: Boggs on "T-E-A Bagging"

It seems appropriate to note that Kelly Boggs of Baptist Press weighed in on the Tea Party tempest this week. Boggs never seems to mind rolling up his sleeves and punching the partisan air. He pulled no punches with Janeane Garofalo this week.

Boggs took Janeane Garofalo to task for her myopic pronouncement:

"Let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about," Garofalo opined, "They don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up...."

"...The protests took issue with the president because it is he that is leading the way of the expansion of government. Racism had nothing to do with it." Boggs wrote, by way of explaining why the TEA party protests were going on across the country. He also explained what the acronym TEA stands for, "...the letters T-E-A were an acronym for Taxed Enough Already. I know Ms. Garofalo might find it hard to believe but we ignorant conservatives actually know what an acronym is."

Read the article here.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Ten Applicants to Vie for the Zone 3 Council Seat Wednesday at Noon

In a news release this afternoon the City identified the ten applicants who seek the Zone 3 City Council seat, which was vacated by Ralph K. Manley on April 20. They will speak to the Council on Wednesday, April 29 in the City Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public.

They are (and information below is straight from the City's news release with the addition of a hot link to the application information):

. Chris Bell
· Jeremy W. Cady
· Jerome W. Compton
· Perry J. Elkins
· Carl E. Herd
· Frank E. Howey
· Brian W. Johnson
· Mike Schilling
· Daniel E. Scott
· John E. Sellars

The City Council will hold a special meeting at noon, Wednesday, April 29, 2009, in Council Chambers to hear five-minute presentations from the applicants....

The applicant selected to fill Mr. Manley's unexpired term will serve until April 2011. At that point, the Zone 3 Councilmember would be eligible to run for a full four-year term.

The full application information will be posted on the City's Web site: after 6 p.m. today.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Special Council Meeting Now Set to Hear Zone 3 Applicants

The meeting, originally set for Tuesday of next week is now scheduled for noon on Wednesday, April 29.

The Special Council meeting has been called to give each applicant for the Zone 3 City Council seat, which was vacated abruptly by Ralph K. Manley, an opportunity to speak to the Council for 5 minutes each on their own behalf.

After hearing from the applicants, the City Council is expected to vote a new Zone 3 Council person into that seat.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Historic City Hall.


Springfield City Council Bills Passed April 20, 2009


2009-083: Amended the 2008 Consolidated Plan Action Plan to create a new Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP); authorized the city manager or deputy city manager to apply to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for HPRP funding in the amount of $551,673 and to select and contract with service providers for the program; amended the budget for fiscal year 2008-09 in the Department of Planning and Development and declared an emergency (however, the bill was listed under Council bills for public hearing under the agenda as "not anticipated to be voted on," rather than the emergency bill listing).

This bill passed with the approval of Mayor Jim O'Neal and Council members Ralph K. Manley, Scott Bailes, Robert Stephens, Dan Chiles, Doug Burlison, Cindy Rushefsky and John Rush. Councilman Nick Ibarra opposed the bill's passage.

Councilman Ibarra issued the following statement as to his reason for opposing the bill:

"As someone who is opposed to the philosophy behind the stimulus package in whole, I do understand that there is money that the City may very well need to secure. Having said that, President Barack Obama has stated that the money from the stimulus package is meant to go towards job growth, job creation, and infrastructure. When presented with a bill that does none of those things, but instead simply pays rent and utilities of one from the pockets of another, I cannot support it. It comes down to responsible spending; if we must be put in a situation where securing stimulus funds is a necessity, I would hope to secure those monies for what they are meant to be for… nothing more.” -Councilman Nicholas Ibarra via email April 23, 2009


2009-089: Approved the plans, specifications and bid of Harman Construction in the amount of $1,169,500 for the construction of National Avenue and Grand Street intersection improvements.

Other bidders for the project were: Newman Bros. Construction, Inc., $1,211,950.85; Emery Sapp and Sons, Inc., $1,303,784.61; Sprouls Construction, Inc., $1,439,418.50; D & E Plumbing & Heating, Inc., $1,562,357.

The engineer's estimate for the project was $1,569,166.15.

The bill passed with Mayor O'Neal and Council members Manley, Bailes, Stephens, Burlison, Rush, Rushefsky and Ibarra in support. Councilman Dan Chiles opposed passage of the bill.

Councilman Dan Chiles issued the following statement by email this afternoon, as to why he opposed passage of 2009-089:

" The reason I voted against the intersection bill 2009-089 is because I wanted to see more details about two things:

1. Given the accidents that have occurred there in the past, are we taking careful steps to insure pedestrian safety?

2. Are we making provisions for alternative forms of transportation? Examples include bicycling, scooters, walkers, moms with strollers, NEV's (neighborhood electric vehicles) and Segways. Given that the neighbors that surround that intersection are filled with people who walk to MSU, are we including their interests in our new design or are we only planning for SUV's?

Our future transportation system will not look like it does today and intersections are built for at least 50 year life spans. So, are we looking ahead 50 years when we design them?

I hope we can have that discussion on a city wide basis." -Councilman Dan Chiles via email, April 23, 2009


2009-093 (removed from the Consent Agenda): Authorized the city manager or designee to accept an increase of $326,614 from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and amended the budget provided for the Department of Health of the City of Springfield for fiscal year 2008-09 in that amount.

The bill passed unanimously; Councilman John Rush abstaining.


2008-071: Amended General Ordinance 5475, Urban Conservation District 1, and the Springfield Land Development Code by rezoning approximately 18 acres generally bounded by properties on both sides of the 900-1200 blocks of South National Avenue. The area is locally known as the Walnut Street-West Urban Conservation District.

The bill was passed unanimously by the City Council.


One Reading

2009-091: Accepted the bid of Rockbusters, Inc. in the amount of $72,409.94 for construction of sanitary sewers located in the vicinity of Kansas Avenue and Mount Vernon Streets; declared the work necessary; stated the intention to pay for all or part of the improvements from the proceeds of bonds; specified the costs and expenses to be assessed against the properties in that specific district and the method of apportionment of the costs; set the manner of payment, the lien of the assessments and the duration of the lien; set the interest rate to be charged on the tax bills; authorized the city manager or designee to enter into a contract to approve the bond for the improvements and authorized progress payments to be made to the contractor.

There was a total of 13 bidders for the project, ranging from $72,409.94 to $115,663.60. Rockbusters, Inc. was the low bidder. The engineer's estimate was set at $141,534.

2009-092: Declared it necessary to construct district sanitary sewers in the general vicinity of Missouri Avenue at Woodridge Street and provided for publications and notices.

Second Reading

2009-075: Authorized the city manager or designee, to accept an increase from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and amended the 2008-09 budget in the Department of Health of the City of Springfield in the amount of $326,614.

2009-076: Authorized the city manager or designee to make application for a $75,000 Emergency Shelter Grant with the Missouri Department of Social Services for sub-granting to eligible homeless service providers; to enter an agreement with the Missouri Department of Social Services; to accept the grant; to enter subcontracts to carry out the grant objectives; and to implement the grant.

The consent agenda bills were passed unanimously by the City Council.


