Ordinance disbanding city’s municipal court approved on 3-1 vote

Dave Marner
Managing Editor

Owensville aldermen on Monday approved ordinances eliminating the city’s municipal court system and a termination of contract agreement with their city administrator who has accepted a job in Pevely, Mo.

On a 3-1 vote, aldermen adopted Ordinance No. 1281 which disbands the city’s court system. Rob Borgmann, a Ward 2 alderman and president of the board, voted against the proposal which will send all municipal ordinance violations to the county’s associate circuit court.

Borgmann had voice concerns previously about the loss of local control over enforcement of municipal nuisance violations and fears they might be minimized in the county court system. The city’s prosecutor had reassured city officials that the associate circuit judge previously prosecuted these types of cases and fully understood their importance to municipalities bringing their nuisance cases to court.

The ordinance authorizes the city clerk to notify the presiding circuit judge of their intent to have the county court hear city cases within six months or by June 1 if possible. Cathy Lahmeyer, an Ward 1 alderman, noted in her motion to “disband the Owensville Municipal Court,” that the city desired to have the associate circuit hearing the city’s cases “six months afterward or by June if possible,” adding, “police are writing tickets now for May.”

Lahmeyer introduced the ordinance. Kevin McFadden, also a Ward 1 representative who was appointed to the board this past year, motioned for a second reading of the title. Denise Bohl, Borgmann’s fellow Ward 2 representative, motioned for a third and final reading. The vote was conducted by roll call.

Aldermen voted 4-0 on a roll-call vote to approve Ordinance No. 1280 which authorized the mayor to execute a termination agreement with Nathan A. Schauf, their city administrator for the past four-plus years.

Lahmeyer had requested the agreement after Schauf informed the board in January he would be taking the administrator’s position in Pevely. His last day is Friday and he begins duties in the southern Jefferson County community on Feb. 19. His wife, Michelle, will compete her contracted school year as an Owensville Elementary School teacher but will leave the district after school ends in May. Her resignation was accepted by the Gasconade County R-2 School District’s Board of Education on Jan. 22.

Aldermen agreed at their Jan. 10 meeting to have the city’s attorney draft a “separation agreement” for their review. City minutes were amended later in January to reflect Lahmeyer’s request to call it a “termination agreement” since Schauf had been under contract with the city.

The termination agreement includes language that Schauf is agreeable to assisting city officials with planning for project still in the works via telephone or in person “for mutually agreed upon meetings and conversations in a manner that does not conflict with his new employment.”

The agreement is for 90 days or until Schauf moves or a new administrator is hired. City Clerk Bobbi Limberg told aldermen she received four applications for the position on Monday which were submitted online.

Aldermen also approved Ordinance No. 1282 calling for changes to city code pertaining to the appointment of a city administrator. Schauf said the ordinance removes language requiring city residency for an administrator. Schauf said the board could have the job description include a “preference for residency in the job description.”