The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • 3 running for City Attorney

  • Three Rolla men are running for the position of City Attorney in the April 3 election.

    The Rolla Daily News sent out questionaries to the candidates, here are their responses.

    Profiles for other elected positions will appear in the RDN?throughout the week.

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  • Three Rolla men are running for the position of City Attorney in the April 3 election.
    The Rolla Daily News sent out questionaries to the candidates, here are their responses.
    Profiles for other elected positions will appear in the RDN?throughout the week.
    Describe your background:
    • Brendan J. Fox
    My name is Brendon Fox and I want to be your Rolla City Attorney. I received a partial scholarship to attend Stanford University for my undergraduate education and attended Mizzou for law school. I have been a full-time practicing attorney in the Rolla area for almost five years and have represented hundreds of people in private practice and prosecuted thousands more as a county prosecutor. I have been a volunteer working with troubled youth, I have volunteered for the Lion’s Club Carnival, and am proud to give back to our community as an Assistant Prosecutor. My wife Katie and I feel very fortunate to make Rolla our home and are glad to be raising our family here.
    • Dean Matthews
    Education, Undergraduate - Business Administration / Bachelor of Science University of Missouri – St. Louis. Graduate - Master of Business Administration Maryville University – St. Louis. Professional – Juris Doctoris St. Louis University School of Law. Work Experience Member of the Missouri Bar Association 14 years licensed attorney. Government Service attorney approximately 7 years. Legal Counsel - Division of Child Support Enforcement 2+ years. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Phelps County – nine months. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pulaski County – 4 years.
    Private attorney approximately 7 years. Heath care administrator - Barnes Hospital (St. Louis) 10 years. St. Johns Mercy Medical Center (Springfield) 2+ yrs. I worked as an electrician to put myself through undergraduate school. U.S. Navy – 1971 to 1974 Honorable Discharge served as a shipboard electrician.
    • Robert J. Stoltz
    My name is Robert J. Stoltz. My friends and family call me Jeff. I was born and raised in Rolla, and began working early in life. I worked at the family businesses, Stoltz Realtors and Stoltz, The Appraisal Company. I also had my own lawn business as a teenager. These experiences taught me early on to respect the benefit of working hard to accomplish goals and self responsibility.
    I attended the University of Missouri-Rolla with the idea I would go on to law school following college. I graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in History and minors in Political Science and Psychology.
    During college, I served as an intern to State Representative Jerry McBride for a semester in Jefferson City. I was also very active in various community and student organizations.
    In 1997, I graduated from Regent University Law School, and have been practicing law in the State of Missouri for 14 years. I specialize in real estate, criminal, consumer protection, and Constitutional law. I am a member of the Federal Court in the Eastern District of Missouri and the Phelps County Bar Association. I have also served as a Rolla City Councilman.
    Page 2 of 7 - In 2002, I was elected Rolla City Attorney, and have served in that position for 10 years. I attend the First Assembly of God Church in Rolla and I am a member of the Rolla Rotary Club and Rolla Chamber of Commerce.
    I serve on the board of directors for the Rolla PRC and act as their legal counsel and Vice President. I have many family members in Phelps County. I work with my father, Bob Stoltz at Stoltz Appraisal and volunteer with my mother, Sue Stoltz in various organizations, including National Day of Prayer and Bott Radio Network. I have two nephews that I love to spend time with and enjoy watching them grow up.
    Why are you running for this office?
    • Brendan J. Fox
    I am running for Rolla City Attorney because I believe it is important for citizens to take action when they see something wrong in their community. I recognized that our City Court is not working as it should and that it is losing money for our city. More than half of all misdemeanor ordinance violations are being sent to County Court when they should be handled in City Court. This is no small matter, it is costing our city tens of thousands of dollars and in our tough financial times every bit helps. RPD is already doing their job, the City Attorney should too.
    • Dean Matthews
    I have lived in Rolla for four years and I’d like to be directly involved in our community. I believe that Rolla has a bright future and want to contribute by serving in the capacity of Rolla City Attorney.
    • Robert J. Stoltz
    I am running for re-election as the Rolla City Attorney for the same reasons I ran back in 2002. I have a passion for public service. There is no such thing as a part-time public servant. Making myself available to the public is a top priority.
    I want to give back to Rolla. It is a great community that has given so much to me and my family. I work hard every day to treat people the way I would want to be treated. With my background in the private sector and small business, I am uniquely qualified to run the City Attorney's office with a hometown feel.
    Why are you a better choice than your opponents?
    • Brendan J. Fox
    I believe I am the best choice for Rolla City Attorney because I am the candidate that discovered the mismanagement of the City Court. I am the candidate that has recognized that Rolla is losing thousands of dollars of revenue to the state by having so many cases sent to County Court. I am handling those cases now at the county level and I am the candidate that wants to make Rolla City Court all that it can, and should be.
