Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Inestimable Board

The Inestimable Board

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment of the City of St. Louis is a governing body of inestimable importance. ;-)

Its legal authority is basically to develop the city budget and approve most major (and many minor) city expenditures.

I attended my first ever E&A meeting yesterday. I brought a few students along as a class field trip. Admittedly, it's a rather obscure operation.

The public meeting (held in the less-than-public venue of the mayor's conference room) lasted only five minutes!

The mayor read the entire regular agenda (not posted online); there was one amendment offered by a city staffer. Most items were approving contracts related to federal grants, leases, and other projects.

Item #12 was interesting: "Request from the Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor, for approval to pay invoices for dues to Sister Cities International in the amount of $1, 865, St. Louis County Municipal League in the amount of $5,791 and East-West Gateway Council of Governments in the amount of $43,523.63, all chargeable to account #190-5648."

Then, the "public" (that's me, my two students, and a few others) were politely but firmly asked to leave so they could go into "executive session."

The excutive session probably lasted only a few minutes longer; something about Airport property purchasing I believe.

And that's how sausage is made!

I was quite gratified that Jim Shrewsbury took a few minutes just afterwards to talk with my students and me, in his office down the hall.

Thanks again, Jim!

As a side note, the first time I visited the mayor's conference room was in 1997, at the end of Mayor Bosley's term. He held a pizza party for all us members of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Board.

Mayor Bosley and I have at least this much in common: we both like anchovies on pizza! ;-)

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