JENNINGS, Mo. – The mayor of a north St. Louis County suburb is calling on a councilman to either resign or quit his day job, alleging it’s a conflict of interest to hold both jobs.
Jennings Mayor Gary Johnson sent a two-page letter to Councilman Terry Wilson (Ward 2) earlier this week after Wilson and the majority of the council protested by not showing up to a regularly scheduled meeting.
“It has come to the attention of concerned parties that there is a conflict of interest arising from our dual roles as an elected Councilman for the City of Jennings and an appointed City Manager of the City of Dellwood,” Johnson wrote.
The mayor argues Wilson holds the responsibility of a full-time Dellwood employee, but he has access to sensitive and confidential information as a councilman.
“The decisions made in one capacity could directly impact the other city and vice versa,” Johnson said.
Wilson received the mayor’s letter after an interview on Aug. 17 with the FOX Files, where the councilman raised concerns about Johnson halting a multi-million-dollar city hall construction project without the council’s approval.
“We don’t know what direction this is going in,” Wilson said earlier this month. “He [the mayor] issued the stop work order against the wishes of our attorney.”
At the time, Wilson publicly said he did not think the city was in a good spot.
The Ward 2 representative said Thursday he’s been Dellwood’s City Administrator for a year but has very little power because he reports to a mayor and governing body.
Wilson said there’s nothing in state law or Jennings’ city code that prevents him from holding a job at another municipality.
“I am amused with your conflict suggestion and yet another attempt to divert attention away from the chaos, catastrophe and constant stream of litigation you are bringing against Jennings and its taxpayers,” Wilson wrote.
Wilson and Johnson are now going head-to-head.
Johnson has given Wilson 10 days to resign from either his elected position or his Dellwood job.
“If this is not resolved within the aforementioned time frame, the City of Jennings will employ all available efforts to ensure that no conflicts of interest exist by anyone holding public in the City of Jennings,” Johnson wrote.
Wilson told the mayor that he’d see him in court.
“As part of the majority of council members that care for this wonderful city and are able to make almost every major decision pursuant to the municipal code, as opposed to being a smiling, clapping, rubber stamp for an unbalanced mayor, we will do what we need to do to stop you and protect the residents of Jennings,” Wilson wrote.
Wilson is one of five council members whom Johnson is suing for calling an emergency city council meeting on Aug. 18. The mayor said the clerk that was present at the meeting was not authorized because her resignation went into effect at 5 p.m., at the same time the meeting started.
A judge will have to decide whether the meeting was properly held and compliant with state law.
You can read the letters below.