OPINION

Unbecoming conduct by Independence council members who walked out

The Examiner

Marvin Sands, Independence 

To the editor: 

At the Oct. 4 Independence City Council meeting a contentious discussion took place among some of our City Council members over funds allocated to renovating parts of the Independence Square. It seems that Second District Council Member Brice Stewart wanted to divert approved stimulus funds (the American Recovery Plan Act) from the Square to the Police Department. Perhaps at this point it is necessary to keep in mind that Brice Stewart has another objective in mind – the office of mayor of Independence, Missouri. 

Council Member-at-Large Mike Huff also got involved by getting up and leaving the discussion entirely rather than either getting involved in the discussion or just sitting tight in his council seat. Third District Council Member Mike Steinmeyer apparently couldn’t handle the adult conversation either and also left the meeting. 

Now it seems to me when an individual runs for a City Council position and the voters provide the necessary votes for that individual and once you take the oath of office you take your seat and regardless of which direction any discussion goes, you are now obligated to, at the very minimum, listen to that discussion and provide input when and as often as you deem it necessary. Getting up and leaving a City Council meeting just because you can’t handle an adult conversation isn’t part of one’s oath of office and certainly isn’t fulfilling your oath of office to your constituents. 

It’s OK to agree and it’s OK to disagree, but it isn’t OK to cut and run. Cutting and running is the same as breaking one’s oath of office and their obligation to their constituency. 

And, in addition, the mayor – Eileen Weir – didn’t prevent Fourth District Council Member Dan Hobart from exercising his right to air his opinion regarding those stimulus funds and how he feels they should be used. He has a right to his opinion, and he has a right to disagree with others on how those funds should be used, especially since the City Council had previously approved the use of those funds in a previous city council meeting. 

Mr. Hobart also has a right to disagree with citizens, as do others, over such matters and any others that might come up for discussion before the City Council. 

Such silliness on the part of Council Members Huff, Steinmeyer and Stewart to get up from their seats and leave a City Council meeting because they couldn’t handle an adult conversation over how stimulus funding should be spent or, in this case, redirected. 

Maybe these three Council members should find something else to do with their time and allow the others to get on with the City of Independence’s business.