Alliances that have shifted among some Jasper County officials will be played out at the ballot box on Tuesday.
Four years ago, John Bartosh, Jasper County presiding commissioner, was supporting the re-election of Sheriff Archie Dunn and both officeholders were publicly backing Craig Putnam in the race for Eastern District associate commissioner.
Bartosh at one time was Dunn’s closest ally on the commission — Dunn backed him when he was first elected, defeating incumbent Chuck Surface. Bartosh also was an active member of the Dunn’s committee that pushed for passage of the Law Enforcement Sales Tax.
The two officeholders no longer are allies, and the presiding commissioner is supporting Randee Kaiser, assistant chief of the Carthage Police Department, in the three-way race for sheriff.
Dunn is suing the commission and others, primarily because of disputes concerning how law enforcement sales tax funds are being handled. The conflict started late in 2009 with disagreements over LEST spending in the 2010 budget. It escalated later in the year when the commission replaced, with its own appointments, a board created to allocate LEST grant funds to local law enforcement agencies. That action was the catalyst for the lawsuit by the sheriff, who said the new committee violated pledges made to the voters when the tax proposal was placed on the ballot.
The county and Dunn also are the subject of another lawsuit from Henry County officials seeking to recover the costs of housing Jasper County prisoners in their jail. Citing problems with overcrowding, the sheriff moved prisoners to a number of other jails, but the commission would not approve payments because the allocations were not budgeted.
Bartosh did not make a monetary donation to Kaiser’s campaign, but the presiding commissioner said he did cook a hog for a fundraiser put on by his brother, Frank Bartosh. The Kasier campaign also received contributions from Collins, Webster and Rouse, a law firm where Norman Rouse, assistant prosecutor and attorney for the commission, is a partner, and from Jim Woestman, a former Carthage mayor and chairman of the new Law Enforcement Sales Tax Board, also named in the sheriff’s lawsuit.
According to campaign finance reports on file with the Missouri Ethics Commission, Dunn is reporting donations from a firm that supplies computer software to the sheriff’s department, and several local firms and former employees.
More than $100,000 has been raised in the race among three candidates for the post. Dunn is reporting campaign contributions of $46,735; Kaiser, $38,818; and Larry Newman, $17,192. Reports show Kaiser and Newman both made loans to their campaigns — Kaiser, $1,815, and Newman, $6,200.
In the last two reporting cycles, Dunn’s campaign listed contributions of $250 or more from James Bane, Joplin, $300; Tri-State Motor Transit, Joplin, $5,000; Diana Davidson, Duenweg, $500; William Booth, Carthage, $250; Railroad Salvage and Restoration, $3,000; Gary Hall, Las Vegas, Nev., $1,000; Donna Hall, Las Vegas, $1,000; Cody Computer Services, Pottstown, Pa., $1,000; Gator Industrial, Joplin, $5,000; Max Sweezy, Carthage, $250; Denita Douglas, Neosho, $1,000; Ted Evans, Carthage, $5,000; Anita Oakes, Joplin, $250; Julia Oaks, Joplin, $250; Frank Rook, Joplin, $1,500; and Jordan Disposal Services, Joplin, $5,000.
In addition, Frank Winkler, Joplin, put on a fundraiser that grossed $9,667.
Kaiser, during the same period, listed contributions of $250 or more from Jim Woestman, Carthage, $1,500; Kelly Woestman, Pittsburg, Kan., $1,000; Ryan Jackson, Joplin, $250; Carthage Auto Plaza, $1,000; Railroad Salvage and Restoration, Joplin, $2,000; Roger Renken, Reeds, $500; Tyler Artym, Carthage, $350; Phyllis Morgan, Carthage, $840; Todd Eads, Carthage, $900; April Knell, Carthage, $540; Phyllis Morgan, Carthage, $1,000; John Hoffer Dodge, Carthage, $700; and Collins Webster and Rouse law firm, Joplin, $1,250.
Fundraisers on Kaiser’s behalf were put on by Frank Bartosh, Carthage, netting $5,377; Anna Ruth Mosbaugh, Joplin, $408; Cindy Dagnan, Webb City., $200; Sam Swatsenbarg, Carthage, $2,115; and Jim Woestman, Carthage, $9,584.
The campaign also noted $6,250 in in-kind contributions from Roper Automotive Group, Joplin, which paid for billboard advertising.
Newman reported campaign contributions in excess of $250 from Alan Buttram, Oronogo, $320; Joplin Railroad and Restoration, Joplin, $2,500; Jim Jones, Joplin, $300; and Michael Snyder, Carl Junction, $500.
All three candidates are running on the Republican ballot. The winner of the primary will likely assume the office in January. In the November election, the only other candidate for sheriff will be Libertarian John J. Karriman.