MINER - The Miner Board of Aldermen breezed through the agenda's business items with unanimous votes, but unfortunately the harmony came to an end before the meeting did.
Before adjourning Tuesday's regular meeting, personal conflicts heated back up to the point of raised voices culminating in the mayor insulting an alderman.
The board first approved fees of $825 for the SEMO Crime Lab. Police Chief Roger Moore said the crime lab is certified at both state and federal levels and provides a valuable service for the department in verifying substances from drug busts and will even testify on behalf of the city if needed.
The fee was increased from last year's $500, according to Moore.
The board next approved joining Missouri One Call even though they are not required to do so until 2005 as Miner is a fourth-class city.
Janet Tuttle, city clerk, said that if the city did not join they would have been charged $500 every time they came out to approve digs.
The membership cost is $20 per month.
The request from Joe Fuchs for water service was approved next. "I thought that was a done deal," said Mayor Frank Tatum. "I think we've had two or three oversights."
Alderman Tom Brock said it was not the board's mistake, however, but the water district board's or engineer's. Alderman Mitch Thompson said the extension could be paid for with the contingency fund although they would take the matter up with the engineer.
The board also approved running water to a resident's land who offered to cover the cost of the extension. Brock said the board needs to make sure to get documentation of the payment arrangements.
The board also discussed an extraordinary water bill showing the use of over 43,000 gallons during one month, but determined that there was no leak. The meter was reportedly checked three times. "All we have to go by is the meter," said Tatum.
Tuttle advised that the yearly water primacy fee would be appearing on water bills soon, estimating the charge would be about 17 cents per month for most users. "It's something the state makes us charge," she explained.
Board members approved $316 to remain members of the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission.
The next item to receive approval was a request from Fire Chief Randy Baker to pay all firemen the same salary. "It's only fair - we all do the same job," Baker said.
Things began to go downhill with the next discussion which was launched by a resident complaining that he was not treated respectfully by a Miner police officer.
The resident said he saw his daughter-in-law's vehicle stopped by the Miner police and pulled over to see what was going on but was rudely addressed and "cussed" by the officer. "To get respect, you got to give respect," he said.
Moore said when he heard the story from the resident earlier, the "cussing" part was never mentioned. As he heard the story, the officer politely instructed the resident to get back in his car twice. "You can be arrested for obstruction for walking up on a vehicle stop," Moore said.
Alderperson Betty Barnes said if an officer is rude, however, Moore does need to address the situation.
Bringing up what he believed to be a similar incident, Tatum said police shouldn't "demean someone in front of people."
Moore answered that while he will receive instructions from the board, it is not the residents' place to tell him and his officers how to do their job.
Tatum said he was going to begin keeping a file on complaints about city police officers and other city employees, saying it was a matter of "professionalism on the job."
Moore than heatedly questioned the mayor about his methods collecting information on how many tickets each officer writes. "Frank, why are you going behind my back?" Moore asked. "You're not going to me to get it - why?" Moore said it was a matter of "chain of command."
"Because I get the run around, Roger," Tatum answered. He added that he would continue to monitor all city employees.
Brock said for his part, he was looking into anonymous calls regarding the mayor and did not like being called a liar by the mayor.
"I haven't called you anything but a slimeball and a scumbag," Tatum returned. He repeated the insult before adjourning the meeting.