Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mayor Bosley Solicits Funds for City Party 350 Letters Request Cash for Employee Bash

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mayor Bosley Solicits Funds for City Party 350 Letters Request Cash for Employee Bash

Article excerpt

Over the past week, Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.'s office has sent out about 350 letters on official stationery asking area businesses and individuals to help pay for a Christmas party for city employees.

Donors are told to make their contribution checks payable to "City of St. Louis - Mayor's Contingency Fund."

The fund is, in effect, the mayor's expense account. The mayor gets $30,000 a year in city money for his contingency fund, which can be used for official or personal expenses. The private donations are added to the account.

The donations and the donors are not made public, although the mayor's office keeps an internal list, aides said.

Mayoral aides say the contingency fund is the mayor's private account and not a city account. Therefore, the private donations - and how they are spent - need not be reported.

Bosley reports the donations as personal income for tax purposes, aides said.

The Christmas party is scheduled for Dec. 21 in the City Hall rotunda. The catered event will feature finger foods and drinks.

The party is the sixth employee-appreciation event that Bosley has held since taking office in April 1993; three were fall barbecues and the others were Christmas parties.

In each case, private donors have been asked to send checks to the mayor's contingency fund.

"There isn't anything secret about this," said Bosley's chief of staff, Lloyd Jordan. "The mayor feels strongly about showing appreciation for employees. This is the way to do it and keep the expense off of taxpayers. We don't give bonuses."

City Hall veterans could recall no previous mayor who solicited private contributions for his office contingency fund. Circuit Attorney Dee Joyce-Hayes said Wednesday that the practice may be unusual, but there was nothing illegal about it.

Donations for the parties have ranged from $50 to $2,500, Jordan said. Because the donations are not to the mayor's campaign fund, they are not subject to the state's individual campaign-donation limits of $200 for city officials. …

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