Ferguson City Council Meeting, 2/22/2022, The Never-Ending Meeting

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Apologies for a late posting of this Tuesday’s (2/22/22) council meeting. It lasted for four hours, 18 minutes. Perhaps certain one-word summaries would be suitable as a description of the meeting, but we have an upcoming election and need informed voters. The long length happened despite the mayor’s sudden resolution to begin enforcing time limits on public comments during a comment made by yours truly concerning the political use and abuse of the Emerson YMCA. Nor was the postponement of one presentation much of help in limiting meeting time. An obviously fatigued Mayor Jones even stated that rules of debate were not being followed in the meeting she was responsible for chairing.

The summary is also long. For the sake of those who want some understanding of the pace and length of the meeting by placing a note of how far into the meeting each section was completed. Highlights include: How the Ferguson Police Department discovered that the 911 dispatch system was not recording calls as required, a summary of top areas of interest for federal ARPA fund use, a staff presentation on recommendations for incentives for the proposed senior housing development, a hearing for a special use permit for an over-55 event space/bar, and the appointment of Charter Commission members [despite previous concerns that the Charter Commission is illegally appointed.]

Public Comments

Nick Kasoff spoke concerning the senior housing proposal. He thought it was a great thing to used undeveloped land for and hoped it gets done. But he had one big concern with the proposal: the city is in poor financial condition, with needs to make repairs to streetlights and to streets as well as raise salaries for police officers and other city staff. But looking at the developer’s proposal, which includes an $800,000 developer’s fee, he’s basically asking the city for free land, or at least very cheap land and as much as $600,000 in cash from the city to do the project. The man proposing this apartment building will own the building and make money from the property. Kasoff suggested that this gentleman, who is a multi-millionaire himself, could waive the developer’s fees and allow Ferguson to move forward without having to pay out money to him. Kasoff hoped that the city manager and council would approach him to do this without the fee.

Sara Holmes spoke about the need to have a council where the goal was to act ethically and legally, not with a goal to “work together.” She noted that in the last meeting, a public comment was made about a distribution of supplies to the Ferguson Woods neighborhood made by Mayor Ella Jones and Council Member Phedra Nelson but thanking no other group or person. Holmes noted that this comment was the apparent basis of an angry rant by Nelson made later at the very end in which Nelson said there was no transparency, no respect given on given, and then said that Home Depot had reached out to her as an employee of the Gateway Y and wanted that event as held.

Holmes continued to say, “Ms. Nelson, I would like to provide full transparency about your actions. Yes, you are employed by the Gateway Y. It is a nonprofit that is NOT permitted to be political under IRS rules. Despite that you have a habit of abusing your position at the Y for political purposes. Now, I know that you met with YMCA leadership in March 2021, for the purpose of discussing your abuse of the Y and its repeated representation in your campaign, as if it endorsed you. This was a blatant, appalling abuse of the Y for political purposes. It was hoped that you would end your abuse of the Y at that time. Now, on January 26th of this year, you made a post on your Facebook page. In this post, you demonstrated this conflict of interest has persisted, you posted about this event specifically stating, “First Ward,” politicizing it as your represented district. Additionally, you invited the mayor and city staff, but made no attempt to invite the rest of council, or at the very least, your fellow council member representing the ward in which the event was held. And you held the event in the neighborhood of the candidate for Ward 1 for whom you and Mayor Jones have demonstrated your support and for whom the mayor has personally been seeking political endorsements. Yes, this was political, and it was an abuse of the YMCA and Home Depot’s sponsorship to have held it in this manner. No, Ms. Nelson, you can’t have it both ways.” At this point Council Member Nelson interrupted in an apparent laugh until muted. Holmes continued, “You received paid time from a nonprofit charity, donations given to that charity, and you were obligated to show no favoritism, no endorsement through the use of giveaways, nothing political. What rational person cannot realize that the event you oversaw was anything other than a move to gain support for the candidate that you and the mayor endorse. This was wrong. I can only hope that you will take corrective and public action regarding this. I do anticipate hearing from Gateway Y’s CEO, Tim Helms.” It was at this point that Holmes was cut off in her final sentence by Mayor Jones.  See more detail from Nick Kasoff about the use of the Emerson YMCA for political activity here.

