City manager report for March now online, but Hannibal City Council hasn’t required it monthly yet

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The Hannibal City Council met Tuesday night. | Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — After much debate in Hannibal City Council about requiring City Manager Lisa Peck to do a monthly report, a monthly report for March 2023 can be found on the city website.

The report is 12 pages and includes a summary report of the month’s activities. It gives more detailed information from each department head, such as the chief of police, city collector, fire department, tourist director, central services director and a fiscal report.

The report was made available during the Hannibal City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The idea to post the reports online came from former city council member, James Van Hoose, who spoke at the April 4 meeting. 

Van Hoose told the council at that meeting about a Google search he did for “city manager report” and found many examples of towns smaller than Hannibal doing monthly city manager reports and posting them online. 

He gave an example of Harbor Springs, Mich., where a monthly manager report is placed online the Friday before every meeting. This gives constituents a chance to read the information online and take any questions to the upcoming council meeting.

Alan Bowen, another former member of Hannibal City Council, spoke at the April 4 meeting in support of the city manager report. He said Tuesday that monthly reports are an important part of record keeping because they become a way to backtrack when necessary.

“It becomes an awesome timeline that we can always go back and check city business,” he said.

During the April 4 meeting, Councilman Darrell McCoy agreed with Van Hoose on posting the report online. After the meeting, Mayor James Hark also expressed his approval.

The debate, however, may not be complete.

Councilmen Stephan Franke and Charlie Phillips have been pushing for the city manager reports to continue after they stopped in February 2022. 

Phillips expressed concern that unless the reports are required monthly, they might stop again. 

Franke and Phillips propose the current ordinance be amended to require posting the report the Friday before the first meeting of the month, allowing councilmen and citizens to view it before the meeting to prepare questions they may have based on the report. 

The proposal to require the report has been tabled or voted down five times, including Tuesday night. 

Councilman Colin Welch said he only voted it down Tuesday because McCoy and Hark were not at the meeting, and he wanted to wait to vote until they were all there. 

The proposal was approved for a first reading with 3-2 vote at the March 22 meeting, but was voted down for the first reading at the April 4 meeting when everyone was present.

The proposal is expected to be on the agenda at the May 2 meeting.

Other business:

  • Hannibal Police Chief Jacob Nacke was approved to purchase new SUVs for the Hannibal Police Dept.
  • Street closure for 68th National Tom Sawyer Days celebration approved.
  • A contract to upgrade the website for the City of Hannibal was approved.
  • Darrin Gordon with the Hannibal Board of Public Works requested a councilman to join the newly-formed Stormwater Committee. A public meeting is set for 6 p.m. on May 4 in the HBPW Conference room at 3 Industrial Loop. The meeting will be livestreamed.

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