Two Monroe City residents say they have filed formal complaints with Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, alleging violations of the state’s Sunshine Law by the city’s Board of Aldermen.

Two Monroe City residents say they have filed formal complaints with Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, alleging violations of the state’s Sunshine Law by the city’s Board of Aldermen.

Jerry Potterfield and former Alderman Ralph Lemongelli said last week they filed separate complaints.

“I did contact the Attorney General’s office…my specifics are” discussed on the online complaint page on the AG’s webpage, Lemongelli said.

Potterfield, who has spoken at several Board of Aldermen meetings recently, filed his complaint about two weeks ago, saying that he was concerned because of what he called the board’s secrecy.

Monroe City officials said on Monday that they have not yet been contacted by the Attorney General’s office. The AG’s office confirmed it had received the complaints filed by Lemongelli and Potterfield and are investigating.

“To my knowledge, we not heard anything,” Jackie Panghorn, city administrator, said.

Recent reporting by the Salt River Journal, a weekly newspaper of the Courier-Post, has found several topics discussed in executive sessions that raise questions over whether they are allowed under the Missouri Sunshine Law. Among the issues in executive session minutes:

- On May 3, Panghorn talked to the board in secret session about seeking applications for an administrative position in city hall. The board voted to allow the position. In that same meeting, the board discussed a variance request and voted to grant a 30-cents an hour pay increase to an employee.

- On May 17, the board in secret session discussed issues with City Attorney John Wilcox’s residency and whether it needed to be resolved with an ordinance.

- On June 6, aldermen discussed why Wilcox does not present detailed bills to the city.

Potterfield and other residents have also questioned the board’s executive session discussions of outsourcing the city’s water department operations in a five-year, $3.2 million no-bid contract to PeopleServe.

“I want to see government operate in the open,” said Potterfield, “and that is not happening.”

Potterfield alleges that the city has a long-standing habit of conducting business in secret that should be debated in open session.

“I do not fault the current board, those recently elected,” he said. “They were elected and then told this is how things are done…but the three new alderman are starting to question what is done.”

Potterfield added that his actions are causing friction in the community, but he insists that open government is worth the fight.

“There are people who do not like me and many who do like me,” Potterfield said. “There are many people who will not be vocal and accept the status quo…they will not complain. But that is the wrong approach and is why things do not change.”