The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 8, 2014

Neosho voters approve ethics language in city charter; incumbent councilman re-elected

NEOSHO, Mo. — Neosho voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to include language from the city ethics code in the city charter.

The vote was 1,547 “yes” to 242 “no,” a margin of 86 percent to 14 percent. Passage required a simple majority.

The totals are final but unofficial until votes are canvassed.

The measure lists prohibitions for Neosho City Council members including conflicts of interest, revealing confidential information obtained by being on the council and improper use of public property. Penalties may include admonishment, reprimand or forfeiture of office.

A city ethics board would investigate complaints, determine violations and advise the council about appropriate penalties. It would review only specific complaints and would accept anonymous complaints.

Incumbent Councilman Charles Collinsworth cruised to re-election, fending off a challenge by former Councilwoman Heather Bowers.

The tally was 1,085 votes for Collinsworth and 676 for Bowers. The ratio was 61 percent to 38 percent. There also were 14 write-in votes.

Bowers, 40, heavily outspent Collinsworth, 41, in the campaign. Bowers was elected to the council in 2009 and was removed by fellow council members in 2011 for violating the meeting attendance rule. She announced her candidacy for an unexpired council term in 2012 but withdrew from the race the week before the election.

Collinsworth is completing his first term on the council. His re-election preserves the existing council majority, with Collinsworth, Mayor Richard Davidson and Tom Workman usually on one side of issues, and David Ruth and Steve Hart on the other side. Ruth and Hart were working for Bowers’ campaign.

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Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

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