St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on January 5, 1993 · Page 32
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 32

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Tuesday, January 5, 1993
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Page 32
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5 S JAN 05 1993 ST.LOUIS POST-OISPATCH ST. LOUISTUESDAY TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 1993 t 3A E. St. Louis Meets Demand For Financial Manager By Patrick E. Gauen Illinois Political Correspondent Since accepting a bailout of close to $4 million, East St. Louis city officials have missed almost every deadline for action demanded by a state oversight panel. But they have never failed to get around to meeting the mandates eventually. And so it went Monday night, when a grumbling group of aldermen voted to follow a demand that they hire a financial management company or face a takeover of city funds, beginning today. "This resolution meets with the requirements that were placed upon us," said a relieved Mayor Gordon D. Bush, after the 7-0 vote. Earl Lazerson, chairman of the East St. Louis Financial Advisory Authority, responded, "I am pleased to hear the vote. With that out of the way, we can proceed to move on to other things of real importance to the city, such as reducing its debt and beginning to build a base for support of public services from economic development." Lazerson, already empowered by authority members to begin a financial takeover, has been waiting since the aldermen missed their original deadline of Dec. 31. "The holiday season happened to occur at the point where this was all coming together," Lazerson said in an interview Monday. "I'm prepared to be generous." He is president of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Aldermen groused about the requirement early in Monday night's special session but then emerged from a private caucus with a new attitude. Clarence Ellis Sr., chairman of the finance committee, made the motion to meet the demand only about one hour after complaining that the authority had been high-handed in its edict. At issue was whether the city would hire a financial manager or have one imposed by the authority. The authority got oversight power in exchange for $3.9 million in loans to rescue the impoverished city from short-term debt. Authority members had lost patience after city officials continued to overspend their budgets, bounce checks and leave creditors unpaid. Lazerson said Monday that an uncooperative City Hall could have made it more difficult for the management firm hired by the authority. Monday's vote authorized City Manager Ishaq Shafiq to enter a contract with the Charles A. Stewart accounting firm of St. Louis for $250,000 a year, to be paid from city money. Shafiq and the authority jointly recommended Stewart. If the aldermen had balked or rejected the move, Lazerson would have notified Illinois Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch to begin diverting city revenue, such as sales and income taxes, to the authority. Because there is an established cycle to state disbursements, such intervention would begin slowly, said John Tegley, executive director of the authority. "It's not a question of shutting off the flow of water; it's intercepting the drips," he explained. Authority members voted Dec. 15 to demand that aldermen follow their orders in regard to passing a $19.28 million budget for 1993, making budget adjustments for 1992 and hiring a financial manager. The original budget deadlines were missed, but the documents were adopted last week one day before the revised deadline. The aldermen have repeatedly missed deadlines for adoption of past budgets. Also Monday, the aldermen held a public hearing on a proposal to generate almost $400,000 a year by assessing a " $4.50 a quarter sewer charge against residential customers, with higher rates for businesses. A vote was scheduled for Wednesday. Seventeen of the city's 19 sewer pumping stations are broken, leaving flooded streets and backed-up sewers. A state grant is available to fix them, but the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency won't release the grant until the city finds the money to provide proper maintenance. Rain Turns Streets , Basements Into Lakes But At Least It Didn't Dump 16 Inches Of Snow On Area By Linda Eardley Of the Post-Dispatch Staff About 1.6 inches of rain fell in the St. Louis area Sunday and Monday, causing scattered problems with flooded streets, sewer lines and basements. But there was a rainbow the rain wasn't snow. If it had been, it could have amounted to 16 inches. "It would've been a major snowstorm," said Ken Smith, meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., a weather forecasting firm. St. Louis is considerably behind on snowfall this winter. So far, 0.7 inches have fallen; the normal is 5 inches. "It's unusual, but it wouldn't be a record," Smith said. "There have