Updates: Special Council Meeting to be Re-Scheduled; Chair and Vice Chair Appointed to the Pension Task Force

Mayor Jim O'Neal suggested a special meeting be called to fill Council's vacant Zone 3 seat at the last City Council luncheon. Originally, he called for the meeting to be held on Tuesday, April 28.

The meeting is being rescheduled, the new date has not yet been released but, it will not take place Tuesday, the 28th, due to conflicts in Council scheduling.

Also, last Tuesday, with Council approval of 6 new appointees, the Police and Firefighter Pension Task Force selection was complete, except for the Mayor's naming of a Chair and Vice Chair.

Yesterday, at a specially called news conference, Mayor O'Neal appointed Jerry Fenstermaker as the Chair, and Jerry Harmison as the Vice Chair of the task force. With the addition of Fenstermaker, the task force numbers 16 members however, Fenstermaker is not a voting member.

The City has provided links to the full task force and its formal charge.

Those interested may view the news conference at TV23, by selecting it under the "special programming" link.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Because it was there

How to Peel Red Onions


AT&T Settlement of $10.2 is NOT Going to Pay for Additional Police and Fire Personnel

During the budget discussion at the City Council luncheon on Tuesday, City Manager Greg Burris discussed a telecommunications settlement revenue stream that would pay for the ongoing costs of hiring 10 new police officers and 5 new firefighters. That revenue stream was a result of the AT&T settlement agreement reached this year.

Earlier today I asked Public Information Director Louise Whall to clarify that this was not revenue which had been pledged by past Mayor Tom Carlson and the past City Council to go into the police and firefighters' pension fund.

Ms. Whall explained the $10.2 million pledged to the police and firefighters' pension fund was money received prior to June 30, 2009, or during the current fiscal 2008-09 budget year. Burris was referring to ongoing revenue generated by the payment of taxes from AT&T and associates after July 1, 2009, when he referenced the AT&T settlement in regards to ongoing personnel funding in the police and fire departments.

"The revenue Greg Burris referenced yesterday is the ongoing gross-receipts taxes that AT&T et al will pay going forward beginning July 1, 2009," Whall wrote in an email today.

Tuesday, Fire Chief Barry Rowell explained positions in the fire department would be filled more quickly than the police department positions because a portion of firefighter training is accomplished while the trainees are on the job.

In the case of the police officer positions, the AT&T settlement revenue received in the new fiscal year will be applied to reopening the police training academy. It will take up to a year before the police trainees will be on the job at the police department.

The police department is applying for stimulus funds from the federal government which, if granted, would cover the wages of the new police officers for three years, then the City would have to take over the costs of their ongoing wages. The City Council recently authorized the City to apply for those stimulus funds, which are in the form of a competitive grant.


Mayor O'Neal to Introduce Chair and Vice Chair of Pension Task Force

Mayor Jim O'Neal plans to announce and introduce the Chair and Vice Chair of the Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen's Task Force at 2:30 this afternoon, Wednesday, April 22.

He will also discuss how the Task Force will proceed.

City Manager Greg Burris presented the City Council with his draft, recommended charge for the Police/Fire Pension Fund Citizen's Task Force on March 31.

To access all the entries made concerning the police/fire pension to date at the City's Web log, City Connect, click this link.

Past entries on the topic, made here, can be located by using the search bar.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Be a Nice Wittle Wabbit"

The Wabbit Who Came To Supper (1941)


Police and Firefighter Pension Task Force Selection Complete

Mayor O'Neal to appoint Chair and Vice Chair by Noon Wednesday

*Slightly edited for clarification*

From a list of 39 second round applicants for the Police-Fire Pension Fund Citizen's Task Force, the Council unanimously approved names which were recommended by City Manager Greg Burris on Tuesday, to fill the remaining 6 spots on the force.

The "Second-Round Applications" list included all of the new applicants who had applied after the newly elected City Council, along with remaining members, decided to reopen the process. Also included, according to City Manager Greg Burris, were about three or four from the previous list of applicants who had received 3 to 5 votes from the new City Council.

"If you look at the totals, it works out pretty cleanly because there are 6 individuals who received either 3, 4 or 5 votes," Burris said.

Burris recommended those 6 who had received between 3 to 5 votes, "be added to the 9 individuals who were previously selected to create the task force of 15."

After a motion was made by Councilman Doug Burlison to accept Burris' recommendation, the Council unanimously approved the applicants by voice vote.

The new task force members are: Lorenzo Baldwin, Gordon Elliot, Carl Herd, Bob Horton, Danny Hyde and David Trippe

The nine who had been previously selected were: Mary Beth Daniels, Jerry Harmison, Kenneth Homan, James Jeffries, Robert L. Jones, Peggy Kubicek, Charles Munsey, Craig Wagoner and Lloyd Young.

Mayor Jim O'Neal anticipates appointing the Chair and Vice Chair by noon tomorrow, after confirmation is made that the selected applicants will accept the positions.

"Let's make sure everybody accepts the position, nobody's got cold feet, then, once they have all definitely accepted, I will appoint the Chair and Vice Chair tomorrow," O'Neal said.


Mayor O'Neal Suggests Special Meeting to Fill Council's Vacant Zone 3 Seat

Tuesday, led by Mayor Jim O'Neal, a plan and process was laid out for filling the Council seat which was abruptly vacated by Ralph K. Manley at the end of last evening's City Council meeting.

The first step in the process is to make paperwork available to qualified applicants. That paperwork can be picked up at the City Clerk's office, beginning tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Those interested in applying for the vacant seat must have been a resident of of Zone 3 for at least one year, according to the City Charter.

O'Neal consulted with the City Clerk regarding the proper way to proceed, prior to the Council's luncheon meeting. He said applicants would not be required to gather petition signatures, as is required by candidates running in an election. He did however, recommend applicants include a resume.

The deadline for turning in applications will be Friday, April 24, at 5 p.m.

O'Neal recommended a special meeting be held a week from today, on Tuesday evening, April 28, wherein the applicants for the Zone 3 seat could address the City Council with a five minute oral presentation.

The Council would then discuss and vote for the Zone Council member.

O'Neal welcomed other ideas from the Council, but said he intended to follow through with a special meeting a week from today to select the new member.

"I have nothing but the highest regard for Mr. Manley," O'Neal said. "At some point I would like to appropriately honor his service to our City but, we have a lot of work on our plate and I do not believe we can hesitate nor delay the selection of a new Council person."

Update: The Special meeting, April 28, will be at 6 p.m. according to the City's news release.


What is Prompting Early Police and Firefighter Resignations?

It's the News Media

At Tuesday's City Council luncheon, City Manager Greg Burris presented a power point presentation, regarding his proposed general fund budget recommendations, to the City Council.

A full recommended budget must be presented to the City Council by May 1, 2009.

During the course of discussion, City Manager Greg Burris suggested negative publicity in "the newspaper" is driving earlier retirement resignations, among those eligible for retirement, in the police and fire departments.

"With all the negative media attention that the police/fire pension fund has been receiving," Burris said, "it's promoting that exodus because of all the uncertainty and the negativity within the community."

