Dear Editor,

I have taken note of your January 14, 2017 article stating that as the City Manager, I lacked knowledge of the Financial Disclosure requirements as outlined in State Statute 105.450 and in our City Ordinances. In particular, you made reference to RSMo 105.450(10), (11) and the companion ordinance the City of Lee’s Summit adopts annually. As you clearly illustrated in the article, the City’s ordinance mirrors this State Statute as it relates to disclosure for certain City officials and elected officials. My comment in the January 5, 2017 meeting was taken in the wrong context. If I had known that your reporter considered my comments relating to our disclosure requirements as adopted by our City Ordinance, I would have corrected this assumption. However, many things were discussed during that meeting and the lack of clarification has caused this misunderstanding. As City Manager, I am fully aware of the State Statute requirements regarding the need for City officials and elected officials to disclose any business activities in excess of $500 on an annual basis. In fact, the City of Lee’s Summit has been in compliance with this Statute. All of our elected officials and required City officials have correctly and dutifully completed the annual disclosure statements for public review.

The State Statute that my comments were intended to address was RSMo 105.454.1, relating to the bidding procedure that must be followed if an elected official is doing business with the City and the transaction exceeds $500. This section of the State Statute is not included in our ordinances and was point of reference in my response on January 5, 2017. Apparently this State Statute has been unknown by the City of Lee’s Summit for the past 39 years. There have been several City Administrators and City Managers, City Attorneys, and even a few City Clerks that have served the City during the last 39 years who did not discover this provision. This Statute has been a buried land mine over which we happened to come across in the last few months and was fully brought to light by our current City Attorney. Given that I am the City Manager today and it happened under my watch, I will accept the responsibility for this error and do my best in cooperation with the City Council to prevent such errors in the future as it relates to elected officials conducting business with the City pertaining to bidding and voting activities that may relate to their business.

However, I do want to clarify as stated above my comments pertain to State Statute RSMo 105.454.1 which was not contained in our Code of Ordinances. As written, I believe the article leads to an impression that I was unaware of our own code provisions regarding financial disclosure, which is not correct. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify this matter reported by your publication.

Steve Arbo
City Manager