December 15, 2007

Do O'Fallon officials want the truth?

On November 8, 2007 the City of O'Fallon held a workshop to discuss Koch Road. Koch Road was illegally torn out by a developer and the builder, McBride & Sons, then used our right of way to build houses. The City of O'Fallon was a willing partner in the illegal destruction of the road and the subsequent building of homes. I set out in detail the facts of this case in a post on November 13, 2007.

I was told by O'Fallon councilman Dan Christoff that the City was going to explain its role in the illegal use and destruction of the road at the November 8 workshop. As I watched the workshop at home the City Engineer, Steve Bender, provided the council , the mayor and the citizens a complete fabrication of what really happened. Bender's story was not only false but it was a clear attempt to cover up the role City Administrator Bob Lowery played in this fiasco. Bender's story went unchallenged so I sent an email to the mayor and council members regarding what really happened. Much of what I posted back on November 13 originated in that email. After the workshop ended I turned off the council meeting.

Later that night I learned that one of the residents whose home was built on a public right of way, addressed the board at citizens comments. The resident attempted to ask the city questions regarding why O'Fallon issued building permits for homes on a public road. The mayor told the resident she would not answer the questions but she would have some comments at the end. When the citizen's comments were completed Mayor Donna Morrow went on one of the most unprofessional, immature and just plain silliest rants I have ever seen. And it was directed at me.

I was not at the meeting and my name was not mentioned by the resident who spoke or anyone else at the meeting prior to the mayor's diatribe. However, the mayor's comments accused me of misrepresenting the facts and claimed I was a harm to the residents of O'Fallon. During Morrow's rant she even said "Mr. Fischer I'm calling you out" and invited me to come up to address the council. Unfortunately. I didn't learn of the Mayor's "challenge" in time so I was unable to accept her invitation.

The next morning I called and emailed the mayor regarding her inappropriate and untruthful comments the night before. I have watched meetings in which citizens were stopped in mid sentence from discussing city business because they mentioned a person by name yet here we have the mayor publicly attacking a resident. It should also be noted that Morrow actually appointed me as special counsel back in 2005 to investigate corruption, however, Morrow did a complete 180 on many of her campaign promises which eventually led to my resignation. In addition, Morrow's "misstatements" of facts are well known by those who have dealt with her and at one point the council unanimously reprimanded her for "less than complete and less than precise" accounts of her actions and accused Morrow of "unchecked executive power." Despite this history, the last time I spoke at a meeting, June 14, 2007, I praised the mayor for some of the actions she was taking.

In any event, Morrow's bravado at the council meeting quickly disappeared when I offered to meet with her to discuss her public attack against me. Since Morrow lacked the courage to speak with me directly she had her assistant, Carl Maus, call me. Maus told me I was more than welcome to appear at the next meeting to discuss Koch Road and the mayor's comments. I explained to Maus and the mayor (by email) that I would be more than willing to address the council on Koch Road but that I didn't think public comments was the appropriate forum to discuss Morrow's personal attack. Morrow, however, refuses to speak with me.

December 13, 2007 was the first meeting of the council since Morrow's public meltdown but I was out of town and unable to attend. However, I don't want the mayor to think I am declining her offer to speak to the council. Therefore, since Morrow won't speak to me I am making this public offer to the mayor and the council and I think this will be much more productive than childish name calling:
  • Rather than speak at public comments I will appear before the mayor and council to discuss what happened on Koch Road. I will allow the mayor, the council members, Bob Lowery, Steve Bender, the city attorney and any interested individuals to question me regarding my claims as to O'Fallon's role with Koch Road. I assume the members of the council and the mayor would want to see the documents and hear the facts which support my allegations of serious misconduct on the part of O'Fallon officials. In return all that I ask is the opportunity to ask questions of city officials as well. Of course, we would need to avoid the personal attacks and, instead, focus on the issues.

Workshops in O'Fallon often provide much more give and take between the council and those who speak so my request is nothing extraordinary. In addition, this will allow the mayor an opportunity to publicly back up her allegations that I have misrepresented the facts regarding Koch Road. When Morrow ran for mayor she listed as one of her top issues to "Make sure employees are responsive to residents." Here is your chance to follow through on one of your promises mayor. Shall we pick a date?

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