The Missouri Supreme Court voided most, but not all, of the language in two state parking statutes affecting the city of St. Louis, ruling that they partially violate the Missouri Constitution.
The court had heard oral arguments on March 30, 2022. Jeffrey Boyd, then a St. Louis city alderman for the 22nd Ward before he was sentenced to three years in prison later in the year for a bribery scheme, had joined a lawsuit of two people who received parking tickets from the city treasurer’s office.
One state parking statute charges a city treasurer outside a county with supervising and installing parking meters, supervising a parking division and collecting fees. The other creates a parking commission for those same entities to approve guidelines for city parking violations and to collect fines as well as other public parking oversight. It also designates the city treasurer as parking supervisor.
The plaintiffs claim the statute entrusts parking oversight on three municipal officers — which at the time would have included Boyd — and the state should not be the entity making this direction.
The city also filed a cross claim against the other defendants, which include the state, the city treasurer and other officials, that also challenged the state parking statute. The city treasurer and the state appealed a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and the city.
Chuck Hatfield of Stinson represented the treasurer, Adam Layne, in oral arguments last year. He did not respond to a call requesting comment. Jeff Johnson, as deputy solicitor, represented the state on appeal. The Attorney General’s Office did not respond to an email requesting comment.
In the unanimous high court opinion written by Judge Patricia Breckenridge, the court granted standing to Boyd and the successor in his role as alderman because the statute charged him with responsibility as the chairperson of the aldermanic streets, traffic and refuse committee.
“… Alderman Boyd had a personal stake in the outcome of the litigation because the remedy sought will alleviate the alleged injury — being required to perform duties the state imposed through the parking statutes on the office he holds, in violation of article VI, section 22,” Breckenridge wrote.
The court determined the state statutes creating a parking commission and responsibilities for the city’s municipal offices violate Article VI Section 22 of the Missouri Constitution, which protects charter cities from state oversight on the powers, duties and compensation of a municipal office or employee.
“As a result, the language creating the parking commission and making municipal officers members of the parking commission is void,” Breckenridge wrote.
The void language for the parking commission statute was not severable, Breckenridge stated, because it would leave a commission of two people, the treasurer and the director of parking operations, which would remove a municipal presence from the commission. The treasurer would have to fulfill the jobs of the parking commission and the office of the supervisor of parking meters, essentially overseeing himself.
In contrast to the circuit court throwing out the entirety of the statute, the remaining provisions in the statute not relating to the parking commission are valid and in effect.
What is left of the statute designates a treasurer outside the county as supervisor of parking meters, and Breckenridge wrote that this could be executed “in accordance with legislative intent, and it is presumed the legislature would have enacted them without the void provisions relating to the parking commission.”
Elkin Kistner of Kistner, Hamilton, Elam & Martin represented the plaintiffs. He said the result of the March 7 opinion was not what his clients had sought to fight for in court.
“The Supreme Court has basically indicated that the treasurer, without any oversight by a reviewing body, is able to exercise these robust powers as city treasurer without oversight by the parking commission acting as a check,” Kistner said. “That’s not the result that we wanted, and that’s not the result that anybody advocated for, including the treasurer or the attorney general.”
Michael Garvin, a deputy city counselor from the St. Louis City Counselor’s Office, represented the city in oral arguments. He did not respond to an email requesting comment.
The case is Wilson et al. v. City of St. Louis et al., and Layne, City of St. Louis v. State of Missouri, SC98907.