Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Foster Is Expelled by Trustee Board in Long Session

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Foster Is Expelled by Trustee Board in Long Session

Article excerpt

Four Riverview trustees heard four hours of testimony this week before deciding to expel Lynda Foster from their board for what they consider to be inappropriate behavior.

Foster says that in her opinion the board could have whittled the process down to about four seconds - just enough time for the four to cast their predetermined votes.

After the testimony and cross-examination by both sides, Trustee Sharon Shoults began reading a motion to dismiss Foster from the board.

As she was reading, Foster's attorney, Ray Bruntrager, rose from his seat in the audience, walked over to the dais at which Shoults and the other trustees were sitting and peered over the edge to see the source of her motion. He returned to his seat while laughing and shaking his head. When asked about his reaction, Bruntrager said that the fact that Shoults was reading from a typewritten statement suggested that the board members "had their mind made before they ever got up here."

Shoults said after the proceedings that at her request, Frank Susman, the attorney handling the case for the village, had given her the printed motion so that she could be prepared to move for Foster's dismissal if she thought it was warranted after hearing the testimony.

Bruntrager questions whether the move was legal. He says that the state statute on which the proceedings were based is unclear.

The statute states that a board in a town or village may "expel any member, but not for a second time for the same cause." Bruntrager says that the last part of the clause indicates that such an expulsion is not intended to be permanent.

Legal interpretation aside, he said, the hearing was unfair because the four board members were playing too great a role in the proceedings and were too biased to give his client a fair shake. "You folks that have brought the charge are the same folks that will hear the charge and the same folks who will decide the charge," he said before the hearing began. …

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