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Arnold Council Refuses to Pay for Independent Investigation

The council hired Protective & Investigative Services to conduct an investigation on a complaint by a city employee that she was harassed by a city councilman for more than two years.

The Arnold City Council has refused to pay for an independent investigation from a company it hired to investigate an employee's complaint about a hostile work environment.

. Boone says the harassment began after Moss' sister was fired from the Parks Department in 2010. 

At the council's last meeting, Ward 1 Councilwoman Doris Borgelt made a motion to remove the $6,800 payment to Protective & Investigative Services from the city's regular payment of bills. She called the report an "inferior product."

The council voted 5-to-3 in favor of the motion. Ward 2 Councilman Bill Moritz and Ward 3 Councilmen Phil Amato and Paul Freese voted against the motion.

Moss, Borgelt, Ward 4 Councilwoman Sandra Kownacki, Ward 2 Councilwoman Michelle Hohmeier and Ward 1 Councilwomen Cricky Lang voted in favor of the move.

Moritz asked City Attorney Bob Sweeney for his take on the matter.

"I think it looks like retaliation, but you've already done it," Sweeney said. "I would sue you."

In an interview after the meeting, Police Chief/Acting City Administrator Robert Shockey said the city attorney was probably right. "We'll get sued," he said.

Kevin Garrison of Protective and Investigative Services told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch there would be further action on the council's decision, but declined to elaborate.

The motion Borgelt made also included removing payment to Columbia Tree Service. Borgelt said the company, which was also hired by the city, did not have an Arnold business license.

Moritz said the tree service company, which has been used in the past, did the work it was asked to do and should be paid. 

"If someone made a mistake, it was the city," he said. "They did the service, pay the people, and then get the business license sorted out."

See previous articles: 

