The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 2, 2014

Attorney general to inquire about complaints asking whether city violated Sunshine Law

JOPLIN, Mo. — Three complaints have been filed with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office asking whether the Joplin City Council has violated the state Sunshine Law.

The complaints are in reference to the handling of the City Council’s Feb. 4 meeting when Mark Rohr was fired as city manager, and the subsequent withholding of part of an investigation report.

Nanci Gonder, spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Koster, said the office received three complaints between March 19 and 24. “We will be sending a request to the city for information” regarding the complaints, she said.

Gonder said she did not have detailed information about the complaints.

City Attorney Brian Head said the city has not yet received a request from the attorney general.

Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean said she has not been informed of any complaints. “I don’t have anything,” she said. “If they are sending a letter, I’m not aware of it. This is the first I have heard about it.”

Resident Kim Seavy, who has formed the Justice for Joplin organization in response to the City Council controversy, said Wednesday that his is one of the complaints.

He said he has received a letter of confirmation from the attorney general’s office that the complaint is being processed. He said he asked that the state look into the meeting in which Rohr was fired after a report that was supposed to focus on the ethical conduct of two councilmen was partially disclosed.

“They (attorney general’s office) said that is their primary focus,” he said. “They said they also would look into any other meetings about the investigation that went on behind closed doors.”

Seavy also has asked the state auditor for an investigation into whether the city investigation and the Rohr firing complied with the city’s Home Rule Charter and state statutes.

Appeal decision

THE CITY COUNCIL is to meet at 5:15 p.m. today to vote on whether to appeal a ruling Monday by Circuit Judge David Mouton that ordered the city to make public the documents withheld from the investigation that resulted in Mark Rohr’s firing.

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