Family Resource Board moves forward with board member removal process

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 | 9:31 p.m. CST; updated 5:31 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The process to remove board member Steve Tatlow from the Boone County Family Resources Board of Directors began Wednesday night when the board voted 7-1 to approve for consideration four complaints against him. A formal hearing was scheduled for Jan. 16.

Tatlow voted against approval and former treasurer Alison Martin abstained.

Boone County Family Resources is a public entity with a $7.7 million annual budget that serves people with developmental disabilities. Its board is appointed by the Boone County Commission.

Next month’s hearing will be held in addition to the agency’s normal monthly meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 9.

At the hearing, witnesses will be put under oath and their testimony will be recorded. Once the evidence has been heard, the board will make two determinations: which, if any, of the allegations against Tatlow are true, and whether the offenses qualify as grounds for removal, said John Patton, the board’s attorney.

The board will then put its decision in writing.

The allegations against Tatlow were narrowed to four items, printed copies of which the board read for the first time at the meeting. The allegations listed on the handout charge Tatlow with failure to adequately inform himself of agency policies and accuse him of “causing the board to expend excessive meeting time to address questions which could have been answered by either review of orientation materials, the agency Manual of Operations, or through simple communications with the executive director.”

Tatlow is also accused of “improperly intervening” in a “matter involving an agency client caretaker seeking payment for non-disability services contrary to agency policies governing reimbursements,” asking for meeting minutes before they were ready and “making false allegations to the Attorney General’s office.”

Before the board reviewed the allegations against him, Tatlow moved to “immediately uphold the (agency’s) bylaws.” He made special note of the sections related to term limits for officers. The motion was voted down.

According to the agency’s bylaws, the chairperson can serve only three consecutive years. Current board chairman Bob Bailey said in an interview after the Nov. 7 meeting that he has been chairman for nine consecutive years.

When questioned about the discrepancy between his term of service and the term limits dictated by the bylaws, Bailey explained that the board can vote to overrule the bylaws and that, by continuing to elect him as chairperson each year, they had done just that.

Draft changes to the bylaws were distributed to members at last month’s meeting, but the board has not voted on whether to approve them. One of the proposed changes would revise term limits for the chairperson, allowing him or her to be re-elected to office for an unlimited number of terms.

Wednesday’s meeting also marked the end of Martin’s tenure on the board. At the end of the meeting, she passed out a letter in which she detailed her concerns about the board’s operations.

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