The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 14, 2013

Our View: Mayor must set the standard


The Joplin Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean said Monday night that she changed her vote last week to one in favor of seeking the resignation of City Manager Mark Rohr but did not tell the entire council she had done so.

She said she made "an error of non-notification of my council of voting status."

So why didn't she provide that explanation to the Globe - and the public - when we first asked her about votes taken in a closed session on Aug. 5 that led Colbert-Kean and Bill Scearce, mayor pro tem, to ask Rohr for his resignation? If you've been following this story, you know that Rohr declined to resign, stating he hadn't been given any written direction in the last several evaluations as to any goals the council wanted him to achieve or any performance measurements.

The results of a vote that at least some in the closed session thought was a "straw poll" were four voting to ask for Rohr's resignation, three voting against asking for the resignation and two, including the mayor, abstaining.

The mayor told the Globe in her first interview late Friday night that she never expressed a vote on a motion made in the closed session by Benjamin Rosenberg to ask Rohr to resign. In recounting the events, she indicated she never expressed a vote on the question and had acted based on the four votes in favor of it recorded from the meeting.

Whatever the story of the day is, we are confident that Joplin residents are not getting the straight story on all this.

Colbert-Kean, during a special session on Monday, called for council unity while she tried to explain her "error."

The mayor said the council members must improve communication.

In our view, that can't happen until she sets the standard.

Full slate

Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, wants to know why it's acceptable for Missouri Southern State University's  Board of Governors to continue to operate with openings and expired terms.

Richard knows our university deserves better from Gov. Jay Nixon.

If you search the governor's website for "current vacancies and expired terms" on Missouri boards and commissions, the listing for the MSSU Board of Governors gives two. One is a vacant position, and one is Rod Anderson's term, which expired Sept. 4, 2009. Current chairman Richard Walter's term expires Aug. 30. Earlier this spring, the board had only five members (out of the eight it's supposed to have), and the governor in April appointed Keith Hankins, of Stockton, and Mitch McCumber, of Noel, to bring it up to the current seven.

Richard says if appointments aren't up-to-date by the time the new session starts, he'll see to it the Senate doesn't vote on any of Nixon's appointments.

Let's hope the governor gets the message before that happens.