[Note: Mayor Jones has no past history of cutting off speakers during public comments and comments far exceeding the stated 3-minute limit have been common. Nick Kasoff’s comment preceding the comment ended by Jones lasted 3 minutes, 31 seconds with no attempt to stop his comment.  Holmes comments was cut at 3 minutes, 12 seconds. In the previous meeting, La’Rae Jackson was permitted to speak about how much she wanted to thank Jones and Nelson for 3 minutes, 30 seconds.]

Erica Brooks made her regular appearance in public comments, asking where the city is on ARPA funding, asked whether Council Members Heather Robinett or Toni Burrow have done anything, and went on to complain that since Burrow has been in office, she “has always got clap back” and complained that money isn’t spent where she lives. She also complained that she had no response when she asked about redistricting in the last meeting. She complained that the Redistricting Committee met last week but the city did not give enough notice and that there is no transparency on how this process will affect African Americans. She also asked what the status of the city’s assessment of Metro’s Via service is. Brooks comments were cut by Mayor Jones after 3 minutes, 14 seconds as going too long, and Brooks spoke a few seconds more before the Mayor moved on.

Mayor Jones then moved to start the City Manager’s report but was stopped by City Clerk Octavia Pittman who informed her there were two others signed up for public comment.

Adrian Shropshire thanked Don [Boyce] and the Publics Works staff for their work on the streets during the winter weather. He also thanked the City Council for their work and “even attempting to work together on issues that do benefit our city.” Shropshire also thanked the Police Department. He then said his next issue is yard signs. He saw campaign signs in common areas and doesn’t like that. Shropshire also noted Mike Palmer has yard signs in other wards. Mayor Jones then cut comments after 3 minutes, 5 seconds.

Gerry Noll spoke concerning the Civilian Review Board (CRB) and said there is one open seat on the board unfilled for a year or two and should have nine members. In June there will be two additional seats that will come open as two members end their terms. Noll noted that the CRB has certain specific qualifications and requirements. Each ward of the city has two residents appointed in addition to the 3 at-large members, which can be either residents, business owners within the city, or clergy/educators/leaders that may not live in Ferguson but serve within the city. Certain persons are ineligible to serve, including current or former staff of the Ferguson Police Department, or their spouses; current city employees or their spouses; any elected official, or their spouses; nor any person convicted of a felony in this state or any other unless re-entrance and re-enfranchisement has been given. Nolls stated that the initial CRB Task Force used a slightly different application but was not certain if that is still in use for CRB applicants. That had some additional questions about qualifications, as well as a signature to agree to having a background check run to verify eligibility. Noll expressed concern that if the current vacancy was not filled and the upcoming vacancies left open that gaining a quorum will be difficult. Additionally, Noll noted that the CRB plans a Town Hall on Zoom similar to what they held last year. There will be three topics covered from the most recent National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) summarized by CRB members. (Noll ended at 3 minutes, 15 minutes and was thanked by Mayor Jones when finished.)

Public comments were closed 20 minutes into the meeting.

City Manager’s Report

Eric Osterberg started the City Manager’s report with Chief John Hampton’s report on COVID. He noted that St. Louis remained in the extremely high transmission category with 173 new cases a day on average in County. We continue on a downward trend. Hospitalizations and admission rates are improving. Currently in 63135 we have 34 new cases and in 63136 47 new cases. These numbers are cases known to County Health and do not reflect home tests that are not reported. He continues to urge that no one let their guard down and to avoid large crowds, wear masks, wash hands, and maintain social distancing. Everyone 5 years and up should be vaccinated, and all 12 years and older should have boosters. The city should have vaccine sites set up for pop up events soon.

