The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 30, 2014

Man whose name still on ballot remains in jail

Write-in campaign may be in works in Baxter Springs

COLUMBUS, Kan. — Even with nine seats on city councils listed on Tuesday’s election ballots in Cherokee County, only one contested race developed this spring.

While that lone contested race did not develop in Baxter Springs, another question did.

Stan Pickering, who has run unsuccessfully multiple times for the Baxter Springs City Council, for a while looked as if he might finally be assured of election. While his name remains the only one on the ballot for the 1st Ward council post, uncertainty now looms over him being able to serve even if he were to receive the most votes over a write-in candidate or win by default because no votes were cast for the office.

Pickering, 78, who resigned from his appointed post as 1st Ward councilman earlier this year after he was arrested on charges of having sexual contact with children, remains in the Cherokee County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bond. He also resigned his job as a school crossing guard the day he was arrested.

The Globe was not able to advance the story much last week even though it was able to indirectly ask Pickering for his intentions in the event he were to be elected to the post. His response: “No comment.”

And again last week, the Globe’s attempts to reach the city attorney to ask what steps the council might take if Pickering were to win election were unsuccessful. But a worker in the city clerk’s office did say that some interest had been expressed in a write-in campaign for the 1st Ward council post. She said she did not have names of the person or people considering such a campaign, noting that write-in candidates are not required to register with the clerk’s office.

As for that single contest that is on the ballot, Leslie Flood is challenging incumbent Marion L. Morgan Jr. for the 2nd Ward seat on the Columbus City Council, a position the latter has held since the election in April 2012.

A preliminary hearing for Pickering is scheduled for April 8, exactly one week after Tuesday’s elections in Kansas.

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