    Page 3 of 7 - • Dean Matthews
    I am a better choice than my opponents for the following reasons: I am a more experienced prosecutor and attorney than Mr. Fox. I do not have potential County government entanglements as Mr. Fox does. My only focus as Rolla City Attorney is Rolla. I am an “empty-nester” with time and energy to serve vigorously.
    I am a better choice than Mr. Stolz because as he has stated, and I paraphrase, he does not see his duty to include advising the city council on potential new public safety ordinances. I believe his attitude is extremely short sighted and not in the best interest for the future of Rolla. I would prosecute each and every ordinance of Rolla without preconceived objections or reservations as Mr. Stolz indicates he has.
    I would work tirelessly to improve communication and cooperation with between the City Attorney office and the Rolla Police Department, the office of the Mayor, and the Rolla City Council. I see the role and duty of the Rolla City Attorney as a watchman on the city walls looking for potential trouble on the horizon. Drugs and their impact on the vitality of Rolla has not been addressed in any manner by Mr. Stolz. As Rolla City Attorney I would strive to open new lines of communication between city residents and the office including a professional blog with regular reports to the public and interactive to listen to citizen concerns.
    • Robert J. Stoltz
    Because I am self-employed, I am able to make my public service as an elected official my #1 priority. Being an elected official is different than working for the government as an employee of a county elected official.
    Having the time to keep good communication between my office and all the different city departments is vital. I take the time necessary to ensure the job is done right. I do not cut corners. The Rolla City Court has gone through many changes in 10 years. I make it my goal to use all the city resources in the most effective and efficient way possible. The court is run as smooth as possible to give access to the people and not unduly burden the police, victims, or the court. Together with the judge, police, and the court staff, the Rolla Municipal Court is running in the best possible fashion in 2012.
    Neither of my opponents can say that representing the citizens of Rolla is their number one priority. I am available to the public, the police, and the court when called upon. I have a positive working relationship with the Mayor, the City Administrator, the Chief of Police, and the Rolla City Judge. Additionally, I have a very good rapport with all the Rolla Police Officers.
    Finally, I have the experience of working in a variety of courts and with many different judges as the Rolla City Attorney. Neither of my opponents have ever been to Rolla Municipal Court. They have not met with the City Administrator or Judge regarding the operational status of Rolla City Court. In 2011, Rolla joined many other courts in adopting JIS software, increasing the clerical work for the clerks. Also, one of the two court clerks took early retirement.
    Page 4 of 7 - At the ground level, the court is not able to keep up with the current volume of cases in Rolla Municipal Court. How can it be that a person running to be the Rolla City Attorney could be so naive, without doing due diligence, to claim that 400 or more cases should be filed in Rolla City Court that are currently being properly sent to the County for one of the reasons listed in the answer to question #4.
    At a recent forum the challengers indicated police are choosing to ask the county prosecutor rather than the city attorney to prosecute offenders. Please explain why you think this is true or false.
    • Brendan J. Fox
    This is absolutely true. From July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, RPD made 108 misdemeanor DWI arrests that should have been handled in City Court. But of those 108 only 17 were handled in City Court with the other 91 going to County Court. There are only two ways a city case can get to the County Prosecutor: (1) the City Attorney sends it to the County Prosecutor because he doesn’t believe he can handle it, or (2) the police send it to the County Prosecutor because they don’t believe the City Attorney can handle it. Either way, it is clear that somebody doesn’t think the City Attorney can do the job and Rolla is suffering for it.
    • Dean Matthews
    I do believe that the City of Rolla Police Department is choosing to refer a significant number of drug cases to Mr. Beger and the County Prosecutor’s office, but for a number of reasons. I do believe there is a disconnect between the city attorney office and the city police department. I am not aware of any pro-active regular discussions / meetings between these offices to address any and all related issues, not just drugs. I would seek to establish such a regular line of communication. Having said that, many drug cases need to be referred for prosecution at county level in order to have access to a jail or to the Department of Corrections. Also, at times there are punishment enhancements for repeat offenders that only exist by State statute and available through county prosecution. I would encourage the Rolla City Police Department to refer all drug cases for which there is a City ordinance violation. I know that I can provide a better response than the county because of Phelps large case burden.
    • Robert J. Stoltz
    It is true that the Rolla Police Department asks the County Prosecutor to prosecute offenders. They have always done so.
    When the Rolla Police stop someone, they have the option to write a warning or write a ticket to that individual. They also have a choice as to where to send the charge. They can send it to the City Attorney, the County Prosecutor, or the FCC in Jefferson City. There are many factors as to why a particular charge and/or person would be best served being sent to any of the three places. For example, some officers like to write traffic tickets through the FCC to individuals from out of state.
