Monroe City Rural Fire District president says circumstances delayed most recent board meeting

The president of the Monroe City Rural Fire District Board says that business concerns and family situations led to a 75-day delay in a meeting to welcome new board members.

Quinn, who operates Quinn Farm Supply in Monroe City, said that the planting season makes anything outside his business tough during the spring, and that this year, he had other issues, including a funeral and a graduation in Chicago.

Moreover, Quinn said that when the Salt River Journal reported on June 21 that the board had not sworn in a board member, Gary McElroy, who won a seat on the board in the April Municipal Election, that he had already scheduled a meeting.

“We knew we had to schedule a meeting, but it is a busy time of year,” he said.

McElroy has been critical of the board for delaying the post-election meeting and for not meeting on a regular basis. A meeting on June 22 was the first meeting for the board since October 2016.

During an interview Monday at Monroe City Fire District conference room in the station house, Quinn and board member Phillip Potterfield said the board is only required to meet once a year, per its bylaws.

However, Missouri law governing Fire Districts appears to mandate meetings: “…the board shall meet regularly, not less than once each month, at a time and at some building in the district to be designated by the board,” reads language in Chapter 320 of the Revised Missouri Statutes. It is not clear, though, whether that provision applies to rural fire protection districts. The same statute requires an annual accounting of district funds be published and that minutes of all meetings be published, and in following the Missouri Sunshine Law, fire districts are required to give at least 24 hours’ notice of a meeting.

“We meet when the fire chief requests a meeting,” Potterfield said. “If we met monthly… most of the time we would open the meeting and then adjourn.”

McElroy said last week that he wants monthly meetings of the board, and that he plans to be at the firehouse once a month.

For his part, Quinn said that meetings can only be called by him or a majority of the five-member board of directors. Moreover, he does not agree that the board needs to meet monthly.

“We will probably have to get an opinion from the (Monroe City) city attorney (John Wilcox),” he said.

Meanwhile, there is a meeting of the board tentatively scheduled for July 11, Quinn said.