Election Day in Hannibal and City Manager report also on the ballot
HANNIBAL, Mo. – On Tuesday Hannibal voters will head to the polls to decide on only two issues.
The Nov. 7 election will not only decide who will replace and finish the term of former Mayor James Hark who resigned in June, but voters will also decide if the city manager will be required to post a monthly manager report.
The issue of the city manager report reprises a proposal first made to Hannibal City Council by councilmen Stephen Franke and Charles Phillips at the council meeting on Feb. 22, and then in numerous meetings after that.
Franke and Phillips noticed the regular monthly reports filed by City Manager Lisa Peck stopped in February 2022 without explanation. The two councilmen requested the reports be reinstated and proposed to the council to amend city ordinance to mandate the reports each month.
Although the proposal was tabled or voted down at more than ten consecutive Hannibal City Council meetings, City Manager Lisa Peck began filing online reports in March and has filed one each month since.
The ballot requires a report from each of the city management heads, all of which have been included in the reports.
Franke said the consistent filing of the reports should not sway voters from voting in favor of the requirement. He believes the city council should be more diligent in overseeing the position of Hannibal’s city manager.
“In almost no way does the city council hold the position of city manager accountable. No performance reviews, goal setting, nothing. The City Manager position currently earns roughly $140,000 a year. A staggering amount of money when considering there’s almost no accountability. That’s bad business,” Franke said.
While Franke hopes to see the proposition pass, he believes it will need to require more from Peck in order to fully represent the accountability that he and Phillips are looking for. Franke and Phillips’ original proposal included a verbal report by the city manager “to verbally present brief highlights of the report which would in turn give Council the chance to ask questions.”
Franke said the importance of the in-person report is to make sure the city manager is available to answer questions on the spot, rather than wait on a return email or phone call.
“The version on the ballot does not require a verbal presentation or any opportunity for Council to ask questions. Charlie and I felt that a verbal presentation was important since the city manager won’t respond to my emails on city-related topics which prohibits me from fully performing my job duties. A majority of the council disagrees with Charlie and me,” Franke said.
“City Hall needs to operate more like a business. Even though this ballot proposal represents a watered down requirement versus what Charlie Phillips and I originally sought, a vote yes would be a small step in the right direction,” he continued.
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