been winters before with very little, if any, snow for the entire winter." Besides, there's plenty of time this season. Usually, January is the biggest month for snow, followed by February and March. So far, no snow is in the local forecast. Sunshine is predicted for today with a high around 40. Clouds are expected to roll in Wednesday. Rain may return Thursday and perhaps become freezing rain Thursday night or Friday, Smith said. The rain Sunday and Monday resulted in 270 calls to the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District by Monday afternoon, said Donna Herron, spokeswoman. "They were districtwide, but they tended to be in the southern corridor, University City, Maplewood and south St. Louis city area," she said. "It was a little bit of everything overcharged sewer lines, basement backups and flooded streets." The problems were about half those that occurred during flooding last month, Herron said. High wind wrecked a brick home and damaged another home and barn in the Fosterburg area in northern Madison County early Monday, authorities said. No injuries were reported. On Monday, a flash flood watch was in effect in the southeast corner of Missouri. In West Plains, Mo., a woman who tried to drive over a low-water bridge was killed when the torrent swept her nearly two miles in a rain-swollen creek, authorities said. The woman, Eva Bloor, 45, of West Plains, was swept away early Monday in a creek bed just outside city limits on the southwestern side. Her car was found in the water more than a mile from the bridge, and her body was recovered another half-mile downstream, authorities said. West Plains is in south-central --r 1 A") 'T7'r"w"A JK: lip '"sfe&5?ZTZ2 .n- jr t ftt - " -i. j ft ..,.i.av-.- -.-f Kevin ManningPost-Dispatch Motorists manuevering Monday through water on Aubuchon Road, near Missouri Bottom Road in north St. Louis County. Missouri, near the Arkansas border. day, crushing a parked car, authori- was hurt. ,, . . , . ties said. The owner said he suspect- . 4 . , . An old brick building housing a ed the rain had softened the bricks The Associated Press contributed tavern in Hannibal collapsed Sun- and caused them to move. No one information for this story. r Wj L. Sherman State Audit Cites Conflicts Of Interest In Mental Health Agency By Virginia Young Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Margaret Kelly has criticized the Missouri Department of Mental Health for letting one of its top officials work for two private companies that had contracts with the state. The dual roles of Dr. Ashok Mallya produced "at least the appearance of a conflict of interest," Kelly said in an audit released last Thursday. "It seems imprudent for the department to have hired an individual for a top management position when such an appearance existed." .Mallya, of Town and Country, resigned his state job last April. He said he was leaving to spend more time with his family and to end questions about a potential conflict of interest. He could not be reached to comment for about three years, Mallya worked three days a week as the state's deputy director for psychiatry-He was paid nearly $89,000 a year. Monday. For about three years, Mallya worked three days a week as the state's deputy director for psychiatry. He was paid nearly $89,000 a year for the part-time work. Mallya worked two days a week as a psychiatrist for ADAPT Institute of Missouri, a St. Louis-based firm that has a contract with the Department of Mental Health. In 1990 and 1991, the state paid the firm more than $1.6 million. Mallya, a psychiatrist, also saw cli ents at a clinic in Crestwood operated by his wife, Raziya A. Mallya. The clinic, Accredited Family Clinics Inc., had a contract with the state. Keith Schafer, director of the Department of Mental Health, defended Mallya and the work arrangement. Schafer said Monday that Mallya's roles did not overlap because he was "very, very careful to absent himself from any decision that related to the ADAPT program." In a related audit finding, Kelly said the department should have tried to get the federal government to pay part of the cost of the ADAPT services through the Medicaid program. ADAPT provides "psychiatric rehabilitation services" to elderly people with chronic mental illness who are living in nursing homes. Services range from helping clients with basic tasks, sch as dressing, bathing and personal hygiene, to conducting therapy groups and taking clients on camp-outs, picnics and shopping trips. Schafer said Monday that the department would seek Medicaid funding for the program. "The auditor is right; we should be able to convert some of the services that ADAPT provides to Medicaid billings," Schafer said. The federal government pays 60 percent of the cost of Medicaid programs. In another area, Kelly questioned why a top departmental official was allowed to "commute at state expense between St. Louis and Jefferson City on a weekly basis." The reference is to John