Former city administrator Alan Clark says he plans appeal to higher court

Former City Administrator Alan Clark says he will appeal to a higher court in response to a decision handed down in a civil suit involving the City of St. Robert.

The city was seeking a declaratory judgment against Clark, who was dismissed from his position in April 2012.

Judge Douglas Gaston of the Circuit Court of Pulaski County ruled in favor of the City on Jan. 30.

"We have received the opinion of the court and after conferring with our attorneys, we respectfully disagree with the decision reached by Judge Gaston," Clark stated in a press release. " It is our intention to file an appeal to the Southern District Court of Appeals and continue our fight there. We appreciate the support that we have received from the community, and ultimately we believe in our position and that in the end, we will [be] vindicated."

St. Robert Mayor George Sanders declined to comment on the ruling per advice from legal counsel.

According to a previous report from The Daily Guide, defines a declaratory judgment as “A court judgment that doesn't order anything to be done or award damages but determines the parties' rights. Declaratory judgments are allowed to nip controversies in the bud, but border on advisory opinions which are prohibited.”

In this particular case, the city asked the court to declare a portion of the city's own ordinance “void ab initio,” which means to declare that portion of the ordinance had at no time any legal validity.

According to the city's petition, the ordinance giving Clark the right to a hearing within 30 days of being fired, suspension with pay until the hearing and two months of pay after a hearing exceeds the authority granted to the city by the state.

According to Gaston's judgment, Clark's removal was lawful.

"The Court concludes that Clark's removal from office was lawful and in accordance with

Section 79.240 for the reasons that: (a) a majority of the members of the Board consented to his

removal; and (2) Williams lawfully exercised the mayor's power under Section 79.240 to remove Clark from office... Consequently, the provisions of Section 105-11 O(F) providing for a hearing and salary continuation for two calendar months violate the applicable Missouri statute, and are, therefore, void ab initio."