According to Mayor Jim O'Neal, Burris and he met with police officers and firefighters before the Council luncheon today.

Fire Chief Barry Rowell expanded on those sentiments at the luncheon meeting, after an introduction by Burris.

"The uncertainty over the future of the pension plan and the ongoing negative publicity has led to more resignations than we expected among those who have reached eligibility and are opting not to continue until their maximum age to retire," Rowell said.

O'Neal advised police and firefighters who were reaching retirement age not to be motivated out of misinformation or fear "coming from an unreliable source."

"I'd think twice about getting my advice from a newspaper editorial," O'Neal said.

The Mayor also said the police and firefighters should not be fearful that their retirement benefits are going to be cut.

Understaffing of Fire Department Addressed; Police Academy to be Reopened

The City Council were in consensus about allowing the City Manager to move forward with reopening the police training academy to train 10 officers and allowing for compensation of an additional 5 firefighters salaries in the upcoming fiscal budget.

The Police Department is currently 34 officers, or 10.4 percent, below budgeted strength and the Fire Department is expected to be 20 firefighters, or 9.4 percent, below budgeted strength by June 30.

Even with the addition of 5 firefighters to the Fire Department the City Manager is recommending the immediate start of a shut-down of one rotating fire unit.

The news release from Public Information Officer Louise Whall explained the changes this afternoon:

"The number of Springfield Fire Department vacancies expected this spring will require shutting down a unit on a rotating basis when staffing falls below certain levels effective April 27, 2009. For single-unit stations, this will mean shutting down that station for its 24-hour shift....

Burris said he plans to use additional savings from this year's budget to put about $150,000 in additional funding in the current fiscal year's Fire overtime budget. That funding is estimated to cover enough overtime to maintain at least a 48-person staffing level from mid May through June 30 in order to limit unit shutdowns to one at a time. A 48-person staffing level will require one unit to be taken out of service on a rotating basis among the City's 12 fire stations. Without the additional overtime funding, two or three units would need to be shut down on a consistent basis through June 30.

Four Fire Stations house two units, so one unit would remain in service. But when the rotation hits stations with only one unit, it will necessitate closing the station for that 24-hour shift. The Fire Department believes it is more equitable to all citizens to rotate the closure of one of the 16 units operating at all 12 stations during this period until June 30. This operational plan will be reviewed once the FY10 annual budget is approved.

When a unit shutdown requires a station closing, the information will be made public on the City's Web site,, and signs will be posted at the stations with information to contact 911 or a non-emergency phone number. Each fire station has an emergency call phone located outside where walk-up visitors can call for emergency assistance.

Other procedures that will be followed when one unit is out of service and there is working fire include:

* The Department will reduce the number of vehicles sent initially to each type of call.

* The Department will not provide mutual aid to area departments.

* The Department will not respond to haz-mat or water-rescue calls outside of Springfield.

* If the Department has two working fires at once, it will limit the types of non-emergency calls it will respond to; respond only to EMS calls for cardiac or respiratory arrest; may make emergency personnel callbacks; and may request mutual-aid assistance from neighboring departments to cover in Springfield.

In addition to the operational plan, the Department is taking the following steps to address the staffing shortage:

* No overtime is being used to maintain minimum staffing levels for Haz Mat, Water Rescue or Technical Rescue. When incidents require these operations, the on-call Chief will determine emergency call-in or request mutual aid.

* Chief Officers will respond to calls during working hours and off hours to cover for Battalion Chiefs when on leave.

* All travel-related training is suspended so it does not contribute to decreased staffing levels."

The City's Web log, CityConnect, plans to make Burris' Power Point presentation available at their Web site later today.


Springfield has a New Mayor Pro Tem

Councilman Dan Chiles was selected as the new Mayor Pro Tem at today's City Council luncheon.

Who says It's Not Easy Being Green?


Greene County Libertarian Party: "City Utilities is being given too much authority...."

The Greene County Libertarian Party issued a press release concerning a recent City Utilities vote to use eminent domain if necessary to acquire property for a new bus terminal in Springfield:

Press Release from the Greene County Libertarian Party

For immediate release

Contact: Keith L. Rodgers at 417.840.8942 or at

The recent decision from the Springfield City Utilities board to wield its power of eminent domain should be cause for concern on more than just the issue of property rights, according to Keith L. Rodgers, Chairman of the Greene County Libertarian Party.

"The issue isn't being addressed properly: Building a new bus transfer station without an overhaul of CU's inefficient city bus system is the wrong approach", Rodgers said. A better approach would be for the creation of a citizens' advisory input board, to find a more efficient public transportation system that would also sidestep the need to take property for a redundant transfer facility while also leaving the property owners of the proposed site free to use their property as they see fit.

"There are proper times to use eminent domain", Rodgers concluded, "but this is not one of them. City Utilities is being given too much authority, and in this case using such power violates the principles of liberty of property ownership and of sound business practices."


Sunday, April 19, 2009


"KSGF" and Vincent David Jericho sponsored a tea party at Fassnight Park in Springfield on Saturday.

Mark "Stormy" Davis, a co-chair of the event, was asked by the Young Conservatives of America to organize the tea party.

"The last one we had here in town, we had at noon on a Friday in 28 degree weather and in a part of the parks that nobody could find on a map, and we still had 300 people show up," Davis said.

One of the objects of the event was to collect tea bags which will be sent on to Washington D.C., if not to land on the floor of the Senate then, at least, the group hopes they'll make it to the rotunda floor.

"This is something we wanted to bring people together on, to say that we're done with all the spending, we're done with all the taxes," Davis said.

Jericho hopes that the Young Conservatives of America group will work together to make an impact in the future for conservative ideas and values.

"I really believe that through things like Young Conservatives, through things like some of the leaders that we are raising up in our community here, in Southwest Missouri, I really do believe we are going to touch the nation," Jericho said.

JackeHammer asked some of the tea party attendees (there were between 750 and 1,000 estimated to be in attendance) what brought them to the gathering. Following are their responses, in their own words, and excerpts from speeches made at the event.


Alice Rainbolt: "I came out today because I want my government back."

Dan Dunaway: "To support the effort to restore our government to the people."

Joel LeBoida: "I want the country back that I grew up with."

Hans Stickel: "I would like to see our taxes reduced."

Bruce Holcomb: "I came here today to spread the gospel message that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we're passing out gospel tracts and asking people to repent of their sins and turn to Christ."

Laura (declined providing her last name): "Our individual liberties and freedoms are being taken away, and the ridiculous spending, the large government, everything, it needs to be pared back down to the people, for the people, by the people."

Jerry McAdams: "I'm tired of all the waste of my money, pretty much, and spending it on things I'd never spend it on."

Faith Stilts: "I think the main reason I wanted to come was because I was very dismayed about conservative people and Christian people being listed as "terrorists," possible terrorists, and things like that, and I think because we have a right to peacefully assemble. We need to show them that we're here and remind them that they had plenty of protests when President Bush was in (office) and we have that right too.

"If you don't 100 percent back what the federal government is doing, that makes you an enemy, and that's just not American."

