Longtime volunteer Bob Fawe, who most recently has served as chairman of St. Clair’s Tax Increment Finance District committee and secretary-treasurer of the city’s Industrial Development Authority, resigned from both positions last week because of “the micromanagement and the lack of professionalism by the city.”
Fawe addressed the city’s board of aldermen at the end of its Aug. 5 meeting and specifically targeted Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Tate. Fawe did not mention Tate by name during his remarks but confirmed to The Missourian afterward that his comments were directed at him.
“I feel the city is in a pattern of repeating itself,” Fawe said. “It seems like we always have at least one alderman who doesn’t understand what an alderman’s position is. You always have at least one alderman who comes into city hall using their position to power play and stir up hate and discontent.
“They try to undermine the administration telling them how things should be done. Then you have the ripple effect where the administration starts to question their own position, and they in turn get stressed, edgy and snappy.”
Fawe then referred to the city’s own code of ordinances, specifically Article 2, Section 23.
That portion states that no member of the board of aldermen shall directly interfere with the conduct of any city department ... or duties of employees subordinate to the mayor and city administrator except at the express direction of the board of aldermen or the mayor.
“When you have an alderman who is out for his own political gain and personally trying to advance an employee, you have a problem,” he said.
Fawe confirmed that employee is Tiffany Burton.
Earlier in the meeting, Tate had recommended, Burton, hired as the accounts receivable clerk, be appointed city collector. Burton, hired in the spring, replaced long-time collector Lynne Huff after she resigned, but was not given the same title.
The three aldermen present at the meeting supported the title change. Ward 1 Alderman Zach Fuchs was not present.
This spring, Tate had chaired a committee that recommended Burton’s hiring. At the time, the committee whittled the list of about 40 applicants to four, and those four people were interviewed.
“Tiffany Burton was the best fit for the position,” Tate said during an aldermen meeting in March when Burton’s hiring was announced.
Tate and Burton attend the same church and have said they are close friends who speak to each other regularly. They also coached a St. Clair Baseball Association team together this summer.
“Is there any question why there is such a constant turnover at city hall?” Fawe said. “This city is always in a state of turmoil and has never had the continuity it deserves and needs to move forward.
“The taxpayers deserve better, (but) until the people employed by the city, who are being paid by taxpayer dollars, do what they are being paid to do, and this isn’t hourly texting to an alderman, this city will always stay stagnant.
“It is disheartening.”
Before he stepped away from the podium, Fawe thanked Mayor Ron Blum and Ward 2 Aldermen Barb McGlenn and Travis Dierker “in working toward what they feel is for the betterment of this city.”
He then prayed.
When asked for a comment in response to what Fawe said during the meeting, Tate said, “I certainly appreciate Mr. Fawe’s opinion, and we are thankful for his years of service to the city.”
Dierker said he did not want to comment on the situation. McGlenn did not return a request for comment.
After the meeting, Fawe did not comment further.
Blum and City Administrator Rick Childers also provided no comment afterward, other than to thank Fawe for his hard work over the years in volunteering for the city.
Fawe is the husband of former St. Clair City Clerk Chris Fawe, who resigned in late July after six years.
In her resignation letter, Chris Fawe said the reason she was leaving was because she had another job.