  • Cricky Lang: 'We Just Need to Get Past This'
  • Ken Moss: 'I Didn't Do Anything'
  • Moss Says He Was Asked to Resign in September
  • Arnold Park Director's Lawyer Files Second Complaint With State
  • Arnold Councilman to Call for Impeachment of Ken Moss?
  • Arnold Council Votes Down Acceptance of Harassment Investigation
  • Arnold Employee Files Harassment Complaint Against Councilman
Jim West January 07, 2013 at 12:38 PM
So Doris makes the motion to remove the money because the product was inferior and that the a company didnt have a business liscense and now by making her motion she has opened this city up for a lawsuit. And yet she complains about Sweeney's billing practices. And People in this town want her to be Mayor???
Matt Hay January 07, 2013 at 04:24 PM
I have a sneaking suspicion that there are questions about how his "investigation" was conducted and circumstances surrounding it which Mr. Garrison is not going to be in a hurry to be deposed about and answer under oath, which is inevitable should he file suit. Many of those folks who are involved in these circumstances on the City side would then be tasked with defending the suit, and what are they all going to do in front of a Judge, give Pleban a slam dunk in Federal Court and admit to collusion and blackmail? If you are concerned about lawsuits and their associated costs, you need to be concerned about the Federal one Pleban is laying the groundwork to tee up as a result of those "politicians" which you support. Counts already, in his comments to the Patch, has essentially admitted to the essential elements of blackmail, in his own admission, with regard to his statement about how "he reminded Kenny he was a Young guy with a business and that he did not want to see his business be hurt," thus implying, that should he resign, information which Counts believes to be damaging to Kenny and his business would then be withheld by Counts from the public as a result. Slam Dunk. A suit for an investigation, whose expenditure was not authorized by Council as required by Chapter 71 RSMo and was beyond a complete steaming pile, is the least of the legal issues at play here. It is comical to watch folks ignore the Elephant in the room as they opine on the location of fence posts
Doris Borgelt January 07, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Funny you should say something about a fence post. I wonder if Cricky has any residual splinters from the removal of hers?
Shelley January 07, 2013 at 07:07 PM
+25 to Jim West!
Doris Borgelt January 07, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Does everybody forget that four other council members voted to do this? Do you think there might be a logical reason they did so? We are sworn to uphold the law and safeguard taxpayer money. The investigation was a sham, if you read it you will know, it is available for your perusal and if you can't find it, private message me and I will guide you to it. Also, our ordinances state you must have a license to do business in the city, the tree service did not have one, nor did the investigator at the time of service. We can avoid this problem in the future if businesses slated to perform a service fill out a verification form before actual work begins. Why are we hiring a tree service from Columbia, IL when we have three or four perfectly good tree services located right here in Arnold?
Shelley January 07, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Logical reasons include: Ken Moss: Well, he obviously wouldn't like the investigation, would he? Michelle Hohmeier: Totally against government paying anything for anything despite participating it it herself. Sandra Kownacki: Mad 'cause the investigation calls her out for terrible remarks she may have made about Susie Boone. Cricky Lang: Who knows? But I'll tell you what - if you did work and billed for it and didn't get paid, you'd be wanting your money, too.
Shelley January 07, 2013 at 09:17 PM
You must have an Arnold license to be a business in the city, not to DO business in the city, Doris. For crying out loud. If you're not letting anybody without an Arnold license DO business in the city, then you're flat nuts. Maybe the tree services right here in Arnold charge exorbitant rates compared to the one in Columbia, IL. Uh-oh! Can't hire THAT one, you'll have Hohmeier bent out of shape about it!
Doris Borgelt January 07, 2013 at 09:31 PM
It appears you have no interest in the truth of the matter and anything said here wouldn't convince you if the Pope presented it. Actually Ken should love the investigation, it clearly demonstrates he made no discriminatory statements to or about Ms. Boone. Sandy did not make the statement attributed to her by someone eavesdropping on a conversation. I wouldn't turn in anything as inferior as that and expect to be paid. There are people in his profession just cringing because that sham of an investigation gives everyone else in his line of work a bad name.
Doris Borgelt January 07, 2013 at 11:00 PM
You are incorrect. You must have a license to do business in the city and to do business with the city. If a contractor comes to your house, they must be licensed by the city to do so. I don't necessarily agree with that practice, but it is an ordinance. Check with the HVAC contractors and any plumber or carpenter that has come into the city to work, they have had to obtain licenses. Ask Byerly Trailer, they wanted to have an event at WalMart and were summarily shut down when they were refused permission by the city.
Matt Hay January 07, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Doris, on the Trades Licensing, whatever became of the fact that it is in clear opposition to MO AGO 27-88? http://ago.mo.gov/opinions/1988/27-88.htm Did Sweeney and crew just thumb their nose at the AGs Opinion? They only seem to want to ask for one when it benefits whatever it is they want to do. When it doesn't, they just disregard it and say that it is non-binding, and just that, an opinion.
Kathy Berberich January 08, 2013 at 03:58 AM
I don't personally know any of you people, but I do know that you were voted by the people for the people here in Arnold. My question an\bout this Boone and Moss mess, "Why did Boone wait 2 years before making the complaint against Moss?" We all know that when something happens unfavorably, we need to bring it to the for front and address the problem ASAP. not wait for 2 years. Also,if a company has done the work... PAY THEM. Who authorized them to do the job in the first place? Now, be aware of the situtation and go accoringly to the ordinance. Who is running this CITY???????????
albert yeager January 08, 2013 at 08:48 PM
DITTO.. This person appears to be so power hungry that she lets her own feelings replace common sense, that could cost the city (us taxpayers) MONEY. Unless of course she plans on paying for lawsuit out of her own pocket. What worries me is that there were 4 others who thought it was a good idea. Tells me they aren't managing our money very well. I wonder what would happen if the city would tell them the same thing, that " their work was inferior.." and hold back their checks??? How would that go over?? I don't believe anyone with common sense in this town wants her to be Mayor.
albert yeager January 08, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Question. Why wasn't this done up before these people were hired and performed a function???? Why are we going to penalize them for our representatives' errors?
Linda Van de Riet January 09, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Doris seems to be in hot water on a constant basis. On top of spying on businesses in Arnold (allegedly of course), she and the rest of this mess of a Council are refusing to pay businesses for a job they've done after the Council voted for them to perform that job. Would you really want to do business or set up a business in Arnold? Would Doris like it if Arnold refused to pay her as Mayor? Vote "no" for Doris as Mayor!
JC Penknife January 10, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Imagine that you hire a contractor to work on your house, say to build a deck. If the contractor builds a shoddy, substandard deck, and gives you a bill that is 3x more than the estimate, would you pay it? Remember that we were told that this investigation would cost $2,000.
Sheri Gassaway (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 11:55 PM
"We" were told? "We" as in the city council?
Doris Borgelt January 11, 2013 at 01:27 PM
It was stated at the council meeting by Chief Shockey that the investigation would cost $2000.

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