A sneak attack was re-set while councilman was out of town
By ED FINKELSTEIN
“Hoisted by her own petard!”
With apologies to Shakespeare, this is exactly what happened to University City Mayor Shelley Welsch as she attempted to exact political vengeance on Councilman Terry Crow for his ongoing support of the union fire fighters and paramedics with a little used exotic legal maneuver to try and throw him out of office.
Instead, at a city council meeting packed with over 300 citizens on Dec. 14, the effort boomeranged on the mayor. Calls for her resignation intensified as the citizens rallied to Crow’s defense.
Realizing the citizen backlash that was happening as a result of the mayor’s earlier announcement of their intent to (falsely) charge Crow with malfeasance in office so as to embarrass him and, while not said, obviously intended to prevent him from running for re-election, the Council Cabal (as one citizen called the mayor and her four other councilmen) withdrew a charge petition they had intended to approve at the Dec. 14 council meeting.
However, the Council Cabal intended to again bring up the issue Dec. 21 while Crow was out-of-town on vacation with his children.
Supporting “I stand with Terry” tee shirts and signs calling for the recall of the mayor and her closest ally Councilman Stephen Kraft, the standing room only crowd on Dec. 14 roared their approval when Crow refused to be cowered and announced this re-election campaign. (Kraft is the councilman the Labor Tribune reported last year who publically called a citizen an “a—hole” while she was speaking and threw a water bottle at another citizen.)
FIRE FIGHTERS USED AS EXCUSE
The vote was to have the county prosecuting attorney investigate charges leveled by the Council Cabal that Crow had violated his public trust by sending allegedly “confidential” information that could damage the city to Fire Fighters Local 2665 in exchange for “favors” and financial support, a charge Crow, his lawyer and dozens of citizens denied emphatically during the meeting.
Crow and Councilwoman Paulette Carr have been outspoken opponents of the cabal’s efforts to destroy the fire fighters union that began after the union supported an opposition candidate to the mayor’s choice in a previous election. The cabal has since outlawed the union’s wearing of tee’s as they raised money for a local cancer charity and most recently began outsourcing the work of the union’s paramedics to a private company at additional expense and worse service.
See related stories:
- University City threatens six fire fighters’ jobs
- Suspension of five U City fire fighters threatens public safety in already undermanned department
- U City residents heatedly protest fire fighter suspensions
- University City rejects Fire Fighter resolution effort
- U City board recommends reinstating suspended fire fighters
EARLY LAWSUIT WARNING
In discussing the incredible inaccuracies in their allegations, Crow’s attorney Gerry Greiman urged the council to set aside at least $5 million to cover Crow’s “recovery of compensation and punitive damages,” costs allow by state law, should they go forward and lose their case, which he said they would.
He likened the Cabal’s efforts against Crow “as if they were drafted by Joseph McCarthy, the dark stain on American history from the 1950s, who was a master at making accusations based on innuendo, with no facts existing to support them.”
CROW PULLS NO PUNCHES
After a dozen citizens spoke out at the Dec. 14 meeting in support of Crow, he said to the council:
“You and I both know that I did nothing wrong… (and) why you are doing this. The mayor has led your effort to smear my reputation in this community by sharing this slanderous petition with as many media outlets as she can find… you have caused damage to my reputation in the community. I intend to retain all of my rights and options to determine the appropriate response to this petty, hateful vindictive petition.”
Then to thunderous applause, he added, pointing out that he has not been actively involved in the recall efforts of Welsch and Kraft, he noted a change of position:
“That time has now passed. WE have no choice but to make a change in our council and make it now…(our) city needs you to recall Shelley Welsch and Dr. Kraft.”
The “confidential” information Crow is alleged to have sent to the union, he pointed out, had already been disseminated by the mayor, the city clerk and several councilmen with no one blinking an eye.
That information was simply a memo from the city manager Crow had requested outlining Missouri law as it related to the fire fighters and paramedics participating in local elections, which is allowed on off-duty time.
Then speaking directly to the mayor, Crow, himself a lawyer, pulled no punches:
“Your actions over the past week have been reprehensible. They have shown a complete lack of character and integrity…that … seems to go to the core of your very being. I am sad to say that your continued presence in this chamber brings shame and dishonor on our community… Your continued presence as our mayor brings dishonor on all of us who serve our community and those who have sat in your chair for the past 100 years.”
U-Citians speak out on phony charges, character of mayor
The response by citizens of University City against Mayor Shelley Walsch’s spiteful political vendetta, aided and abetted by four other members of the City Council — Stephen Kraft, Michael Glickert, Arthur Sharpe Jr. and Rod Jennings — against the fire fighters’ union as expressed through their attempt to have Alderman Terry Crow removed from office, brought unconditional condemnation from residents at the Dec. 14 meeting.
A sample of their comments gives a flavor of the anger against the mayor and her cabal for their vengeful efforts to destroy the fire fighters union.
- Bart Steward: “The hypocrisy and outright lies that our mayor has uttered while professing to serve the interest of our community is downright disrespectful to the intellect of each of us in this room….do us a favor and step down…”
- Chris Vahlkamp: “U City has become a symbol of what’s wrong with local government… in my conversation with the mayor… she stated repeatedly that neither she nor the City Manager, the city attorney nor the police chief reported to the citizens constituency even in a philosophical way…tonight’s attempt to remove councilman Crow via an ill-conceived publicly funded legal maneuver simply doesn’t pass the ‘good guy’ test for integrity and leadership.”
- Steve McMahon: “The mayor’s depravity seemingly has no limits…she will bring the full force of city hall down on your head as revenge for daring to have a difference of opinion or worse yet, she uses our tax dollars to help her friend and supporter run a political campaign…”