ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The Robertson Fire Protection District conflicts with a group of Hazelwood citizens who have launched a recall election against fire district directors.
The citizens accuse board members of wasting taxpayers’ money. Voters will decide on Nov. 8 about the fate of the three directors. Even though three directors are facing recall, they were still allowed to sign up as candidates for the same position they would lose if recalled.
The St. Louis County Board of Elections said it is legal. All the board members have decided to put their names in as candidates.
Mike Connolly, fire district director of the Robertson Fire Protection District, shared his thoughts about the situation.
“It’s state law, it’s not me,” he said. “It’s whatever the state law allows that’s what we did. I’m just saying it’s the law. I didn’t write the law; state legislature wrote the law.”
Jennifer Guyton leads the Citizens to Save Hazelwood and Fire Services group, and they are trying to recall the directors. She said it seemed unfair that the directors facing recall could be re-elected.
“It’s meant to confuse voters, and that’s not right when we ask people to vote on things,” she said. “It should be very clear on what they’re being asked to vote on. To be recalled and then re-elected in the same election, that does not make sense.”
Still, citizens are hoping to overcome the obstacles to try to get rid of the directors. Guyton said she is running as a candidate for the fire district director.
She said she does not like that those with the fire district are telling voters that their local firehouse will be closed if citizens win. Guyton said that is not true.
“This is a battle that’s been in progress for years now,” said Matt Zimmerman, city manager of Hazelwood. “The city has said for very many years, if there’s not a fundamental way to change the way that the city pays for fire services and the amount it pays to the Robertson Fire Protection District, we will ultimately go bankrupt.”