The Pacific council chamber was filled to capacity with political supporters and citizens for the April 23 special board of aldermen meeting to install the newly elected mayor and six other officials.
Friends and foes of the outgoing and incoming mayors were there to witness the change of power.
Conspicuously absent were the city clerk and deputy city clerk.
Following a rift earlier in the day between Jeff Palmore, mayor-elect, and Kim Barfield, city clerk, Barfield left the building.
Palmore said the disagreement was over his questioning whether Barfield and City Administrator Harold Selby were trying to undermine his selection of a city attorney.
During the discussion, which occurred at 8:30 a.m., Barfield pulled a prepared statement from her desk, handed it to Selby and started a two-week vacation, leaving no one to install the mayor, collector, municipal judge, police chief, and aldermen from Wards 1, 2 and 3.
Two days prior to the meeting, Daphne Lindemann had notified Selby that she was resigning the position of deputy city clerk, but asked to stay on as utilities billing clerk.
Palmore said he learned in the middle of the afternoon that Lindemann was no longer deputy city clerk and there was no one to administer the oath to those elected.
Collector Debbie Kelley contacted Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door, who made the arrangements for Associate Circuit Judge Dave Hoven to officiate at the swearing-in ceremony. Kelley told The Missourian that she had been concerned that she as collector would not be able to act on April 24 if she were not sworn in.
“The city would not be able to do business,” Kelley said.
Opening the swearing-in meeting at 7 p.m., outgoing Mayor Herb Adams and the board accepted the Franklin and St. Louis County election boards’ certification of the votes in the April 8 municipal election. Franklin County certified the 1,031 votes cast shortly after the election, but St. Louis County did not certify results until April 18.
The special meeting was then called for the swearing in when Attorney Dan Vogel advised the city not to hold the installation ceremony until the six St. Louis County votes were certified.
Aldermen presented appreciation plaques to Adams and city attorney Dan Vogel.
Hoven was involved in a trial and his arrival was delayed. Spectators remained in the building, milling between the council chamber and lobby as they waited for the judge, who arrived at 8:21 p.m. and swore in each of the seven officials individually.
Seven individuals took the oath of office, including Mayor Palmore, Collector Kelley, Municipal Judge Daniel Leslie, Police Chief Matt Mansell, Ward 1 Alderman Ed Gass, Ward 2 Alderman Steve Myers and Ward 3 Alderman Mike Pigg.
The meeting adjourned and reopened with Mayor Jeff Palmore in the mayor’s seat at 8:36 p.m.
On the Thursday morning following the swearing in, Palmore learned that Selby also was absent.
“I question why the city administrator would allow the clerk to take off knowing the installation ceremony was planned for that day,” Palmore said. “I also question how Daphne (Lindemann), as an employee can choose what she will do?”
Being new on the job, Palmore said he would check with the city personnel manual.
“We need a deputy city clerk,” he said. “With no clerk or deputy city clerk, citizens are left with no one who can fill requests for city information.”
Palmore said he was surprised that the city administrator would take off without notifying the mayor when he knew there was no city clerk and no deputy city clerk and a new mayor who was obviously floundering.
Selby returned a call from The Missourian on April 24, saying he was in Champaign, Ill., for a Saturday, April 26, marathon. He confirmed that Barfield was on vacation and Lindemann had resigned as deputy city clerk.
“I can’t believe Mr. Selby didn’t know he had two days of vacation planned,” Palmore said. “In any event, he needed to inform his supervisor of his need to be out of the office.
“He is leaving the city stranded,” Palmore added.