Quantcast

City officials in Neosho soon could have more accountability - KOAM TV 7

City officials in Neosho soon could have more accountability

Updated:

Some city officials in Neosho say they want to send a clear message:  Around here, rules are meant to be followed.

"General things that a reasonable person on the street would expect any elected official to follow," says Mayor Richard Davidson.

But area business owner Julie Stephens points out criminal charges are already available against those breaking the law.

"So would it be additional prosecution?  I'm unsure if we need additional people dedicating their time to make sure more people are accountable," says Stephens.

In 2010, former city manager Jan Blase was fired and lead guilty in court to a misdemeanor of illegally using earmarked money for a different city purpose.

But this proposal to the city's charter would require all five elected officials to follow ethics.

"If you own a piece of property and you're voting on something that could impact that value of that property, we expect you to step back and say wait a minute, I have property this could impact, and abstain from voting," says Davidson.

Council members would also be expected to not release details of a closed session meeting until Missouri's Sunshine Law requires them to do so, or council members vote for the go ahead.

"Just like speed limits or other laws, if there's no penalties for breaking those laws, there's not going to be a wide acceptance to follow those laws," says Davidson.

The proposed addition to the city's charter calls for possible removal from office if a city official is found guilty of knowingly committing misconduct.

"We had some past problems and accusations of misconduct in the past years, and I think it's a good solution to it.  I think it's a good way to nip it in the bud before it goes any further," says area businessman Randy Collins, owner of Cafe Angelica.

Council members will not decide if the proposal will be sent to voters in April.  Having this proposed change to the charter being decided by voters would require future council members to follow the ethics code, or face penalties.  Future council members couldn't change this code without voter's approval.  

At least three of the five council members must approve the measure before it's sent to voters.  Council members are slated to vote on the issue this Tuesday.  A simple majority would pass the measure, should it be put before voters.

Councilman David Ruth initially opposed the proposal, saying it was setting up a politically-controlled environment at city hall.  Councilman Ruth says he has since decided he'll approve the proposal for voters to later decide.  Councilman Ruth did not want to be interviewed on camera for this story.

The below language for the proposal comes from Mayor Davidson:

SECTION2.12: Ethics

EthicProhibitions:  Council shall enactcode provisions identifying prohibited conduct of its members including, butnot limited to, ImproperUse of Public Property; Conflicts of Interest; Influencing the City's business relationshipswith a business of which a council member has an interest in and/or is soemployed;  Appearing in a proceeding adverse to the City unless undersubpoena; Disclose or useconfidential information gained by reason of the members position on theCouncil; Having afinancial or personal interest in pending legislation and participatingin discussion unless such interest is disclosed on the record; Holds, directlyor indirectly, any interest in real estate situated within the City and participates in discussionregarding the regulation or zoning of such real estate unless suchinterest is disclosed on the record; and Representing individual opinions asthat being the opinion of the Council unless Council affirmatively voted andpassed an ordinance, resolution or motion that states the expressedpolicy.   

EthicsBoard:  Council shall establish bycode an Ethics Board for the purpose of insuring the proper implementation ofthe code of ethics, determining violations of the code and advising the Councilof appropriate penalties thereof.  The board shall operate as a board onlyduring the review of a specific complaint.

Penalty:  Any council member who willfully violates anyprovision of this Section may thereby be admonished, reprimanded and/or forfeithis or her office or position with the City and unless otherwise punishable,may be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punishableby a fine not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment fornot more than thirty (30) days, or both.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Suspect in Galena Arson Pleads Guilty

    Suspect in Galena Arson Pleads Guilty

    Monday, October 15 2018 8:05 PM EDT2018-10-16 00:05:44 GMT
    A Galena, Kansas man pleads guilty to two arsons from the spring and summer. Ronny Ray Piercefield admits that he set a grass fire on North Jefferson Street in Galena in March. That fire eventually engulfed a small structure. Piercefield also pleaded guilty to setting a fire that engulfed 68 bales of hay in rural Cherokee County, Kansas in July of 2018. Piercefield is to be sentenced in December of 2018.  Authorities have been investigating a string of fires that happened in ...More >>
    A Galena, Kansas man pleads guilty to two arsons from the spring and summer. Ronny Ray Piercefield admits that he set a grass fire on North Jefferson Street in Galena in March. That fire eventually engulfed a small structure. Piercefield also pleaded guilty to setting a fire that engulfed 68 bales of hay in rural Cherokee County, Kansas in July of 2018. Piercefield is to be sentenced in December of 2018.  Authorities have been investigating a string of fires that happened in ...More >>
  • Police Release More Information Regarding Pittsburg Shooting

    Monday, October 15 2018 6:07 PM EDT2018-10-15 22:07:44 GMT
    The Pittsburg Police Department is searching for a suspect in a weekend shooting. Police say Eric James Cravey is wanted in the Saturday shooting that injured Vanessa Rae McWhirt-Martin of Chetopa, KS. Authorities say McWhirt was a passenger in a black "Dodge Nitro" driven by Cravey. They say witnesses say she got out of the SUV during an argument with Cravey and was shot with a handgun.  McWhirt was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. At last repo...More >>
    The Pittsburg Police Department is searching for a suspect in a weekend shooting. Police say Eric James Cravey is wanted in the Saturday shooting that injured Vanessa Rae McWhirt-Martin of Chetopa, KS. Authorities say McWhirt was a passenger in a black "Dodge Nitro" driven by Cravey. They say witnesses say she got out of the SUV during an argument with Cravey and was shot with a handgun.  McWhirt was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. At last repo...More >>
  • Pittsburg Police Identify Shooting Victim

    Sunday, October 14 2018 2:43 PM EDT2018-10-14 18:43:35 GMT

    Police identified the victim in a  shooting Saturday afternoon in Pittsburg  as 37 year old Vanessa Rae McWhirt-Martin of Chetopa, Kansas. 

    More >>

    Police identified the victim in a  shooting Saturday afternoon in Pittsburg  as 37 year old Vanessa Rae McWhirt-Martin of Chetopa, Kansas. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly

KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas
Send tips, ideas and press releases to: tips@koamtv.com
Send newsroom questions or comments to: comments@koamtv.com
Phone: (417) 624-0233 or (620) 231-0400
Web comments or questions: webmaster@koamtv.com
Newsroom Fax: (417) 624-3158

Powered by Frankly, Inc. All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOAM. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.