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Concerns Arise Over Push to Recall Ellisville Council

On the tails of the council's approval of a Walmart Superstore, a group dedicated to the ouster of Ellisville City Council members who approved the project said local election calendars might block their efforts.

Efforts to recall members who helped approve a Walmart Superstore last week could be stymied by the city’s election calendar, recall organizers said Tuesday.

The Ellisville Article 9 Alliance, a group dedicated to the ouster of city council members who , met Tuesday for the second time to organize signature collection efforts meant to initiate a recall. Those efforts come following the council’s decision last week to approve a tax increment financing district for the Walmart project as well as a relocation policy for residents at Clarkchester Apartments, which occupies part of the space designated for the store.

Despite those approvals, group organizer and Clarkchester tenant Liz Schmidt said that although the project advanced, construction of the store still isn’t guaranteed.

“So the wheels have been set in the motion,” Schmidt said. “It’s not to say this plan won’t fall apart for one reason or another, but it’s going to be more difficult to stop it.”

Schmidt said problems could arise due to zoning variances or even discoveries about the land, such as concerns related to toxic pollutants, she said. Until that time, however, the group is pushing to collect residents’ signatures that could put the question of recalling select city council members before voters.

Exactly when that could happen has yet to be determined, Schmidt said, in part because of a possible discrepancy about when a recall election can be scheduled.

A member of the St. Louis County Board of Elections said Ellisville could host a special election at any time. Schmidt said she has been unable to determine from Ellisville city staff whether a recall would need to take place on an existing election date.

Because of mandates within the city charter that specify the timeframe an official can be recalled in, Schmidt said the group has a narrow window of opportunity; the city charter says an official cannot 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 of that clause, Schmidt said, immediate efforts will be centered around Council members Dawn Anglin and Troy Pieper, who are eligible for recall currently since they were not re-elected in April. Council members Roze Acup, Matt Pirrello and Linda Reel, meanwhile, will not be eligible for recall until August.

“The procedure, if you don’t do it well, can blow up in your face,” Schmidt said. “It’s fraught with land mines.”

In order to adhere to those requirements, Schmidt said she will push for a special election on Tuesday, October 2— a date which “fell right in the middle” of the permitted recall window, she said, unlike the elections scheduled for November.

, City Administrator Kevin Bookout estimated that the cost of adding a recall to existing city ballots would cost the city between $500 and $1,000. Those numbers would no doubt increase for a special election, which would include expenses for printing ballots, paying election judges, tabulating votes and more.

Schmidt acknowledged that adding the recall to existing ballots would be less expensive, but said that may not be feasible because of the charter’s calendar requirements and shouldn’t deter the group’s efforts.

“It saves them some money, but excuse me, this isn’t discount democracy,” Schmidt said.

In addition to collecting signatures required to put a recall before voters, Schmidt said she will seek clarification this week from the county election board’s legal counsel regarding the city’s autonomy in setting a special election.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misstated the Ellisville City Council members immediately eligible for recall.

