BELLE — Belle Mayor Daryl White, Jr., announced on Nov. 8 that the board of aldermen are unable to change the marshal’s salary and term length over the next three-year period because …
BELLE — Belle Mayor Daryl White, Jr., announced on Nov. 8 that the board of aldermen are unable to change the marshal’s salary and term length over the next three-year period because Missouri State Statute prohibits changes in the middle of the election term.
Appointed aldermen terms will also continue the tradition of filling a seat until the next election cycle. If newly elected members take office during the unfulfilled term of a previous alderman, they will finish out the remainder of the shortened term and run the next cycle as a full term.
After hosting a special meeting on Oct. 19 for aldermen to discuss and agree on the marshal’s salary and benefits, they determined a pay cut from the $52,000 previously agreed upon for the police chief to $47,840 for there marshal position was more sustainable. The marshal position also receives an annual cost of living increase with no cap set.
While the board came to a consensus on the amount, city ordinance states changes to the salary must be made via ordinance at least six months prior to the election. City officials reached out to MML to discuss how to pass the changes within the deadline listed.
However, after questions were raised to Missouri Municipal League (MML) about the legality of passing changes to a marshal’s salary in the middle of the term, the city was given advice to seek legal counsel.
“Basically, for the last several months we’ve been in communication with Missouri Municipal League about the resignations we had from the marshal and a couple of councilmen,” said White, who took office on July 21. “The first recommendation they give us was one thing and where we’re at now they have kinda done some research and stuff with it.”
White said they have had some mixed decisions.
“So we have contacted a lawyer and talked to ‘em,” White said. “Basically what the lawyer’s recommendation and Missouri Municipal League’s recommendation is — to start with, on the marshal’s term.”
The marshal position has a four-year term.
“Terry Connors was elected to the four-year term (in April 2022),” White said. “Terry Connors had put in partially the first year of the term which we have carried on from there. But it leaves three years of the term. Basically what everybody tells us, to be legal and legit, we need to — the remainder of the marshal’s three-year term, we need to keep the same as the $100 dollars a month to complete the term.”
White said at the end of the term they can change things.
“We’ve already talked about the marshal’s salary and we would like to see it at, we can pass that and have it ready to go,” White said. “But to be legit, we need to continue the marshal’s term out as a three-year term on the election, with the $100 a month.”
White continued to discuss the Belle Police Department and its inefficiencies since former police chief Joe Turnbough stepped down.
“We are 100 percent behind and we are still trying to building back,” he began. “So with the election of a marshal in April we would like for them to be able to work hand-in-hand with our police department. That’s where we are at on that.”
White said the board of aldermen have had two resignations and Alderman Barb Howarth was filling out a seat.
“To break those seats back down, one of our alderman would have to go back, the term was up this year, so it would have been a two-year term,” White began.
Alderman Adam Padgett was appointed to replace former alderman Ken Stanfield, who would have been up for a two-year election term in April 2023. The seat recently vacated by former alderman Kayla Bray will have a one-year term left in April and Howarth is currently filling the remaining one-year term of former alderman and mayor alderman Josh Seaver. Alderman
“That will stagger us back to the way the council was set up and we can get back to normal,” White said. “I believe that is the way we need to go. If not, virtually, we could have a complete change over in council members every election. We’ve got to get away from that. There has to be some experience to carry on.”
The board voted 3-0 to continue with the traditional election method of fulfilling existing terms for aldermen who have stepped down.
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