Brentwood Firemen at Firehouse Open House, March 13th

A group of Brentwood firefighters attend the March 13 firehouse dedication ceremony. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

by Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit

On Sunday, Brentwood residents learned what the mayor and city officials have known for months: over the past 24 years, Brentwood firefighters have received hundreds of thousands of dollars of overtime pay for hours they did not work.

Residents also learned that former Fire Chief Bob Niemeyer, who announced his retirement in May, was forced to retire, along with two other officers, and two more were demoted.

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch article written by Brentwood resident and Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel broke the news to the community. Here is a link to Hampel’s article:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/article_0885832c-cda8-5b6c-8a4d-547d333968a5.html?mode=story

Brentwood Mayor Pat Kelly at Fire House Open House

Brentwood Mayor Pat Kelly addresses a crowd at a March 13 ceremony dedicating Brentwood’s new $4.2 million firehouse. The ceremony took place three days after Kelly convened an emergency meeting of the Aldermen to discuss personnel and legal issues. Christopher Seemayer, Brentwood’s city administrator, resigned the next day, March 11. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Over the past four months, Brentwood residents have experienced a roller coaster ride of sorts. It began with the city’s announcement that Brentwood’s long-time city administrator Christopher Seemayer had resigned. A reason for the resignation was not given, other than it was a personnel issue. Then Niemeyer, with 49 years of service, announced his retirement and was publicly thanked for service in the city newsletter. Replacements were hired for both Seemayer and Niemeyer.

This was the news city officials provided to the public by announcement on their Website, in the city newsletter and in alderman meeting minutes.

Fire Chief Bob Niemeyer on March 13, 2011

Brentwood Fire Chief Bob Niemeyer speaks at the firehouse dedication ceremony on March 13. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

But news of a much rockier ride has emerged in the last two weeks from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and U.S. Justice Department press releases. First, Seemayer pleaded guilty to two counts of federal fraud, having embezzled about $30,000 by taking numerous unauthorized cash advances on the City of Brentwood’s credit card for the purpose of gambling at the Casino Queen. Next, there was news of fire officials and firefighters being paid overtime for hours they did not work.

The discussion boards on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Website, www.stltoday.com, have been active with citizens expressing their thoughts and concerns. Many have questions – do you? The next Brentwood Board of Aldermen meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight, July 18, at City Hall.

Also, you’re welcome to leave your comments on this Website.

All comments on The Brentwood Spirit Website are moderated.