Chief Frank McCall was next and first addressed the process for hiring officers. McCall said there are a total of 12 or 13 steps, the initial step being application and review to see if the application is complete. The second step is an initial computer query and look for a criminal history to remove any unwanted candidates. Next is an interview with FPD staff. Typically, first line officers interview first, and then command staff. Next is an interview with residents, we are one of the few departments in the region that have residents involved in the hiring process but was also part of the consent decree. For candidates moving forward, a conditional offer is made prior to a background check, polygraph exam, and psychological evaluation. The final step is the Chief’s interview and then a formal offer of employment is made. A drug screen is not done until the onboarding process starts.

Questions were opened to council and in her turn, Council Member Fran Griffin began a series of unclear questions. She started first asking about officer involvement with the CRB, then progressed to asking whether an officer would be involved in sending information from a related to something under CRB review to County and then specifically whether a Captain would send a letter to County without McCall’s knowledge. McCall acknowledged that he was trying to understand the questions but said the Consent Decree Coordinator was currently liaison with CRB and that there was no officer assigned. Regarding any information sent to County PD, McCall said he should be aware of anyone speaking on behalf of FPD.

Griffin then changed topic to say it had been brought to her attention that there was a period of time when dispatch recordings were down. McCall said it was learned after the fact as there was no warning of the problem, and they were unaware until they tried to get information from 911. They found the recording system was down for some time. Griffin asked if the system was up and running now and was told that it was working now.

Council Member Toni Burrow then expressed concern as to whether she was the only one left out of knowing about this incident and said this was the first time she has heard anything of this and she still was not understanding about when this happened or why Griffin knew of it, but she did not.

Eric Osterberg spoke next saying he was unaware of an outage. [Note: See end of summary where Osterberg corrects this during Miscellaneous.] He believed they were discussing the Dec. 12th shooting. He stated that late last week he had spoken to Council Member Griffin, and she had spoken with a reporter who told her that a letter had come from FPD saying that there had been an outage of some sort. Osterberg was confused because St. Louis County had released a video of the shooting that included audio from what Osterberg assumed was dispatch. He also asked for better clarity about what exactly had happened.

Chief McCall clarified that the 911 system never went down, it was the recording of the call to 911 that did not function. He did state that when they gathered all information relevant to the officer-involved shooting that one of the captain’s submitted a letter advising them that the 911 call was not recorded.

Council Member Linda Lipka asked who fixed the system. McCall answered that he believed a vendor fixed it. He understood that the recording had stopped working for a couple of weeks. Lipka asked if we had an SOP for dealing with a system breakdown and McCall said that County used to record and was the backup, so they are dealing with a new process now. Lipka also noted that when a member of the council comes across information such as this, “it would behoove that council member to share their information with the rest of the council.” She continued, “This is a situation where this is very serious, it can affect our community … and if a council member has awareness of it then we need to share that with one another so that we can work as a team.”

 City Manager’s Report ended one hour, 6 minutes into meeting

Special Presentation: ARPA Funding Update

Eric Osterberg presented on results of the public campaign consisting of focus groups and surveys. Of the phone based Flashvote survey, addressing violent crime was the top choice. Next was assisting local businesses and third, supporting pandemic response. In the free-form question in which those surveyed could select anything possible, traffic enforcement was the most voted issue. Street repair was second, and crime prevention was third. In the public focus group discussions, the top result was street lighting, vacant home remediation and demolition was second, and expanding city support for the farmer’s market was third.

Osterberg also explained that the final rule on spending ARPA funds was issued and has provided additional flexibility. The rule now allows for the funds to be used on problems that were experienced prior to the pandemic but worsened during the pandemic. At some point we will still be potentially audited to review how funds were used, so community needs still need to be balanced against federal scrutiny.