Benjamin Plunk: "I'm here because of my son. He's 8 years old. The President and the Congress are the real pirates, not the people off Somalia. They're spending money he hasn't even earned yet and he's not old enough to have a voter say in this discussion. I don't care what party you're from, it's morally wrong, and as a father, over my dead body. You can take that any way you want, over my dead body."

Terry Klock: "I'm here because government is out of control in their spending of our tax dollars and they're choking out our freedom, and that scares me and concerns me. I've had my head in the sand too long, and I think everybody else has too, and we're out here to try to make a difference and to bring our country back to its first principles."

John Putnam: "I'm the Missouri State FairTax Director, with Bill Phelps, and we're really excited about the fact that Missouri has become the first state in the nation to pass the FairTax bill that reflects the prebate of the national bill. It passed the House this week, 90 to 65, it's going to the Senate, and we need people to call their State Senators and tell them to support HJR36, starting Tuesday morning, when the Senators show back up in Jefferson City. So, that's the message I'm trying to get out."

Brad Mayberry: "I came out today because I believe in liberty, freedom and small government, and I think it's everybody's job to preserve it."

Jim Jenkins: "I'm here because I'm sick and tired of the government digging into my pockets when I didn't invite them to."

Charles Coates: "I came out here today because I believe that the people that founded the constitution had the right idea, and I really, truly do believe that bigger government, and higher taxes does equal destruction."

Kelly Tuder, with daughter Kenna: "We came out because we're opposed to all the taxes that they are putting upon us, and I don't want my daughter to have to pay them when I'm old and gray."

Vicky King (Kelly's mother, Kenna's grandmother): "Kenna is why we're here. We're tired of paying the taxes. We don't want to pay back the stimulus. We don't want to pay for people who don't want to work. You know, we all have to get up and work, no matter what's wrong with us and we can make it if we do, and then, I don't mind helping people if they're trying to make it on their own, that's why."


The speakers at the tea party were: Andrea Lord, Councilman Nick Ibarra, State Representative Bob Dixon, Nixa Councilman Mike Durbin, State Representative Eric Burlison, Darin Chappell, Ozark City Councilwoman Melissa Wagner, Vincent David Jericho, and Mel Hancock.

Following are excerpts from their speeches.

Andrea Lord: "The values of family, marriage, life, and God, these are the values that built this country, these are the values that have sustained this country."

Councilman Nick Ibarra: "I'm not here today to tell you of all of our nation's shortcomings without telling you that there is a bright side. The bright side is that we're all here together, having our voices be heard. The bright side is that all across this nation, people had their voices heard this week. The bright side is that we have some pretty level-headed representatives up in Jefferson City who, just this week, decided that we should be taxed on our consumption rather than our production. There is a bright side."

State Representative Bob Dixon: "Under our constitution, our government was not created to break the American spirit or to silence us but, it was sent forth to be a wall and a shield built around government in order to protect our liberties.... By rededicating ourselves to the principles of liberty, by renewing our commitment to constitutional principles, and by remaining energized in our efforts, we can, as Ronald Reagan so eloquently said, win again for our generation the blessings of liberty, and that we will do."

Nixa Councilman Mike Durbin: "Even in colonial America, not everyone was willing to stand up and speak out. It was few who realized government is only what we allow it to be, and they were willing to say, 'don't tread on me.'"

State Representative Eric Burlison: "I've read articles from the media, their interpretation of what we're doing here, and I don't think they quite get it but, I want to give them a hint. To me, this is not a Democrat party event because, quite frankly, the Democrat party has been failures, and this isn't a Republican party event because, quite frankly, the Republican party has been a bunch of failures. This is an event to remind ourselves that there are still people in this world who believe that government should belong to the people, and not the other way around."

Darin Chappell: "Liberty is the absence of governmental control. We are in liberty to do as we please in those areas wherein government has no say. Therefore, any time government expands its area of control, we need to be clear it is, by definition, the death of liberty.

"We have a responsibility to withstand the temptation of relying on government to care for us so that we can be free from the burden of caring for ourselves. Unfortunately, there are too many of our fellow countrymen who have determined that it is, by far easier and more palatable, to care for the government so that the government can care for them. I believe that we are, by far better, by far better served, if we tell the government, 'you take care of those things that we established you to take care of, we'll handle the rest the way we see fit.'"

Ozark Councilwoman Melissa Wagner: "We, as Americans, have a huge stresser, and it's called Washington D.C. They continually cause situations that make us, as Americans, very nervous, and we have focused in and we are shaking our fist at Washington right now. While we stand here and we shake our fists and we get angry, we need to remember that there are commissioners, and there are mayors, and there are city council people, that while we are shaking our fists, they have their hands out for this money, and I want to encourage you today, that while you're protesting the spending, to remember to also hold your local officials accountable...."

KSGF Radio talk show host Vincent David Jericho: " many of us claim to be conservatives but have never read and studied the constitution or the writings of our founding fathers? If you don't know the rules, you can't be an effective player in the game, and how much damage might you do to the cause if all you're seen as doing is breaking the rules and being inconsistent in the values you purport? People, know the rules. Read the writings of our founders and the constitution. Understand the sacrifice and the honor that went into writing our Declaration of Independence.

"The Apostle John said, 'Love one another, by this all men will know you,' as the guardians of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and that shining city on a hill that is a beacon to all mankind of freedom and liberty, bind yourselves to one another with the commitment that you, that we, will do better, that we will continue the fight, you will learn the rules and the tenets and that you will work to spread these truths to all America and Americans so that, once again, they might know and celebrate freedom."

Mel Hancock's speech will be posted in its entirety in a separate entry.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Little Inspiration for the Day

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009

What do you think about this, Jack?


ICMA Director of Ethics Clarifies Conversation with SOS Caller Darin Chappell; SOS Caller Returns the Favor

"JackeHammer" < < < met with SOS (Save Our Springfield) spokesman Darin Chappell this evening after reading the clarification delivered by the International City Manager Association (ICMA) Director of Ethics, Martha Perego, to the City of Springfield.

Perego issued her reply to Assistant City Manager Collin Quigley. It was released to the public today, along with City attorney Dan Wichmer's written report of his findings on the legality of the forwarding of an email by City Manager Greg Burris. If you are not familiar with this story already, you'll find plenty of past entries on the subject at this blog.

The excerpt of Perego's letter which "CityConnect" (the City of Springfield's informational blog) posted at their Web site states:

"Please be assured that I did not draw a conclusion about the appropriateness of the city manager's conduct based on the limited information presented by the caller. I did pose questions to the caller and reviewed the intent of Tenet 7 which advises members to refrain from engaging in any activity on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for elected office. Statements that I "was astounded (or shocked) that any Manager would insert himself into an election as overtly and unethically as Mr. Burris has done," [or] thought the matter was worthy of immediate investigation and/or that the city manager had no legitimate reason for communicating with the union leadership are entirely inaccurate."

While Mr. Chappell had plenty to say this evening, (and we'll get to some of that later) I believe this statement cuts to the heart of the issue, it was one of the last things Mr. Chappell said to me tonight (Tuesday, April 14), "What has happened," Chappell said, "whether it's done on purpose or accident, and I'm perfectly willing to say that it was an accident, okay? I'm not ascribing any motivations to anyone but, whether by purpose or by accident, the words have been pulled away from their context and twisted just a little bit, to where Ms. Perego has no choice but to say, I never said that, but, I never said she did say that, and that's basically where the confusion has arisen."