Michael Rhodes May 16, 2012 at 08:47 PM
It is a subjective term was just curious, as you stated Walmart pays less than a livable or living wage, what those wages are?
CSloan May 16, 2012 at 08:58 PM
It's really only subjective in that it costs more to pay for the basics in New York than in, say, Moberly. It's not my term, and while I'm guessing you have an anecdote about a lady on welfare driving a Cadillac, I'm not really interested in discussing what is basic. You're free to look up the 2012 Poverty guidelines here: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/12poverty.shtml Or check out this living wage calculator here: http://www.livingwage.geog.psu.edu/
Michael Rhodes May 16, 2012 at 08:58 PM
ES: using your logic you need add the following companies and any other business that sells any of these products: Nike, Apple, Target, Sears (Kmart), Whole Foods, PF Changs, Costco, McDonalds, Disney, Coca Cola, Nestle, Mars, Hershey, Ikea, and the list goes on and on.
Michael Rhodes May 17, 2012 at 12:20 AM
No, no andecdote (although I am sure there are plenty). By looking at the link you provided the poverty level is about $12k/yr. That works out to about $5.77/hr for a fulltime employee. I think Missouri minimum wage is just over $7/hr. I was also under the impression Walmart paid more that the minimum wage so I am trying to understand how you think they pay less. You must have a thought of what is a livable wage and I was curious as to what that amount was.
CSloan May 17, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Well Parsey McBaiter, given how fixated you are on the word livable (again, NOT my word) and presume to know what it is I'm thinking, I'll try this one more time. Good math work there--a perfect 40 hours at the minimum wage would keep someone living *alone* rolling the high life just above the poverty level. No one who works at Walmart is allowed to have a dependent I suppose, and let's hope you get all your hours (that they don't do something like keep you just under their threshold for offering health insurance, for instance). If you really think Walmart became the company they are just by mastering logistics and supply chain, go right ahead and do so. Sam Walton himself was extremely candid that the model worked because the people were cheap. And sure, I'll throw you a bone: Would I personally want to live on Walmart wages? I'm not even remotely that brave, no.
K James May 17, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Sorry guys, my impression of Walmart and ALLRetail in general, is not that they pay a living wage, they pay a wage a high schooler /college student needs, retail is a first job, not a destination. All retail pays garbage, it is the nature of the beast. Yes wallyworld is the worst of them all because they hire more people cuz they are so big, but you can ask my ex what XXX pays their employees and the time demands of a "40" hour week working 60 and being paid for 40. If walmart is your 'destination' job. For goodness sakes AIM HIGHER.
mike k May 17, 2012 at 03:27 AM
average salary for a Walmart sales associate is $10.76 hr plus an opportunity for an annual $1,800 bonus. Not counting overtime, that's over $24,000 annually. Not my cup of tea but not bad for a spouse in a 2 income family or a kid saving money for college.
Michael Rhodes May 17, 2012 at 03:30 AM
I do not what Parsey McBaiter means? You wrote "Walmart is practically famous for paying less than a liveable wage". I simply asked what you thought a liveable wage was? I took the information from the link you provided an an example. Sure, Walmart employees can have dependants. That is most peoples choice. Are you suggesting Walmart (or an employer) should set wages based on the number of dependants? I personally think about $20k/yr for single person would be a livable wage. Not going to own a home or drive a nice car on that. It will pay the rent and put food on the table.
Michael Rhodes May 17, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I would agree. Retail (unless you stay with it into management) always was what you did until you started your career. Be it after college, tech school, or getting on at a factory etc...
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM
mike k >>>Not counting overtime,<<< Yeah...not counting overtime...since Wal-Mart expects you to work for free...which was the point of the 90 MILLION dollar law suit and settlement in Missouri. Wal-Mart employees are still putting in overtime for free in other states. The Missouri judge was exceptionally tough and for the first time forced Wal-Mart to open their own internal security devices for the court record, In other words the judge said "Show Me."
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM
C Sloan, Thanks for engaging in the conversation. You will find (if you already haven't) that participants fail to do simple web searches for basic info. They want to be spoonfed. They are either obtuse, gadflies and dilettantes. The are also so obtuse that they think the terms "gadfly" and "dilettante" is name calling. In a serious debate about serious matters they are far out of their league.