The staff also made recommendations for budget considerations and the top three were: streetlights, revenue recovery (Parks programming), and recreation service fee discounts or waivers. The next steps are to hold a special session and review Council proposals. Once decisions are made, funding will be included in the 2023 budget and federal reporting and auditing will follow. Council asked questions and discussed after the presentation, with several comments referring to not wanting to speak at length because they will have a special meeting later for that discussion.

ARPA Presentation ended one hour, forty-two minutes into meeting.

Special Presentation: Senior Housing Redevelopment Agreement          

Elliott Liebson, Planning Director, presented on recommendations and incentives in response to the developer’s request. The city’s proposal is to give the developer a $100,000 forgivable loan from the Economic Development Sales Tax (EDST), a waiver of all permit fees ($23,570), and a waiver of the city share of property tax through 2033 and use taxes over $66,000. The project is assumed to cost $10 million. Liebson says the project is recommended because currently the property generates no tax revenue, and it will eliminate city upkeep of the property and that it will bring up property values of neighboring land and bring new customers to surrounding retailers. The city will also get revenue from residential occupancy applications.

Liebson noted that EDST can fund a project like this as a project that is related to long-term economic development preparation.

Linda Lipka began questions by seeking verification of the timeline. She said that she first recalls that conversation started about this as a possible project before city staff were involved. Lipka first heard of it during an outdoor meeting held for the Ferguson Woods Neighborhood in July or August when the Mayor spoke of it to the attendees about the project. The RFP from the city actually came out after all of these things had passed. Lipka asked how long the RFP was posted and what effort was there to find other developers so that the process would be competitive. Lipka asked when only one proposal was received, she asked about putting the RFP out again and marketing it as an opportunity so there would be multiple proposals. And nothing came of that and now we have a single proposal with an $800,000 developer’s fee. We’ve got the city proposing $100,000 from EDST, and the committee hasn’t even had its first meeting yet, so they haven’t looked this over yet to make a recommendation to the council. “And we’re making it a forgivable loan on top of that as well as waiving all the things, I mean this is a sweet ass deal. And I just want to know why we never had any response to another RFP,” Lipka said.

Liebson noted that he was acting under direction of city management, then under Acting City Manager John Hampton. Hampton responded that the project actually started under Interim City Manager Jeff Blume. Hampton said he directed Liebson to identify properties where senior housing could potentially be developed. There were other properties that they looked at, but the current property they are looking at now is a post-third that has back taxes owed. There was discussion about the Ferguson Woods property which may be developed in the future if the residents can organize. There was other property considered but is in a floodplain. But there was an effort to identify land for senior housing.

Lipka again questioned the ethics of looking at only one proposal rather than putting an RFP out again. Lipka also expressed concern that the process was not transparent. Liebson said the RFP was sent out broadly and he would be happy to get that information this week and share it with council. Lipka also requested making a comparison of what the city has spent on other projects and compare cost of the project, estimated tax value to the city, what was the rent value, because she feels “We are going to find that this project is much more expensive than it really should be.” Lipka continued that we needed a “comparison to what our financial requirements are as a city when we don’t have fixed streets, we don’t have speed bumps anywhere, we don’t have enough police officers. Liebson responded that he will gladly provide that information.

Eric Osterberg spoke to the failure of having EDST convene and stated that they are moving forward to try to convene that group for the first time within the next couple of weeks.

Council Member Toni Burrow spoke to her concerns about doing “What is fair and what is right,” and that it was best to go back and start over. Burrow also expressed concern over the lack of support the developer’s proposal has for handling crises and changes in medical needs of the senior residents. The developer’s proposal simply saw that as where family would step in to help the resident transition elsewhere. Burrow argued that the family isn’t living there, but the individual.

Council Member Fran Griffin spoke about the EDST and whether Melanie Randels had been contacted and her concern that staff needed to contact her and others. Then Griffin asked, “For clarity’s purpose, was there an RFP put out?” Liebson responded there was an RFP put out for development of the property. Griffin responded, “I just wanted, I mean I kept hearing, you know, different conversations, and I just wanted to make sure that I got that answer from staff.” She then had a discussion with Liebson about how developers approach the city and whether they have their own location in mind or not.

