The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

May 31, 2013

Eldon Morgan, guest columnist: Neosho’s charter should still mean something

NEOSHO, Mo. — At a town hall meeting held on May 9, 2013, I voiced my concerns regarding Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson’s endorsement (as mayor) of Jay Nixon, a Democrat, in the past gubernatorial election.

I also voiced my concerns regarding the city’s continued stall tactics to slow or stop the progress of the Transportation Development District.

I had hoped that the media would report on my comments so residents would be made aware of these important concerns. This letter is being written in an effort to share with the residents of Neosho these concerns. This was my statement in its entirety:

In 1973, the city of Neosho formed a Neosho Charter Commission. The members on the commission were Harry Hatcher, chairman; Eldon L. Morgan, vice chairman; Ines Bales, secretary. Additional commissioners were H.C. Acken, Dave Oehring, Col. Jack Cornett, Dr. Roy Shaver, Judge George Henry, Doug Skaggs, Robert Johnson, Dr. Larry Talley, Larry Neff and Jack Wood.

On April 3, 1973, the residents of Neosho voted to approve the charter as recommended by the Neosho Charter Commission, and it was adopted.

In doing so, the charter specifically recognized the duties of the city manager, mayor, mayor pro tem and council members. Section 2.05 mayor and mayor pro tempore: Duties — The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the council and shall have a voice and vote in all proceedings, but no veto. This official shall appoint all committees, the appointment or election of which is not otherwise provided. The mayor shall have no administrative duties but shall be recognized as the official head of city for civil, military and ceremonial purposes and shall perform such duties imposed by this office or as may be assigned by the council.

This is something every member of the council should read and understand in order to conduct themselves in accordance with the charter. Have you read the charter? Do you understand your authority and responsibilities? If you have, raise your hand. Article 3 of the charter deals with the duties and responsibilities of the city manager. Mayor and council: Why don’t you just let the city manager do his job? Most residents don’t even know who he is.

Mr. Mayor, I was unaware of any vote by the council that took place endorsing a political office in the last gubernatorial election. Mr. Mayor, you have the right to endorse anyone you want, but you do not have the right to do it as mayor of the city of Neosho, as you did by endorsing Jay Nixon, a Democrat, in the last election.

It’s time for the city to quit trying to run the TDD and let the TDD do its job instead of obstructing improvements, economic development and success for the city. Judge Kevin Selby settled this issue, but you are not satisfied. If the city doesn’t stop its objections, we will lose the MoDOT funds of $2.4 million dollars that we would be given.

You say the city did not know about the flaw in the original filing of the TDD. City Attorney Steve Hays filed the documents, and I believe he has known about the flaw and now is suing his own work. Who does that?

Now there are individuals who are just trying to serve the people and push forward with developing more retail, businesses and safety for those traveling Highway 60. They’re improving the safety of kids going to the middle school and Carver. One thing I know about the new roads, they will do more for the residents of Neosho than ball parks. Look’s to me like it is ball parks or roads to this council.

Homeowners near the middle school have objected to having a sports complex behind their homes by signing a petition. However, it seems you are going to promote this endeavor at the objection of these homeowners.

In closing, I would like to remind everyone that the city is a charter form of government that many people worked hard on. It was approved by a vote of the people. We should expect our residents and especially those who are elected to respect and obey that charter.

Eldon Morgan lives in Neosho and was the vice chairman of the original charter commission.

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