Mayor’s Task Force is Illegal Shadow Government

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    Video and transcript of this council meeting is available at yourferguson.org/city-council-meeting-april-17-2021.

    In an over two hour long special council meeting today, multiple council members brought up numerous issues concerning the legality of the Mayor’s Task Force established by Ella Jones, its violations of state Sunshine law, and its poorly defined scope and timeline.

    The Task Force, announced in the Mayor’s Town Hall on September 24, 2020, has been meeting without notice, agendas, or minutes. A quietly posted document on the city website with details on the task force was only recently brought to the attention of council members. This document shows extensive duplication of city staff duties, the council, and the city’s boards and commissions. The document also states that the Task Force will direct the city, which is not legally permitted under the city charter, which demands that only the City Council direct the city manager in policy. Members have been selected by the mayor without open applications and a full list of members was never publicly posted.

    Council members Toni Burrow, Stephen Garrett, Linda Lipka, and Heather Robinett spoke on problems and failures of the Task Force. Mayor Jones defended her position in creating the task force by noting vacancies and inactive boards and commissions but was reprimanded for not working to fill vacancies and revitalizing the existing boards and commissions that exist or utilizing the city’s 2040 plan. Further, Council member Lipka made it clear that the statements made by Mayor Jones constituted a violation of Sunshine Law had occurred.

    A motion was made for a detailing and report of work done to date be brought forward at the April 20, 2021 meeting and was passed.