HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Hannibal City Council Tuesday night tabled two items proposed by third ward council member Stephan Franke. Franke’s attempt to present the items earlier this year led to his being suspended from council and facing impeachment. The two proposals deal with personnel issues that Franke says will help council members deal with labor issues.
Franke wants the city’s Human Resources Counsel to conduct exit interviews with city employees in perpetuity until/if Hannibal hires a dedicated HR Administrator. Franke said using an independent 3rd party to conduct exit interviews assures unbiased anonymity and that appropriate information will reach City Council as needed. Additionally, outsourcing this service will reduce the work burden internally allowing staff to concentrate on their areas of expertise.
The second proposal would require conducting annual Leadership 360 surveys. Franke said a Leadership 360 survey is an anonymous survey where leaders receive feedback from their colleagues and subordinates on their skills, effectiveness, behaviors, etc. After the results are compiled the City Council would get the results and the leaders would receive private coaching from a certified professional.
Franke’s proposals earlier this year allegedly led to a physical confrontation with at least one female employee in City Hall and other reported concerns about Franke’s behavior toward female employees. Franke denies the charges and impeachment hearings have been delayed several times. After being barred from attending council meetings by Mayor James Hark, Franke returned to the council last month after a ruling by 10th Circuit Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd said the mayor could not bar Franke from council.
Before Franke could discuss his proposals Tuesday night, First Ward Council member Darrel McCoy reminded council members that the proposals had been tabled during the earlier meeting and had not been brought back. McCoy’s motion to leave the issues on the table passed on a 6 to 1 vote.
After the meeting, Franke issued the following statement to the media, “I am disappointed this important issue of providing transparency and accountability to our citizens was judged to not even deserve a public discussion. Clearly the Mayor and the Council have been intimidated by threats of the City Clerk and City Manager who have been opposed to having a public discussion about this initiative for establishing a process for transparency and accountability to the Council and our Citizens as to how our city employees are managed and supervised since last Fall.”
Before the regular meeting, the council hosted three public hearing sessions.
The first public hearing was requested by Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council Executive Director Corey Mehaffy who wanted to present information on the Project Stay Redevelopment Project. The plan includes a grant of real property tax abatement limited to 50 percent abatement of real property taxes levied on land and improvements for a maximum duration of fifteen years under Missouri’s Urban Redevelopment Corporations Law. The property involved in the redevelopment plan is the former Best Way Inn Motel located at 612 Mark Twain Avenue. Council gave first reading to the ordinance approving the plan during the regular meeting.
Second among the three public hearings was a chance for public comment on the 2022 Ad Veloram Tax Rate for the city. The rate which was approved by emergency reading will remain at the same rate of 1.1778 per 100 dollars assessed valuation. Property values have gone up since last year so the city will collect more revenue, but the rate remains steady.
The third public hearing dealt with an application to rezone the property located at 100 Lone Cedar Drive in Hannibal. The request to rezone the property from B-Multiple Family to PDR-Planned Density Residential was also given first reading.
Council also heard from Resident Larry Markley who complained about what he believes is a lack of action by the city on a possible zoning violation in his neighborhood. Markley said a former church building is being used as a daycare but that the daycare is not allowed under the zoning. A church is allowed and if the daycare is being operated by a church it is allowed. Markley contends the daycare is not being run by a church. City Attorney James Lemon said he is not sure. Lemon said he asked City Building Inspector Mike Murphy to look into the matter and has not heard back from him. Markley expressed frustration saying he had contacted several people at city hall since he initially called City Manager Lisa Peck in mid-June but he has not gotten anyone to call him back.
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