Sparks fly at St. Francis committee meeting

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 03, 2016

ST. FRANCIS -- There was a power struggle in St. Francis at a city meeting Wednesday night.

It was a meeting of the city's Bargaining Committee. Usually nobody from the public shows up, but Wednesday night it was the site of a battle between the mayor and the council - and it got intense.

"Madame Chairman, you aren't listening to the people," Janis Schandel shouted during the hearing.

The debate was all centered around an ordinance that changes the job duties of the city administrator. Some voters worry this will give the administrator more control at the expense of their elected mayor.

"What this legislation plans to do is removes every power except for the window dressing," says Michael Grimshaw, a voter who spoke against the ordinance.

"The mayor is elected by the people. The city administrator is choosen by the council," says Margaret Raclaw, who also spoke against the ordinance.

Alderman Debbie Fliss say this ordinance change is not a power grab, but will help clarifiy the city administrator's duties.

"There are a lot of things that are in here that are currently going on and are current and then there are some clarifications," Fliss says.

The city attorney claims the mayor will be able to monitor the city administrator.  But the mayor believes this move is to stop her from questioning how the city is run.

"This charter ordinance in my estimation is trying to be like a little workaround of the state statute in a way to get the mayor to basically silence her voice," says Mayor CoryAnn St. Marie-Carls.

The Bargaining Committee plans to discuss the ordinance again at its meeting on Tuesday, February 9 at 4:30 p.m.