Twiehaus, director of the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services. Twiehaus lives in St. Louis and uses his state car to drive to Jefferson City every week. Kelly said that from November 1989 to October 1990, Twiehaus made 57 round trips totaling about 14,250 miles between Jefferson City and St. Louis. She concluded: "The state may be incurring unnecessary costs and providing the official an unreasonable and excessive benefit." Schafer disagreed. "John's doing a good job and I think he needs to keep his car," Schafer said. Police Appeal For Clues In 1985 Murder By Thorn Gross Of the Post-Dispatch Staff Vinita Park police are appealing to the public for clues in the unsolved murder of Linda Sue! Sherman in 1985. All leads have been exhausted, Lt. Michael Webb said . "But we have reason to believe that there are mem bers of the public who may know something about it." Sherman was reported missing April 24, 1985, by her husband, Donald Sherman, of the 8300 block of Monroe Avenue. She was 27 and the mother of a 9-year-old daughter. Two days later, her yellow '71 Volkswagen was found in a short-term parking lot at Lambert Field, absent any sign of struggle. Further investigation led police to suspect that she was the victim of foul play, Webb said. In 1990, a skull was found in Bridge-ton, and it was turned over to the St. Louis County medical examiner's office. Vinita Park police learned of the skull in September 1991 and matched it with Sherman's dental records. No other remains were recovered. People with any clues about the case are asked to call Webb or Vinita Park Police Chief Robert J. Hartz at 428-7373. Webb said any information would be kept in strict confidence. Redevelopment Plan Is Opposed by 150 About 150 residents of Town and Country packed a meeting Monday night of the city's Board of Aldermen to oppose a planned $35 million redevelopment of the former McGraw-Hill Distribution Center in the 13900 block of Manchester Road. The board delayed until at least Jan. 25 a decision on site-plan approval. But the board did order a traffic impact study. Nearby residents say they fear traffic and noise from the project, despite assurances from the developer, The Midland Group, that 30 of the 74 acres on the site will remain in a natural, undeveloped state. The project would feature several retail stores and restaurants. J'- i H .A" V - -': iv. ,vk -' ?vSS' i L'. '"'i.Z'. ; ; i vrMsC; r:- - - Renyold FergusonPost-Dispatch Wreck Relief St. Louis firefighters clearing the wreckage of a car that swerved and crashed into the path of another automobile Monday because of slick roads on Interstate 70, under the Shreve Avenue overpass in St. Louis. Other details were unavailable. State Corrections Post May Go To St. Louisan By Virginia Young Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau JEFFERSON CITY - Dora Schriro, who runs the City Workhouse in St. Louis, is a leading candidate to head the state Department of Corrections, sources said Monday. Gov. -elect Mel Carnahan is expected to appoint a new corrections director this week. Members of Carnahan's transition team declined to comment Monday on whether Schriro is the front-runner. Schriro, 42, said Monday that she had applied for the job and had been interviewed by Carnahan. "I've got fingers and toes crossed," she said. If appointed, Schriro would be the first woman to head the Missouri Corrections Department The department includes 12 prisons, two honor centers, one treatment center and one reception and diagnostic center. The department houses more than 15,000 inmates. Schriro has been the warden in St Louis since May 1989. Her formal title is correctional superintendent of the St Louis Medium Security Institution. She oversees about 600 inmates and 200 employees. The City Workhouse is at 7600 Hall Street She came to St Louis from a post as assistant commissioner for the Department of Corrections in New York, where she was in charge of setting up rehabilitative programs. She has a doctorate in administration from Columbia University. Sen. William Clay Jr., D-St Louis, said Monday that he had been impressed with Schriro's work. "She's come up with some progres- Dora Schriro "Fingers and toes crossed" sive ideas," Clay said. "She's working with young offenders, trying to get them on the right track." For example, Schriro got a grant to set up a boot camp and drug treatment program for inmates ages 17 to 25. Schriro said the main challenge facing the state Corrections Department was "learning to look at itself in a different way, becoming pro-active and contributing in a greater variety of ways to public safety and economic development "It's a system that historically takes in whoever it gets and holds them as humanely as possible until their release," she said. Schriro said the challenge was "to effect more lasting, more efficient gains, not just for the individual but for the community."

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