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Michael Rhodes-- You wrote- >>>ES: using your logic you need add the following companies and any other business that sells any of these products: Nike, Apple, Target, Sears (Kmart), Whole Foods, PF Changs, Costco, McDonalds, Disney, Coca Cola, Nestle, Mars, Hershey, Ikea, and the list goes on and on.<<< At one of the Chinese Apple suppliers, the workers were hurling themselves out of windows and off the top of the roofs to commit suicide. They were locked in the factory for months on end. The factory owner solved the problem by placing bars on the windows and exterior netting around the building. Do a simple google search. Prior to 2008 or so, those components and finished i-phones and i-pods were made in the U.S. I don't buy i-junk anymore as a result. I won't work on Job's farm no more. I am careful about what I buy based on the sourcing. When there is an i-boycott app for the i-phone, i-will buy one...and laugh about the irony all the way to the cash register where i-don't spend money on junk that makes the people who made it want to kill themselves.
K James May 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Liz The problem some of us have with your point is that we work many more than 40 hours a week without the expectation of overtime compensation. Walmart (retail) is a job, not a destination. Again. Retail stinks. Aim higher!
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM
edit-- The above should have read: ...i-ain't gonna work on Steve Job's farm no more... i-don't want angry replies from the Dylan fans out there.
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM
>>>The problem some of us have with your point is that we work many more than 40 hours a week without the expectation of overtime compensation.<<< The problem I have is with people who don't understand basic labor law and the difference between a hourly wage earner and a salaried worker. Do a google search.
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
i-haven't been paying attention like should. There is a boycott app of sorts... http://www.prlog.org/11773101-first-ever-boycott-app-for-android-and-iphone-puts-purchasing-power-in-consumers-hands.html No i-junk needed. You can use Android.
CSloan May 17, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Michael Rhodes said: "I simply asked what you thought a liveable wage was?" Yes, and you're trying to uncover something that isn't there to uncover. If you go way, way back to the point at which you started helping me pull this completely off topic, I was responding to mike k's comment on E Schmidt's question about Walmart's storied history of screwing their employees out of their already meager wages. I'd ask you to agree that a Walmart employee doesn't have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to giving up pay, but that's probably asking too much. I find it telling that you've worked so hard to make the numbers match your story--that these are decent jobs capable of supporting people--yet you were so quick to agree with K James that they're jobs better suited for kids. Guess what? We agree! However, I don't know where you guys shop, but when I look around kids are not what I see. Once upon a time we made things here, but since we don't any longer people have to work where they can find work. Massive retail is the new manufacturing. "Are you suggesting Walmart (or an employer) should set wages based on the number of dependants?" I'm sorry, where did I say that? Walmart can operate in whatever way it chooses. I just prefer not to see people who depend on jobs there--and have the nerve to expect wages for time worked--derided as "clock watchers". (cont)
CSloan May 17, 2012 at 01:26 PM
mike k, I don't put a lot of stock in "average hourly pay" for a company the size of Walmart. While your scenario sounds dreamy, let's not pretend that the large majority of Walmart employees don't live at or close to poverty. The fact that such a large percentage of them qualify for public assistance tells us otherwise. K James wrote: " If walmart is your 'destination' job. For goodness sakes AIM HIGHER." ...as a fun experiment, why don't you try saying that to the first few middle aged employees you greet in the new store? All these blasted poor people--they're just not doing it right.
Michael Rhodes May 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Recent lawsuits have found that a salaried workers may also be entitled to overtime pay under certain circumstances. There have been cases of companies exploiting the salaried worker to avoid payng overtime.
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Michael Rhodes-- Your wrote: >>>There have been cases of companies exploiting the salaried worker to avoid payng overtime.<<< Yep. That's quite a tactic. The re-definition from hourly to salaried worker is hard to fight in court. Some workers don't even realize they've been... well, let's just say "jerked." They actually think they got "promoted" when they get re-defined as a "salary employee."
Michael Rhodes May 17, 2012 at 02:12 PM
CSloan: What is the percentage of Walmart employees receiving public assistance compared to Target and Kmart? Eveything I could locate indicated they were in line with each other. The one good example I found was 1 in 4 (25%) children of Walmart employees received public health coverage in Georgia. The study did not indicate the average family size. I think the point KLames is making is that it use to be working retail/grocery/fast food was not something done to support a family or as a career. That has changed as more and more people are choosing to work these types of jobs (either out a neccesity or lack of drive to find a traditional career). In the end that Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc employee is choosing to work where they do. Now, would it be nice if all jobs paid enough for a family to live comfortably (not rich, but able to have a home, plenty of food, health care)? You bet. When that happens though it will be industry wide and will in turn lead to higher cost for products/services pushing some of those earners right back below the poverty line again.
