The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 24, 2012

Baxter Springs City Council puts city clerk back on job

Panel seeks charter ordinance to limit mayor’s authority

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — The Baxter Springs City Council on Tuesday night voted to return City Clerk Donna Wixon to her job, after she had been suspended with pay two weeks ago by Mayor Jenifer Bingham.

Bingham made another attempt at appointing a city clerk to replace Wixon, naming Deputy City Clerk Deb Weston. The council voted against that appointment on a 6-2 vote. Bingham’s previous appointment to the position, Rodney Edmondson, had withdrawn from consideration.

“We’re on point and the city’s moving forward in a great direction,” Bingham said in support of Weston. “We haven’t missed a beat.”

Bingham, who was elected mayor last year, at the April 10 meeting appointed Edmondson to replace Wixon as city clerk and police officer Rex Qualls to replace police Chief David Edmondson, Rodney’s brother. The City Council voted against both appointments, 6-2, with newly elected council members Randy Trease and Gretta Day supporting the mayor. Bingham the next morning placed Wixon on leave with pay.

The six-member majority of the council on Tuesday night also voted to prohibit Bingham from suspending Wixon or police Chief David Edmondson, absent some act that would require it.

The council members opposing Bingham’s actions voted to hire counsel separate from the City Attorney Robert Myers, approving attorney Kevin Cure as their counsel, with a minimum cost of $5,000 for up to 25 hours and $175 for each additional hour. Cure said outside the meeting that he expects his work to be completed within the 25 hours.

Councilman Mike Kaufmann introduced resolutions finding Qualls and Weston as unqualified. The action is required by Kansas law to avoid the appointments becoming automatic in 45 days. Final consideration of the resolution will come at a future meeting.

A majority of council members also approved Kaufmann’s motion to draft a charter ordinance removing the appointment powers from the mayor and placing them with council committees.

“So, in other words, we’re back to stripping the mayor of (her) powers,” Bingham said.

Bingham also alleged that some council members were holding meetings without posting them, contrary to the Kansas open meetings law.

“I have photos of you all meeting at Mike’s house today,” Bingham said, referring to Kaufmann.

An overflow crowd showed up at City Hall for the meeting, causing the council to vote to move the meeting to the larger Baxter Springs Community Center.

The divisions in the town were evident from the reactions of the audience during the meeting, with many supporting the mayor and many opposing her. People on both sides spoke during a public comment time.

Cathy Bolek, a business owner, said the mayor and the two new council members have the support of the public.

“I’m very sad,” she said. “My heart is broken for this community.”

Former Councilman Larry Warner said the town was divided, and it is Bingham who is dividing it.

Bingham also had support from resident Linda Estrada.

“I applaud you Mayor Bingham for making decisions that may not be popular, but are necessary in moving the town forward,” Estrada said.

Former council members  Lori Wren, who was defeated in the April 3 election, and Sandy Snider also were critical of Bingham’s actions..

City Clerk Donna Wixon, who was at the meeting, said she was grateful that council members placed her back on the job.

“We’ll see how tomorrow goes,” she said of returning today.

Next meeting

The Baxter Springs City Council will meet again on Tuesday, May 1.

Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


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?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter