By Roger McKinney
BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. —
The person Mayor Jenifer Bingham on Tuesday appointed as city clerk says he no longer wants the job.
Bingham at Tuesday’s meeting of the Baxter Springs City Council appointed a new city clerk and police chief after two new council members took their oaths. The appointments were voted down, with only the new council members, Randall Trease and Gretta Day, voting in favor of the mayor’s appointments.
Bingham had appointed city Court Clerk Rodney Edmondson as city clerk, replacing current City Clerk Donna Wixon. She appointed Baxter Springs police officer Rex Qualls as police chief, to replace current police Chief David Edmondson.
Rodney Edmondson and David Edmondson are brothers.
Bingham on Wednesday morning suspended Wixon with pay. Both Wixon and David Edmondson have been in their jobs for 13 years. Bingham on Wednesday also hired a locksmith to change the locks at City Hall.
Rodney Edmondson on Thursday issued a news release saying he had reconsidered his acceptance of the mayor’s offer. He said Bingham had asked him Monday if he would accept the position of city clerk and that he accepted.
“I did not have, or take, ample time to consider all the factors and possible ramifications of my decision, a decision I now regret,” Edmondson wrote in a news release.
He said he told Bingham of his decision to reconsider on Thursday.
Edmondson said by phone he wasn’t certain when he became aware that Bingham also planned to appoint a new police chief, but said he was aware of that by the time of Tuesday’s meeting.
Asked about the ramifications to which he referred, he said only that he was noting the discord that has arisen surrounding the appointments. Asked if he thought the mayor had overreached, Edmondson said he didn’t want to comment.
Bingham has declined to explain the reasons behind her appointments, saying only that they are within the mayor’s power to make them.
Baxter Springs City Attorney Robert Myers didn’t return calls on Thursday or Friday seeking information about the procedure for reappointing current department heads or appointing new ones and about the procedure for removing Wixon’s suspension.
Baxter Springs city Court Clerk Rodney Edmondson, a former Cherokee County commissioner, has filed as a candidate for Cherokee County clerk.