Burrow asked Liebson what his stance is on this project. Eric Osterberg intervened as City Manager and the question was redirected to him. Osterberg noted that this is the first time in his tenure the use of incentives has come up. He feels that with incentives the best practice is for consistency across the board. The city has used incentives in the past and has used redevelopment agreements, so ‘that makes this not out of the ordinary for the city to support.” But ultimately, Osterberg noted, it is the decision of City Council to decide whether or not to move forward with offering incentives or not. Osterberg clarified that this presentation was focused on incentives: the use of property tax waiving and EDST. But the developer has requested that the land be acquired by post-third acquisition, for low-income housing tax credits, and for giving some sort of loan. Osterberg gave his recommendation that we at most offer acquiring the land through post-third and some combination of property tax waivers and EDST.

Council Member Phedra Nelson asked if Osterberg’s recommendation agree with Liebson’s. Osterberg said they have discussed this, and he has leaned on Liebson’s expertise about the area and his projections. He was concerned about how much EDST funding should be used as that funding does go in part, to downtown. They are trying to have a good faith negotiation with the developer and see if something can be worked out. Osterberg advises against the kind of loan agreement the developer proposed. But what is recommended will get him points in his applications for tax credits.

Lipka made a motion that they have a meeting as a council to discuss the incentives and come to a consensus as a council within the next 14 days. Burrow seconded. Eric Osterberg asked if it would be helpful if staff had a draft RDA to review. Additionally, information on previous projects the city has provided incentives would be provided to council. Council Member Fran Griffin questioned the decision-making process and discussion and inclusion of the word “consensus” in the motion, leading to discussion of whether to re-word the motion. The motion was read back, and vote was taken with 4 against and 3 for. Lipka then made the same motion but simply omitting the word “consensus” and Burrow seconded.

Finally, 2 hours and 47 minutes into the meeting the second presentation was completed.

Special Hearing: Conflict of Interest Policy Recommendations

Mildred Clines of the NPSC offered to postpone the presentation until the next council meeting and the offer was gratefully accepted by council.

Public Hearing: Special Use Permit for an Event Center/Bar at 3156 Pershall Rd.

Elliott Liebson presented explaining this business would have a dress code, will require customers be 55 or older, and will have security staff in the parking lot. They applied for a liquor license in December. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve bringing this to council. Notice of this hearing was sent to nearby property owners. It is in the space of the former Club Diamond, which both the city and landlord had problems with. With question open, Linda Lipka said she was aware Gerald Johnson had previously held outdoor events during the pandemic and asked if outdoor events had been taken in consideration in the recommendation for this permit. Liebson noted that under the conditions of approval they cannot have outdoor events. The noise ordinance is referenced in conditions of approval. Kimberly Camp spoke against approving the permit. She said noise has been a problem causes houses to rattle from boom boxes, conversations, the sound carries out of the venue. They have also had problems with people crossing through backyards, and gunfire. Anything that has alcohol makes people loud. Adrian Shropshire spoke in favor of the permit, saying that with the age limit there won’t be blasting music. Kevin Finazzo spoke against, saying in the past there were outdoor events that should not have been held and when police were called, they weren’t shut down. Co-owner Gerald Johnson spoke, first confirming that the outdoor events he held previously were outdoors solely due to the pandemic and were held only during daylight on Saturdays. He said he does not like loud music and that security will ensure that patrons do not linger in the parking lot. He noted that there was other noise, such as from a motorcycle repair shop, which cannot be associated with this club. He stressed that he has spoken with Ferguson police officers and wants very much to make community members happy and will meet with anyone concerned about the music. “We are not your typical club. This is an adult venue for people over 55,” said Johnson, though he also acknowledged it is focused on 55+ but would permit those 35 or older inside. Erica Brooks spoke at length about the owners and their efforts during the pandemic when they fed essential workers, including bus drivers. Linda Lipka asked for clarification about the use of “event space” and it was confirmed that it was intended to be a variety of events, from dancing to weddings, to community events.

