The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 3, 2014

Rohr to address council tonight

— Mark Rohr, who was fired on Feb. 4 as Joplin’s city manager, has asked to speak to the City Council at its meeting at 6 p.m. today.

Rohr submitted a request to the city clerk saying he wants to address the recent investigation, it’s circumstances  as well as other issues in Joplin.

Rohr was fired by a 5-4 vote of the City Council in a late-night session Feb. 4 in which the City Council heard a report on the results of an investigation it ordered. Both Rohr’s firing and the details of the investigation have generated a public controversy.

That controversy has centered around questions about how the probe came to focus on Rohr when the council believed it had authorized it to focus on the conduct of two council members, Bill Scearce and Mike Woolston, and how Scearce  came to be in possession of a note that Rohr said was taken from his desk.

City Attorney Brian Head has acknowledged that investigator Tom Loraine asked him if Loraine was to “look at” Rohr and Head told him it was up to him to decide the direction of the probe.

Head said Scearce asked for a resolution to fire Rohr to be drafted several days before the meeting saying he wanted that document “in my pocket” if there was anything in the report about Rohr.

The part of the report about Rohr has been withheld from the public and The Joplin Globe has filed a lawsuit seeking an order from a judge to unseal the documents along with testimony in the investigation. The city contends the  report is a personnel record.

The council also is scheduled today to discuss the costs of the investigation, which are nearly $82,000, almost double the cap set by the council without it’s authorization to incur more costs. Head also has said that Loraine told Head he had exceeded that cap. Head said he did not go to the council because he thought it was a small amount and, by the bills came in for the full amount it was too late.

 

 

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