Now, what has been implied Chappell has claimed Ms. Perego said, and what Ms. Perego actually said to him are two different things, according to Darin Chappell.

When Darin Chappell presented the SOS powerpoint presentation on April 9, this statement was among the many included in that presentation:

I personally spoke with Martha Perego, ICMA Director of Ethics, and, without giving any identifying characteristics of either Mr. Burris, the City, or anyone else involved, Ms. Perego was astounded that any Manager would insert himself into an election as overtly and unethically as Mr. Burris has done.

Ms. Perego went on to say that if a member of that body were to be reported to ICMA for such behavior, an ethics investigation would be immediately undertaken, and that such egregious infractions are taken very seriously by all professional City Managers.

Keeping in mind that Mr. Chappell and I discussed these issues in a windy and chilly parking lot outside the Knights of Columbus building on Grand Street, where a "Young Conservatives" meeting was being held, and did not have the documents' exact wording in front of us, Chappell responded to my question, "What is your take on why she (Ms. Perego) would seem to be suggesting, now, that she never said the things you have reported her as saying?"

"If you look at the media release that the City put out and you read it very carefully," Chappell said, "it says something to the effect that Ms. Perego did not say that she was shocked that any city manager would insert himself into a political campaign such as Mr. Burris has clearly done. She did not say that last line, she said she was shocked that any city manager would insert himself into a political campaign, the 'such as Mr. Burris has done' was me speaking. She couldn't have made a judgement, she didn't know Mr. Burris' name, she didn't know the City of Springfield, she didn't even know my position. I just gave her my name, and just told her I was concerned about something that was happening in my city, some place where I work, you know, I don't live in the City but, I work here and I participate in the city as a taxpayer, and I'm concerned about these things. So, of course she would say [she] never said anything about Mr. Burris acting unethically, she couldn't, there's no way she could have said that."

Chappell continued, "Let me just be very clear. I was careful not to (indicate where the event took place or the parties involved) because the reason I was calling her was to double check my understanding of the code of ethics, specifically tenet 7, and if I was wrong about that, I wanted her to tell me I was wrong so that I didn't look like an absolute fool when I had this media release but, more importantly, I didn't want to besmirch anybody that didn't have something done in their actions that needed to be pointed out. So, I called her, specifically not mentioning any names or characteristics that would identify the city or the city manager or the union president, and I did so just to give her a hypothetical thumbnail sketch of what happened so that I could get her take on it so I would know how to proceed."

"She did not say that it was wrong for a city manager to ever have any contact with the firefighters union, as is cited in the City's media release but, I never suggested that she did say that, I never suggested that at all," Chappell said. "She also did not say that this event was going to have a swift and certain investigation. She can't say that until a formal complaint is filed, and as far as I'm aware, there is no formal complaint...."

Chappell didn't see that the distinction the email had been forwarded to other city administrators had any bearing but thought he had mentioned it to Ms. Perego, "I didn't record the event, you know, we just had a phone conversation," Chappell said.

I don't know folks, I don't want to believe that anyone would intentionally misrepresent what Chappell said Ms. Perego of the ICMA had told him, I'd prefer to think this is all a big misunderstanding. I'll even take some of the blame for the misunderstanding, as I had previously written:

"Chappell said he spoke to Martha Perego, ICMA's director of ethics. "She was shocked that any City Manager would insert himself into a political campaign such as Mr. Burris has clearly done," Chappell said. According to Chappell, Perego said such behavior would cause an ethics investigation to be considered immediately, which might result in censure or even loss of membership in the ICMA."

But, I was quoting Chappell and while Chappell was making an effort to characterize the discussion he had with Ms. Perego, he was adding his own thoughts and completing lines of thinking as he spoke. Chappell said Ms. Perego did not say anything about censure or loss of membership in the ICMA as a result of an ethical breach, he found that information, himself, at the ICMA Web site. "I looked up the ICMA Web site, she did not say anything about censure, she did not say anything about removal of benefits or affiliation but the ICMA Web site says those things, that if someone's found to have broken a code of ethics, those are possible repercussions. I said that, not her."

It goes to show how careful one must be when, both giving second hand information in discussion, and quoting someone regarding second hand information. Because Chappell had made it clear that he did not identify the city he was calling about or the name of the city manager, and I had noted it in my previous reporting on this issue, I assumed people could understand there wouldn't be any way she would have actually made a comment about Burris, specifically. Likewise, the powerpoint presentation stated very clearly that Chappell had not identified the city he was calling about or it's city manager but, apparently it wasn't clear enough for all parties reading it to understand that distinction.

I also need to make clear that I'm not defending Chappell out of any interest other than the want for the issue to be clear and not misrepresented, taken out of context, or misunderstood.

I don't, personally, pretend to know whether Springfield's City Manager Greg Burris has broken tenet 7 of the ICMA code of ethics. Darin Chappell believes he has, "Ms. Perego said that unless there was an active negotiation going on between the City she saw no reason for a city manager, again, this is all hypothetical, for a city manager to be forwarding the position of Council candidates, who are actively seeking office, to the firefighters union," Chappell said. "I believe it's an unethical breach. I believe it's a breach in the ethics because of, and I didn't explain to her MoLiCo (Missouri Liberty Coalition) or anything but, because of MoLiCo, because of the word "blindsided," I have a problem with that as an ethical consideration."

This reporter/blogger feels if any segment of the public has a question about the ethical standing of Mr. Burris' actions, it's better to deal with those questions than let them fester.

City attorney Dan Wichmer has, in his "E-Mail Investigation Report," stated:

"SOS has alleged that Greg breached ICMA ethics guidelines and that he may have violated the City Charter. I have reviewed the matter and find no basis for the claim of a violation of City Code or City Charter. Since ICMA guidelines have no legal effect, I have not included that allegation in this memo since it has no bearing on my conclusion."

The allegation of a violation of the City Charter was not a part of the power point presentation, however, SOS co-spokesman Mark Wright did allege Burris might have violated the City Charter during the course of that press conference.

It also concerns me that simply reporting on contentious issues such as this may have the effect of causing some people in the community to think that I have a personal vendetta against Mr. Burris or am looking for reasons to *attack* the City government.

I live in Springfield just a many City employees live in Springfield, and have a vested interest in this City. I like this City and happen to think it is a beautiful City, that said, I also believe the public has a right to see serious issues treated seriously and reported fairly. Because I feel this is a very serious issue, I have done my best to treat it in a serious fashion, not because I have any animosity, whatsoever, toward Mr. Burris but because some members of the public have expressed a concern over the matter, and they deserve to be heard as much as City officials deserve to be heard.

The clarification of Ms. Perego makes it appear that Mr. Chappell has been less than honest. I don't, personally, believe that to be the case, and just like Mr. Chappell, I'm not ascribing any motivations to anyone but, I do not believe everything pertaining to this issue has been fairly represented, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and I felt Mr. Chappell deserved the same right to clarify his position as Ms. Perego.