At 3 hours, 27 minutes into the meeting the public hearing was closed.

Consent Agenda

Approval of Minutes of City Council Meetings

Appointments

La’Rae Jackson was appointed to the Farmer’s Market Board.

Kevin Rhodes was appointed to the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board.

Mayor Jones called for appointments from each Council Member for the Charter Commission. The following were made:

              Council Member Naquittia Noah appointed Roy Horton

              Council Member Fran Griffin appointed Lee Smith

              Council Member Toni Burrow appointed Steve Wegert

              Council Member Heather Robinett appointed Sara Holmes

              Council Member Linda Lipka appointed James Knowles

              Council Member Phedra Nelson appointed Mary Simmons

              Mayor Jones appointed Amanda Canaday

Jones stated the Charter Commission was to meet with the City Attorney and from there will organize.

A Proclamation for Black History Month was read.

The Consent Agenda ended at 3 hours, 34 minutes into the meeting.

Resolutions

Resolution for transfer of property at 155 Adelle to Brenda and Billy Gulledge through the city’s Adjacent Side Lot Program. The property was acquired by the city in order to demolish the abandoned post-third home. The transfer removes maintenance of the lot from the city and allows homeowners to add a driveway to their home. Motion passed.

Resolution authorizing the city to enter into a Master Equity Agreement with Enterprise FM Trust to lease vehicles. This will allow the city to start refreshing its vehicle fleet. Motion passed.

Resolution authorizing the city to enter into an agreement with Live Well Events for services to coordinate, market, promote and manage the Ferguson Farmers Market not to exceed $30,000 for the 2022 season. Dave Musgrave explained that the previous agreement with Tower Grover Farmers Market expired, and the RFP posted only received one proposal. It is like the previous agreement and includes retaining Mary Haux as manager so nothing will really change. Motion passed.

Resolution authorizing the city to execute a contract with New Concept Construction for the repair of concrete pavement at Firehouse No. 2. Don Boyce, Director of Public Works, explained that there is structural damage under the slabs and there need to be some type of rebar or wall to address the water damage that is causing the slabs to cave in. The slab can be seen moving when firetrucks pass over the slab. Failing to address the problem could lead to damage of the firetruck. Motion passed.

Resolutions ended at 3 hours, 45 minutes into the meeting.

Bill Requiring First Reading

An ordinance for the special use permit for an Event Space/Open Bar at 3156 Pershall Rd., as was discussed in the public hearing, was read. An amendment is needed to include the names of both owners, Gerald Johnson and Jacqueline Phillips.

Bills Requiring Second Reading

An ordinance to execute a deed and transfer properties for the purpose of beautification. This includes the properties at: 1279 Chateau Woods Dr., 433 S. Dade Ave., and 301 N. Marguerite. Passed.

An ordinance to amend the city code as it relates to mobile food vendors. Lipka moved and Noah seconded a motion. Fran Griffin then moved that she wanted amendments to the bill where it defines mobile food vendor and also to the section where it states that the vendor shall carry insurance naming the city should be removed. Phedra Nelson seconded. Clerk Pittman interjected that before that motion could be forward there needs to be a step back because there was a motion on the floor to pass the bill as written, without amendments. Pittman explained if changes were to be made, the previous motion must be withdrawn and then the bill must be read for the first time at least seven days later and restart the process. After moments of confusion about what to do, Mayor Jones asked Clerk Pittman who made the initial motion. Pittman responded that Lipka moved, and Noah seconded. Jones asked if Lipka would like to withdraw the motion and Lipka declined. Mayor Jones then asked Noah if she wanted to withdraw her second. Noah first apologized saying she had had to leave to use the restroom. Jones restated her question if she wanted to withdraw the second. There was an audible sigh and pause, then Noah stated that she will keep the second. Clerk Pittman then asked the mayor if she wanted her to take a vote and received approval. Noah, Burrow, Robinett, and Lipka voted yes; Griffin, Jones, and Nelson voted no. The bill passed.