Michael Rhodes May 17, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I have neither an I-phone or an Android device. Guess I am behind the times.
CSloan May 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM
At no point was I holding up Kmart or Target as superior employers. Minimum wage is minimum wage. The topic is Walmart, and they just happen to be the nation's largest employer. As far as the link between Walmart and public assistance, I think of this study done in California. Keep in mind these numbers are for California alone: http://www.dsausa.org/lowwage/walmart/2004/walmart%20study.html Main Findings: Reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to the taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance. The families of Wal-Mart employees in California utilize an estimated 40 percent more in taxpayer-funded health care than the average for families of all large retail employees. The families of Wal-Mart employees use an estimated 38 percent more in other (non-health care) public assistance programs (such as food stamps, Earned Income Tax Credit, subsidized school lunches, and subsidized housing) than the average for families of all large retail employees. If other large California retailers adopted Wal-Mart’s wage and benefits standards, it would cost taxpayers an additional $410 million a year in public assistance to employees. >>2004 isn't terribly recent, so feel free to point me in the direction of something more current stating that things have improved dramatically.
Michael Rhodes May 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I have been both houry and salaried. I do perfer salaried most of the time. There are those days or weeks where I am working from 7AM to 3Pm only to drive home and pop back on the computer at 7PM to 11PM to finish things up. So wishing I got overtime on those days. The flip side is that on Friday when I run errands or volunteer at my daughters school for an hour or two I don't have to take vacation time.
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 04:16 PM
C Sloan-- You wrote:-- >>>At no point was I holding up Kmart or Target as superior employers.<<< Both corporations get sued far less by employees over wages and hours That's a bonus in my book. As I've said before, if Ellisville could only get some combined federal and state grant to build a Central Wal-Mart Courthouse for all the lawsuits to be heard, we residents and our merchants would be rolling in dough...and the hundreds of suits could stop clogging up state court systems and clear the federal dockets.
CSloan May 17, 2012 at 04:35 PM
E Schmidt wrote: "Both corporations get sued far less by employees over wages and hours That's a bonus in my book." Quite true. More impressive still given what is required of companies to compete with them successfully. Even though I think they're responsible for a fairly major shift in standards, there is something to be said for other major retailers who refuse to stoop to the lowest, lawsuit-worthy practices.
Mike K May 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I'd like to get back on topic. How do I find out more about this recall effort? I live in District 1. Why would we try to force a recall in October of someone who is up for election in April 2013? Effort would be better spent on supporting Ms. Anglin's replacement. Recall efforts are better focused on those who just started their terms.
E. Schmidt May 18, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I am confused now that there are two mike k s. >>>Why would we try to force a recall in October of someone who is up for election in April 2013?<<< A group of people in Dist. 1 made a decision to explore their options for recall and made a decision to go forward. There's no force involved. They are within their rights according to Article 9. You don't have to participate.
K James May 18, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Mike K, Mrs. Anglin is not up for re-election - she has termed out. You should also take the time to speak to your council members Pirrello and Anglin one on one. They are available by phone or email, you can get their numbers on the Ellisville,mo.us website. Not trying to change your mind or anything, but there are two sides to this issue, and you should at least hear the other side, if this is where you are getting your information, it is pretty one sided.
E. Schmidt June 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Hey CSloan, Here's an actual case of forced labor by a Wal-Mart supplier in the U.S> http://www.change.org/petitions/walmart-stop-profiting-from-forced-labor-in-louisiana >>>...Walmart says it doesn't allow forced labor by any of its suppliers. But Walmart is profiting from the forced labor we lived through right here in Louisiana. And now they're trying to cover up what happened to us -- while refusing even to speak with us. Walmart needs to meet with us immediately, and to show its suppliers that it won't tolerate forced labor. We’re demanding that Walmart:...<<< Sign and forward to people who care that others are treated decently.

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