JOPLIN, Mo. —
There was a classic movie made years ago that starred Yul Brynner.
He portrayed a leader who saved a small community from human-initiated disaster. He was strong willed, led by example, sometimes demanding, but was always fair and compassionate.
He built strength in the leaders of the town and confidence and pride in its residents. These qualities enabled the town to come back from disaster. It became a place to prosper and raise a family in peace and comfort. When his job was complete, he rode off into the sunset knowing he had accomplished his goals and made better lives for many. It was not easy; he was a leader through some very tough times. That movie is “The Magnificent Seven.”
There is a medium-sized town in Southwest Missouri that experienced a disaster, not created by human hands but a cruel act of nature. A leader of men was at the helm of that town when disaster struck on that Sunday evening in May 2011. That leader was Mark Rohr. He had been hired by the City Council for several tasks, but revitalization was a major goal of the city. Little did he know that he would be the one to lead the community back from destruction.
He was strong and decisive. He sometimes appeared stern but was always compassionate, keeping the city’s best interests in mind. Recovery progress was phenomenal and the city’s spirit bounced back. Community pride grew and economic growth followed, even in the aftermath of adversity.
Then five members of the Joplin City Council came together in a back-room attempt to restore the good ole boys network of councils and city administrations past. Three of the councilmen knew this would be impossible with Rohr in place. With the help of two “puppets,” they fired Rohr without cause.
Rohr rode off into the sunset hurt and angry, knowing his mission was incomplete. He had to leave the community without a leader at the helm and with a council in disarray. The title of the second saga went from “Do You Believe in Miracles?” to “The Incompetent Five.”
On Tuesday, April 8, we have the opportunity to remove two of “The Incompetent Five” from public office. It would disable this malcontent majority on the City Council. It would also provide a pathway to having a vibrant mayor instead of one who represents the good ole boys. It would allow the new council to regain credibility and momentum toward rebuilding and prosperity rather than turmoil and unrest.
Disarming this group should be the first priority of the April election. The new council could then hire an attorney who puts Joplin first, not the agenda of a select few who wanted to name him acting city manager.
Please, get out and vote for people who want Joplin to be a great city. Vote for Mike Seibert, Mike Woolston, Miranda Lewis and Ryan Stanley.
Sorry, Mr. Rohr. You deserved better. Good luck with your future endeavors.
Bob Morton lives in Joplin.