THAYER -- Thayer City Council stood by its ordinance that allows the council to refuse someone the right to speak at council meetings. Thayer resident Bob Crase was not allowed to address the council Nov. 7 and at the end of the meeting he was asked to leave the courtroom.
The South Missourian News (SMN) was one of several business, departments and elected officials that received a letter from Crase dated Nov. 7 stating he intended to be at Thayer City Council's meeting Nov. 10 and was requesting to speak on two topics: the need for the city to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy and the Missouri Sunshine Law.
In the letter Crase said Missouri law permits an individual to address a government body on more than one subject at a meeting. He also said in the letter that he expected to be allotted at least the five minute minimum on each subject as required by law.
Crase also sent his letter to Jane Hood and Joe Driskill of the Missouri Department of Economic Development; state Sen. John Russell; state Rep. Mike Dethrow; U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson; KALM Radio; and the West Plains Daily Quill.
After conducting a short business meeting the council voted to end the meeting and go into closed session. Crase was not recognized. It was at this point that Mayor Allen Deckard told Crase he would be arrested if he did not leave the room.
The Missouri Municipal League verifies there is no law requiring public bodies, including city councils, to allow time for the public to speak. Deckard told the SMN later in the week the city has an ordinance which says the council may or may not allow public comment at its business meeting. Research at Thayer City Hall shows the ordinance 24.090 and adopted by Thayer City Council in 1994.
"This makes the fourth consecutive month Mr. Crase has asked to speak at our council meeting regarding an economic development plan. He is not a professional in this field and is not qualified. The county has hired an economic developer, Edd Hatten, that serves the city of Thayer, and the South Central Council of Governments (SCCOG) has already developed such a plan for our city," the mayor said.
In other business the council voted to name the new park Augusta City Gardens. The council appointed Caskey and Associates as city attorneys and accepted the bid for the annual audit from Egan, Mangold and Schultz.