Bellefontaine Neighbors in gridlock again amid turmoil

The city government of Bellefontaine Neighbors is facing a second gridlock in recent years with officials unable to hire employees and unable to agree on a budget. This has resulted in the loss of a grant of up to $420,000. The city is already conducting an audit of its finances for the past two years. However, the city’s aldermen are calling for an investigation into the new mayor, Dinah Tatman, accusing her of making decisions and spending money without their input.

Mayor Tatman has welcomed the audit, which is primarily focused on the city’s finances under her predecessor. However, she believes that the call for a state investigation is a tactic by her political opponents to obstruct her administration from effectively running the city. Four of the seven aldermen have declared they have no confidence in Mayor Tatman and have listed grievances including spending money without approval, failure to document expenses, and not working with the board.

Mayor Tatman has responded by stating that the city doesn’t have enough staff to keep it running day to day, and aldermen have blocked her from hiring workers. She believes that their actions are aimed at preventing her from doing her job and taking full control of the city. This has resulted in political infighting and gridlock in the city, with accusations being made on both sides.

The dispute has escalated, with aldermen requesting that the Missouri attorney general’s office or the state ethics commission conduct an investigation into Mayor Tatman’s actions. They have raised concerns about her spending of federal pandemic aid and her hiring decisions. Mayor Tatman, on the other hand, has defended her actions and believes that the aldermen’s declaration of no confidence is nonbinding and purely political in nature.

This ongoing political controversy has caused paralysis in the city government, impacting the city of approximately 10,450 residents. The dispute is reminiscent of previous accusations of spending money without approval against former Mayor Tommie Pierson Sr. The situation has resulted in a lack of unity, a financial audit, and ongoing political infighting within the city government.

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