Ellisville City Councilmember Troy Pieper said this week that despite that fact that some citizens' efforts to remove himself and another member out of office would require the current council to vote for a special election, voting against holding that election would not present a conflict of interest.
The recall efforts following support given to a Walmart project by Pieper and four other council members. The has been fraught with controversy due in part its use of a TIF or tax increment financing district, which provided an extra incentive for the project's developer, the Sansone Group, who will receive half of all new sales tax generated at the site, possibly for a standard length of 23 years.
The Walmart's construction, which will be located , also will require the demolition of Clarkchester Apartments, displacing the residents of the 100-unit apartment complex.
Although the project was supported by five of the council's seven members, Dawn Anglin and Troy Pieper are the immediate targets of the recall effort due to the recall requirements of the city charter; the Ellisville City Charter states that no official may be recalled his or her first 120 days in office, nor can they be recalled within 180 days from that official’s next election. Because Anglin and Pieper were not elected in April, the two presently are eligible for removal from office. Council members Roze Acup, Matt Pirrello and Linda Reel, meanwhile, will not be eligible for recall until August.
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Liz Schmidt, a Clarkchester resident and chairman of the Ellisville Article 9 Alliance, the group organizing the recall effort, told the city council Wednesday that her supporters will push for a special election on October 2. Before that can happen, however, the group must collect signatures and obtain a sponsor on the council to introduce the proposed special election before the council.
"We expect all of the Council members to vote 'Yes' (on a special election) as well as approve funding to allow the voice of the voters’ to be heard," Schmidt said.
Pieper said he did not view the process as posing a conflict of interest, and compared the procedure to voting during a regular election cycle.
"I would not abstain, just like I would vote for myself in an election," Pieper said.
Anglin said she would need to speak to the city's legal counsel to determine whether the incumbents targeted by a recall would be allowed to vote.
"I would assume we would have to abstain," Anglin said.