The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 5, 2014

Several council candidates testified as part of probe

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin City Councilman asked special investigator Tom Loraine for assurance that his investigation was independent and not being guided by someone trying to influence the outcome, according to transcripts of testimony released Friday.

The unopposed Zone 1 incumbent, Gary Shaw, sought out a second conversation with the investigator during the probe saying, “I do want us to work really strong about keeping this independent without any influence from staff sources including our city attorney.”

Shaw went on to praise Brian Head, the city attorney and said he thinks Head does a good job on contracts and council bills, but then added: “I think sometimes Brian runs outside of his lane, you know, you have lanes that you should operate in and so forth.”

Shaw also told Loraine that while he was “pro-Brian ... do not allow him to influence your decision and things that you are making on this.”

The documents show that Loraine kept Head in charge of a hotline set up for people who wanted to volunteer information or testimony and that Head had access to those comments. Head also told Loraine that it was up to him whether to pursue the city manager in the probe.

Loraine told Shaw: “I don’t let anybody influence me. What I get influenced by is what people say.”

Ultimately, Loraine told Shaw he didn’t think anybody would like the results of the probe.

“I mean I don’t think anybody is going to be happy with what all we find out. I’ll just be honest with you, I have information that’s going to make everybody unhappy so I probably wouldn’t get another job down here,” Loraine said.

The transcripts released Friday as part of Loraine’s investigation into city affairs contain interviews with five of the current candidates for city council seats.

Shaw is one of the candidates in Tuesday’s election who testified in the City Council investigation that resulted in the Feb. 4 firing of the city manager.

Mike Woolston, an incumbent councilman in a general seat, was one of the two council members who were subjects of the probe. Jim West, another candidate for a general seat, also testified, as did both candidates in Zone 4, incumbent Mike Seibert and Jack Golden.

Trisha Raney, a sitting council member who is seeking re-election to a general seat, did not testify, according to the records.

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