The Missouri Ethics Commission has determined that the city of Pacific did not violate state law when it appointed former mayor Steve Myers as its community development director.
In August, Myers resigned as mayor to take a full-time role in the city. When that happened, the city received allegations that it was violating state law.
The allegations centered around a specific subsection of state statute 105.454, which prohibits any appointed or elected official from being hired for any position that attempts to influence the decisions of a political subdivision in which he or she was an officer or employee within the past year.
In response to that allegation, the city asked the state ethics commission for input.
Months later, at its Nov. 10 meeting, the commission ruled that the move was not illegal.
Myers said the commission’s ruling showed “pretty cut and dry that it’s not a conflict at all.”
A letter signed by Elizabeth Ziegler, executive director of the ethics commission, and provided to The Missourian by Myers, outlines the commission’s decision, stating that what exonerated Myers is the fact that his role doesn’t require him to influence the board of aldermen.
“While he attends all regular meetings of the Board of Aldermen, nothing in his position requires or authorizes him to attempt to influence Pacific’s decision-makers,” according to the letter. “Importantly, there was no evidence produced during the investigation to show that Mr. Myers, since taking the Director of Community Development position, had attempted to influence Pacific’s Board of Aldermen as prohibited in Section 105.454.1(5), RSMo.”
The letter said the fact that Myers would report to the city administrator rather than directly to the mayor or board of aldermen also was a factor in its decision.
The commission said it conducted an investigation that “included a careful review of the job duties for the Director of Community Development, a review of minutes of City meetings held since Mr. Myers assumed that role, and interviews.”
Acting Mayor Herb Adams, who took over mayoral responsibilities when Myers resigned in August, addressed the issue at Tuesday’s board of aldermen meeting.
“There were some concerns among some citizens if it was in conflict with a state statue,” he said. “I want to thank those that had those concerns and those that filed the complaints. That is part of our system, and that’s what makes our system work — people having concerns and expressing those concerns. ... I’m here to announce that we have heard from the ethics commission, and they have ruled that there is no conflict. There is no violation of the law. And that appointment was legal.”