The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 20, 2012

Baxter Springs mayor resigns; Bingham presided over period of controversy

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Controversial Baxter Springs Mayor Jenifer Bingham unexpectedly resigned on Tuesday, said the new mayor, Mike Kaufmann.

Kaufmann, who was mayor pro tem, said he received a cellphone call about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday from City Attorney Robert Myers. Myers had called to inform him that Bingham had resigned and that he needed to go to City Hall to sign payroll checks so that city employees could be paid.

“I was unexpectedly promoted,” Kaufmann said.

Bingham didn’t return repeated phone messages left on her cellphone and at her City Hall office.

Myers didn’t return phone messages left at his office.

Controversy started in April, when Bingham named replacements for longtime City Clerk Donna Wixon and longtime police Chief David Edmondson. The City Council, on a 6-2 vote, rejected the appointments. Bingham placed Wixon on paid suspension and changed the locks at City Hall. Wixon has been back on the job after the council took action to restore her to her position.

Kevin Cure, an attorney hired by Bingham’s opponents on the council to represent their interests, had sought misdemeanor criminal defamation charges against Bingham based on her comments at meetings, including a statement that she had a photo proving that her opponents were conducting a meeting contrary to the Kansas open-meetings law. A special prosecutor declined to prosecute.

Cure couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The resignation follows the Nov. 6 election, in which three of Bingham’s opponents on the council faced a recall vote, forced by a petition. Ron Costlow was the only one of the three councilmen recalled in the election. Voters retained Gary Allen and Ed McAfee.

“That’s probably the best thing that could have happened for the city,” Costlow said Tuesday of Bingham’s resignation. “Now the city can go forward in a unified way.”

He said he hasn’t decided if he will seek election to the City Council in April.

Kaufmann said he looks forward to returning some stability to city government.

“I was hoping things would kind of get back to normal” after the recall election, Kaufmann said. “But I wasn’t expecting this.”

Still hanging

ANOTHER ISSUE still hanging over the city is an investigation of Jenifer Bingham’s six opponents on the City Council by the Kansas attorney general’s office, based on allegations of open-meetings violations. Mike Kaufmann, who was among Bingham’s opponents, said he’s not aware of the status of the investigation. He said he and the other council members look forward to the results, because the allegations have no merit.

Text Only
Local News
  • State audit of Joplin School District begins

    Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Burglary conviction draws shock prison time

    A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life

    The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • 071714 Jasper Cty Dispatch1_72.jpg Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications

    The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council

    Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.

    July 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven

    If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage

    All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed

    Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter