Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ferguson’s Citizen’s Can Fire The Whole Police Force

From  Walt starr

Although Missouri does not have statewide recall provisions under the law, there are provisions for doing so at the local level.

Missourians do not have the right of statewide recall. However, the right of local recall is available in:

    Cities defined as Class 3 cities. A Class 3 City is defined as a city with a population between 3,000 and 29,999.
    Cities that operate under their own city charter, if the specific city charter allows for recall.

The recall process that applies to Class 3 cities in Missouri is governed by MRS §77.650 and 78.260.


    Recall may not commence during first 6 months in office
    Grounds for recall must be stated, and must include misconduct in office, incompetence, and failure to perform duties prescribed by law.
    60 days is allowed for collecting signatures.
    Signatures equal to 25% of the registered voters in the city must be collected.

The issue of the nearly all white police force is not one without an ability to correct. This is not some issue where the people have no power. In fact, this is a completely political issue and as DailyKos has aptly demonstrated for more than a decade, any political problem has a political solution.

Given the demographics of Ferguson, the people have the power to fire the entire city council, the mayor, the city manager, the chief of police, and to replace them with officers more capable who will fire the entire police force and replace them with individuals interested in serving and protecting the citizenry of Ferguson.

This process can be accomplished entirely within a period of just over six months.

Join me after the Orange Gnochi for the process to get rid of the police force and replace it with a more representative police force.

With a population of about 21,135, Ferguson is a Class 3 city. We must now turn to the Ferguson charter for more information.

First, let's examine the governing body of Ferguson:


Section 3.1 Powers vested

Except as this charter provides otherwise, all powers of the city shall be vested in the council. The council shall provide for the exercise of these powers and the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law.

Section 3.2 Composition, Eligibility, Election and Terms

3.2.1 Composition

The council shall consist of seven persons. One, known as Mayor, shall be elected by the qualified voters of the city as a whole. The remaining six, known as Council Members, shall be elected by the qualified voters of their respective wards as provided in Article VII.

So, the city council and the mayor are the top governing body, but there's another important position we need to examine:

Section 4.1 Qualifications: Term of Office

The city manager shall be chosen by the council on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications with special reference to experience in or knowledge of municipal administration. The city manager may or may not be a resident of the city or the state at the time of selection, but shall reside within the city during the tenure of office. The city manager shall be appointed for an indefinite term, subject to removal as herein provided, and shall devote full time to the duties of the office, except with special permission by council. The city manager may reside outside the city while in office only with the approval of the council.

So this position is defined under the City Charter of Ferguson, MO. Why is this position so important to us here? What's the big deal?
Section 4.4 Powers and Duties

The city manager shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the city and shall be responsible to the council for the proper administration of the affairs of the city. To that end, the city manager shall have power and be required to:

a) Appoint, and when necessary for the good of the service, remove all officers and employees of the city, except as otherwise provided in this charter and except as the manager may authorize the head of a department or office to appoint and remove subordinates in the department or office; provided, however, that the City Council may remove the City Attorney upon the affirmative vote of five members of the Council. Preference shall be given in making appointments to residents of the City of Ferguson when their qualifications are at least equal to those of any other applicant.

That's a hell of a lot of power for one appointed position, and there are even more powers given this appointee. How do we get rid of such a powerful person and put somebody in who will hire the right people to serve the community?
Section 4.5 Procedure for Removal

The city manager may be suspended by a resolution which has received an affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of the council. This resolution shall set forth the reasons for the manager's suspension and proposed removal and may suspend the city manager for a period not exceeding forty-five days. A copy of such resolution shall be served immediately upon the city manager. The city manager shall have fifteen days in which to reply in writing, and if so requested in the reply, shall be afforded a public hearing not earlier than ten days nor later than fifteen days after the hearing is requested; the resolution for suspension shall be made public ten days prior to the hearing.

After the public hearing is requested, and after full consideration, the council by majority vote of its members may adopt a final resolution of removal. The manager shall continue to receive salary and benefits until the effective date of a final resolution of removal or other termination date as subject to contractual agreement.

The action of the council in suspending or removing the manager shall not be subject to review by any court or agency.

So we're right back to that governing body, the city council and the mayor. And we know they do not represent the interests of the majority or the people of Ferguson.

Now let's look at one more position...


Sec. 33-16. Created; commanding officer.

There is hereby created a department of the city government to be known as the police department, the commanding officer of which shall be the chief of police.

That's the guy. How does he get there?

Sec. 2-251. Police department; director; officers.

(a) The director of the police department shall be chief of police. The chief of police shall be appointed by the city manager on the basis of his administrative abilities and his qualifications as a law enforcement officer.

So according to the City Charter, the city manager has the power to fire and hire the Chief of Police who is solely responsible for hiring and firing police officers.

So to get the proper Chief of Police, the people of Ferguson need the proper City Manager.

And to get the proper City Manager, the people of Ferguson needs the proper City Council and Mayor.

Which gets back to the point from the opening of this diary.

In the last Ferguson city council election, turnout was 12%. Amongst African Americans, that number was 6%.

Is it any wonder there's a single African American on the city council?

So what does the Ferguson City Charter say is the power to reverse this?


8.1.3 Recall

The qualified voters of the city shall have the power to initiate the recall of any appointed or elected council member or elected mayor and to dismiss or retain such council member or mayor by a city election. No council member or mayor shall be subject to recall within six months of induction into office nor during the last six months of the term. If retained in office by a recall election, the council member or mayor shall not be subject to recall within a period of six months thereafter.

The people of Ferguson have the absolute power to remove the ENTIRE city council and the mayor, and to do so within six months. They can then put into place a city council that will appoint a city manager who will fire the Chief of Police and replace that Chief with a Chief of Police who will replace the ENTIRE FORCE.

And they have more than enough numbers to make it all happen.

They just have to organize, register, and sign the petitions for recall.

The people have all the power in this. They just don't realize it.


Original Posting To Daily Kos on Tuesday, August 19,2014