I'm sure we can all do a better job of accurately reporting and accurately characterizing both private citizens and public officials.

I hope to see, some day, this community be able to pull together and work together toward common goals, not as adversaries. I would wager that is what most, if not all, the citizens in this community would like to see but, when there are serious issues such as this raised they should be dealt with in honesty and with fairness. Sometimes it seems to me, and this is just me writing my personal thoughts here, sometimes it seems to me that instead of addressing serious issues as they come up, there is a knee-jerk defensive posture taken, and certainly, it could not have been pleasant for Mr. Burris to be asked to resign his position but, there has been an ethical question raised in this case. It needs to be addressed. It has not yet been addressed.

My understanding is that it will be up to the City Council to decide whether the issue needs to be looked into further. They are representatives of the citizens who elected, and very recently, elected some of them. I don't know how they will represent the citizens. Will they represent all of them or some of them? How will they select which citizens they will represent and which citizens they will deem not worthy of addressing?

The City attorney addressed the legal aspect. Will the ethical aspect be addressed on behalf of the citizens who have a concern about the ethical aspect of the issue? Does the ethical aspect of the issue matter?

I guess we'll see what the Council thinks, eventually. To be honest, I'm saddened by the whole thing.

Now, even though this post is very long and I am very tired (it's nearly 3 a.m.), there is one more issue that should be clarified by Mr. Chappell. Since I have defined most of what Chappell stated Ms. Perego did not say I should allow him to clarify for himself what Ms. Perego did say. Some of this may seem repetitious but, I believe it is important to report it.

"Her response was, basically, three-fold," Chappell said. "She said that she was shocked that a city manager would insert himself into a situation like this because of the political implications. Her words were, most city managers wouldn't touch this at all, they just wouldn't deal with it because of what could happen. She did not understand why a sitting city manager would have any reason to contact a firefighter union official about actively, seeking candidates for the City Council, (about) their positions, (by) forwarding an email, especially with a negative characterization but, she didn't understand why he would do that even if there was no characterization

"She also said, and this was her idea, I didn't come up with this, her idea was that unless the city manager, unless the city, is in active negotiations with the firefighters' union contract, that there's no reason for the city manager to be forwarding City Council candidates' positions to the unions, president or not.

"And then, thirdly, if there was a formal complaint, then ICMA would take that seriously and they would investigate thoroughly.

"Those are the three basic things, now, are those direct quotations of her? No, but those reflect the character and the content of everything she said."


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New City Council to be Sworn in Today

April 14, 2009

Prior to the swearing in ceremony, the current Council will take a vote on Emergency, Council Bill 2009-081:

A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to make application for and accept an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant for the purpose of funding Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth program services, amending the budget provided for the Workforce Development Department of the City of Springfield, Missouri, for fiscal year 2008-2009 in the total amount of $3,864,155.00 and declaring an emergency.

The Council will then discuss unfinished business before taking a vote to approve Resolution, Council Bill 2009-082:

A resolution declaring the results of the General Municipal Election, held on the 7th day of April, 2009, under the Home Rule Charter of the City of Springfield, Missouri.

Mayor elect Jim O'Neal, General Seat A Robert "Bob" Stephens, General Seat B John Rush, Zone 1 Nicholas Ibarra, and Zone 4 Scott Bailes will be sworn in after they take the oath of office.

The oath of office affirms a Council member:

"...possesses all the qualifications for the office to which he is chosen, that he is not subject to any of the disqualifications set forth in this Charter, that he will support the constitution and laws of the United States and of the State of Missouri, and the Charter and ordinances of the City of Springfield, and that he will faithfully discharge the duties of his office." -from Springfield City Charter Section 19.8.

The meeting will air live on TV23 and is scheduled to air again on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the City Council Chambers on Boonville Avenue.

The new Council will recess to their first Council luncheon after the special meeting and reconvene in closed session after the luncheon. The luncheon and closed session will take place in the 4th floor conference room at the Busch Building.

The special and luncheon meetings are open to the public.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Public Information Director: "[City Attorney] Dan [Wichmer] did not prepare a written report."

As previously reported, Springfield's City Attorney Dan Wichmer recently told Amos Bridges of the "Springfield News-Leader":

"I [Wichmer] have looked into it and I have found nothing that warranted any further investigation by council. But I'll pass my report along (if it's requested)."

The statement was made in regards to whether the forwarding of an email by City Manager Greg Burris to the president of a local firefighter union, was "illegal." [SOS (Save Our Springfield Citizen's Coalition) had determined the action was "unethical" and had called for either Burris' resignation or further City Council action.]

The email contained an ongoing discussion between two Springfield City Council candidates, on the subject of possible modifications to the police and firefighters' return of contribution benefit.

The union's later decision not to endorse the two candidates involved in the emailed discussion was impacted by information contained in the email which Burris had forwarded to the union president. Some people feel that decision, in turn, might have made the difference in the outcome of what turned out to be very close election. They believe because Burris did not ask for or receive permission to forward the email to the union president, and it had affected the union's decision not to endorse the Council candidates involved, he had, essentially, inserted himself into a municipal election. Such an action, SOS spokesmen Darin Chappell and Mark Wright said, is against Tenet 7 of the ethical code of the International City Manager Association. That code of ethics, said spokesman for SOS Darin Chappell, is the nationally accepted code of ethical conduct for city managers.

Being the curious sort of reporter/blogger I am, before I retired last evening, I sent an email request to Public Information Director Louise Whall asking to receive the report Mr. Wichmer indicated was available upon request. What I found out was there is no written report for Mr. Wichmer to pass along.

According to Ms. Whall, Wichmer's point was "that he would make the same report, verbally or otherwise, if the Council requests it." She assured me that, "Dan [Wichmer] had confirmed that [her] response to [me] accurately represents his position."

Wichmer has indicated, he reviewed the materials and there was no justification for the allegations, Whall wrote in her email response.

An additional inquiry regarding whether the City Council should be advised by the city attorney regarding ethical questions involving the city manager, since the city attorney answers directly to the city manager and is employed by the city manager, were not addressed by Ms. Whall and neither has there been a response, as yet, to an email sent to Mr. Wichmer regarding that question.

Further, some people have raised the question of whether it is ethical for the city attorney, as an employee answering directly to the city manager, to investigate his employer regarding potential ethical indiscretions of his own employer.

"Dan [Wichmer] works for [City Manager] Greg [Burris]. Greg asked him to review the allegations on the day of the SOS news conference to see if he felt there was any cause for concern," Whall wrote. "Dan did that and said that he doesn't believe they have merit. As I said in the last two responses - if the Council requests any further action on this issue, Dan will comply. I have copied Dan on these e-mails and he can certainly respond further if he would like to add anything else."

Story developing.


