City Council addresses SWAT search warrants

The council voted to contract Affion Public to search for its next City Manager.
Dae-Young Kim of Thumper Entertainment presents a slideshow of the Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival. The slideshow showed the economic impact the festival had on Columbia.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, the Citizens Police Review Board presented a report requesting that council members not pass an ordinance suggested by Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton. The ordinance would require Burton to notify members of the council for any change in policy regarding SWAT team serving warrants.

“The board felt it was unnecessary, there was no other policies, this would just be an ordinance singling out the SWAT policy,” City Counselor Fred Boeckmann said. “Also, Chief Burton was at the meeting and he said he would certainly not change the policy significantly without notifying the city manager.”

Mayor Bob McDavid said SWAT policy changes are an important issue for the council. He said his expectation, which he hoped was shared by the council, was that some sort of a change would be made with regard to SWAT team policy.

“We’ve demonstrated a profound interest in SWAT policy as a council,” he said.

The council also voted unanimously to pass a resolution to contract Affion Public to conduct the hiring process for the next city manager of Columbia. Affion Public CEO Scott Reilly presented his company’s desire to take on the project last week along with two other executive hiring firms.

The council acknowledged some public skepticism about the need to hire an outside firm, but several members of the council spoke of their reassurance and faith in Affion Public after speaking with Reilly.

“We are a headhunting firm,” Reilly said in his presentation last week. “We’ll talk with you about (the candidate’s) background, their educational background, their work background, we’ll tell you the great things they’ve done and the screw ups they’ve made.”

Affion Public has conducted similar hiring processes in several other university cities like Austin, Texas, which Reilly said are much more complex than cities without a university.

Council members also discussed an ordinance restricting parking within 10 feet of a mailbox. The ordinance follows complaints received by the council from residents of Columbia who were not getting their mail because their mailboxes were blocked. The council will vote on the ordinance at its next meeting.

Parking was further discussed in a report requested by McDavid of the legality of using parking meter revenue toward the city’s general fund. The largest issue with such a maneuver is the risk of reducing the city’s bond rating, which is currently AA, by restructuring its costs and revenues.

During the opportunity for public comment, former councilman Karl Skala spoke on behalf of the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition addressing its belief on how the city should develop with respect to the quality of life of its citizens. As the city expands, Skala asked that the council keep in mind the ten key principles of smart growth, which the BCSGC constructed.

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