The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

February 5, 2014

Mark Rohr claims firing was result of employee complaints

JOPLIN, Mo. — Former Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr said this afternoon that his firing was related to complaints by disgruntled city employees or former employees.

He also said that the council’s termination of him Tuesday night went beyond the scope of the investigation that the council authorized.

“I wasn’t even the target of the investigation but the manner in which the investigator conducted the investigation strayed very far from the charge,” given by the City Council, Rohr said by telephone.

The vote Tuesday night to fire Rohr was a split of 5-4.

Rohr said much of the testimony in the council probe against him came from employees or former employees who complained about his handling of personnel issues, particularly last summer’s investigation of the public works department.

Several public works employees and the former chief of the city’s building inspection division, Steve Cope, attended the Tuesday night meeting.

Rohr said those personnel complaints came into the council probe through a hotline the investigator set up on a telephone.

“What it amounted to was a complaint line and that wasn’t even the charge the council provided to the investigator,” he said.  

Rohr said the council authorized an investigation into three subjects: Councilman Bill Scearce, Councilman Mike Woolston, and how a note that Rohr had written came into Scearce’s possession.

Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean has not yet returned a telephone call from the Globe seeking an explanation for the firing. However, she issued a statement through the city’s public information officer saying the reasons are part of Rohr’s personnel record, which are not public.

Rohr announced last summer that there would be a probe of the public works department after a computer software audit of the department indicated that there were about $150,000 in uncollected or undeposited building code and inspection fees. There also was an incident in which a city garage worker was arrested for stealing supplies.

A subsequent police investigation concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing in regard to the uncollected fees.

City staff determined there were problems with the process used to collect the fees and that some unprocessed payments were found on the desk of a supervisor.

Cope was disciplined and David Hertzberg was reassigned from public works director to another position in the department.


Text Only
Top Stories
  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Britain Easter Pilgri_Cast.jpg SLIDESHOW: Good Friday observances around the world Around the world, Christians are coming together in observance of Good Friday, which they believe was the day Jesus was crucified. Here are some photos from Good Friday commemorations around the world.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missouri House votes to expand sales tax exemptions

    Pizza parlors, doughnut shops and even convenience stores all could be in line for a tax break on the food that they make and sell as a result of a measure moving through the Missouri Legislature.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos