Letters, guest columns and social media comments continue to provide reader commentary on the Feb. 4 firing of Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr, as well as the results of a council-ordered investigation.
Rohr had been the city manager for nine years. He received a national award last year as a public official of the year for leading Joplin’s tornado recovery efforts.
The council’s charge to Tom Loraine, an attorney from Osage Beach, was to address questions about the relationship of Councilman Bill Scearce to a gambling bookmaker who had rented an office from him; about how Scearce obtained a memo from Rohr’s desk without his permission; and about whether Councilman Mike Woolston had engaged in improper property dealings. The probe’s report to the council stated that the investigator believed that Scearce had been cleared of any misconduct.
The investigation report to the council was 27 pages, and 10 pages were said to involve complaints about Rohr. Those pages were removed from public copies of the report, with Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean saying it constituted a personnel record that was exempt from disclosure under Missouri’s open records law.
Rohr was asked by the Globe last week to disclose those pages, and so far he has not at the advice of his attorney.
The total report, including the Rohr portion, is one of the records sought by the Globe in a request for the city to release records pursuant to state open records law. On Friday, the Globe received a portion of the records requested but not the full report and still no details on Rohr.
The sooner, the better
For the past two weeks, the supercilious antics of our Joplin City Council has drawn much attention and discussion among the residents of Joplin.
The general consensus from people with whom I have had discussions is that the actions were both recreant and nefarious.
As a member of the council that hired Mark, I have never been disappointed in our choice of candidates for the post. He, in my opinion, has never dodged his responsibilities and in following our initial instruction of restoring downtown, the results are evident.
His leadership after the tornado is an example of his strength of purpose, and he has been recognized nationally for our achievements.
As for the “fabulous five” who are responsible for this debacle, I’m not sure that they measure up as a group in comparison to what Mark has accomplished.
This insidious action deserves recall consideration and the sooner, the better.