Proposal for monthly report from city manager finally to be voted on by Hannibal City Council

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Councilmen Charlie Phillips and Stephan Franke discuss the details of the city manager report they proposed during Tuesday's Hannibal City Council meeting. | Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Hannibal City Council voted Tuesday night to consider adding a monthly city manager report to its regular meeting agenda. If adopted, the report would be made by Hannibal City Manager Lisa Peck.

The city manager report proposal, introduced by Councilmen Stephan Franke and Charlie Phillips, was tabled twice. The proposal then was voted down at the March 7 meeting. Councilman Colin Welch voted against the city manager report because he felt the report would be unnecessarily tedious and cause Peck to face consequences if not done correctly.

Welch said voted yes on the proposal Tuesday night because it left out consequences for Peck regarding the report.

A first and second hearing of the monthly report was approved by a 3-2 vote. The next step will be for City Attorney James Lemon to write a policy that will be brought to the council for a first and second reading before it is adopted.

Franke, Phillips and Welch voted in favor of the proposal. Darrell McCoy and Mike Dobson voted no. Jeffrey Veach and Mayor James Hark were absent.

Peck also was absent.

Phillips read a memo to the council that he and Franke submitted. It was included in the agenda packet. Part of the memo noted Section 3.09 of the city charter requires the city manager to give monthly updates to the council.

“I have had numerous requests from Hannibal citizens calling for more transparency in the council, and specifically a return to monthly city manager reports, which were a previous agenda item until March 2022,” Phillips said.

The memo also noted city managers once published the monthly reports in a local newspaper.

Phillips said the Hannibal Board of Public Works and Hannibal Regional Economic Development are already implementing this type of report.

Phillips also said the charter does not provide for any restrictions during litigation — an argument several council members have made against the report because of pending impeachment proceedings with Franke.

“Clearly the charter gives the council authority to require the report and certainly does not include a prohibition of requiring reports because of any litigation issues the city may be facing,” Phillips continued.

The memo also addressed accusations that the city report proposal is an attempt to “cast the city in a negative light or harass the city manager.”

Phillips said, “Nothing could be farther from the truth.”

Franke and Phillips stressed the reports will not contain any kind of confidential information regarding personnel matters.

Before the vote took place, McCoy asked to table the issue because Veach and Hark were absent. Phillips said voting with absent councilmen is part of the process.

Franke said he and Phillips are up for the challenge of presenting the council with the two readings.

“I’m grateful that common sense has prevailed and in a 3-2 vote, City Council took the first step toward instituting a monthly report from the city manager to the public,” he said. “But the effort is not over.

The first reading is set for April 4.

In other business:

  • The Hannibal Free Public Library was granted street closure for Saturday, April 1, from 10-11:30 a.m. for an egg drop. The move from March 28 is expected to allow for better weather.
  • The Hannibal Regional Foundation was granted a street closure for the annual Hannibal Cannibal on July 1 from 5-10 a.m.
  • Paul Ewert was granted to waive building permit fees for the upcoming Habitat for Humanity home.
  • A multi-year contract between the city of Hannibal and the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments for $107,000 was approved.
  • Hark approved the appointment of Corey King to the Affirmative Action Committee. His appointment was set to expire in March.
  • Fire Chief Ryan Neisen told the council members his request for $19,750 in American Rescue Plan Act funding was approved. The city will provide a match of the same amount, allowing the department to buy extrication equipment.

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