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Mayor: Releasing Legal Documents Was an Error

The documents from the city's attorney were included in a University City Bulletin Board email newsletter.

Mayor: Releasing Legal Documents Was an Error

Two weeks ago, the University City City Council debated whether Mayor Shelley Welsch violated  Missouri's Sunshine Law by releasing documents from the city's attorney in her University City Bulletin Board email of Feb. 10.

Monday night, Welsch apologized for the release, calling it an error. Welsch also included an apology in her Feb. 17 newsletter.

Quoting from the Feb. 17 University City Bulletin Board newsletter:

Last week in this newsletter I mentioned a legal opinion we had received from City Attorney Paul Martin concerning actions taken by a majority of the Council at a previous Council meeting which he indicated violated a State statute. I excerpted one section of that opinion in my newsletter. I also shared an explanatory document Mr. Martin had written related to the proposed intergovernmental agreement between University City and Olivette.

Before I shared that information and document I did not confirm that these documents were public documents, as mandated by Council Rule 37. I should have done so. This was an error on my part and I regret having released this information and document. It will not happen again. 

I want to reassure you that City Attorney Martin has said that no information was released that compromised the City of University City in any way.

In the weekly email news blast, the Mayor included information from City Attorney Paul Martin regarding a vote held at a January council meeting as well as the full text of Martin's legal opinion on the University City/Olivette intergovernmental meeting. 

See our previous story: Council Accuses Mayor of Releasing Confidential Documents

"I would like to say, although I accept that you will not do it again, I believe that it was a violation of the Charter," said Councilwoman Paulette Carr, Ward 2. "None of us had the opportunity to discuss that."

Carr noted that Welsch violated Council Rule 37 of the University City Charter. She added that the Council censured Councilman Byron Price just over two years ago and he had not violated Council Rules.

Read: City Council Approves Reprimand of University City Councilmember Byron Price

"He's an empassioned speaker—you either love him or you don't," Carr said. 

Councilman Terry Crow, Ward 1, also brought up the reprimand of Price two years ago, saying that Welsch had initiated the reprimand for Price.

"Is this an acceptable type of behavior?" he asked. "That is the standard that you applied to Mr. Price on that evening. Your actions more detrimental to the city."

No further action was taken on the issue. 

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