Taxpayers Ask: “What is Fact and What is Fiction?”

FEBRUARY 26, 2015, Chesterfield, Missouri…Taxpayers in St. Louis County’s Monarch Fire Protection District are disputing public claims by Monarch Fire Protection District Board President Robin Harris and Secretary Jane Cunningham.

“The Monarch Fire Protection District Board is generating wide criticism for budget overages, falsehoods that misinform citizens and complaints about questionable management,” said Chesterfield residents Russell Lake and Marlyn Flauter.

“We wonder ‘What is fact and what is fiction?’ said Flauter, a Chesterfield resident for 39 years.

“In my opinion, Harris and Cunningham have turned the Monarch board into a public joke,” said Lake, a Chesterfield resident for 27 years.

“They have attracted plenty of negative media coverage that questions their management and reflects poorly on our community.”

“A few weeks ago, Robin Harris publically took credit for upgrading equipment and personnel so that all Monarch fire houses can provide Advanced Life Support,” Flauter said.

“The truth is Advanced Life Support capabilities have been in place at Monarch since 1999, a decade before Harris joined the Board,” Flauter said.

“Why isn’t Robin Harris telling the whole story?”

“The board’s public newsletter recently announced that Monarch purchased two new trucks – a ladder truck and a pumper with rescue capabilities. In fact, the district did not purchase those trucks but leased them. What’s the point of not telling the truth about that in the newsletter?”

“Harris and Cunningham approved paying fees of about $230,000 to attorneys who contributed to their Board election campaigns. The Monarch Board exceeded its 2013 budget by $725,000, including those attorney fees,” Lake said.

“My opinion is that Harris and Cunningham are not explaining why because they do not want to upset the taxpayers.”

‘Robin Harris and Jane Cunningham claim credibility and transparency as board members, but the facts show otherwise,” Flauter said.  “They claim to support ‘transparency’ in the operations of the Monarch Fire Protection District. Yet evidently they do not support ‘transparency in their own actions as board officers.”

“Attracting ridicule by media and citizens means the Monarch should abide its budget and serve with more dignity, integrity and honesty.”

“Our fire protection district — the largest in St. Louis County — deserves leadership that can be trusted.”

Russell Lake and Marlyn Flauter are members of the community organization Monarch Residents for Truth. Lake works as a Certified Business Advisor for small and mid size businesses. Flauter works for a financial services company.