Bills requiring readings ended 4 hours into the meeting.

Unfinished Business

Toni Burrow posed the question that she had seen something regarding finishing meetings at a certain hour. Mayor Jones replied that they were supposed to be finished at 9 o’clock, even with a closed session. “But,” Jones continued, “the conversations are being drawn out long and the rules of debate are not being adhered to so that’s why we still here.” Burrow rephrased her question, asking she wanted to know why it was stated that meeting finish at 9:00 and who approved or asked for that. Jones replied that “it was sent out from …” and pursed her lips, she then continued “I saw from seven to nine, but I think that’s a suggested time, nobody actually saying, ‘Hey, this is what it’s going to be.’”

Miscellaneous

Noah declined to make comments for the sake of time.

Griffin said that on March 1st, Ferguson Collaborative and PROUD are hosting a Zoom town hall titled “Community Concerns for Public Safety and Alternative Solutions.” It has been posted on social media. Griffin thanked NPSC for yielding their time and said she is interested in hearing their recommendations. She also spoke about the CRB town hall that Gerry Nolls included an announcement of in his public comment. She also thought it would be good to share a flyer about CRB openings. In regard to senior housing, she appreciates the recommendation of staff, “I definitely believe the incentives with the washing machine in the same room are a plus,” and talked about her grandmother’s living situation. Griffin stated that in regard to the 911 dispatch recordings there was no conversation with news reporters, she got the information from the “community.” Griffin said, “It was actually shocking to me that there were more questions about how I found out versus the fact that we have a problem.”

Toni Burrow gave thanks to NPSC for postponing their presentation. She then gave her concern that “if after every council meeting, we’ve got to justify why we ask a question of another council member, we’re in bad shape.”  She also went on to state that the council is not the forum for campaigning, it takes up citizen’s time and the council’s time. “So, to sit here and go back and forth about who said what and who shot it down sounds like what newspapers used to back in the day.” Burrow also appreciated the comments tonight and “appreciated that folks understand that we got to start all the reaching, we want to be the change that we want to see.” She also reiterated her support for SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and for efforts to keep the meetings timely and running well.

In the interest of time, Heather Robinett had no comments.

Linda Lipka also stated she had no comments tonight.

Phedra Nelson spoke, “A resident made comments earlier in public comments regarding me and I just want to remind people that yeah, I do work for the Y, and yes I do a lot of collaborations within the North County community that includes Ferguson, and so when other entities, organizations, businesses, reach out to me as an employee of the Y, I’m willing to work and collaborate with those and if they want to do work within our city that I live in as well as everyone else, then I’m all on board for that. It’s a shame that we have to be petty Patties when it comes to helping people in our community, Again, when we talk about transparency and being respectful of one another, I still stand on that. And yes, I did share on my Facebook page, as well as the Home Depot Foundation shared it as well, as the YMCA shared it. So, I just wanted to put that out there, that’s all I have.

Eric Osterberg followed up that Chief McCall had checked emails and found that Osterberg was in fact cc’d on the email January 7th between Capt. Dilworth and the Chief which alerted to the 911 recording system outage discovery and that County would be notified. Osterberg also revisited the question he had received from Griffin about Nick Kasoff’s public comment. Osterberg received a message during the meeting making him aware that what Osterberg said was incorrect about what was meant by developer fees. Kasoff was referring to how much the developer was going to be collecting from the project.

Octavia Pittman had no comments.

Apollo Carey said that there was a closed session tonight, another two hours, then acknowledged he was joking.

Ella Jones shared that the legislative conference in Jeff City was “phenomenal.” She was able to speak with our Senator Brian [Williams] about ARPA funding and that we should have “shovel-ready” projects.

Meeting adjourned after 4 hours, 17 minutes.