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Ellisville Councilmember: Vote Against Recall Election Not a Conflict of Interest

Ellisville City Councilmember Troy Pieper said potentially voting against a special election that would determine the recall of elected officials—an initiative presently aimed at himself and another council member—would not present a conflict of interest.

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.

K James May 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM
The city attorney will make the decision as to whether or not any council member could vote to re-call themselves. All speculation at this point.
E. Schmidt May 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Pieper -- "I would not abstain, just like I would vote for myself in an election," Pieper said. Good for him. He will need all the votes he can get in the next election as I know hundreds of people who will be voting against him.
Tired May 20, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Hey E... I know you won't be one of those votes because, WALMART IS COMING...Unless you're relocating to the Trends Motel, where all the other fine, non-property owning residents hang.
E. Schmidt May 21, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Those voters also include the neighbors to the south of the project along Parkview Place Dr. and Parkview Estates Dr. and to the west along Covert Ln. and Macklin Dr. If this project goes through, the level of light and noise pollution can only disrupt their day to day lives and lower their property values. They have virtually no buffer between them and the 150,000 sq. ft. building. And what will happen to Whippoorwhill Trail?...From the site plan it looks like they've turned it into a concrete walkway around the Wal-Mart. So that bird and wildlife habitat area is gone???
T Menchak May 23, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Obviously, anyone should be allowed to vote for themselves in an election. But to be able to vote upon whether or not the election can be held at all - an election in which that individual stands to lose his/her job - definitely seems like a conflict of interest. In this article, I did not see any solid reasoning from Mr. Pieper that proved that his voting (on whether or not to hold the election) was not a conflict of interest. Ms. Anglin had a much more logical response.
Michael Rhodes May 23, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I agree. Not sure how it wouldn't be a conflict. Interesting in that the chater states: (c) VOTING. Voting shall be by roll call except on procedural motions, and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the journal. Roll call votes shall be taken in the order as prescribed by rule of the Council. A majority of members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for its business. Except as otherwise provided in this Charter, the affirmative vote of a majority of the entire Council then in office shall be necessary to adopt any ordinance. So, if I read that correctly there would need to be 4 yes votes out of the 5 that can vote. In effect by not voting they would be voting no.

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