Hannibal City Council votes for third party investigation into City Clerk’s Office

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 10:54 PM CST
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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) - There will be a third party investigation into the Hannibal City Clerk’s Office after allegations of misconduct were brought to light.

At the city council meeting Tuesday night, City Attorney James Lemon confirmed the council voted on Dec. 20 to have an outside agency conduct an investigation into the City Clerk’s Office.

This comes after about 13 residents went to the city council meeting on Dec. 20 to share their concerns about employee retention and transparency within city government.

Many speakers were concerned about an email Central Services Director Andy Dorian sent in July to other city department heads. It highlighted some of his worries about City Clerk Angel Zerbonia, who is now on paid administrative leave.

On Tuesday Lemon said the Council’s vote on the investigation was unanimous. Lemon revealed the information about the council vote after a Hannibal resident asked about whether or not there will be an investigation.

Third Ward Councilmember Stephan Franke said he wishes action had been taken sooner.

“I’m disappointed it took so long,” Franke said. “It should’ve happened in July. It should’ve happened in November, it should’ve happened at the first meeting in December, but it didn’t. It took much longer than it should and that is a miscarriage of justice. It’s not fair to our employees, not fair to the constituents we serve.”

Council Members Franke and Charlie Phillips went before Council Tuesday night to propose an ordinance to establish a chain of command for supervision of the City Clerk and a formal annual performance evaluation of the City Clerk by the council.

After some discussion, however, Council voted to have Lemon look over the motion and return to Council in two weeks with legal insight.

Council also had first readings on two April ballot issues. One issue would implement a tax rate to improve the stormwater system. The other would allow the city to impose a citywide sales tax on recreational, adult-use marijuana.

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