UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – Public shaming, recall threats, and accusations that a council member threw a water bottle at a constituent all in a city where residents say they expect more from their public meetings.
University City residents packed a city council special session Monday night, upset over proposed changes to the way the council hears public input. After a series of tense meetings and interactions between citizens and city leaders, the council was considering moving all public comment to the end of city meetings after votes are taken.
Most of the crowd booed and cheered in opposition to the proposed changes, and many accused particular council members of showing poor decorum and disrespect toward residents.
But University City Mayor Shelley Welsch says the conflict is really less about democracy and more about politics.
"Look carefully at the rhetoric that is being used to kind of get tempers high and flaring," said Welsch, who believes the issue of fire fighters who were suspended for campaigning politically in uniform is still the root of discord in University City.
The council decided not to vote on the changes to public comment and to instead study the proposal.