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Randy Steele Resigns from Joplin School Board;Two Seats now Vaca - KOAM TV 7

Randy Steele Resigns from Joplin School Board;Two Seats now Vacant

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -       A Joplin school board member resigns saying he felt harassed.    Board member Randy Steele is stepping down. Steele turned in his resignation last night after a closed session meeting of the board.

Steele has served seven years on the Joplin school board. He says it's time for a new chapter in his life.

Steele says, "The biggest reason is the pressure to fill the seat." That's the seat Lane Roberts won in an election but immediately vacated to take a job with the state.

Steele says he was getting messages and packages at work at Eagle Picher where a security check is needed, and even at home.

Steele says, "I got phone calls with the name blocked saying you need to make sure you vote properly. If not, then don't show up to the meeting. I felt kind of harassed and felt threatened to a degree."

Board president Jeff Koch says he suggested board members use a matrix of questions and scenarios to judge candidates and welcomes differences of opinion. He says Steele's resignation took him by surprise and while debate over candidates was divided and led to bickering, Koch says that hasn't prevented board action and can be healthy.

Koch says, "I think having a variety of opinions is good. I'd like to come to a resolution at the end that's a compromise. It would be good   to be able to basically vet an issue from all sides and be able to come up with a resolution that satisfies everyone."

Steele says the board  had lost its focus and was becoming too much about politics. But Koch says that's always a factor. He says,  "It's an election. It is a vote.  It is politics."

Steele says pressure was on him to vote for Jim Kimbrough but he says he was voting for change.

Steele says, “Jim has served his time. He's a wonderful person and  has an  educational background. But if the community has spoken, and wants change and it's brought in new board members, Lane Roberts was a new person selected, then the seat should continue to be a new person to board."

Koch responded to that saying, "Instead of talking about changing people, we're talking about change of ideas and change of the culture we want to be more transparent want to be more open and more inclusive."

Steele says he's proud of what was accomplished when he was on the board. But in his resignation letters says that as is written in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything,” and I believe the time for me to resign from the board is now.

  Koch says he's checking protocols on whether or not the board must advertise the new open seat or if it can use applications from the current search for Robert's replacement.

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