O'Neal leaves Burris probe up to council Springfield News-Leader (Mayor Elect Asks City Attorney to Put Report in Writing)

"JackeHammer: Springfield City Attorney: City Manager Burris did Nothing Illegal, Actions Warrant no Further Investigation"

JackeHammer: Save Our Springfield (SOS) Citizen's Coalition Calls for City Manager Burris' Resignation"

April 10_Hour 2_Who is Vince calling out and why" (KSGF podcast)

"April 10_Hour 3_Free For All" (KSGF podcast)

"Save Our Springfield group calls for resignation Springfield News-Leader"

"busplunge: Group Calls For Springfield City Manager Called To Resign: Allege Ethical Breach"


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Springfield City Attorney: City Manager Burris did Nothing Illegal, Actions Warrant no Further Investigation

In a Springfield News-Leader article published Saturday, April 11, Amos Bridges of the News-Leader reported a statement from Springfield's City Attorney:

"When someone makes the charge that there's something illegal going on, I tend to look into it right away," he [City Attorney Dan Wichmer] said. "I have looked into it and I have found nothing that warranted any further investigation by council. But I'll pass my report along (if it's requested)."

The SOS (Save Our Springfield Citizen's Coalition) held a press conference on April 9, charging City Manager Burris' actions, in forwarding an email to the President of Springfield Firefighters Local 152, had inserted the city manager into election politics, and possibly affected the outcome of the City Council election.

In the email, which was blind carbon copied to the city manager by one of the candidates, two City Council candidates were engaged in an ongoing discussion about possible modifications to certain benefits of the Police and Fire Pension plan. The email's contents were not characterized by the candidates or put into context in any way for Mr. Burris.

The day before the City Council election, Firefighter Union President Tony Kelley called local radio station KSGF's Vincent David Jericho Program and stated the email had caused union members to question whether the candidates were lying to them, and had played a considerable role in the union's decision not to endorse the two candidates.

"Whenever we had a candidate forum, one of the questions was, do you support benefit reductions to police and firefighters, and their answer was no, they don't support it. We found that to be disturbing, that I have an email where both of them were exchanging back and forth about what would be a benefit reduction and, you know, two weeks later we have a forum and they both say, 'no, we're not in support of that,' so that played a lot into our decision to not endorse Martz and Ellison." -Firefighter Union President Kelley, April 6 on KSGF's Vincent David Jericho Program.

Burris, who did not deny forwarding the email to Kelley, has issued a statement in response and made the email available for public viewing.

SOS spokesmen Darin Chappell and Mark Wright have said they believe the action was unethical, based on the International City Manager Association's Code of Ethics, and warrants Burris' resignation or removal from the office of City Manager.

Note: See my previous report on the SOS press conference, entered on Thursday evening, where a link to the KSGF podcast with Tony Kelley's comments was provided. A complete tape recording of the April 9, SOS Press Conference is available.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Pension Task Force Application Process Briefly Re-Opened

Final version of Burris' Charge to the Pension Task Force Available

You have between now and Thursday of next week at 5 p.m. (April 16) to apply for the Pension Task Force.

Excerpts from the City's News Release regarding the re-opening of the application process, in no particular order:

The new City Council will select six members to join nine members selected by the outgoing Councilmembers. The outgoing Council initially selected 11 members, but two of them will not serve based on potential conflicts of interest. They are Carol Milhalevich, whose husband works for the City of Springfield in a Public Works position, and Matt Morrow, who is the executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield.

The incoming Springfield City Council will accept additional applications for the Police/Fire Pension Fund Citizens' Task Force beginning immediately and continuing through a deadline of 5 p.m., Thursday, April 16, 2009.

Citizens who are still interested in serving on the Task Force, but had not applied previously, are invited to submit an application to be considered for the remaining seats on the Task Force that will be filled by the incoming City Council.

The application form can be submitted online on the City's Web site at: . Citizens who don't have access to the Internet can call 864-1010 to have a copy of the application mailed to them. Or they can visit the Busch Building, 840 Boonville Ave., to pick up an application form during regular business hours.

Mayor-elect Jim O'Neal said the new Council will be asked to select six individuals from the new applications, the remaining applicants in the original group of 54, and others who have been recommended by Councilmembers. Individuals who have already submitted applications do not need to re-apply if they still wish to be considered for service on the Task Force.

In other news from the City:

The final version of City Manager Greg Burris' charge to the Police-Fire Pension Task force is available at:


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Save Our Springfield (SOS) Citizen's Coalition Calls for City Manager Burris' Resignation

The headline in a "Springfield News-Leader" article, published in the Thursday, April 9 issue speaks volumes: "Police, fire support affects election wins."

But, what would you think if you knew that Springfield's City Manager Greg Burris had directly effected the Firefighter Union's choice of candidate endorsements? Would it give you pause to question whether the City Manager had inserted himself into a City Council election? Would you consider such actions, if true, to be unethical actions for a city manager? If so, you might be be in agreement with the positions of SOS spokesmen Darin Chappell and Mark Wright.

If, as the winning (and the losing) candidates seem to agree, police and firefighter union endorsements and support effect election wins, and the City Manager's actions contributed to the Firefighter Union's decision not to endorse General Seat A and B, City Council candidates Tom Martz and Fred Ellison, certainly, the losses of the firefighter union endorsement factored into their slim losses to their challengers. General Seat A candidate Robert Stephens beat opponent Tom Martz by about 500 votes. General Seat B candidate John Rush beat opponent Fred Ellison by a mere 208 votes, Chappell noted at a press conference early Thursday.

According to Firefighter Union President Tony Kelley, the receipt of an email forwarded to him by City Manager Greg Burris without sender Fred Ellison's permission, caused the Firefighter Union officials who decided which candidates the union would endorse, and which candidates they would not endorse for Springfield City Council, to suspect Martz and Ellison, "were lying to us to try to get our endorsement."

In the email Kelley referred to, General Seat A and General Seat B candidates Tom Martz and Fred Ellison were kicking around ideas which they thought might enhance voter support for a 1 percent sales tax initiative to fund the police and firefighters pension plan, Ellison said. Kelley understood the email to suggest the two candidates favored either reducing or cutting completely their return of contribution pension benefit.

Kelley called the Vincent David Jericho (VDJ) Program the day before the election and said, based on that email forwarded from Burris, the union chose not to endorse Martz and Ellison. At one point, Kelley asked Jericho, "Why would we endorse candidates that lied to us?"

On the VDJ Program Kelley explained:

"What had happened was, we received an email dated December 7th where Mr. Martz and Mr. Ellison were discussing back and forth about benefit reductions, basically, doing away with the return of contributions aspect of our pension plan," Kelley said. "Whenever we had a candidate forum, one of the questions was, do you support benefit reductions to police and firefighters, and their answer was no, they don't support it. We found that to be disturbing, that I have an email where both of them were exchanging back and forth about what would be a benefit reduction and, you know, two weeks later we have a forum and they both say, 'no, we're not in support of that,' so that played a lot into our decision to not endorse Martz and Ellison."

Ellison spoke to JackeHammer after the press conference in which SOS spokesmen Darin Chappell and Mark Wright called for Burris' resignation.

"My entire intent in forwarding the email to Mr. Burris was to suggest to him an additional basis for supporting or ensuring the success of the 1 percent sales tax initiative." Ellison said. "I felt like the return of contribution benefit is one of those that many citizens have expressed significant reservations about, and that had the police and firefighters been willing to accept some modification to that benefit that would have, as it were, played well with the voters of Springfield."

