Familial relationships between board members can be found on both of Parkville’s tax district boards.
Now city leadership is pressing the two bodies — community improvement districts that manage tax funds drawn from the Parkville Commons and historic downtown — to make personnel changes to eliminate nepotism and adopt a comprehensive conflict-of-interest policy.
The language includes an explicit bar on nepotism, along with board actions that are, or appear to be, motivated to familial connections. The language proposed the boards was: “Avoid the following actions: nepotism, hiring or retaining … or engaging in any activity wherein the general public would believe the relationship would have the effect of influencing any decision being made.”
Parkville Commons’ tax board secretary and treasurer Dave Brouk said the six-member group — which counts among its membership brothers Alan McKeever and Gary McKeever — believes the change will be quickly adopted.
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“If that’s what the city wants to do, we don’t have any issue with that,” Brouk said.
The board will also submit to the city’s suggestion to remove one of the brothers. Alan McKeever is expected to be replaced as a board member within the month.
The brothers on Parkville Commons’ board have been repeatedly drawn into discussions between Johnston and the downtown tax board, which counts among its membership Dave Williams and his daughter, Debbie Worley. When Parkville leadership pressed the downtown tax board to replace one of them, the board pushed back, citing the shared lineage on the Parkville Commons’ board.
Brouk said he’s aware of the generally oppositional relationship the downtown tax board has with the city leadership. He sees adopting the policy as a way to distinguish the two groups.
“I know they’re having issues with the downtown CID (community improvement district), and (the other board) keeps pointing fingers at us,” Brouk said.
With regards to the conflict-of-interest language, Brouk said, “We’d be more than happy to comply.”
The downtown tax board is taking a more measured approach.
The group will formally assess and possibly adopt a set of changes suggested by city leadership last fall, among them the aforementioned conflict-of-interest language that has been a continued flashpoint between the city’s aldermen and the board leaders.
In a meeting March 31, the board announced the formation of a subcommittee to assess the language, as well as other bylaw changes suggested in a letter from Johnston dated Sept. 10.
The group plans to formally announce its decision around the suggestions in the summer.
Parkville’s suggestion to incorporate anti-nepotism provisions is echoed by the Missouri Constitution. While the state constitution does not forbid the boards from having family members on board, there is an explicit bar on having family members involved in the hiring or appointing of one another.
Brouk said the brothers on the Parkville Commons were part of the initial tax board’s formation and did not play a part in either the nomination or in the affirmative votes of one another.
With regards to the downtown board, Williams was part of the group when his daughter was presented as a prospective member, along with a group of four others in December. Minutes from the meeting show Worley made the move to advance the slate containing her nomination to the city, which Hutsler seconded. But while Williams was on the board, the vote record shows he wasn’t directly involved in installing his daughter on the board.