Brentwood officials vote to decline statewide award

The Brentwood aldermen in a meeting Monday night voted to decline an award to the city announced last week.

The 2018 Innovation Award from the Missouri Municipal League, was in recognition of Brentwood’ use of GPS tracking to improve the delivery of public safety services.

Brentwood alderman, Brandon Wegge introduced the measure on Monday, saying the city’s application for the award had caused a lot of questions. According to the application, submitted by City Administrator Bola Akande, the city worked with the company, Geocompile, to develop software to make it possible to track the location of each of the city’s vehicles. Geocompile is owned by Brentwood Mayor Chris Thornton.

According to several alderman, the company had been formed to use data from the city to develop software to track city vehicles. Prior to that the city had the data but couldn’t use it. Akande said there was no “formal” relationship between the city and Geocompile.

Since then the city’s ways and means committee investigated any connection between Geocompile and the city. City staff said there was no connection, no contract, and that no money had passed hands between the city and either the company or the mayor.

Comparisons were made with last year when the city also won the award — for a technology it used to level sidewalks. Alderman David Dimmitt said the difference this year is that if the city hadn’t supplied the data the project wouldn’t have happened.

Alderman Steve Lochmoeller said it looked like liberties were taken with the application. Kathy O’Neill said it doesn’t seem transparent, and Sunny Sims said she doesn’t want an asterisk by the city’s name in the future.

See a PDF of the city’s application for the award, obtained from the Missouri Municipal League. 

Alderman Andy Leahy was the only vote to accept the award, saying it was similar to last year’s award, and citing that no money had changed hands.

Mayor Chris Thornton had recused himself from the discussion, and had left the room.

The Brentwood Board of Aldermen Monday night, before Mayor Chris Thornton recused himself.

6 thoughts on “Brentwood officials vote to decline statewide award

  1. Clearly we CAN trust some of our city officials — many of them in fact — and they deserve to be recognized and thanked for the way in which they responded Monday to this dubious deal. Thanks to Alderman Wegge for introducing a motion to decline the MML award, and thanks to him and aldermen Dimmitt, Plufka, Sims, Lochmoeller, Kramer, and O’Neill for passing it. This was the ethical thing to do. Frankly we should all find it troubling that they were placed in this untenable position by — it would appear — the mayor and some City Hall staffer(s). The mayor’s refusal to explain this deal certainly doesn’t help his case.

  2. while no money changed hands there still seems to be a conflict of interest if the information garnered from city vehicles is used to further the development of a company owned by the Mayor.

  3. even with no money changing hands, a conflict of interest can still exist if the information garnered from using Brentwood vehicle information is used to further our Mayor’s own company. We did not elect a Mayor who would use their position to profit with outside interests. Big conflict of interest.

  4. This is from the award application: “The cost of the Geocompile system is $360/vehicle per year for the GPS units and the annual subscription to the cloud based applications is $18,000 per year. In 2018 the total budgeted cost for the Brentwood police department is $26,640.” And yet staff says no money was paid to or is budgeted for Geocompile. So to whom,
    if anyone, is the budgeted money going to?

    • Like a cell phone, a GPS tracker requires a subscription service. In this case, the service is provided by a company called US Fleet Tracking (a nationwide company).

      As with pretty much everything regarding this situation, the wording used is extremely misleading and unclear. I’m glad to see that the Board of Aldermen is taking actions to address this issue and not just sweeping it under the rug.