Martz and Ellison, members of the Missouri Liberty Coalition, had made several suggestions which were later included in a resolution the City Council passed with the intent to honor if the voters had approved the 1 percent pension sales tax initiative. That initiative failed in February.

Ellison said Kelley had not given him any indication, until the day before the City Council election on the Jericho Program, that he and the other Union officials who decided against endorsing him and Martz for City Council had suspected them of being dishonest with union members.

At issue for Chappell, co-SOS spokesman Mark Wright and KSGF radio talk show host Vincent David Jericho is not who won the election but, that by the forwarding of that email, City Manager Burris had injected himself into the City Council election. An action they view as unethical.

According to Chappell, whether a particular city manager is a member or not, the International City Manager Association's (ICMA) Code of Ethics is the national standard of ethics for city managers. Chappell cited Tenet 7 of the ICMA Code of Ethics:

"Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body."

Chappell, who holds a degree in public administration and teaches public administration, public finance and budgeting at Drury University,* believes that by forwarding an email, unsolicited, to the President of the Firefighter Union, Burris affected the election, and such an action is unethical. He made clear he was not speaking in connection with the university, but as a member of the Save Our Springfield Citizen's Coalition.

Chappell said he spoke to Martha Perego, ICMA's director of ethics. "She was shocked that any City Manager would insert himself into a political campaign such as Mr. Burris has clearly done," Chappell said. According to Chappell, Perego said such behavior would cause an ethics investigation to be considered immediately, which might result in censure or even loss of membership in the ICMA, however, Chappell said, "Mr. Burris is not a member of the ICMA, to my knowledge."

In response to a question, Chappell said that while he had not identified the city or named Springfield's city manager specifically when speaking to Ms. Perego, he had informed the Director of Ethics that the email was an "FYI," and, he reported, "she asked if the City is in active negotiations with the Union concerning a renegotiation of benefits and I said no, not at all." Chappell said she said, "there is absolutely no reason that the City Manager should have been in contact with the Union officials about the positions or possible positions or thought processes of two candidates for City Council. There is no justification for it whatsoever, from an ethical perspective," he said.

Co-SOS spokesman Mark Wright said such action also violates Springfield's City Charter, Wright read from Section 6.11 of the Charter, which, in part, reads:

"No appointive salaried officer or employee of the city shall during the hours when he is on duty engage in any form of political activity calculated to favor or improve the chances of any political party or any person seeking or attempting to hold political office, nor shall he engage in any political activity when not on duty to such an extent that his efficiency during working hours will be impaired or that he will be tardy or absent from his work."

"Candidates that may have been assisted in their campaigns, and who were elected, may feel beholden to the City Manager and lose their effectiveness as public officials," Wright said. "Other Council members may feel intimidated by the action of the City Manager and feel less inclined to challenge him or her on positions that may not be in the best interest of the citizens they represent."

The forwarded email in question was generated by Burris at 7:48 a.m. on Monday, December 8. Burris forwarded it to Tony Kelley, Deputy City Manager Evelyn Honea, Assistant City Manager Collin Quigley, Assistant Fire Chief David Hall, and Mike Evans. While earlier portions of the email Ellison had blind carbon copied to Burris included several earlier exchanges, and as many as 12 email addresses, including the Missouri Liberty Coalition's google group address, the email in question was only sent by Mr. Ellison to three other email addresses. Those three recipients were Tom Martz; Carl and Linda Herd; and James Hornaday Jr.

Burris, Chappell said, had "warned" the 5 recipients to whom he forwarded the email with the note, "FYI, so that no one gets blind-sided by upcoming comments or suggestions by the Missouri Liberty Coalition."

Whether Burris intended it to have an effect on the City Council election or not, it is clear that it, in the words of Tony Kelley, "played a lot into our decision to not endorse Martz and Ellison," and as the News-Leader reported, "Police, fire support affects election wins," so, in essence, by effecting the Firefighter Union's choice of endorsement, whether intentional or not, Burris affected the City Council election.

Fred Ellison does not intend to challenge the election, "With regard to the election, the election is water under the bridge at this point so, there's nothing that's going to change the outcome of the election but, I certainly wish that this had not been a factor in the decision of the voters," Ellison said.

"I think it's very unfortunate that Mr. Burris has placed himself in this position and I really regret all of the negative sentiment that will result in the continuing damage to trust of the citizens of Springfield and their city and their city government," Ellison said. "That's the most dangerous thing that these actions have done, in that it's continued that atmosphere of mistrust the citizens feel toward the city government."

Beyond calling for the City Manager to resign or, if he refuses to resign, calling on the Council to fire Mr. Burris, Chappell and Wright have no plans to take other action but, Chappell believes a line must be drawn, "When the Director of Ethics at the ICMA (International City Manager Association) is shocked by this behavior, the City Council should be as well, the citizens should be as well," he said.

The City of Springfield issued a press release late Thursday afternoon with Burris' statement in response to the charges that he had acted unethically by forwarding the email exchange between the two City Council candidates to the Firefighter Union:

"It’s disappointing to me that this group is trying to shift the focus of the City Council election outcome to one single e-mail exchange from four months ago instead of urging the community to pull together to support the newly elected Council members. There is simply no basis for their allegations. Nor have they approached me directly with their concerns since a phone call from a Journal Broadcasting radio show host on Monday asking for my recollection of the e-mail, which I didn’t even remember from December.

The e-mail they are citing already had several Missouri Liberty Coalition members copied on it and there was no indication it was supposed to be considered confidential, especially considering it was sent to a public official and would be open under the Missouri Sunshine Law. I simply forwarded it to the appropriate staff members who were involved in the police-fire pension tax proposal as an FYI to let them know points that Coalition members may raise at presentations or elsewhere. I’ve worked very hard to establish trust and open lines of communication with all of our employees, including representatives of our employee groups.

I’m also disappointed because I have similarly tried to respect the mutual interest I share with the SOS group in solving our pension underfunding problem. I have stated repeatedly that their proposal would be forwarded to the Citizens’ Task Force for their review and consideration and I forwarded a whitepaper prepared about the Capital Improvements Program to Mr. Wright and Mr. Chappell for their background information as a courtesy." - Greg Burris, City Manager

General Seat A Candidate Tom Martz said the email exchange was part of an ongoing discussion the candidates had been having for months as they sought solutions to the underfunded pension plan. "What I said prior to that forum (December 18) has no bearing," Martz said. "I've been consistent."

Chappell pointed out that the candidates had never deviated from their position that they did not favor a reduction in return of contribution benefits after December 18, 2008.

It is unclear why the Firefighter Union did not question them for clarification on the issue.

*Correction: Darin Chappell is an instructor at Missouri State University. Yesterday, during the news conference Mark Wright stated Chappell was an instructor at Drury University, I regret the error. -Jackie


"April 10_Hour 2_Who is Vince calling out and why" (KSGF podcast)

"April 10_Hour 3_Free For All" (KSGF podcast)

"Save Our Springfield group calls for resignation Springfield News-Leader"

busplunge: Group Calls For Springfield City Manager Called To Resign: Allege Ethical Breach"