I am concerned by the St. Louis Police Board’s vote to excuse the department’s civilian employees from the requirement that live within the City.
As an ex officio member of that Board, I attended the first part of the Police Board meeting, but left in the middle of it to attend another event. Obviously, I would have stayed had this matter been properly posted on the agenda. In fact, it was not.
I think the Police Board may have violated the state’s Sunshine Law. At a minimum, they violated the spirit of the law.
Under the Sunshine Law, you have to post an item on the agenda at least 24 hours in advance before you can vote on it. They did not do that.
So much for the process. Now look at the issue itself: There is no urgent reason to do this.
The Police Department does NOT have a broad problem with attracting and retaining civilian employees. The people of our City were NOT clamoring for this.
And, even if there were such reasons, the new rule makes little sense. The Police Board requires polices officers to serve for seven years before their residence requirement is fulfilled. Civilians, however, can move tomorrow. This difference seems, at the very least, arbitrary.
I don’t think this decision will hurt our City in the long run. There is such high demand for City living that the impact on our neighborhoods will not be noticeable. But, this is another action by the state-appointed Board that seems to run contrary to the wishes and general well-being of the City residents who pay the bills.
I am going to ask the Board to reconsider its decision. Then, unless Chief Joe Mokwa tells me that the rule change is vital to the operation of his Department, I am going to ask the Police Board to reverse it.