    Page 5 of 7 - I trust the judgment of my police officers. They are on the front lines everyday and know the situation on the streets better then I. I will not second guess each separate decision made by the police. Communication is crucial in every line of work, but as an independent elected official it is very important to keep the lines of communication open.
    I work with the City Administrator and the Chief of Police to develop the "big picture" policy on what is best handled in Rolla Municipal Court. We are unified in wanting every case that is best kept in City Court to be filed by the Rolla City Attorney. The Chief of Police has stated to me face to face on many occasions that every officer is sending charges to Rolla City Court that is best served by doing so.
    Since a misdemeanor charged by the County Prosecutor has double the punishment available as it would if filed by the City Attorney, City Court is not a place for serious crimes that warrant serious punishment. The Police are focused on the drug problem and the number of cases involving something more than petty crimes and criminals is on the rise.
    Here are 5 reasons why serious crimes that are in need of increased attention or punishment should go to the County Prosecuting Attorney:
    1. Rolla doesn't own a Jail. Any person sentenced to jail in Rolla City Court is charged a $40/day fee that we must pay to the County up front to house offenders in Jail. Then, we must try to collect that from the offenders.
    2. The Constitutional Right to an Attorney. If a citizen cannot afford an attorney, they have the right to have one provided for them. The more serious the charge, the more important it is to provide legal counsel to the defendant.
    3. Trial De Novo. If the city wins a case at trial, the defendant has the absolute right to a new trial with a new Judge and no evidence from the first trial can be used in the second trial. For serious crimes, using resources to perform a trial that only counts if the city loses isn't good.
    4. Security. City Hall was not designed to house court. It takes a lot of the Rolla Police Department's resources on a court date to transport defendants from the Jail to City Hall and provide security.
    5. Number of City Ordinances. The City Attorney can only file charges on crimes for which the city has an ordinance. The County Prosecutor can file charges on any action that violates State Law.
    What question would you like to ask and answer?
    • Brendan J. Fox
    When you vote for City Attorney, you are taking part in the hiring process for Rolla. If you needed to hire an attorney, you would ask people you consider knowledgeable on the subject. So, before you vote April 3, ask a police officer, lawyer, court clerk, or someone else who is knowledgeable, “If you needed an attorney and had to hire one of the candidates to represent you, who would you choose?” Then vote for that person.
    Page 6 of 7 - • Dean Matthews
    I am not certain that I understand the number 5. question in terms of who the audience is. However, I would like to know what safety concerns the residents of Rolla have. The relationship between the University and the City has not been part of any question or discussion during this campaign. I would be sensitive to the needs of the University and attempt to open channels of regular communication concerning public safety issues.
    Additionally, I am aware that a significant number of U. S. Army officers stationed at Ft. Wood choose to make Rolla their family home. I would open dialog with the Ft. Wood liaison to let them know that I am aware of their significant contribution in our community and assure them of my availability. I would be interested in asking the City Council and Judge Crump about the potential for alternative sentencing options.
    • Robert J. Stoltz
    How is the Rolla Municipal Court different then other city courts in Phelps County and how does that effect your philosophy as a prosecutor?
    The Rolla City Court holds court 3-5 times per month including one weekday with all day court. Most other courts meet once per month. The Rolla court has traditionally held itself up to give equal justice under the law to all those that enter the court. The primary focus has not been raising revenue. Some other courts are more concerned with revenue because they have to be. With around $200,000.00 received in each of the last 3 years per City of Rolla, Finance Dept. the revenue in Rolla City Court is bringing in sufficient funds.
    The Court pays for itself sometime just after the first quarter of each year. However, this is not what drives the engine of justice in Rolla. Municipal Court is about prosecuting first time offenders. The City Judge and the other Judges that handle City cases, and I work together to use the limited means we have in Municipal court to encourage people to be good law abiding citizens and productive members of society. The punishment is meant to fit the crime. These first time offenders come to court and learn about our legal system. Rolla City Court works hard to teach them that they don't want to break the law or have to come to court in the future.
    The current City Administrator has been in his position during all my years of service. The current Chief of Police has been there since 2007. I have an excellent relationship with both men. I am very open to their input and do not dictate my views to them. Over the years in talking with several people who have served as the Rolla City Attorney and the three Judges that hear Rolla City cases, I have come to the conclusion the charge of DWI is the most serious charge the Rolla City Attorney can file. It is really the only city charge in which someone could die or have serious bodily harm.
    Page 7 of 7 - Many of the Rolla Police Officers believe all DWIs should be sent to the County Prosecutor because of how they affect individuals and society. At the County, they have supervised probation. In the City, the defendants are on probation with the Judge or the Court. Phelps County and the City of Rolla are best served by these policies and procedures being in place and in continuing to help keep our community a good, safe place to live, and raise a family. Help keep the City of Rolla independent from the County.
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