ARNOLD, Mo (KMOV.com) -- Why would the Arnold city council reject the report on an investigation into allegations of harassment it had paid thousands of dollars to conduct? The investigation involved allegations that a council member had harassed a city employee for two years. One council member who supported the investigation findings is so upset he may try to have the accused councilman impeached.
Arnold city councilman Ken Moss is accused of harassing city parks director Susie Boone as retaliation because his sister was fired from the parks department two years ago. The summary of the investigation claims investigators proved the allegations are true.
But the majority of council members rejected the investigation because they say the details of the report don’t show evidence to prove the legal definition of harassment or a hostile work environment. In fact, they say Boone never took steps to begin the process to sue for harassment by filing a claim with the Missouri Department of Human Services. And they say disparaging comments that Moss is accused of making about Boone were never made directly to her.
News 4 spoke with three of the five council members who voted to reject the report. They claim it is riddled with mistakes and is neither fair nor impartial.
Council member Doris Borgelt said, “it was not an independent investigation.” Council members say Protective Investigative Services was hired to conduct the investigation because of ties to members of the police department.
The report states that a major within the police department sat in on all the interviews conducted for the investigation as a representative of the city, but council members say he participated in the questioning.
They also claim the investigator would ask the same question repeatedly as if he was determined to get those he questioned to give a certain answer.
There are other questions about the company hired to do the investigation that have raised suspicions. Several sources told New 4 Protective Investigative Services does not have a license to do business in the city of Arnold as required and that the company owed back taxes of more than $20,000. We were unable to reach anyone at the company to ask them about these issues.
Also, council members say the report filed is riddled with mistakes. According to Council member Cricky Lang, the report gets names, dates and quotes wrong.
However, Councilman Bill Moritz said Protective Investigative Services came highly recommended and did a thorough investigation.
“The summary of the report says the charges were found to be credible and based upon that we should have accepted the report and decided what ind of action to take from there,” he said.
At Thursday’s city council meeting he plans to ask the full council, once again, to vote to accept the report. If they don’t he says he may start the procedure to have Councilman Ken Moss impeached.
Not lost in the debate over the investigation findings is the fact that it’s election season in Arnold and politics may be playing a role behind the scenes. Moss is not seeking reelection to his current city council seat but is running to unseat current Arnold Mayor Ron Counts.