The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 11, 2014

Our View: Answers needed in Rohr firing, special investigation

Questions we have plenty; it’s answers that are in short supply in regard to the firing of Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr and details included in the findings of a special investigator hired by the Joplin City Council.

Members of the council met behind closed doors for more than four hours on Feb. 4. The public was led to believe that closed-door session was held so that City Attorney Brian Head and a hired investigator, Tom Loraine, could give their legal conclusions to the council. A meeting agenda never mentioned the doors would be closed for personnel action, so the public had no idea that a large portion of the secret meeting was used to discuss details in Loraine’s report about Rohr.

In fact, because Loraine was never charged with providing details of Rohr’s management to the council, the public would have no reason to suspect that was what was going on behind closed doors.

At the end of a long night, the public report consisted of 17 pages of a 27-page report. The 10 pages about Rohr had been removed.

Also missing were all of the exhibits used by the investigator to answer questions regarding Councilman Bill Scearce’s association with a convicted bookmaker and Councilman Mike Woolston’s role in property that eventually was bought by the city’s land bank, the Joplin Redevelopment Corp., for tornado redevelopment projects. Loraine’s report addressed the Scearce questions by concluding that Scearce had committed no criminal wrongdoing. He questioned whether there were improprieties in Woolston helping contractor Charlie Kuehn buy property that was sold to the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. It also questioned fees charged by the master developer, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners.

Loraine states in the report that 51 witnesses were interviewed under oath and that “hundreds of pages of exhibits were submitted and reviewed.”

Yet the public does not have access to any of these exhibits, the very basis for the findings in this report.

Today, we expect an answer from the city of Joplin on our request for information filed Thursday under Missouri’s open records, open meetings law.

The Globe is asking for a full copy of Loraine’s report, as well as transcripts of the testimony.

We want to know what instructions were given to Loraine as to what and who were to be investigated.

We have asked for a copy of Loraine’s bill to the city for the investigation and information about what city fund will be used to pay for the costs.

We want a copy of the land assemblage contract between the JRC and Wallace Bajjali Development Partners and any payments made to Wallace Bajjali on each land transaction. Finally, we are asking for Rohr’s employment contract or terms of employment.

All of these documents, in our view, belong to the public. Without them, this special investigation has no factual basis for evaluation.

The information belongs to the public and should be placed in its hands.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Sports