Embattled Personnel Review Bill Is Adopted Bateman Wins Objective as Longtime Foe Departs

Article excerpt

St. Peters Alderman Judy Bateman pushed for two years to establish a Personnel Review Board, and finally her idea has been adopted in a bill approved by the Board of Aldermen.

One of her longtime adversaries on this issue was City Administrator Robert Irvin. He also could have been one of the Personnel Review Board's first customers.

The aldermen approved the Personnel Review Board Nov. 14, and in a closed session after that meeting Irvin either was fired by the mayor and the board or was forced to submit his resignation. Afterward, Bateman said Irvin turned to her and slyly said, "I promise not to go before your review board." Bateman, 2nd Ward, contends that Irvin resigned. Therefore, he would be ineligible to go before the new board because it deals only with involuntary terminations. Certainly, the case could be made that Irvin was involuntarily terminated from his position of 18 years. Alderman Joyce Townsend, 1st Ward, distributed copies of a bill that would have made it easier for the board to fire Irvin on the day before the closed session. But, Bateman says, Irvin was the only city employee working under a contract. That also would make him ineligible for a hearing before the new board. Irvin fought against this bill to the end. His position was that St. Peters already had a process by which employees with grievances could be heard. For a long time, Bateman could not get the necessary votes to pass her bill. Some, such as Alderman Jack Hunt, 3rd Ward, argued that having polit ical officials involved in personnel matters was not a good idea. Bateman countered that city employees were in an unfair situation. The ultimate judge after all hearings was the city administrator, the person who approved dismissals in the first place. …